1990-1999

Until the 1999 High Court of Justice ruling of 1999, the Israeli security forces tortured thousands of Palestinian detainees each year. According to PCATI's estimates, almost all interrogees during this period of time were the victims of at least one form of torture during their interrogation.

The GSS interrogation process was not regulated in law but was conducted according to the recommendations of the Landau Commission. Only a part of the Landau Commission report has been published, the section detailing interrogation methods remains classified.

Methods of interrogation and torture used by the GSS included:

  • Binding in painful position for hours over consecutive days while covering the head of the interrogee with a wet, foul-smelling sack.
  • Cell isolation.
  • Beating.
  • Shaking (shaking the body and head of the detainee back and forth by a GSS agent who grabs the interrogee by the shoulders or shirt).
  • Sleep prevention and withholding of food.
  • Exposure to cold or heat.
  • Binding to a small, slanted chair.
  • Verbal abuse, cursing and psychological humiliation.
  • Exposure to loud music.
  • Threats against the detainee or his family.
  • Prevention of basic hygienic conditions and changes of clothes.
  • Isolation from the outside world (including from attorneys and family members) at times for months.

All of the above resulted in psychological and physical harm to detainees which at times was irreversible, and in several cases led to death.

In September 1999, the High Court of Justice accepted a significant number of the arguments raised in the petitions filed by PCATI and other human rights organizations. The Court's decision prohibited the use of a number of methods of interrogation and torture and ruled that the GSS has no authority to use violent means of interrogation and that the interrogation authority of the GSS is identical to that of the police.