Arab Reporters for Investigative Journalism (ARIJ) issued a scathing report about routine torture by multiple Palestinian Authority security services of critics of the regime.
They admit that they are probably underreporting the problem.
They investigated 250 out of more than 2600 arbitrary arrests of Palestinians between 2015 and mid-2021. They were all for either political activity, criticism of the Abbas regime or participation in protests.
61% of the detainees were tortured, including beatings, deprivation of food, deprivation of toilets, and sleep deprivation.
One victim said, "I was subjected to falanga; they whipped my feet with a plastic tube or hose. This happened four times. After the beating, the interrogator would force me to walk in the corridor in front of the investigation office and run barefoot for ten minutes. They tied my hands in the back and threw the rope over the iron door and pulled hard until my body arched forward. The rope was tied to the iron door from behind, and they covered my head with a hood."
The report exposes cases where detainees are kept in prison even after posting bail, sometimes for months and with multiple payments.
The detainees were arrested for protests against sanctions imposed on Gaza, a social security law, and even for protesting in support of people with disabilities.
When the Amman-based ARIJ tried to get comments from Palestinian officials, they refused to answer because ARIJ is not a Palestinian organization. The Palestinian NGOs know that their job is to attack Israel, not protect Palestinians.
The report notes that the Palestinian Authority has laws against torture. In addition, it has signed multiple international treaties that prohibit torture. This gives support for my reporting that the PA/PLO signing international treaties is done only to use them against Israel and to join the ICC for prosecuting Israel - they have no intention of actually adhering to them.
The impression one gets is of a society where the rule of law simply doesn't exist. There are no checks and balances since Mahmoud Abbas is the singular power behind the legislative, judicial and executive branches. It is a dictatorship in every sense of the word.
ARIJ is a respected group that teaches reporters throughout the Arab world the techniques of investigative journalism and has created a college course in the topic.
Even though this report was released in English two days ago, it has received no coverage in Western media (and nearly none in Arab media.) Even worse, the Arabic report was reported in scattered Arabic media in December!
In many ways, that is the real story. The world's media fall over themselves to cover the most absurd and easily debunked reports against Israel, in the name of caring about Palestinians, but when it comes to protecting Palestinians from their own leaders, these self-styled watchdogs become deaf and mute.
Because the media and Palestinian leaders agree: anything that distracts from the narrative of Israeli evil must not be spoken of.
(h/t Tomer Ilan)