"Justice" Ministry Lets Israeli Security Do Anything it Wants
Rape and Sodomy Investigation is Closed
By Stanley Heller
April 30, 2021. One of the articles that was behind a paywall can be read here. We need a campaign to demand indictments or better an ICC investigation.
April 24, 2021. The articles in Haaretz are behind a paywall so I'll do my best to summarize. A Palestinian woman was strip-searched and cavity searched twice. The Justice Ministry did its first criminal investigation of Shin Bet ever. The "incident" happened in 2015. This month, April 2021, after six years, the investigation was closed. No punishment for anyone involved.
The first article was published on April 21. The writer of the article is Tali Shamir, the spokesperson for the Public Committee Against Torture in Israel. She writes, "The Shin Bet security service can operate with complete impunity, no matter what its people do." She notes that the Shin Bet set up a complaint department in 2001 and has received 1300 complaints. By "complaints" she means torture. The complaints did not end up with a single indictment. Note one. Shamir writes, ", the Justice Ministry has set a new world record for the ratio between complaints and indictments; zero indictments, zero prosecutions."
The woman had been suspected of helping Hamas and was eventually given two years in prison. Thankfully her name wasn't mentioned. We don't know what her crime was, but to get only two years from the Israeli justice system means it was quite minor.
Shamir writes, "The case of the woman whose private parts were searched was exceptional because the act took place during her arrest, and not in the Shin Bet basements, and it was witnessed by both male and female soldiers." And get this, the three Shin Bet agents involved all claimed the other agent was the one who gave the orders for the cavity searches. So the Justice Ministry just let them all go. Evidently in Israel there's no compulsion for anyone dealing with Palestinians to cry "Stop" if he or she sees something going on illegally.
The second article was written on April 22. It goes into more detail and includes sections of the transcript of the investigation. Great care was taken so that the woman could not be identified. Not even the area of the offense was mentioned.
The Shin Bet was looking for a SIM card, not a "ticking bomb" nor a vial of germ warfare material, just a SIM card. They wanted some more names of people to lock up. So they called the Israel Defense Force (the Israeli army) who sent them a female medic and a clerk and they did the search. Josh Breiner the writer of the Haaretz article says the search was "illegal" under Israeli law.
The "rape and sodomy" investigation went on for four-and-a-half years. The result: No indictment for any crime. What about loss of position, dishonorable discharge? No, Breiner the remarks, "The army is expected to make do with a reprimand and a notation in his personnel file."
They actually did find the SIM card after a second search of the victims room.
Below this article Haaretz lists comments. One was written by "John de Clef Pineiro", at least that was the name given. He began:
"With this transcript, the eyes of the world have incontrovertible evidence of heinous wrongdoing arising in the context of martial control imposed by a de facto apartheid regime. The utter repugnance here of a wrong without a remedy shocks the conscience of any fair-minded person."
P.S. This is not new. 15 years ago there was a video about disgusting stip seaches of Palestinian women and girls and of Holocaust survivor Hedy Epstein.