Scarred by Brutality: Palestinian Man Tortured and Branded by Israeli Forces
Middle East and Human Rights Researcher
Global Human Rights Defence
A Palestinian man was brutally tortured and had the Star of David branded on his cheek after being detained by Israeli authorities in occupied East Jerusalem. 
The 22-year-old man was taken into custody on suspicion of “drug trafficking offences” on Wednesday, August 16, following a police raid on his residence in the Shuafat refugee camp.  At least 16 officers conducted the arrest, albeit all of them had their body cameras deactivated. The following day, his attorney, Wadim Shub, filed allegations of police brutality with a district court in Jerusalem. 
According to Shub, police officers hit the man “in all parts of his body” after blindfolding him. They also allegedly inscribed the Jewish Star of David on the Palestinian man’s cheek, leaving him covered with bruises and cuts all over his face.  Shub described the incident as “a grave case of intentional violence and humiliation of a detainee by police” and called upon the police administration to urgently launch an investigation. 
Israeli police disputed the aforementioned claims, contending that they arrested the man using “reasonable force” and that the triangle-shaped bruise on his face was caused by one of the officer’s boots that was pressed against his face. 
Amir Shaked, the presiding judge, voiced his “horror” over the police’s behaviour and submitted the case to the police’s internal investigations division.  According to him, the absence of any camera footage was unjustifiable, given that “the police had prepared well in advance before searching the suspect’s house”. 
In an effort to subdue a rising armed resistance, Israeli soldiers regularly launch raids into the occupied West Bank and East Jerusalem. Moreover, armed troops frequently initiate conflicts with Palestinian locals, detaining and even killing a large number of them.  In fact, over 200 Palestinians have been killed in occupied Palestinian territories so far in 2023, which the United Nations has warned could be the most fatal year for Palestinians since it began keeping track of the fatalities. 
Israeli forces, like any other law enforcement entity, bear the grave responsibility of upholding the rule of law and safeguarding the rights of all individuals under their authority. As such, they must be held fully accountable for unlawfully and unjustifiably abusing and killing Palestinians. Similarly, it is the duty of the Israeli regime to ensure that those who perpetrate such atrocities are held accountable for their actions. The aforementioned must be done through meaningful steps to investigate and prosecute those responsible for the criminal acts against Palestinians, including thorough and timely investigations, an effective prosecution and sentencing for the offenders.
Sources and further reading:
 Arab News, ‘Israeli forces allegedly brand Star of David on Palestinian man’s cheek’ (19 August 2023) <https://www.arabnews.com/node/2357791/middle-east> accessed 23 August 2023.
 Al Jazeera, ‘Israeli police arrest and brand Palestinian with ‘Star of David’: Rep’ (18 August 2023) <https://www.aljazeera.com/news/2023/8/18/israeli-police-arrest-and-brand-palestinian-with-star-of-david-report> accessed 23 August 2023.
 The New Arab, ‘Israeli police deny branding Star of David on Palestinian man’s face’ (21 August 2023) <https://www.newarab.com/news/israeli-police-deny-branding-star-david-palestinian> accessed 23 August 2023.
 Al Jazeera, ‘Israeli police arrest and brand Palestinian with ‘Star of David’: Report’ (18 August 2023) <https://www.aljazeera.com/news/2023/8/18/israeli-police-arrest-and-brand-palestinian-with-star-of-david-report> accessed 23 August 2023.