Who cares when the PA violates human rights?


Over the past decade, the Palestinian Authority has exerted considerable energy to portray itself internationally as a champion of human rights and a victim of Israel’s human rights abuses.

Among other things, after being granted non-member observer state status by the United Nations General Assembly, the Palestinian Authority has acceded to a host of international human rights conventions, including the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court in The Hague and the Convention against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment (the “Convention against Torture”). Its purpose in signing these conventions was twofold: to establish the status of the PA as a state and, more importantly, to use them as a tool to bludgeon Israel.

The PA’s use of these international forums, however, is cynical and manipulative. The only thing it lacks is a real intention to respect human rights and comply with international law. Anyone who examines the human rights situation in the PA will see an appalling reality, with the torture in Palestinian prisons being just one example of its flagrant violations of basic human rights. The situation of women, children, homosexuals and minority groups is even worse. According to Palestinian law, a husband is allowed to rape his wife. Women are forced to marry the rapist who impregnated them. Homosexuals are brutally persecuted and so-called “honor killings” are still prevalent. These and other injustices are commonplace within the Palestinian Authority and are met with leniency by government authorities.

The conspiracy of silence on the part of the international community, the media and international human rights groups on this issue is particularly disturbing. Not only do they perpetually turn a blind eye to these violations – of which they are well aware – but they obsessively blame the “Israeli occupation”. Indeed, the issue of torture in Palestinian prisons is not new. As early as 2015, the Shurat Hadin-Israel Law Center filed a detailed complaint about this with the ICC.

Despite the complaint, the case evaporated when the prosecutor announced the issues she was willing to investigate. The PA’s use of torture was not one of them. At the top of his list of priorities were the “crimes against humanity” perpetrated by Israel. From the point of view of other countries, the world would continue to turn. The PA would continue its gross violations of human rights, would continue to receive hundreds of millions of dollars a year, would continue to open embassies and consulates around the world as if it were a country and its leader Mahmoud Abbas would continue to be greeted by honor guards during official visits. From the point of view of these international institutions, the hundreds of people murdered and tortured to death by the PA are not worth a Jamal Khashoggi.

This conspiracy of silence denounces the hypocrisy of the international community, the ICC, the press and human rights organizations. All of them are failing in their duties and are ready to sacrifice their principles on the altar of the slander of Israel, as long as not a hair falls from the head of Mahmoud Abbas. For them, these disenfranchised and defenseless people in Palestinian society are only a minor inconvenience.

Nitsana Darshan-Leitner is an Israeli lawyer and president of Shurat Hadin-Israel Law CWalk in. His bestseller Harpoon: The Covert War Against Terrorism’s Money Masters, co-written with Samuel Katz, has just been released in Hebrew.

This article first appeared in Israel Hayom.


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