BBC News ignores an unusual legal story from Israel

A court case in Jerusalem involving abduction and torture has been ignored by the BBC.

A very unusual story that does not fit the BBC’s standard narrative on Israel and the Palestinians came to light recently.

The Jerusalem Post reported that:

“Fifty-one Palestinians tortured by the Palestinian Authority for cooperating with Israel can sue the PA in Israeli courts for damages, the Jerusalem District Court ruled on Wednesday.

The 1,860-page ruling is based on dozens of witness testimonies over several years.

It is one of the most bizarre in years, as it involves Palestinian Authority citizens coming before the courts of the Israeli “occupation” to get justice for their mistreatment by their own PA law enforcement. […]

The case is likely to cause significant diplomatic and legal complications between Israel and the PA, especially about whether and how the authority would be paying damages.” [emphasis added]

Haaretz added:

“The cases were filed by a number of Palestinians and Israeli citizens – mostly Arabs but at least one Jew – who were tortured by Palestinian security forces mainly in the 1990s and early 2000s. The ruling reveals the torture methods used by the security forces and how they kidnapped the victims. Some were abducted in Area C of the West Bank, which is under full Israeli civil and security control, and even in Jerusalem, where Palestinian forces are not allowed to operate. […]

Judge Moshe Yair Drori of the Jerusalem District Court stated in his almost 2,000-page ruling that Israeli courts have the authority to rule in cases where the people who were tortured are Israeli citizens or who were kidnapped from areas where Palestinian Authority security forces are not allowed to operate – or those who were tortured because they cooperated with Israel.”

The Times of Israel reported:

“Plaintiffs said interrogators beat them, put out cigarettes on their bodies, pulled out their teeth, forced them into painful positions for lengthy periods of time and withheld food and drink. Several said their genitals were abused, leaving them sterile and impotent.

In some cases prisoners were locked inside hot metal containers on hot days, or were alternately doused with searing and freezing water. Others recounted being forced to drink out of toilet bowls or sit on broken bottles. Some were made to witness the executions of other suspected collaborators. Prisoners were often denied medical attention.

The PA, while acknowledging the imprisonment of some of the plaintiffs, denied that any torture took place.”

As regular readers know, the BBC is usually very quick to report stories relating to legal and/or criminal issues in Israel with visitors to the BBC’s website already having seen 22 stories of that genre in the first half of 2017 alone. However, in this case BBC audiences have yet to see any reporting on a story that clearly falls outside the BBC’s usual framing.  

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