Sexual torture of Palestinian men by Israeli authorities

Reprod Health Matters. 2015 Nov;23(46):71-84. doi: 10.1016/j.rhm.2015.11.019. Epub 2015 Dec 17.


In the context of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, arrests and imprisonment of Palestinian men in their early adulthood are common practice. The Public Committee Against Torture in Israel (PCATI) collected thousands of testimonies of Palestinian men allegedly tortured or ill-treated by Israeli authorities. There are many types of torture, sexual torture being one of them. This study is based on the PCATI database during 2005-2012, which contains 60 cases-- 4% of all files in this period--with testimonies of alleged sexual torture or ill-treatment. It is a first in the investigation of torture and ill-treatment of a sexual nature, allegedly carried out by Israeli security authorities on Palestinian men. Findings show that sexual ill-treatment is systemic, with 36 reports of verbal sexual harassment, either directed toward Palestinian men and boys or toward family members, and 35 reports of forced nudity. Moreover, there are six testimonies of Israeli officials involved in physical sexual assault of arrested or imprisoned Palestinian men. Physical assault in most cases concerned pressing and/or kicking the genitals, while one testimony pertained to simulated rape, and another described an actual rape by means of a blunt object. The article provides illustrations of the various types of sexual torture and ill-treatment of boys and men in the light of existing literature, and recommendations.

Keywords: Israel; Palestinian; human rights; sexual violence; torture.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Arabs / statistics & numerical data*
  • Humans
  • Israel
  • Male
  • Police / statistics & numerical data*
  • Sex Offenses / statistics & numerical data*
  • Torture / statistics & numerical data*
  • Young Adult