Israel and Torture
EDITOR'S NOTE: During the almost two-year period between March 1977 and January 1979, the Consular Section of the American Consulate General in Jerusalem sent to the State Department over forty reports on Israeli mistreatment of Arab political prisoners in Jerusalem and the West Bank. These reports focused principally upon the issues of torture and denial of due process. All five American officers in the Consular Section participated in the research and writing of these reports. Deputy Principal Officer Donald Kruse, who bore official responsibility for the Consulate General's human rights reporting, approved the reports, and Consul-General Michael Newlin signed them. A selection of key documents from this series of consular reports, with passages of introduction to important ones included between parentheses, has reached the Journal. The selection is reproduced in its entirety below.
On March 22, 1978, unknown youths stoned an Israeli bus passing through the Arab town of al-Bireh. A few hours later, Israeli troops cordoned off the quarter of al-Bireh through which the bus had passed and went house to house, arresting the adolescent boys who lived in the quarter. Among those arrested were two native-born American citizens, Gamal Khalid, age 16, and Gamil Khalid, age 15. The Khalid brothers were interrogated in the local police station and released on bail shortly before midnight. The following day, their father, Muhammad Khalid, reported to Consul Wayne Griffith, Chief of the Citizenship and Protection Unit of the American Consulate General in Jerusalem, that his two sons had been beaten during their interrogation. He asked that the US government formally protest the mistreatment of the boys. Consul Griffith requested that the boys come to the Consulate for interviews about the matter. These interviews were conducted on March 24.