Radio Islam logo

Zionism         Judaism         Jewish Power         Revisionism         Islam         About         Home

Encyclopedia of the Palestine Problem



Of all the war crimes committed by the Nazis during World War 11, none were more horrifying than those committedin their concentration camps. Millions of people, Jews, Gypsies, Poles, Serbs, Greeks, Frenchmen, Norwegians, Dutch, Russians and even Germans were victims of the Nazi concentration camps. One of the great Zionist crimes is that they did not lift a finger to save their co-religionists, preferring the Nazi persecution of Jews as a means of driving Jews to Palestine and of playing on the sentiments of the western democracies. Israel has imitated the Nazi system of concentration camps.

The establishment of the Israeli concentration camps is the same offense for which the Nazi war criminals Kaltenbrunner, Frank and Sauckel were hanged, among other Nazi war criminals. All of the Palestinian and Lebanese inmates of the Israeli concentration camps are victims of the same war crimes for which these Nazis were indicted, tried, convicted andexecuted. Their indictment reads: "They imprisoned such persons without judicial process, holding them in 'protective custody' and concentration camps, and subjected them to persecution, degradation, despoilment, enslavement, torture and murder." (1) This Statement of Offense is found in Count Four (Crimes Against Humanity) of the International Military Tribunal Indictment presented at Berlin on October 18, 1945.

It is a shocking irony of human behavior that some of the Jewish survivors of the Nazi gaolers imitated them in their own treatment of defenseless Palestinian Arabs. Even during the initial period of mass expulsion of Palestinians by the Zionists in 1948-1950, they herded Palestinians into concentration camps surrounded by barbed wire before expelling them from the country. In Majdal, for example, Israeli journalist Tom Segev writes:

On December 31, 1948, the Ministerial Committee for Abandoned Property discussed the future of Majdal. According to Elimelih Avner, "An investigation of the situation by the Ministry of Defense showed that there are 1,600 Arabs there, concentrated together and fenced in ..." (2)

That many of the Zionist guards who beat and mistreated the Palestinian Arabs were themselves survivors of Nazi concentration camps is confirmed by the caption of a photograph published in the June 22, 1950 issue of the Hebrew weekly Haolam Hazeh:

Note the number tattooed on the guarding soldier's arm. Many of the immigrants who have been through the hell of the European concentration camps lack the proper attitude toward the Arab captives of the State. (3)

From these rudimentary beginnings the Zionist concentration camp system evolved to the point where today its level of institutionalized brutality would fit the criteria established by Nazis Rudolf Hoess, Use Koch and Josef Mengele. Indeed, in an article entitled "You Will Get Used to Being a Mengele" the Israeli newspaper Al Hamishmar of September 19. 1988 compared the Israeli concentration camp system of today with the regimen of Dr. Josef Mengele, the Nazi physician at Auschwitz who was infamous for his cruelty:

Dr. Marcus Levin, a member of Kibbutz Matsuba, was called up for reserve duty in Ansar 2 prison. When he arrived at the prison clinic he met two of his colleagues and asked for information about the job of a doctor there. The answer: "Mainly you examine prisoners before and after an interrogation." When Dr. Levin asked, amazed, "After interrogation?" his colleagues replied: "It's nothing special. Sometimes there arefractures. Yesterday, for instance, they brought a 12-yearold boy with two broken legs." After this, Dr. Levin met with the compound commander, a Lieutenant Colonel, and told him: "My name is Marcus Levin and not Josef Mengele and for reasons of conscience I refuse to serve in this place." One of the doctors, who was present, tried to calm Dr. Levin and said: "Marcus, at first you feel like Mengele but after a few days you get used to it." (4)

The occupation of the West Bank and Gaza following the war of 1967 enabled the rapid expansion of the Israeli concentration camp system. The Zionists dragged into their concentration camp centers such so-called "terrorist" types as factory owners, journalists, dentists, trade union officials and well-known athletes. These people, who almost anywhere else would have been considered pillars of the community, were brutally tortured and mistreated in the Israeli concentration camp system.

Torture under interrogation is official policy in all Israeli concentration camps and interrogation centers. This conclusion was reached in 1977 by the London Sunday Times, which on June 19, 1977 published the results of an intensive investigation it had conducted of the Israeli prison system. Extracts from later study, Prisoners of Israel, conducted by prominent Jewish civil libertarians Ralph Schoenman and Mya Shone, are given below:

The use of torture in Israeli prisons has been the subject of inquiry. In 1977 the London Sunday Times conducted a five months investigation in which 110,000 words of testimony were tape recorded. Corroboration was obtained for the evidence adduced. The torture documented occurred "through the ten years of Israeli occupation" since 1967. (5) The Sunday Times study presented the cases of 44 Palestinians who were tortured. Most of them remain in the post-1967 Occupied Territories and many were willing to be named.

The investigation resulted in concrete conclusions. Israeli interrogators routinely ill-treat and frequently torture Arab prisoners. Torture of Palestinian prisoners is so widespread and systematic that it cannot be dismissed as the work of "rogue cops" exceeding orders. It is sanctioned as deliberate policy. (6) The techniques place Israel's policy firmly in the realm of torture. Prisoners are hooded or blindfolded and are hung by their wrists for long periods. Many are sexually assaulted. Others are given electric shock.

At least one detention center has a specially constructed "cupboard" about two feet square and five feet high with concrete spikes set in the floor. (7) The first hand accounts of these practices will be examined later but now it should be emphasized that all the Israeli intelligence services are implicated. It is implausible, concludes the Sunday Times, that knowledge of these practices is confined to the interrogators. The Sunday Times investigation showed that maltreatment designated as "merely primitive" was universal in Israeli prisons and detention centers. Such treatment encompasses "prolonged beatings." The report found that "refined techniques" are also used including electric shock torture and confinement to specially constructed cells. (8)

This torture was found to take place in at least six centers including the four principal cities of Nablus, Ramallah and Hebron on the West Bank. and Gaza. Torture was established as prevalent in the interrogation and detention center in Jerusalem known as the Russian Compound or Moscobiya. It was found that a special military center, located inside the huge military supply base at Sarafand near Ben Gurion airport on the Jerusalem-Tel Aviv road, was a primary center for torture. A second such military complex, where torture was standard procedure, was situated in Gaza. (9)

There was specific authorization for the use of torture. In concluding that torture "was officially sanctioned as deliberate policy" the study determined that Israel's security services were culpable:

- Shin Bet, equivalent to the F.B.I. and Secret Service in the United States, reports directly to the office of the Prime Minister.

- Military Intelligence reports to the Minister of Defense.

- Border Police administer all checkpoints. There are checkpoints throughout the territories occupied since 1967 as there are at the borders.

- Latam is part of the Department of Special Missions.

- A para-military squad is assigned to police units.

The Sunday Times found this official policy of torture to have at least three aims: to extract information; to induce people to confess to security offenses of which they may or may not have been guilty, so the confession could be used in court as primary evidence; and to persuade Palestinians in the post-1967 Occupied Territories that their least painful course is passivity.


Over half of the victims were struck in the genitals or in other ways sexually abused.10 Each detention center featured interrogators with "apparent predilections." This was confinned by fifty affidavits. The Russian Compound interrogators in Jerusalem "favored assaults on the genitals, besides endurance tests such as holding a chair with outstretched arms or standing on one leg." (11)

The specialty of the military center at Sarafand was to blindfold prisoners for long periods, assault them with dogs and hang them by their wrists. (12) At Ramallah, however, electric shock was not used. Ramallah was "almost alone" in its failure to use electric shock torture. The specialty at Ramallah was "anal assault." (13)

Fazi Abdel-Wahed Nijim was arrested in July 1970. He was tortured at Sarafand and set upon by dogs. Arrested again in July 1973 he was beaten in Gaza prison. Zudhir al-Dihi was arrested in February 1970 and interrogated in Nablus where he was whipped and beaten on the soles of his feet. His testicles were squeezed and he was hosed with ice water.

Shehadeh Shalaldeh was arrested in August 1969 and interrogated at Modcobiya. A ballpoint refill was pushed into his penis. Abed al-Shalloudi was held without trial for sixteen months. Blindfolded and handcuffed while at Moscobiya, he was beaten by Naim Shabo, an Iraqi Jew, Director of the Minorities Department.

Jamil Abu-Ghabiyr was arrested in February 1976 and held in Moscobiya. He was beaten on the head, body and genitals and made to lie in ice water. Issarn Atif al-Hamoury was arrested in October 1976. In Hebron prison the authorities arranged his rape by a prisoner trustee. (14)

In February 1969, Rasmiah Odeh was arrested and brought to Moscobiya. Her father, Joseph and two sisters were detained for interrogation. Joseph Odeh was kept in one room while Rasmiah was beaten nearby. When they brought him to her she was lying on the floor in blood stained clothes. Her face was blue, her eye black. In his presence, they held her down and shoved a stick up her vagina. One of the interrogators ordered Joseph Odeh "to fuck" his daughter. When he refused, they began beating both him and Rasmiah. They again spread her legs and shoved the stick into her. She was bleeding from the mouth, face and vagina when Joseph Odeh fell unconscious. (15)

The pattern of torture reported by the Sunday Times is similar to that found in the hundreds of testimonies published by Israeli lawyers Felicia Langer and Lea Tsemel, by Palestinian lawyer Walid Fahoum and the accounts we ourselves heard from former prisoners.

This pattern is documented in the West Bank as early as 1968, one year after the occupation began. Although the International Committee of the Red Cross does not make public declarations, it had prepared in 1968 a finding of torture. Its "Report on Nablus Prison" concluded:

"A number of detainees have undergone torture during interrogation by the military police. According to the evidence, the torture took the following forms:

1. Suspension of ihe detainees by the hands and the simultaneous traction of his other members for hours at a time until he loses consciousness.

2. Bums with cigarette stubs.

3. Blows by rods on the genitals.

4. Tying up and blindfolding for days.

5. Bites by dogs.

6. Electric shocks at the temples, the mouth, the chest and testicles."(16)


Israel's former Ambassador to the United Nations, Jacob Doron, once said: "Nobody is in prison because of their political beliefs." (17) However, as of 1977, over 60% of all prisoners in pre- 1967 Israel and the territories occupied since 1967 were Palestinians found guilty of political offenses and many of the other prisoners were Palestinians held administratively without being charged.

In the West Bank and Gaza all political parties and their activity are banned and Marxists are kept under surveillance. In 1973, the PLO and the Palestinian Communist Party were planning to form an alliance called the Palestine National Front. On the night of April 21-22, the Israelis detained all suspected would-be members.

Ghassan Harb, a 37 year old Palestinian intellectual and journalist for At Fajr, an Arabic daily, was one of those arrested.18 He was taken by Israeli soldiers and two plainclothes agents from his home in Ramallah to Ramallah prison where he was held 50 days. During this time he was neither interrogated nor accused of any act. He was denied any contact with his family or a lawyer.

On the 50th day, he was taken with a sack over his head to an undisclosed place. His interrogator told him he was in Kasr el-Nihaye or "The Palace of the End." Here he was subjected to sustained beating: "Fifteen minutes, twenty minutes beating with his hand across my face." Later a bag was placed over his head. Stripped naked he was forced into a confined space and he began to suffocate. He managed by moving his head against the "wall" to remove the bag and found himself in a cupboard-like compartment some two feet square and five feet high (60 cm. and 150 cm. respectively).

He could neither sit down nor stand up. The floor was concrete with a set of stone spikes set at irregular intervals. They were "sharp with acute edges," some one and a half centimeters high. Harb could not stand on them without pain. He had to stand on one leg and then replace it continuously with the other. He was kept in the box for approximately four hours during the first session.

He was then made to crawl on his knees on sharp stones while being beaten for an hour by four soldiers. Then after questioning, he was returned to his cell and the routine was repeated: Beatings, stripping, "the cupboard" and crawling. He was made to crawl into a dog kennel two feet square. While in the cupboard at night he heard prisoners pleading, "Oh, my stomach. You are killing me."

Ghassan Harb's ordeal has been corroborated independently by four people. Mohammed Abu-Ghabiyr, a shoemaker from Jerusalem, described the identical courtyard with its sharp stones and dog kennel. Jamal Freitah, a laborer from Nablus, described the "cupboard" as a "frigidaire" with the same dimensions. It had "a concrete floor with small hills ... with very sharp edges, every one like a nail."

Kaldoun Abdul-Haq, aconstruction company owner from Nablus, also described the courtyard and the cupboard with its floor "covered with very sharp stones set in cement." Haq was hung by his arms from a hook in a wall on the edge of the courtyard.

Husni Haddad, a factory owner from Bethlehem, was made to crawl in the courtyard, the sharp gravel underfoot, and was kicked as he crawled. His box too had asfloor which had spikes like people's thumbs but with sharp edges."

Ghassan Harb was released two and a half years later, never having been charged with a crime or brought to trial. His lawyer, Felicia Langer, succeeded in taking the matter of his maltreatment to the Israeli Supreme Court. No full statements were taken or admitted into the court hearing; no witnesses were called. The court dismissed out of hand all charges of torture.

Lawyers who regularly defend those accused of "security" offenses declare unanimously that the Military Courts in Israel and the post-1967 Occupied Territories "collude in and knowingly conceal the use of torture by Israel's intelligence services." (19)

Should defense counsel challenge the validity of the confession or present evidence of torture, a "little trial" or Zuza (Hebrew) occurs. The prosecution produces the army or police officer who took down the confession. But, as the Israeli lawyer, Lea Tsemel, observes, "the officer takes the statement, indeed often composes it for the prisoner. But this officer does not conduct the interrogation or perform the torture. Hence he can state that the confession was freely accepted." (20)

Interrogators and warders can rarely be identified and brought to court because they use assumed Arab names such as Abu Sami and Abu Jamil or nicknames such as Jacky, Dany, Edi, Orli, etc. Even when a prisoner succeeds in bringing his torturer to court - there is no result. Lea Tsemel described how, after enormous effort in which countless obstacles were overcome, the interrogator who had tortured her client was brought into the courtroom. "He just looked at the defendant and said he had never seen him before in his life. That ended the matter." (21)

Wasfi O. Masri succeededin having five confessions ruled inadmissible- for which he is much admired among lawyers in Israel and the post-1967 Occupied Territories. This, however, does not assure acquittal. The five were from "a total of thousands."


Omar Abdel-Karim, a carpenter from the village of Beit Sahour, near Bethlehem, was 35 at the time of his arrest in 1976.22 He "looked like an old man" when a Red Cross delegate helped the frail figure onto a stretcher as he was transferred by Israeli soldiers to East Jordan and into the custody of the International Red Cross delegation to Jordan. He was too weak to give his name and could barely move his lips. He could not recognize his brother, a Jordanian army liaison officer.

Admitted to King Hussain hospital, his case notes show him to have ken thin and weak, suffering from chest pains, difficulty in breathing, urinary tract infection, severe head pains, giddiness, pains in his joints and inability to move without pain, particularly in his knees. His ribs had been fractured and he was in a state of nervous agitation. Despite intensive treatment with antibiotics and multi-vitamins he could barely walk two months later.

His torture had been "so organized and applied as to leave no doubt," reports the Sunday Times, "that systematic torture is an Israeli practice." For five months the investigative team of the newspaper worked inside the West Bank and Gaza, entering the neighboring countries as well, to verify the evidence of torture. The case of Omar Abdel-Karim, concludes the Sunday Times is typical in that "the facts differ little from those of scores of other cases." (23)

Omar Abdel-Karim was arrested on October 3, 1976 en route to visit his brother's wife in Amman. He was driven to the Russian Compound where Shin Bet, Latam and the Border Police were housed. Among his interrogators were two men whom hecame to know as professional torturers. Their names were "Edi" and "Orli." They accused him of being a fedayeen, a member of the Palestinian resistance. When he denied this, they began to torture him. They beat him on the soles of his feet and hanged him by his wrists for fifteen minutes at a time. The beatings on his feet caused edema and swelling. He had to crawl to his cell. During seven days of interrogation he was forced to lie prone on the floor. One man stood on his legs while another pulled back his arms. A stick was twisted through his handcuffs cutting the blood supply to his hands. Transferred to Sarafand he was hooded continuously. New interrogators took over, but Odi remained in charge.

Two thin black leads of wire were taped to him. These went to a transformer from which a thick white wire was plugged into a wall socket. A button on the box switched on the current.

"It felt, Abdel-Karim recounted, "as though my bones were being crushed. The most painful was when they attached the wire to my testicles. When the current was applied, I felt it through my whole body. After the shocks ended, I felt pain in all my joints. Every muscle ached. I felt my nerves were exhausted."

There were between eight and nine prolonged sessions of electric shock. After eleven days he was transferred to the prison at Hebron on the West Bank. There were additional interrogators, but Edi and Orli remained with him. One of the interrogators, named "Ouzi," kicked his face and when blood spotted Ouzi's boot, Omar Abdel-Karim was make to lick it off.

Another interrogator, named Abu Ghazal, "swung him round the room by his hair; when his hair came out he forced him to eat it." Abdel-Karim reports, "It stuck all along my throat. It made me want to throw up." He was made to drink salty water after which Abu Ghazal and another interrogator forced a wide bottle up Abdel-Karim's rectum. All of this occurred on his first day in Hebron prison.

On the second day he was again suspended by his wrists from a pulley and beaten. "I felt something break in my chest. Then I fell unconscious." On the third day Omar Abdel- Karim's wife, Nijmi, was brought to the prison. Upon seeing her husband she began to scream. Orli grabbed her by the hair and hit her in the face until blood issued from her nose and mouth. Omar Abdel-Karim said he would confess.

He was told by Orli, "Now we are friends. Now talk!" Abdel-Karim had nothing to tell but to save his wife he said that he had hidden bombs in the lavatory of his house. His wife interrupted him to say that it was she who had hidden them.

At his house in Beit Sahour sewage trucks sucked out the cesspool of his house. No bombs were found as none existed. Edi now banged Abdel-Karim's head repeatedly against a wall until pieces of plaster fell loose. Orli forced him to swallow them.

He was kept under an ice shower and jammed into a barrel of freezing water. Then he was again suspended from his wrists while Orli squeezed his genitals with great force, "The mind," Omar Abdel-Karim recalled, "cannot imagine how much that hurts. It was so bad, it made me forget all other pain."

The last assault that Abdel-Karim can recall before losing his memory occurred when he was shut into a small cell. Gas was squirted through the spy-hole of the cell door. His eyes and nose began to run profusely. Everything began to whirl around him. Then pieces of glass were slid into his nostrils. He can remember no more. He does not recall a visit from his wife and 12 year old son on December 12th.

Six weeks before Omar Abdel-Karim was interviewed, his wife, Nijmi, informed the Sunday Times, independently, of her first visit to the prison, when her face had been struck and her hair pulled by Orli. She described the marks of severe beatings on his face, the bums on the backs of his hands and the scar on his face that looked like it had been made by an iron. This was prior to the release of Abdel-Karim.

A scar on the back of his wrist had been caused by the taping of wires directly into the socket. "It just blew me away and they had to re-attach it. Sparks came from my hand." His lawyer, Felicia Langer, and her clerk Abed el-Asali, describe their meeting with Omar Abdel-Karim in Hebron prison: "He was brought to me supported by other prisoners because he was unable to walk. His face was completely yellow. All the time he was pointing to his ribs, unable to breathe out.

"His fellow prisoners told us that his ribs had been broken during interrogation. Omar indicated that he had been tortured by electricity. While speaking he started to tremble violently. It was as if his body was convulsed. He did not know his age, place of birth, address or whether he had children. He seemed to us to be in another world." (24)

It should be noted that the Jerusalem Red Cross delegate saw Abdel-karim only after 55 days. He was then moved to Ramie prison hospital, but despite his "lamentable condition," borne out by medical records, he was transferred back to Hebron prison.


Nader Afouri was a strong, vital man, the weight-lifting champion of Jordan. When he was released in 1980 after his fifth imprisonment, he could neither see, hear, speak, walk, nor control his bodily functions. Between 1967 and 1980, Nader Afouri was held 10 1/2 years as an administrative detainee. He was suspected of being a member of the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine {P.F.L.P) and an arms supplier for the West Bank. Despite the brutal treatment and torture inflicted upon Nader during five imprisonments, the Israeli authorities could neither extract a confession nor produce any evidence with which to bring Nader Afouri to trial." (25)

The First Imprisonment 1967-1971

"I was arrested initially in 1967, the first year of the occupation. They took me from my home in Nablus, blindfolded me and hanged me from a helicopter. All the people of Beit Furik and Salem villages near Nablus witnessed this.

"They brought me to Sarafand, the most harsh prison, a military prison. I was the first man from the West Bank or Gaza to be brought there. When they set the helicopter down, they pushed me out and ordered me to run. I heard gunfire and ran as they were shooting at me.

"They took me to a large room full of red, yellow and green lights. I could hear screams and the sounds of beatings. I heard a man yell: 'You'll have to confess.' Then I heard a man confessing. Soon, I discovered this was a recording meant to intimidate me.

"Then they took me to the interrogator. They tied me with chains to green doors. Each door had a pulley. They opened the doors, spreading my hands and legs, then wound the pulleys 'till I fell unconscious.

"They made me get up on a chair, tied my hands to chains hanging from a window and slowly removed the chair. My muscles tore as the weight of my body pulled on my hands. The pain was terrible.

"There were five or six men. They all beat me. They hit me with blows on the head. They chained me to a chair. One would beat me and some of the other men in the room would say 'Stop.' Then they would change from one to the other, each hitting me in turn. I was kept chained in that chair and never allowed to stand up.

"They kept torturing me. An interrogator sucked on a cigarette. When it was red, he placed it on my face, chest and genitals - all over.

"One shoved a pen refill up my penis while the others watched. As they did this they asked me to confess. I started to bleed from my penis and was taken to Ramie prison hospital but was soon brought back again to Sarafand for further interrogation.

"I was in Sarafand 12 1/2 months and was interrogated continuously. No one can endure 12 112 months. On four occasions my friends in the other prisons were informed officially that I had died.

"The first month in Sarafand I was always blindfolded and had chains on my hands and legs. After one month they removed the hand chains and blindfold. But I wore leg chains for 12 112 months. Day and night I had chains on my legs. The marks are still on my ankles.

"This was the routine: They would beat me, interrogate me, then throw me in the cell. I would rest awhile; then they would take me again.

"The cell was three feet by four feet by four feet high (1 meter by 1.3 meters). My height is five feet six inches (1.7 meters). I sleptcrouched with my legs upagainst my stomach. There were no windows in the cell and no furnishing, only a pot for shitting. I had two blankets. The stones on the floor were very sharp. They punctured my feet when 1 walked.

"They began to bring other prisoners. They gave us army clothes with numbers on the back. I was number one. They would only call me by my number, never by my name. They were always insulting me, yelling 'Maniuk (Faggot), I will fuck you.' When we were chained outside they brought savage dogs. The dogs jumped at us, grabbed our clothing and bit us.

"Over thirty people were arrested after my own detention and all underwent the same torture. All, however, broke down under torture and wrote confessions and are in prison for life. I didn't confess. The torture destroyed my penis and I could only urinate drop by drop. I could not walk for 3 112 months when I finished the interrogation. But I did not confess. I never spoke a word in 12 1/2 months."

Nader was sent to Nablus prison where he began a hunger strike demanding his freedom. He took only water and a little salt. After ten days he was promised his release. Ten days later when he had not been released, he renewed the hunger strike for yet another week. Again the Administrative Vice-President of Nablus prison promised to release Nader. When there was still no action after twenty five days, Nader announced another hunger strike.

"I was sent to the cells of Rarnle prison after twenty two days of this hunger strike. Dr. Silvan, the director there, brought several soldiers with him. They beat me on the head. I passed between life and death. They chained my hands and forced a tube in my nose. It was like an electrical shock. 1 began to shake. I became hysterical when the food reached my throat and began to scream constantly. They gave me an injection in the hip and I relaxed.

"When this torture failed to make me talk I was placed in the Prison Hospital at Ramie and then sent back to Nablus Prison."

Each time a confession was extracted from another prisoner incriminating Nader, Nader would be called for interrogation. Often he did not even know the people who spoke against him. But still he did not confess, nor was he brought to trial.

Nader was well respected in Nablus and became a leader of the prisoners. When Abu Ard, an informer, accused him of leading the other prisoners, Nader was sent to Tulkarm prison.

On his arrival at Tulkarm, Nader was beaten on the face by Major Sofer and thrown into a cell with thirty five other prisoners. Nader had had enough. When Major Sofer later approached Nader to hit him again, Nader punched Sofer through the bars of the cell door. Nader was now placed in a room with five prisoners while awaiting the arrival of the prison director. When the director struck Nader, Nader grabbed an ashtray and hit the director on the head. The army was called. Nader described the consequences:

"Fifteen soldiers came in and beat me on the head with a chair. I fell unconscious. They put my shirt in my mouth and beat me more. I became hysterical as I was gagging. They gave me an injection and I fell unconscious. I awoke alone in the corridor. 1 couldn't see.

"All Tulkarm prison went on strike and the prisoners met with the director to speak about me. He promised he would release me the next day if they stopped their strike. The director came the next day and shook hands with me and said: 'I swear by my life that you are a man.' They brought me socks and a jacket and promised me a private visit with my family."

Nader was sent to Bet Il prison from which he was eventually released in 197 1. His four years of imprisonment were without trial and labelled administrative detention.

Only a few months lapsed before Nader was detained again. His Second Imprisonment lasted from 1971 until 1972 and a Third from November 1972 until 1973.


"Hebron, Moscobiya, Ramallah, and Nablus: I stayed three months in a cell in each of these four prisons and the interrogation and torture continued.

'It was snowing during the interrogation in Hebron. They stripped me and put me outside in the cold. They tied me with chains to a pole and poured ice water over me. They let me down and brought me to a fire to warm up only to bring me outside again for the ice water treatment.

"Iron balls were put into my scrotum and squeezed against the testicles. Pain just enveloped me.

"One of the investigators, Abu Haroun, said he would turn my face into a bulldog's. He was scientific. He hit me with rapid punches for two hours. Then he brought a mirror and said: 'Look at your face.' I did indeed look like a bulldog.

"In Nablus they burned me with cigarettes and again pressed the metal balls against my testicles - squeezing the egg against the iron. They used pliers to pull out four of my teeth. I was detained three years administratively. During that time, as an act of revenge, they also dynamited my house.


"They arrested me again in November 1978 and sent me directly to Hebron. They greeted me, sneeringly, declaring: 'We will make you confess from your asshole.' I told them I speak from my mouth, not my asshole. At first they spoke nicely to me because they knew torture wouldn't work. Then they brought the men in charge of interrogation: Uri, Abu Haroun, Joni, the Psychiatrist, Abu Nimer who has a finger missing. Abu Ali Mikha and Dr. Jims.

"They chained me to a pole and concentrated their beatings on my chest. They lay me down on the floor and jumped high in the air landing on my chest. Uri did this seven or eight times. It was savage, unending torture for seven days. They smashed their boot heels on my fingernails, breaking my fingers.

"It was snowing so they poured ice water on me. They handed me paper and gave me two hours to confess. I said I knew nothing. They chained me to a chair. All of them began to beat me with their hands and feet. I fell down. My head was on the floor. I saw Uri fly through the air and I felt his karate chop on my head. This was the last memory I had for two years.

"I have been told that I was dragged back to the cell. The other prisoners had to feed me, clean me and"turn me over. I was incontinent and shat on myself. I could not move my hands or walk. I could not hear. I could not recognize anyone. Only my lips could move and I would swallow whatever was put in my mouth. People had to move my head. They had to move my limbs from under my body. My weight fell to 103 pounds (47 kilos).

"Two years later, I woke up in amental hospital. I had five fractures in my hips and I couldn't walk." (26)

Nader's friends were able to bring his situation to public attention throughout pre-1967 Israel and the post-1967 Occupied Territories. Israeli officials and journalists wrote that Nader was 'feigning' and that he was an excellent 'actor.' But the prisoners who had taken care of him and the journalists and sympathizers who visited him when he was finally transferred from prison to a hospital, as well as the hospital staff that eventually treated him, bore witness to his condition. Nader Afouri became a cause celebre for the Palestinian people, a symbol of the torment inflicted on them and of the heroic dimension of their resistance.

Despite his horrifying ordeal, Nader Afouri never gave his Israeli torturers a confession, which would have been a false one in any case, as he was guilty of nothing. This was corroborated by the fact that the Israelis could find no evidence whatsoever against him on which to build a case.

His case is not unique in his being a person who was falsely charged by the Zionists. Ralph Schoenman and Mya Shone report:

Tayseer Al Aruri a physicist and member of the Mathematics Faculty at Bir Zeit University was imprisoned from April 1974 to January 1978 as an administrative detainee. In response to an inquiry made by Dr. Hanna Nasir, President of Bir Zeit University, the Military Governor responded: "It is not what he has done, but what he is thinking of doing." (27)

In 1984, his novel about an imaginary dictatorship, George Orwell could have been writing about the so-called justice in present day Israel, as exemplified by the above comment of the Israeli Military Governor.


The mistreatment and torture of Palestinian Arabs as described above are not exceptional cases. The brutality of Israel's methods has not changed. Moreover, the number of its prisoners increased with its invasion of Lebanon in 1982, and even more dramatically with Israeli attempts to suppress the Intifada after December 1987.

Even before the Intifada, it was estimated that 300.000 Palestinian Arabs had passed through Israeli prisons and concentration camps. (28) At the beginning of 1985 approximately 1,800 Palestinians and Lebanese were in the worst of these camps, Al Ansar (Ansar I) in Lebanon. Dachau and Auschwitz, Bergen-Belsen and Buchenwald are shrines of man's inhumanity to his fellow man. Al Ansar must not be omitted from such a list of the hell-holes of this century. The conditions imposed upon the Palestinian and Lebanese inmates of Al Ansarare similar to those that were imposed upon the inmates of the Nazi concentration camps. (29) At the beginning of 1985 approximately 1,800 Palestinians and Lebanese were in the worst of these camps, Al Ansar, in Lebanon.

The stench of Ansar I concentration camp was so great that on April 3, 1985 the Israelis closed it. Out of its 1,800 inmates, 752 were released and the rest were transferred to the notorious Athlit prison in Israel. On September 10, 1985 all the detainees in Athlit were allegedly released in a frantic effort by Israel to cover up the fact that it was running a Nazi-like concentration camp system. But the victims were not truly released. Some were paroled, but others were shifted back and forth among different Israeli prisons.

In Athlit prison, a penal institution dating from the British Mandate period, the transferred inmates were subjected to incarceration in violation of Article 56 of the Geneva Convention: "In no case shall prisoners of war be transferred to penitentiary establishments (prisons, penitentiaries, convict establishments, etc.) in order to undergo disciplinary sentence there." (30) The Axis war criminals were sentenced for transferring prisoners of war to penitentiary establishments to undergo disciplinary sentence there, in violation of the Geneva Convention. The Israelis did even worse; they transferred prisoners of war to penitentiary establishments to undergo disciplinary punishment without even a pretext of a trial or a sentence.

There are as many places of detention as there are units of commands and districts of military government in the occupied territories of Lebanon, and this in addition to the central camps of detention. Before the Intifada, prisoners were detained in the following places: (31)

1. The concentration camps of "Al Ansar."

2. The military prison near Athlit (south of Haifa).

3. A school building of Sidon (Report of Amnesty International, testimony given by Dr. Francis Capet of Belgium, Humanite of July 1, 1982.)

4. The premises of the "Safa" Citrus Company south of Sidon.

5. The military prison in the vicinity of the Meggido junction (east of Haifa).

6. The old and neglected "Shmuel Harofe" hospital of Be'er Ya'akov (south of Tel Aviv) - for wounded prisoners.

7. The collapse of the Military Government's building in Tyre revealed that it had contained rooms for detention, and interrogation, where prisoners were held. (Some of them were killed when the building collapsed, others wounded.)

8. Detainees from the West Bank who had been held in the Hebron Prison told afterwards that they had met there prisoners from Lebanon.

At any given time the average number of detainees present in Israeli prisons before the Intifada was 3,500. (32) There are many thousands of Palestinians and Lebanese who are disabled as a result of long years of imprisonment and torture, for in the Israeli concentration camp system the daily calorie intake per prisoner averages 1500, compared to 2,700 as the minimum requirement needed. (33) As in the Nazi concentration camp system, as in the Stalinist Gulag, so it is in the Israeli concentration camps: its victims are permanently maimed and disabled through the effects of inhuman treatment, including long-term deprivation of bodily nourishment.

The Israeli Gulag Archipelago, in addition to the notorious Al Ansar concentration camp, Athlit, Sidon, Meggido, Be'er Ya'akov, Tyre and Hebron, includes facilities at Ashkelon, Nablus, Napha, Jenin, Ramallah, Kfar Yona, Damun, Gaza, Jericho, Tulkarm, Ramie, Jalameh, Beersheba, Shatta and Neve Tirza. (34)

At these camps the Israeli guards are present-day counterparts of the SS guards of Nazi Germany. They even use the same excuses the Nazis used, that they were only "following orders." Israeli journalist and writer Uri Avnery describes a conversation with an Israeli concentration camp guard:

He was surprised to hear me mentioning to him that he is highly paid for his reserve service, and then I asked him what his ideology was. And of course: "They are treated far too well. They need a tough hand." And to sum up: "Most of us are willing to sign a petition calling for a tougher policy towards them."

I asked him where he got his information from. "Do you talk to the detainees?"


"During the months you have served there, guarding thousands of people, you never spoke to one detainee? Are you not interested in who they are?"

"Not interested."

Only later I found out that the guards are forbidden to speak with the detainees. I think that this is an astonishing fact, which shows what is happening to the Israeli Army. This artificial separation, that is supposed to enable undisturbed and methodical brain washing of the soldiers is the way to brutalization, stupidity and to turning them into robots and into a colonial force.

"If you never spoke to a Palestinian detainee, then how do you know who they are and what they think?"

"I read the newspapers."

"The journalist sits in Tel Aviv and supports one or the other party and he is supposed to know more than you, you who have been here for months?"

"I only follow orders."

"I have heard this sentence somewhere else.

"I am a simple man. I don't understand. The leaders know better."

"This also reminds me of something."

"They wouldn't keep them if it wasn't necessary. And besides, many of them are being released."

"20-30 a week are released. And in the meantime others are detained."

"There must be a reason."

"Do you think about the fact that they have parents, wives and children?"

"They are not human beings like us. They want to murder us."

"How do you know, if you never spoke to one of them?"

"I know"(35)

During and after their invasion of Lebanon, the Israel forces detained thousands of people. A report by Amnesty International of August 9, 1982, estimated the number of detainees in the large prison camp of Ansar at 10,000. According to the Israeli League for Human and Civil Rights, the total number of prisoners amounted to approximately 15,000, including children and elderly persons, of various nationalities. (36)

Amnesty International reported in 1983 that "not only combatants, but also civilians - including many medical personnel - of Palestinian, Lebanese and other nationalities were arrested in large numbers. They were initially held in temporary detention and interrogation centers in Southern Lebanon, and in Israeli prisons and prison camps." (37)

The status of the' detainees constituted an unprecedented and devilish subterfuge. Israel did not acknowledge them as prisoners of war. A special ordinance, issued by Israel's Minister of Defence on June 9,1982 and entitled "Emergency Ordinance: Arrests at Times of Special Emergency, 1982," empowers the Israeli forces to arrest in Lebanon any person who is not a citizen or inhabitant of Israel. In this way, the Israeli authorities circumvent the application of the Third Geneva Convention (1949), which deals with the treatment of prisoners of war. Since these prisoners do not enjoy any recognized status, they are called the "brought ins" in the official jargon. (38) Any judicial control or legal redress for the "brought ins" was impossible because of the legal vacuum which had been created.

Go to part 2 of 4


Encyclopedia of the Palestine Problem
By Issa Nakhleh

Return to Table of Contents