A shocking account of the rape of a Palestinian woman by an Israeli officer seven years ago has emerged after the military’s appeals court cleared the details of the case for publication earlier this week. The Palestinian women identified in court only as M. said that the Israeli officer abused his power by taking advantage of her need for a work permit and forced her to have sex with him.
The rape occurred in 2013 and 2014, and the officer’s identity is still under a gag order. He was secretly convicted by an Israeli court in 2017 and a gag order was imposed on most of the details of the investigation. Details of the case, however, were cleared for publication after a request by the Israeli Ynet news site.
According to details of the case reported in Haaretz, the Israeli officer “told her that he liked her and began trying to have sex with her. M. expressed her refusal, but the defendant asked her to keep quiet.”
Later, the army major threatened that he would revoke the Palestinian women’s permit to work in Israel if she reported the rape. The court also convicted him of another count of rape, which also involved threats, the judges said in their ruling. He returned her permit, which he had taken earlier, told her it was valid and made it clear to her that she must continue to come and see him. She did not return.
The abuse continued. The officer would sometimes call M. with requests of a sexual nature, and make various sexual advances, the court said. He also asked her to bring her daughter to him.
According to the court verdict the Palestinian woman had expressed through her behaviour that she did not consent to having sexual contact with him, and the inequality in power between them – and her dependence on the officer – should be seen as coercion. Furthermore, he was aware that she had not consented, ruled the judges.
The officer was convicted on two counts of rape as well receiving bribes from a second Palestinian woman, identified as F. The verdict said he had sexually exploited her three times in return for approving permits. He also ignored the issue of consent in this case, ruled the appeals court.
In March, the officer appealed his sentence; the court upheld his 11-year sentence but overturned the lower court’s decision to discharge him from the military, instead demoting him from major to private.