(Jerusalem) – Yesterday, (May 6th 2007), B’Tselem and Hamoked issued a report entitled "Utterly forbidden: The Torture and Ill-Treatment of Palestinian Detainees". NGO Monitor reports have shown that both of these groups use human rights to promote political agendas.
The Israel Ministry of Justice has departed from previous practice and released a detailed, nine page rebuttal of this report, which notes the following:
- The (B’Tselem-Hamoked) report "includes description of cases with no identifying details and without allowing the relevant authorities . . . to review those specific cases." Such failure "effectively denies the authorities the opportunity to examine the claims raised in the report."
- The (B’Tselem-Hamoked) report includes "bizarre claims" such as that the Israel Security Agency "design[s] the appearance" of food given to detainees "to create disgust and deterrence."
- The B’Tselem-Hamoked report refers to a group as ‘ordinary’ detainees, concerning those arrested between 13 -17 of July 2005. However, "on the day of July 12, 2005, there was a terrorist attack in the city of Netanya, which caused the death of five people and the injury of many others . . . as a result of the interrogations, the perpetrators of the attack . . . were exposed. In addition, more terrorist units were exposed and weapons that were to be put to use in future terrorist attacks were handed over."
- Contrary to claims in the report, "the opening of criminal investigation files against soldiers . . . is not subject to the Military Attorney General’s pre-affirmation. Military police investigation files are frequently opened immediately upon complaints’ submission." Moreover, severe punishments are meted out to soldiers who engage in unjustified violence. For example, a soldier convicted of beating a detainee was given a seven month prison sentence.
Gerald Steinberg, Executive Director of NGO Monitor, commented that "This public exchange, questioning the accuracy and biases of NGO reports that use the rhetoric of human rights, marks an important development in promoting transparency, accountability and debate.
"The Israeli government has begun to recognize and respond to this form of political warfare and demonization. Perhaps members of groups such as B’tselem, and their funders who include European governments and the New Israel Fund, will also recognize that this exploitation of human rights is unacceptable."
NGO Monitor was founded to promote transparency, critical analysis and debate on the political role of human rights organizations. For more information, see our website at www.ngo-monitor.org
For full NGO Monitor report, click here.
Other recent publications and reports by NGO Monitor include:-
Pax Christi: Aiding Peace? April 12, 2007
NGO Monitor’s Executive Director, Prof. Gerald Steinberg, is Senior Research Associate at the The Begin-Sadat (BESA) Center for Strategic Studies.
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