Who’s abusing human rights – Israel or the Palestinians?

I was born in Pakistan, and since then I have been listening, reading and watching news and stories that condemn Israel as a country guilty of human rights abuse, genocide and brutal killings of Palestinians. I believed it, as did millions, if not billions of other Muslims and non-Muslims.

We believed without research and without ever actually investigating the entire conflict.

The accusation that Israel has committed human rights abuses and genocide is a very critical thing to prove to the world but many people do not even know the definitions of genocide and brutality or even war crimes. Thus far, these accusations have not been proven in the International Court of Justice.

Far fewer Muslims know that there is no death penalty in Israel for the crimes of murder or terrorism but those convicted of these crimes receive the maximum sentence of life in prison, just as in the UK. Yet people cry out about alleged abuse of human rights in Israel. In my previous article, I tried to remove the label of the violation of children’s rights over Israel.

Here, I present the facts. Who is really abusing basic human rights of Palestinians, Israel or Palestinian Authority itself?

DEATH PENALTY LAWS

Israeli Law: Israel inherited the British Mandate for Palestine’s code of law, which included the death penalty for several offences, but in 1954 Israel abolished the death penalty for murder. Although a legal option under law, Israel does not use the death penalty. The last execution was carried out in 1962, when Holocaust architect Adolf Eichmann was hanged for genocide and crimes against humanity.

Israel tried and convicted John Demjanjuk in 1988, who was sentenced to death for war crimes and crimes against humanity; his but the conviction was subsequently overturned. No death sentences have been sought by Israeli prosecutors since the 1990s either Israeli civilian or military courts for murderers or terrorists.

Palestine Authority Law: When the Palestine Authority came into existence in1995 after the Oslo Accords, the PA “voluntarily” inherited the laws from pre-existing Jordanian and Egyptian legal systems in the West Bank and Gaza include the Jordanian Penal Code (16/1960), and the Mandatory Penal Code (74/1936) adjusted by Order 555 of the Egyptian General Governor (1957). Capital punishment, including the death penalty, was restored before it was revoked in the area C under Israeli supervision and replaced by a life sentence.

In Palestinian Areas A and B of the West Bank (PA) and Gaza:  There are numerous examples that the PA in the West Bank and Hamas in Gaza have carried out capital punishment.  According to the Israeli NGO B’T Salem, “Between 1995 and 2014, 71 Palestinians were sentenced to death in the PA.”

These sentences were carried out only in Area A which is totally controlled by PA. In Gaza the situation is far worse because Hamas executes anyone blamed of being an Israeli spy.

According to the Palestinian Centre for Human Rights:

“The Palestinian laws stipulate death penalty before Palestinian courts, whereas 10 to15 death sentences are issued annually. The majority of these sentences are issued in the Gaza Strip on grounds of collaboration with Israeli forces.” The report further mentioned the death sentences issued since the establishment of the PA between 1995 and 2017.

  • Death sentences issued by military and civilian courts combined -180.
  • Death sentences issued in the Gaza Strip- 150.
  • Death sentences issued in the West Bank- 30.
  • Death sentences issued in the Gaza Strip following the split in 2007- 91.

The number of death sentences carried out by the PA so far is 35. Eighty-seven convicted persons are waiting in the Palestinian prisons for the application of death sentences. Many have died in PA prisons awaiting death sentence.

TORTURE

Israeli Prisons: On Sep 6, 1999, The Israeli Supreme Court not only prohibited torture, even types of physical pressure are also prohibited and there is no Israeli law that allows law enforcement officers to misuse prisoners. Even as the world condemns Israel, the human rights abuse in the Middle Eastern countries such as Egypt, Jordan, Syria, Lebanon, Iraq, Saudi Arabia and Muslim countries in Asia including Pakistan and Bangladesh are far worse. These are countries where torture, including lethal torture, is not only common, it is approved by the government. According to Professor Alan Dershowitz:

“Those who accuse only Israel of using torture, without condemning the far brutal and less justifiable practice of a Middle Eastern nation, have the burden of justifying their palpable double standard.”

I did not hear the story of any prisoner released from an Israeli prison who accused Israel of torture who actually became disabled due to Israeli torture but rather were released with their weight actually up! Prisoners receive every basic human need in Israeli prisons and more. They are allowed to watch TV, read newspapers and books, listen to music, play sports and practice their religious rituals.

Palestinian Prisons: Torture in Palestinian prisons have become systematically institutionalised. The Palestine Authority is widely involved in torture and extra judicial killings of political activists in their prisons. According to the Palestinian Centre for Human Rights (PCHR) Report on Crimes of torture in Palestinian Prisons and Detention Centres for 2014-2015:

 “West Bank Palestinians were recorded as having been killed in the Palestinian Authority.” People are being killed by the Palestinian security services and some of them were killed while being held in detention by the PA.”

The Independent Commission on Human Rights recorded the death of two Palestinians who were being detained in PA prisons. There are many other examples demonstrating that the PA continues the practice of the brutal killings of detainees in their custody.  These are a few examples of these deaths:

  • Nawwaf Mohammed al-Kawazbah in the Preventive Security Service (PSS) in Bethlehem, 23 December 2013
  • Mohammed Abdel Qader Abu Amrah in Kahn Younis prison, 12 March 2014
  • Saleh Mesleh Atiyah Aby Hashish while held in Beit Lahia Detention Facility, 14 May 2014
  • Walid Soliman in Beit Lahia Detention Facility, 16 May 2014
  • Salah Jameel Saradih in Correction and Rehabilitation Centre in Jericho, 22 May 2014 (4 Reports on Crimes of Torture in Palestinian Prisons and Detention Centers Introduction the Palestinian Authority (PA)’s accession in May, 2013 June, 2014, Palestinian Centre for Human Rights)

According to a UK based report from think tank The Henry Jackson Society  conducted by esteemed Palestinian human rights activist Bassem Eid, Confronting Human Rights Abuses in the Palestinian Authority:

  • In one particular serious incident carried out in 2013, PA security forces in Hebron arrested Mohammad Abdel Karim Dar and subsequently subjected him to severe forms of torture, leaving him unable to talk.
  • In Sep 2010, two men accused of being linked to Hamas were detained and subjected to extreme degrees of torture by the PA security forces.
  • Ahmed Salhab was arrested and detained in Hebron before being transferred to hospital in a state of mental distress and having suffered serious damage to his spine.
  • Human Rights Watch called on PA to investigate as many as hundred allegations of torture in PA prisons.

There are hundreds of examples where the PA has completely failed to provide even basic human rights to women, children, gays and minorities held in prisons and detention centres. The world (and I) never finds these human rights abuses by the PA against their own Palestinian citizens in the local or international media. One would never find same related news even in Google. Write the word ‘Palestine’ or ‘Human Rights Abuses by Palestine’. Hundreds of web links will come up accusing and abusing Israel in violation of Palestinian human rights.

This is a prime example of how the world and the media single out only one country and nation in the world because of its ethnicity as a citizen majority Jew or a Jewish country. This is systematically planned Anti-Semitism.  It is a responsibility of every single pro-Israel activist to highlight the human rights abuses committed by the PA and the human rights findings and democratic image of the state of Israel about how she has provided human rights even to her enemies, even terrorists.

 

About the Author
Noor Dahri is a director of Pakistan Israel Alliance (PIA) and Editor in Chief of the Newspaper Pak Israel News (PIN). He is an independent researcher based in London, UK. He has studied Counter Terrorism from International Institute for Counter Terrorism ICT- Herzliya - Israel. He is a honorary member of the ZF-UK.
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