Since the UN Committee Against Torture (henceforth: the Committee or CAT) considered Israel‟s previous report in 2009, the Israel Security Agency/General Security Service (henceforth: ISA) has continued to employ torture and cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment (henceforth: other ill-treatment) in the interrogation of dozens of Palestinian detainees.
The use of techniques of torture, officially referred to as “special measures” or “necessity interrogation,” is officially sanctioned and justified by the claim of “necessity” under Israel‟s Penal Law.
Torture victims‟ complaints are invariably closed by the State Attorney‟s Office or the Attorney General, without steps being taken either to investigate complaints or to prosecute interrogators or their superiors.
As of January 2012, Israel held 4,357 Palestinian prisoners, mostly outside of the Occupied Palestinian Territory (OPT) in prisons in Israel.
3,215 of the detainees were serving sentences, 676 were detained until the conclusion of legal proceedings, 309 were held in administrative detention and the remainder in detention.
One Palestinian from Gaza is currently being held under the Unlawful Combatants Law.
In June 2011, 37 of the prisoners were women, and 211 were children.
In October and November 2011, the number of Palestinian prisoners dropped after approximately 1,000 prisoners were released in the Gilad Shalit prisoner exchange.
Violence and humiliation constituting ill-treatment, and at times torture, are inflicted by soldiers, police and other security forces (besides the ISA) during the arrest and detention of Palestinians in the OPT.
Preventative measures are half-hearted and inefficient; investigations are rare, prosecutions are rarer and convictions rarer still.
While there is no disagreement that the Convention applies in Israel, Israel continues to claim that the Convention does not apply to the OPT despite the Committee and other human rights treaty bodies‟ position to the contrary.
The Committee has repeatedly emphasized that, “as stated by the International Court of Justice in its Advisory opinion, international human rights treaties ratified by the State party, including the Convention, are applicable in the occupied Palestinian territories.
” Practices in the OPT must be part of Israel‟s report.
Israel has failed to implement the Committee‟s recommendations.