If anyone ever wants to know why relations between Israel and the Arabs are so incredibly messed up, you have but to examine the story I’m about to tell. It will show you that Israel’s police, military and political leader are clueless when it comes to really understanding their Arab neighbors. In fact, one could say that decisions like the one described below indicate that Israel doesn’t want to understand Arabs, but rather wants to dominate them by force and even torture if necessary.
In 1994, the IDF kidnapped the alleged chief of security for Amal because he was believed to have held captured IDF Capt. Ran Arad for two years. They spirited Dirani to Israel for questioning. He was held for eight years. Mustafa Dirani afterward alleged that he was continuously tortured for one month by soldiers under the command of a “Captain George.” (For the life of me I can’t understand why Haaretz can’t fully identify a man who is now nothing but a police officer. Does his former status as a military intelligence officer confer lifetime anonymity? Or would revealing his identity reopen the embarrassing story of torture at Camp 1391?)
Here is how the victim described his treatment:
In 2004, he testified in court about being raped with a baton by soldiers under “George’s” command. Dirani said he was threatened not to reveal what had happened to him, had suffered continuous torture for a month and throughout that period was not allowed any clothes, only adult diapers.
“George” denied Dirani’s claims, except to confirm that one soldier had been sent into the prisoner’s cell wearing only underwear to threaten him with a sexual act. The Military Police investigation did not result in an indictment.
George was a senior office in Unit 504 of IDF military intelligence. He served at the notorious top-secret military torture facility (Abu Graibh anyone?) called Camp 1391 located near Kibbutz Barkai. The prison became so notorious that Israel closed it down. But not before the damage it did to Dirani and countless others. If you read Hebrew, you can regale yourself with the full panoply of torture techniques used by George and his boys there.
Dirani sued Israel for $1.5-million, but subsequently was released and left Israel. And poor Captain George was sacked. Unfortunately, the case is now dormant.
But here’s the kicker. Capt. George left military service and transferred to the Israeli police, where he was just promoted to be the official liaison between the Jerusalem police force and the city’s Arab community. So get this, an intelligence agent accused of conducting the brutal torture interrogation of an Arab is now performing a job described thus:
“The adviser must be an accepted and welcome figure in the Arab community, with excellent interpersonal skills – someone they feel they can trust, otherwise he cannot succeed in the job,” a senior police officer said.
Given his reputation as a butcher, the police appear highly satisfied with his work so far:
The police said: “There is no link between the previous role held by Major D. ["George”] and his current position. The officer is carrying out his duties to Franco’s satisfaction, and is contributing a great deal to the good relationship between Jerusalem police and the Arabs of East Jerusalem.”
You bet there’s a link. He was a torturer before and he’ll be a torturer again. If the police think this man can have anything but a bitter relationship with any self-respecting Arab in East Jerusalem, they’ve taken leave of their senses. But the statement above is window-dressing. What the police really want George to do is be as brutal with the local Arabs as he was with the Hezbollah prisoner. Brutality. That is what wins awards as far as Israel is concerned. The Arabs according to this code can’t be reasoned with. They can only be dominated. Weakness is death. Overwhelming force commands respect. That’s the ethos of Captain George and his fellow torturers.
And this, in a nutshell, is why there has not been peace and may never be peace between the two peoples.