Former Israeli Soldier Yuval Lev Reveals “Medieval” Torture of Palestinian Prisoners
A former Israeli soldier is facing harsh backlash after revealing the existence of what he calls a “medieval-style torture facility” and the horrific abuse of prisoners detained there during the first Palestinian intifada in the late 1980s and early ’90s.
Electronic Intifada reports that Yuval Lev, now 44, posted his shocking story on Facebook on November 8 after being haunted by memories of what he witnessed at an interrogation facility run by the General Security Service, or Shabak, Israel’s internal security agency.
“The real punishment for a sore conscience is that you simply cannot delete what happened from your brain, and you are sentenced to remembering it forever, with no ability to forget,” Lev wrote.
“One day two fellows came to the [military] camp looking like Shabak men, and after a short chat with our commanders, took four of us, myself included, to a mission lasting a few days. [We went] to a secure Shabak interrogation facility.”
“We went gladly, of course, full of pride for having been selected for the important patriotic mission which would save lives and prevent attacks,” Lev continued before describing the “medieval-style torture facility” to which he was taken.
“A long, narrow hallway, white fluorescent bulbs and the stench of bunker air, on the left a row of interrogation rooms, with the shouts of the interrogators and the screams of the [prisoners] always coming out of them, and on the right, along a gray concrete wall… a line of detainees stood waiting for their turn to be interrogated. Legs shackled, hands behind their backs, a jute sack over their head, standing in absolute silence… At the end of the hall, on a sort of giant mesh, another detainee was hung by his handcuffs like Jesus on the cross… groaning in pain, and a soldier screaming at him and beating him with the butt of his rifle.”
Lev described other torture techniques he witnesses, including sleep deprivation, denial of food and water and severe beatings.
“Many people like me saw and took part in terrible deeds,” he concludes. “There is no way to justify such conduct towards human beings, whoever they are, for any reason. Even if under the circumstances at the time our conduct was not deemed to be a crime… I have no doubt that we committed crimes and sins, towards them and towards ourselves, as human beings and as a society.”
After posting his chilling account on Facebook, Lev received many hateful and angry comments, as well as an alarming number of remarks supporting torture.
“What do you expect, for them to be given a five-star hotel?” Mor Isachar wrote.
“That’s exactly what’s supposed to happen there,” Boaz Lalush concurred.
“Dude, such facilities are the reason we have a state,” added Amir Ben-Haim.
Yuval Lev isn’t the only Israeli of conscience who has spoken out against atrocities they witnessed while serving in the Israel Defense Forces (IDF). Members of the Israeli veterans group Breaking the Silence have told of the torture of Palestinian children as young as 14, the shooting of random Palestinian children, the use of Palestinian children as human shields and numerous other war crimes.