Israelis plan to give up tortureFrom Sam Kiley in Jerusalem, The Times, 08/07/1999
YOSSI BEILIN, Israel's new Justice Minister, who was an architect of the Oslo accords with the Palestine Liberation Organisation, will press his Government to end the use of emergency powers, including the use of torture by the Shin Bet secret service.
Mr Beilin, who orchestrated secret contacts with the PLO when serving under Shimon Peres as deputy foreign minister, told the Jerusalem Post that he also wanted to end "administrative detention" in the occupied territories, and the right of Israeli authorities to rescind the citizenship of Israeli Arabs and to strip Palestinians of the right of abode in Jerusalem.
Mr Beilin said the right to detain people without charge was a "stain on the Israeli statute book" of which he felt ashamed.
The use of "moderate physical pressure" by the security forces has been allowed in test cases brought before the Israeli Supreme Court, although the passage of a Bill that would give the security services the legal right to use torture has been held up for several years.
His outspoken attack and pledge to try to end the use of "tiltulim", when a detainee's head is shaken back and forth violently, and "shabah", when he or she is forced into uncomfortable positions for long periods using shackles and tiny chairs, is certain to win support among Palestinians and Israeli Arabs.
It comes as both the US, privately, and the PLO, publicly, have expressed dismay and outrage at Prime Minister Ehud Barak's proposal to "fold" the last stage of Israeli withdrawal from some areas of the West Bank into talks about the final status of a Palestinian state.