Counterpunch, October 29, 2007
The First Nation to Legalize Torture
By Lisa Hajjar
Should the United States, seeking to recalibrate the balance between security and liberty in the “war on terror,” emulate Israel in its treatment of Palestinian detainees?
That is the position that Guantanamo detainee lawyers Avi Stadler and John Chandler of Atlanta, and some others, have advocated. That people in U.S. custody could be held incommunicado for years without charges, and could be prosecuted or indefinitely detained on the basis of confessions extracted with torture is worse than a national disgrace. It is an assault on the foundations of the rule of law.
But Israel’s model for dealing with terrorism, while quite different from that of the U.S., is at least as shameful.
Long before the first suicide bombing by Palestinians in 1994, Israel had resorted to extrajudicial killings, home demolitions, deportations, curfews and other forms of collective punishment barred by international law.