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Palestinian prisoners in Palestine

When I first read this story, in the Jerusalem Post, I picked up on the way it could be read, or deployed, in favour of a somewhat pro-Israel ‘narrative’ – used to draw attention to the way Israel’s treatment of prisoners is a big story whereas the PA’s worse record is overlooked:

LONDON – An Arab human rights group based in London accused the Palestinian Authority of inhumane practices and human rights violations against Palestinian civilians in a scathing report published on Friday.

The Arab Organization for Human Rights has put the primary blame for the human rights abuses on PA President Mahmoud Abbas and called on the UN, Arab League and Organization of Islamic Cooperation to take urgent action.

It accused the PA of arbitrary actions against Palestinian civilians in the West Bank – including torture, detentions, interrogations and firing people from their jobs.

From June 2007 until the end of 2011, PA security forces detained 13,271 Palestinian citizens and 96 percent were subjected to various methods of torture, the report said. This resulted in the death of six detainees and caused “chronic illness” in others.

And the report certainly doesn’t seem to have been picked up by the Guardian yet.

However evenhandedness is perhaps not the main concern of the AOHR. This is the conclusion of the report’s executive summary:

The PA’s human rights violations against the Palestinian people have amplified their suffering under the Israelis and undermined their national resistance and struggle for self-determination.  It is patently obvious that the PA hasn’t learnt from its experiences with the Israelis or from the uprisings in the Arab lands. On the contrary, it remains firmly committed to its campaign of detention and destroying national solidarity while serving foreign agendas which strike the Palestinian national freedom project at its core.

It’s noteworthy that Hamas is only mentioned twice, in passing, in the whole report, and that the issue of detention is entwined so closely with the charge of ‘destroying national solidarity’.  There may well be profound problems with the PA’s treatment of prisoners, but what seems to particularly rankle is the way in which the PA has (to some degree) collaborated with Israel and sought to diminish the threat of terrorism, thus making life freer and safer for many.

Hat tip: Richard