Palestinians’ Fort of Torture
by Khaled Abu Toameh
January 30, 2017
As Palestinian Authority (PA) President Mahmoud Abbas and his cronies occupied themselves in the past two weeks issuing warnings to President Trump against moving the US embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem, reports resurfaced concerning the brutal conditions and human rights violations in a Palestinian prison in the West Bank.
These reports, however, were buried, along with the abuse, in favor of attention to rhetoric directed against the Trump Administration. Anything uttered by Abbas and senior PA officials regarding the possible transfer of the US embassy to Jerusalem made it to the headlines of major newspapers and TV networks around the world.
At one point, it actually appeared as if the mainstream media in the West was interested in highlighting and inflating these statements in a bid to pressure Trump into abandoning the idea of moving the embassy to Jerusalem. Western journalists ran to provide platforms for any Palestinian official interested in threatening the Trump Administration.
The threats included warnings that the transfer of the embassy to Jerusalem would “destroy the peace process,” “jeopardize regional and international security” and “plunge the entire region into anarchy and violence.” Some Palestinian officials went so far as to state that such a move would be considered an “assault on all Palestinians, Arabs and Muslims.” They also threatened to “revoke” Palestinian recognition of Israel’s right to exist.
Regrettably, as Palestinian officials from across the political spectrum joined forces to broadcast sensational headlines in the mainstream media around the world, the reports about torture of Palestinian detainees in a PA prison failed to attract the interest of the many journalists covering the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.
The torture that takes place in PA-controlled prisons and detention centers is not new.
Over the past few years, Palestinians have become accustomed to hearing horror stories about what is happening within the walls of these structures. Yet, because it is not Israelis who are perpetrating the abuse, the reports are ho-hum to these journalists.
A Palestinian who points a finger at Israel is guaranteed a sympathetic ear among journalists. When a Palestinian complains of torture at the hands of Palestinian interrogators or security officers, it is seen as just more of the same. Worse: It is seen as “Oh those Arabs, what can anyone expect from them?”
Ironically, it is the Hamas and Palestinian Authority media outlets that publish such reports. The two sides regularly report about the abuse of human rights and torture in each other’s prisons and detention centers as part of the smear campaign they have been waging against each other for the past decade.
Hamas-affiliated media outlets are teeming with reports documenting cases of torture in PA detention facilities in the West Bank. Similarly, PA media organizations are always happy to hear from any Palestinian who is prepared to recount his or her ordeal in a Hamas prison in the Gaza Strip.
The bottom line: both Hamas and the PA, according to testimonies and reports, are practicing torture in their prisons. Neither cares a fig for the rights of detainees and prisoners, and both scoff at the values of international human rights. But because human rights organizations, lawyers and relatives are so often denied access to the Palestinian prisoners and detainees held by Hamas and the PA, they cannot get any first-hand information from the prisoners themselves. They are people — being tortured in prison!
All of this makes perfect sense, of course: Hamas is an extremist Islamist movement that does not consider itself obliged to abide by international laws and treaties concerning basic human rights. Indeed, the concept of human rights simply does not exist under Hamas in the Gaza Strip, where public freedoms, including free speech and media, are non-existent.
Read more here: https://www.gatestoneinstitute.org/9854/palestinians-torture