Palestinian women haunted by abuse in Israeli jails

‘Sometimes they feel shame, even though we know that they are our enemy and they do this to break us,’ said one former woman prisoner

by Chloé Benoist for Middle East Eye

BETHLEHEM, West Bank – “I remember he brought his chair closer, opened his legs and sat very close to me. It was something ugly for me. It made me feel that he was trying to attack my body,” Khawla al-Azraq said, as she recalled the physical intimidation tactics and sexual harassment used by Israeli interrogators when she was only a teenager.

Decades later, al-Azraq, who is now 54, still shudders at the memory of Israeli interrogators brushing their hands across her legs to sexually intimidate her.

“They would sit in a way to be very close to us, to touch our bodies. I remember it was terrible for me at that age,” she said.

Al-Azraq is a member of the Fatah Revolutionary Council. Since the age of 14, she has been arrested by Israeli forces four times for her involvement with Fatah and taking part in protests against the Israeli occupation. When she was only 18, she was sentenced to three years in prison.

 

“The torture, ill treatment, and degrading treatment start from the first moment of the arrest,” said Sahar Francis, director of Addameer, a Palestinian prisoners’ rights group…

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