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  • How Israeli prison doctors assist in the torture of Palestinian detainees

    Medical complicity in torture occurs in a number of ways. As explicated in Addameer’s 2020 comprehensive study, Cell 26, prior to the start of a detainee’s interrogation, Israeli physicians collaborate with Shin Bet interrogators to “certify” or approve that they are “fit” to undergo torture. Throughout the duration of interrogation, a physician provides a “green light” that torture can continue.

    But the enabling of torture extends beyond a superficial “health check.” In their examinations, healthcare professionals look for physical and psychological weaknesses to exploit in a person. These weaknesses are actively shared with interrogators to help them break a prisoner’s spirit.

    Israeli doctors also conceal injuries they observe during torture. Instead of fulfilling their ethical responsibilities to report abuse, physicians falsify or refrain from documenting the physical and psychological effects of torture on a detainee’s body and mind — depriving victims of using potential evidence against their torturers.

    Medical complicity in torture extends further beyond individual physicians to the entirety of the Israeli medical system. Palestinian detainees recount that interrogators are trained in methods of abuse that are designed to inflict maximum harm. This knowledge is not innate; rather, according to Cell 26 medical research is shared with Israeli occupation interrogators to arm them with specific techniques and programs of torture intended to cause extreme suffering to Palestinian detainees while leaving minimal physical evidence.