HRW Report on Prisoner Abuse Among Dissenters in Palestinian Territories

Human Rights Watch Publishes Report on Human Rights Abuses In Palestinian Controlled Prisons

Human Rights Watch has released a report documenting abuses of Palestinian prisoners and Palestinian citizens who have been arrested, imprisoned and even tortured for expressing dissent.

The abuse exists among those living under both Hamas rule and Palestinian Authority rule.

Ever since the 2006 Palestinian Authority elections and the conflict between Hamas and Fatah political dissenters have been widely imprisoned, tortured and even killed.

Human Rights Watch is by no means a defender of Israel and the report and video does mention that Israel is partly to blame for the conditions of the prisoners, but this report is important because it highlights the double standards of international outcry for Palestinian prisoners versus Israeli prisoners.

  1. In Israel, prisoners are monitored by the International Red Cross Committee and conditions in prisons are found to consistently meet international standards. Male and female prisoners have equal treatment, all are free to practise their religion and study courses. Families may freely visit the inmates and married and common-law partners may have conjugal visits.
  2. Convicts, however serious their crime, have legal recourse in Israeli courts.
  3. According to The Israel Prison Services legal counsel, 42 to 45 million ILS is spent each year on medical treatment for terrorists and security prisoners who acted to harm the citizens of Israel. This includes the cost to treat terrorists who were injured in their own terror attacks.
  4. In PA and Hamas detention, prisoners are regularly beaten and made to stand in uncomfortable positions for days at a time. Prisoners are not afforded any visits nor is their well-being made known to family.
  5. The prisoners “crimes” include posting a message on Facebook questioning Hamas’s handling of the electricity shortage in Gaza, or expressing support for the PA.
  6. Hamas is still holding 2 Israeli citizens with special needs incommunicado for the crime of simply walking into Gaza. Their families don’t even know if they’re still alive.

Compare the treatment described in HRW’s video to the treatment Ahed Tamimi received when she was in custody, in her own words:

International pressure was infinitely greater for the release of Tamimi than that of any of the prisoners held in Palestinian-controlled prisons.

Israel’s legal treatment of its convicted prisoners in a monitored environment versus the unmonitored treatment of political dissenters who are subject to torture and abuse is just another example of the double standards Israel faces in public opinion and in international forums.

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