Amidst Palestine and Israel conflict, the two seem to tangle perfectly on issues of oppression and intolerance of dissidence. Yet the lives of the average Palestinian is under assault even from their own government. Many peaceful Palestinian dissidents have gotten used to a scenario where they can be arrested by multiple authorities on same counts.
The horrors of the situation were outlined in a recent report by Human Right Watch. Citizens of Palestine, under either Hamas or Fatah rule, enjoy neither natural nor legal rights. They are not allowed to air out their opinions. Those who dare speak up in form of writing, political artwork or even being part of a political movement are randomly arrested.
In addition, suspects are subject to what is described as routine torture and they even have built macabre machines meant to inflict pain. Perpetrators have the support of the authorities and are almost never held accountable for inhuman treatment of prisoners.
Human Right Watch carried out a two year investigation titled, “Authorities Crush Dissents in Palestine”, in which 147 witnesses were interviewed and their horrific experiences described. Sami As-Sai, a Palestinian journalist, was one out of the many who courageously detailed his torture. Here is a brief description of the report provided by Human Rights Watch:
The Fatah-led Palestinian Authority in the West Bank and Hamas authorities in Gaza routinely arrest and torture peaceful critics and opponents… As the Palestinian Authority-Hamas feud has deepened, each has targeted the other’s supporters.
The 145-page report, “Two Authorities, One Way, Zero Dissent,” evaluates patterns of arrest and detention conditions in the West Bank and Gaza Strip 25 years after the Oslo Accords granted Palestinians a degree of self-rule over these areas, and more than a decade after Hamas seized effective control over the Gaza Strip. Human Rights Watch detailed more than two dozen cases of people detained for no clear reason beyond writing a critical article or Facebook post or belonging to the wrong student group or political movement.
This five minute video from Human Rights Watch includes some of the testimonies by victims. Take a look:
See more at DC’s World Democracy page!