Palestinian Demands Israelis Who Conducted Intimate Body Search Stand Trial

The search was conducted by Shin Bet and military officers during her arrest and despite admissions by those who conducted it, the case was closed for lack of evidence

Josh Breiner
Josh Breiner
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Palestinian women at the Erez Crossing, 2020. The subjects in the photo have no connection with the content of this article.
Palestinian women at the Erez Crossing, 2020. The subjects in the photo have no connection with the content of this article.Credit: Josh Breiner
Josh Breiner
Josh Breiner

A Palestinian woman who was allegedly illegally subjected to having her sexual organs searched filed an appeal on Sunday with the State Prosecutor’s Office challenging the decision to close the investigation against Shin Bet security service and Israeli army personnel involved in the 2015 incident.

The search of her body occurred in the course of her arrest on suspicion of having links to Hamas. The investigation against three Shin Bet staff and three army officers was closed about 10 months ago due to lack of evidence, even though some of them admitted under questioning to the allegations.

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In the course of her arrest, the Shin Bet officials and army officers were looking for her cellphone’s small rectangular SIM card, which contains information about the phone. They ordered a female military doctor and a female company clerk at the scene to stick their fingers into the woman’s vagina and anal area.

A team of investigators from the military police and the Justice Ministry’s police misconduct unit was assigned to the case, and in April of 2021, the case was closed. The Palestinian woman alleges that the acts constituted rape and sodomy and is demanding that all of those involved be charged with both crimes.

“In a situation in which there is no dispute that acts that constitute rape and sodomy were committed, [in which] there is sufficient evidence and when no one is punished, it’s outrageous and unbearable,” says the woman’s appeal, which was filed by the Public Committee Against Torture in Israel. “There’s no justice, no judge and all of the people in the security system are immune from prosecution even when they commit illegal and immoral acts.”

“The investigation focused on the identity of the person who was responsible for giving the specific directive relating to carrying out the search of the [woman’s] intimate organs, but it ignored the direct responsibility of those involved in committing the offense,” the appeal alleged.

The appeal also stated that the doctor and female soldiers admitted to sticking their fingers in the Palestinian woman’s private parts and that the company commander admitted giving the order.

“The claim that they committed the acts because they received the order from their superiors cannot serve as a defense in the commission of such serious and inhumane acts,” the appeal alleges, “because the order was clearly illegal and under no circumstances should have been followed.”

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