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State Dept. refuses to accept Palestinian autopsy showing Arafat Jaradat died from Israeli torture

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Although the Palestinian Authority has already announced the results of an autopsy showing Arafat Jaradat’s death was the result of torture in an Israeli prison, this is not good enough for the U.S. State Department which refuses to comment until it sees the “Israeli results.”

From the February 26, 2013 daily State Department press briefing with Acting Deputy Spokesperson Patrick Ventrell:

QUESTION: If I could continue with the Palestinian issue, yesterday, an autopsy was performed in Israel and with the presence of Palestinians, and it was determined that Arafat Jaradat actually died under torture. Do you care to comment on this?

MR. VENTRELL: Said, you heard what – we talked about this at length yesterday in terms of the autopsy. You know that the Israeli Government is carefully looking into the circumstances of Mr. Jaradat’s death. And so we’re awaiting the results of that investigation.

QUESTION: But the results are out, Patrick. The results are out, and it has been determined by those present that he actually died under torture.

MR. VENTRELL: Well, I’m not sure that we’ve seen the final Israeli results. I certainly – and I don’t think anyone here in this building has, so we’d have to wait to see those.

QUESTION: Is the Department prepared to issue a statement once the results are well known and public?

MR. VENTRELL: I’m not going to speculate at this point.

(h/t Josh Ruebner)

Adam Horowitz

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28 Responses

  1. justicewillprevail on February 27, 2013, 12:13 pm

    Here are some interesting stats for the US State Dept for Israel, which they might like to study:

    ‘Since 1967, a total of 72 Palestinians have been killed as a result of torture and 53 due to medical neglect. Less than a month before Jaradat was killed, Ashraf Abu Dhra died while in Israeli custody in a case that Addameer argues was a direct result of medical neglect.

    The legal impunity of the Shin Bet, commonly referred to as the GSS, and its torture techniques has been well established. Between 2001 and 2011, 700 Palestinians lodged complaints with the State Attorney’s Office but not a single one has been criminally investigated.

    Writing in Adalah’s 2012 publication, On Torture [PDF], Bana Shoughry-Badarne, an attorney and the Legal Director of the Public Committee Against Torture in Israel, wrote, “The GSS’s impunity is absolute.”

    Israel’s High Court has been extravagantly helpful in securing the Shin Bet with its imperviousness to accountability to international law, and thus enabling widespread and lethal torture.’

    Thanks to Charlotte Silver

    • American on February 27, 2013, 2:05 pm

      Add to that what else she says:

      “And in the first week of February, two weeks before Arafat was killed, the High Court of Justice threw out Adalah’s petition that demanded the GSS videotape and audio record all of its interrogations in order to comply with requirements of the United Nations Convention Against Torture (CAT) to which Israel is a signatory.

      In May 2009, UNCAT condemned [PDF] Israel for exempting the Shin Bet’s interrogations from audio and video recording, noting that such oversight is an essential preventative measure to curtail torture. Yet despite this admonition, in 2012 the Knesset extended the exemption for another three years.

      Rationalising its failure to comply with this most basic requirement of recording interrogations, the State maintains that it is in the interests of “national security” that its interrogation techniques not be made public.”

      Above ALL law…..if other rouge vile regimes can be gotten rid of so can Israel’s.
      The only thing standing in the way of the world doing that is the US.

      • justicewillprevail on February 27, 2013, 5:49 pm

        Vile and repulsive, like Stalin or Mao, making their purges of dissenters. And threatening anyone who speaks up.

      • Kathleen on February 28, 2013, 11:16 am

        “extended the exemption” based on what reasons?

        “And in the first week of February, two weeks before Arafat was killed, the High Court of Justice threw out Adalah’s petition that demanded the GSS videotape and audio record all of its interrogations in order to comply with requirements of the United Nations Convention Against Torture (CAT) to which Israel is a signatory.

        video and audio tape all interrogations. Did not know that this was a requirement of the UN Convention Against Torture. But sure makes sense.

        The US just somehow lost all of their audio and video of 9/11 interrogations right?

  2. Linda J on February 27, 2013, 12:24 pm

    Got an alert from a friend yesterday:

    “Ask yourself: What would the mothers and fathers of the over 200 Palestinian children held as politcal prisoners in Israeli jails be thinking the day the Zionists tortured a 30-year old Palestinian man to death in their prisons. It won’t happen to us? Please do your share. Take a moment to write and call your elected officials. In the US, call president Obama at 1-202-456-1111 and write to him at Also call US Secretary of State John Kerry at 1-202-647-4000 or the Office of Near East Affairs at 1-202-647-7209. Demand that they intervene and set free Samer Issawi and all Palestinian political prisoners including the children, our children! Please do that and ask your friends to do the same.”

    When I called the Office of Near East Affairs (1-202-647-7209), I was informed that Amb. Jones was on her way to the Middle East right now and the office here was recording the concerns of people who called their office, in advance of Obama’s visit to the area. The aide(?) insisted they were aware of the Issawi situation. Probably a pro forma response, but it might be worth making a call there.

    BTW, when I tried to tweet this info, including the fact of the Ambassador’s travel, twitter refused to accept my tweet. As soon as I removed the travel info, it went through. They are censoring, instantaneously.

    • American on February 27, 2013, 1:31 pm

      @ Linda J

      O.K., I’ll call…post me talking points cause I’m not up on it all and I’ll do it when I get back this afternoon.

  3. seafoid on February 27, 2013, 12:52 pm

    Mr Ventrell went to the same school for mendacious imperial tramps as Victoria Nuland.

  4. Woody Tanaka on February 27, 2013, 12:56 pm

    Of course. How is the US State Department to know what to say until it recieves the script from the israelis???

    • seafoid on February 27, 2013, 4:18 pm

      But what would you expect from State, Woody? Does anything you know about how Israel goes about its business in DC make you think that State could be any different today?

      • Woody Tanaka on February 27, 2013, 6:31 pm

        Oh, I don’t expect any different. Washington DC is a cesspool of donkey fellators, regardless of whose in charge. Until the money is removed from the equation, evil will be done.

      • Blank State on February 27, 2013, 10:40 pm

        “Until the money is removed from the equation, evil will be done”

        The sway that Israel holds over Washington DC is far more insidious and nefarious than simple monetary greed and bribery. Political blackmail is AIPAC’s currency, they don’t have to dig out the checkbook. They can ruin your political career. With that kind of power, they need not sign any checks.

      • seafoid on February 28, 2013, 3:33 am

        That kind of power is time limited. Israel is a bit like Lavrenti Beria, one of Stalin’s police chiefs. Everyone was afraid of him. Until Stalin died. He had made too many enemies. He was executed.

      • Woody Tanaka on February 28, 2013, 10:01 am

        @Blank Slate:
        The primary power the lobby has is the ability and willingness to defend your campaign/fund an opposition’s campaign. If we had the money out of politics, then perhaps the opinion of the majority of Americans who want the US to take no position in the dispute will prevail.

  5. Maximus Decimus Meridius on February 27, 2013, 2:05 pm

    So he’s waiting for Israel to investigate Israel and find Israel not guilty.

    Just like the last time, and the time before that…

  6. Les on February 27, 2013, 2:05 pm

    What Obama’s State Department is waiting for is not the government of Israel’s response, but for AIPAC’s response.

  7. piotr on February 27, 2013, 2:32 pm

    I understand that Palestinian examiners collected evidence, photos, X-rays of bone damage etc. So did Israeli examiners. The body is buried. USA may request the primary evidence. Or we can simply refuse to have any interest in the matter. This is the meaning of diplomatese “And so we’re awaiting the results of that investigation.”.

  8. just on February 27, 2013, 3:25 pm

    Make the phone call to your staff NOW Mr. Kerry, or speak up yourself!

    This is one of those moments you must seize.

  9. Sycamores on February 27, 2013, 3:40 pm

    israel is trying it best to push the Palestinians into a third Intifada it’s becoming more apparent every day that passes before Obama’s visit. yet the Palestinians are not playing into the israeli bait.
    over on Haaretz – Why hasn’t a third intifada broken out yet among the Palestinians? (paid content)

    unless Obama is clinical dead he must be aware of this and demand a full investigation into the murder of Arafat Jaradat from Israeli torture or cancelled his visit to the murdering apartheid state of israel. this would send a signal to israel about its unacceptable machiavellian behaviour.

  10. ivri on February 27, 2013, 5:55 pm

    Just a minute: why don`t I see here the other relevant stat type – most likely the one that influenced the State. Dept. decision- namely, how many times in the past it turned out that the Palestinians have jumped into conclusions without bothering to carry out a thorough check just because it seemed to them a good piece of propaganda

    • justicewillprevail on February 27, 2013, 8:49 pm

      All those tortured, imprisoned without trial, dispossessed and killed – yes, just propaganda, not thoroughly checked, eh. They all had sudden heart attacks, fell over, feigned broken limbs and played dead. They’re just not playing by the IDF rules, the scoundrels. How can you be so shallow? that’s a rhetorical question, btw.

    • piotr on February 27, 2013, 11:10 pm

      The argument that “Palestinians have jumped into conclusions” is a red herring because one should ask them to send copies of the primary evidence. Palestinians claimed bone damage that is consistent only with heavy beating, and either they have X-rays to prove it or not.

  11. Basilio on February 27, 2013, 8:23 pm

    The implication is one must Arabs can be liars and whatever America’s Israeli friends say is the truth. Israel lies just as bad as the German Nazi writer of Der Strumer.
    It would be nice if America sent its own people to conduct an autopsy and see for themselves and admit the truth to themselves, and American Jews need to wake up the monster behind the state of Israel and the abuse of the Palestinians that continues unabated. The Palestinians are beginning the world for help, and the world is silent.
    Does that sound familiar?

  12. Blank State on February 27, 2013, 10:28 pm

    Well, Kerry is already scheming to assist and equip the Syrian terrorists, so what do we expect???

    The status quo with Israel will prevail, Hagel and Kerry be damned. We can expect nothing from either of these two, as they would not have their positions if they weren’t willing to put the kneepads on.

  13. Blank State on February 27, 2013, 10:55 pm

    Kerry in 2012…….

    Guiding Principles for John Kerry on Israel and the Israeli-Palestinian Conflict:

    As President, John Kerry will never force Israel to make concessions that compromise its security.

    As President, John Kerry would not expect Israel to negotiate without a credible Palestinian partner for peace – something that unfortunately does not exist today.

    As President, John Kerry would work to ensure and embrace strong bi-partisan support for matters concerning the security of the State of Israel.

    As President, John Kerry will provide the political and military support for Israel to fight terrorism. He understands that just as Israel has stood with the US in our fight against terrorism and Al-Qaeda, the US must stand firmly with Israel as it fights against terrorism and terrorist groups like Islamic Jihad, Hamas and Hezbollah. We must continue to stand shoulder to shoulder against terrorism and state sponsors of terrorism.

    As President, John Kerry will work to strengthen the economy of Israel, an economy that has suffered dramatically over the last few years during the latest violence in the region. In particular, he will act to jump start the high tech sector working to adapt many of the innovative “technologies” Israel has invented to combat terrorism. He will work to strengthen the US homeland while simultaneously strengthening the Israeli economy.

    As President, John Kerry will strengthen the working relationship and cooperation between the US Department of Homeland Security and the Israeli security establishment to share technology and lessons learned. In addition, he will establish a commission to see what the US can learn to strengthen the security of our homeland from Israel’s experience and success on matters such as airline and port security, nuclear plants and chemical storage facilities.

    As President, John Kerry will implement measures and programs to improve the social, economic, and political conditions throughout the Middle East as part of a comprehensive multilateral effort to move the region forward towards democracy and freedom and away from Islamic fundamentalism, including a wide-ranging Middle East trade agenda.

    Source: John Kerry for President

  14. amigo on February 28, 2013, 7:32 am

    Shouldn,t the Headline read “The State os Israel refuses to allow the State Dept etc etc.

  15. Kathleen on February 28, 2013, 11:18 am

    So the Israeli report will say something like Arafat Jaradat tortured himself to death. How are they going to flip this around? Or come out and say that they can not conclude the cause of death

    • ToivoS on March 1, 2013, 2:08 am

      Or come out and say that they can not conclude the cause of death

      That is not how it works. If they cannot discern cause of death, the report will say “cardiac arrest”. What that means is that the subject’s heart stopped pumping blood. Often if the proximal cause of death is not evident (or the examiner wishes to avoid that issue) that is what will be reported. We will see what the Israelis report.

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