Elliott Abrams

Pressure Points

Abrams gives his take on U.S. foreign policy, with special focus on the Middle East and democracy and human rights issues.

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Torture in Palestine Produces No Outrage

by Elliott Abrams
February 1, 2016


The invaluable group Palestine Media Watch (PMW) reports today on torture in the West Bank and Gaza. PMW carries an exposé from the Ma’an news agency, and here is the key portion:

General Director of the Independent Commission for Human Rights Dr. Ammar Dwaik explained that torture like “whippings, hanging a person from his hands while they are tied behind his back, verbal abuse, sleep deprivation and whipping the soles of feet” is being carried out in Palestinian detention centers by individuals despite the fact that it is against the law. The report stated that this happens with the knowledge of PA security forces.

This is not the first time such allegations have been made against both Hamas and the Palestinian Authority. What’s worth noting is the reaction from Washington and among the donors to the PA: silence. And what’s even more noteworthy is the reaction from the innumerable groups attacking Israel for human rights violations: more silence. Such abuses, which would arouse a global round of denunciations of Israel if Israel acted this way, arouse yawns when committed by the PA.

There are some lessons here. One, as noted, is that official Palestinian human rights abuses get next to zero attention. Another lesson is that this immunity carries a price–and the price is paid by Palestinians. Instead of evolving steadily toward a more democratic political system that respects human rights, the Palestinian system has stalled. There are no elections, there are widespread human rights abuses, there are few or no corrective mechanisms, and there is global indifference.  Governments and organizations that say they want to help build peace in the Middle East should realize that withholding criticism of the PA for its abuses is not a way forward. It is a guarantee that human rights conditions in the West Bank will continue to deteriorate.



Post a Comment 5 Comments

  • Posted by David Jeremiah

    Should be “Council on Illicit Relations” if you want to cover Israel.

    What do HR violations in Gaza have t do with HR violations in Israel? Can a murderer defend by citing other murderers? Israel is still liable for massive HR violations on a scale which beggars the imagination.


  • Posted by George

    To blame a government that was formed under and which continues to struggle under a brutal occupation for not being perfect while assigning no blame to the occupier is something to be expected by NGO Monitor, not CFR.

  • Posted by MIK

    Type your comment in here…No surprise. Wogs doing it to wogs (and I use what is racist terminology deliberately to emphasize the hypocrisy) never mattered. As GWB said in a different context, this is the soft bigotry of low expectations. Palestinians are e lectern to act that way so no one cares what they do to their own. (Or Jews for that matter; but that’s for a different discussion).

  • Posted by Yuval

    Better check that wiring of yours, George. Are you actually blaming Israel for what’s happening in the PA’s detention cellars? Is there *anything* that you are willing to hand responsibility for to the perpetrating party?

  • Posted by Adam

    Clearly neither David Jeremiah or George give a rats *** about Palestinian abuse of Palestinians. If it doesn’t involve Israel-bashing then David and George don’t want to hear about it. Which only goes to reinforce Mr. Abrams’ point, funnily enough.

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