"Patriotism is the willingness to kill and be killed for trivial reasons." Bertrand Russell

Monday, July 03, 2006

Collective Torture

Michael Jansen writes in the Irish Times today that Palestinians are not being 'terrorised' they are being 'traumatised'. Why is it so important to make this distinction? The Irish Times' reports of arrests and kidnapping suggests the Israeli state acts in accordance with International law and the Palestinian state acts in opposition to it. This is flatly false.

The debate over whether Israeli incursions and constant bombardment constitute collective punishment is simply diversion. The Israeli Prime Minister has said that as long as the soldier remains captive, "I want no one to sleep at night in Gaza. I want them to know what it feels like."

In order to accomplish this end the Israeli army have employed tatics such as missile attacks, sonic booms, the kidnapping of Palestinian officials and thinly veiled threats of further unspecified 'consequences', all of which are in violation of the Geneva Conventions.

The constant sonic booms and constant shelling are designed as the Prime Minister says, to deprive the population of sleep and instill fear. "The massive sonic boom often breaks windows, shakes entire apartment buildings and terrifies the people of Gaza."

"The Palestinian health ministry says the sonic booms have led to miscarriages and heart problems. The United Nations has demanded an end to the tactic, saying it causes panic attacks in children"

The BBC discussed the issue of sleep deprivation in 2004; "it is not like torture - it is a form of torture, a tactic favoured by the KGB and the Japanese in PoW camps in World War Two.

The British Army was also accused of using sleep deprivation to extract information from suspected IRA members in 1971.

"It is such a standard form of torture that basically everybody has used it at one time or another," says Andrew Hogg, of the Medical Foundation for the Care of Victims of Torture."

Palestinian civilians are being collectively punished by the Israeli army, sleep deprivation is simply the tip of the iceberg. The added threat of violence is given weight by repeated Palestinian deaths resulting from Israeli attacks. These methods are a popular interrogation method, which is criticised by human rights groups who regard it as torture. These methods are being enthusiastically employed by the Israel army against Palestinian children. Michael Jansen's strange denial of state terrorism is at odds with the reality printed on preceding pages. Palestinian civilians are being traumatised by Israeli terrorism.