(photo credit: Reuters)
Israel will weigh incorporating a foreign official in the examination of the
autopsy results of Arafat Jaradat, found dead at Megiddo Prison on Saturday,
Public Security Minister Yitzhak Aharonovitch said on the Knesset floor on
The minister’s statements coincide with a call by UN special
rapporteur for human rights in the Palestinian territories Richard Falk for an
international inquiry into Jaradat’s death.
Responding to questioning
from MK Jamal Zahalka (Balad) about what he said were open-ended questions
regarding Jaradat’s death, Aharonovitch said that “all of the material found
will be passed to the investigating judge. We may incorporate an international
official in order to refute the rumors being published.”
“An autopsy was
performed by Prof. [Yehuda] Hiss in the presence of Palestinian pathologist Dr.
Saber al-Alul and Prof. [Arnon] Afek from the Health Ministry’s Medical
Administration,” Aharonovitch said. “At this time it is not possible to
determine the cause of death. The Institute [of Forensic Medicine] is awaiting
the results of the autopsy.”
The public security minister said that all
suspicions surrounding the death are being examined and that in the coming days
the Abu Kabir Forensic Institute will release their full report on the cause of
death, at which point the picture will become clearer.
Authority President Mahmoud Abbas said on Tuesday that a Palestinian forensics
expert had already ruled that the cause of death was torture.
Jaradat’s death inflamed
tensions in the West Bank that was already the site of rolling, violent protests
and clashes between Palestinian rioters and Israeli security forces over the
past week, mainly in solidarity with Palestinian security prisoners who have
been on a hunger strike to protest administrative
Aharonovitch’s Public Security Ministry is in charge of the
Israel Police, the Border Police and the Prisons Service.
Wednesday, a UN human rights investigator called for an international inquiry
into Jaradat’s death.
“The death of a prisoner during interrogation is
always a cause for concern, but in this case, when Israel has shown a pattern
and practice of prisoner abuse, the need for outside, credible investigation is
more urgent than ever,” said Falk, also an American law professor.
suggested the UN Human Rights Council might set up an international forensic
team to investigate Jaradat’s death.
He said Alul had found “clear signs
of torture on the body of the previously healthy 30-year-old
“In light of Dr. Alul’s findings that there was no evidence of
heart disease or damage, and that there were signs of torture on Jaradat’s body,
an independent international investigation should be launched,” Falk
The office of UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Navi Pillay
urged Israel to conduct a full inquiry and reveal its findings.
strongly encourage Israeli authorities to carry out a prompt, independent and
impartial investigation into his death. The results should, in our view, be made
public,” Pillay’s spokesman Rupert Colville told Reuters on
“If reports suggesting he died from torture turn out to be
true, then Israel must hold the perpetrators accountable by bringing criminal
charges.”Reuters contributed to this report.