10 thoughts on “Shin Bet Tortures Gaza Journalist – Tikun Olam תיקון עולם إصلاح العالم
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  1. Thank you for posting this, Richard, even though it makes me sick to read it.

    It is unthinkable that Jews could treat human beings in such a manner. Security is one thing; torture and humiliation when the person in question has no information to offer is quite another.

    I agree that we cannot make the Palestinians love us, but it does not serve us to give them more reasons to hate us. That should go double for journalists.

  2. It’s good to know Mohammed Omer is recovering physically from this appalling ordeal. Other, deeper scars left by it will take much longer to heal – if at all.

    The following was part of a post in which I referred to the bulldozer attack in Jerusalem and its aftermath. I think the same might very well be true of this incident. A pattern seems to be emerging that may have unforeseen consequences for Israelis, consequences for which no amount of PR can hope to compensate.

    “There is some danger in that for Israelis – and Jews in general. If the world ever comes to believe that Israel is no more competent than the rest of us to deal effectively with these matters, then it may start to revise its estimation of the people as a whole. One of the unstated tenets of world opinion is that Jewish intellect and learning are vital ingredients in the advancement of so many forms of human activity. This has certainly been the case in the past. Once this perception goes into reverse, it may be difficult to stop. The world may then decide it can get along well enough without the Jews. Whether the Jews can get along without the world is, however, far less debatable.

    So, guys, these are big problems; they demand big solutions. What’s being offered at present is much too small; it’s unworthy of Jews and Gentiles alike. We should be able to do better than this. Because if we can’t, we all know how this will end. It will not end well – and we will only have ourselves to blame.”

    But what can be done to respond to these and so many other examples of human stupidity and callousness? Whatever the answer, its arrival needs to be soon, before the ‘pattern’ becomes fully formed. Any later – and then that may be too late.

  3. Mohammed Omer’s treatment at the hands of these Israeli intelligence officers is so mind-bogglingly sickening, it is hard to know what to say in response. The brutality and sadism at the heart of their behavior would appear to bespeak just plain ‘ol evil, the infliction of suffering on this defenseless man just for the sake of it. For it’s crucial to note that all the control and power resides on one side of the divide here, and to inflict suffering with the apparent smug glee evidenced in this account, wow, that’s scary and profoundly saddening stuff. Another part of the stomach-churning quality of the account–to engage in a little dime-store psychology–comes, I think, from a certain resentment one senses in this “interaction”. The fact that this Palestinian journalist has been recognized, honored and celebrated in the West. That celebration and recognition must really burn at the sensibility of his tormentors; it probably destabilizes their sense of what’s up and what’s down. The intelligence officers appear to need to remind Omer of his subjugated animal status in the eyes of the Israeli state. Even if the broader Western world chooses to treat him like a human being, Omer’s occupiers will quickly remind him of his ‘actual’ status.


    Israel responds to Palestinian journalist’s claim of
    mistreatment. Grievances investigated, found to be without foundation.

    (Communicated by the Israel Government Press Office; confirmed in an email from Andy Luterman, Acting Director, GPO News Dept)

    (No mention of his broken ribs and damaged trachea, which can be verified with x-rays. And they say that he said he had been standing for 12 hours, which he did not say. He said he had been without food, water, or a toilet for that long, by way of explaining what else contributed to him passing out)


    In regard to recent media reports about Mohammed Omer al-Mughaier, security sources wish to state:

    “Mr. Mohammed Omer al-Mughaier (hereinafter “the Complainant” ) arrived at the Allenby Crossing on Thursday, June 26, 2008. Due to suspicion that he had been in contact with hostile elements and had been asked by them to deliver items to Judea and Samaria, both he and his baggage were searched. In contradiction to his claims, at no time was the Complainant subjected to either physical or mental violence.

    The investigation revealed that the search of his baggage was conducted in the presence of four people and not eight, as he noted. The search was conducted, according to regulations, in a public place and in the view and presence of the Complainant.

    The body search, which took several minutes, took place in the presence of two security personnel (a policeman and an ISA official) and was conducted according to the relevant regulations. The Complainant’ s claims to the effect that he was threatened at gunpoint are baseless.

    Regarding the Complainant’ s collapse, as it were, it should be noted that the paramedic who attended to him found no evidence of a physical cause of collapse. The Complainant’ s behavior raises doubts as to the sincerity of the situation. In any event, the Complainant was sent to an infirmary and an ambulance was ordered for him.

    As to the Complainant’ s allegation that he was compelled to stand on his feet for twelve hours, we point out that according to our records, the Complainant arrived at the Allenby Crossing at approximately 11:00, and the entire incident ended at approximately 14:00. Thus, this claim is also baseless.

    We should point out that there are numerous additional contradictions in the Complainant’ s allegations. For example, in the media he reported that he was humiliated, stripped and that a gun was held to his head. And yet, in his complaint filed with the IDF Spokesperson, the Complainant claimed that two uniformed personnel sprayed his face.

    In conclusion, the Complainant’ s grievances were investigated and found to be without foundation. At no time was the Complainant subjected to either physical or mental violence; he was treated fairly. We can only regret that his allegations received publicity and a platform without being properly investigated. “

  5. Surely a viewing of the video-tape relating to the whole incident would clear things up in no time at all.

    What? No video surveillance? No even old-fashioned audio?
    The professionalism of some of these guys does leave a lot to be desired.

    I wonder why that is?

  6. After receiving the first account of the iDF response, my source checked with the Israeli Government Press Office (GPO) to make certain the release was authentic.

    (“The Government Press Office (GPO) is an agency within the Prime Minister’s Office (PMO) assigned with the responsibility of coordinating channels of communication between the Israeli government and the press corps. We issue press accreditation and are responsible for facilitating press coverage of key state functions and visits of foreign dignitaries. Our office is located at Beit Agron in Jerusalem (37 Hillel St) on the 2nd floor)”

    Here’s the response:

    “Yes, this is legitimate. How else may we help you?

    Be well!

    Andy Luterman, Acting Director
    GPO News Dept.”

    I guess the only thing missing was the smiley face.


    Here’s the latest from my contact:

    “OK, this press release was sent out by the Israeli press office, but I spoke to the Dutch foreign ministry this morning, and they confronted the Israeli ambassador with it, and he says it is not the official report, and that should be submitted to them in the next few days. So, it’s from them, but it’s not what we’re waiting for.
    The spokesman said he didn’t want to comment on this, because it wasn’t part of the investigation, but that he would talk to me again once the report had been released. So, I will let you all know as I find out more.”

    (I guess it’s a matter of deciding which official is really official, since the other came from the Prime Minister’s office, was confirmed by his official press office, but apparently now is “not official.” I can hardly wait for the official official report)

  8. @Mary Hughes-Thompson: These people don’t realize what a disservice they do to the truth AND Israel’s cause. “How can I help you?” he asks. I’d say by representing yr government in a more credible way for starters.

  9. @Mary Hughes-Thompson: Based on what your contact wrote I think what’s going on is a battle of fiefdoms bet. Olmert’s office (who are clearly more than willing to be bald-faced liars) & Tzipi Livni’s foreign ministry domain (who maintains a more respectful relationship with the truth).

  10. I just wanted to add to Ruth’s coment: Not even security considerations should be used to justify torture.

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