Under-Reported: Torture in Palestinian Authority, Hamas prisons

Arab journalist in Jerusalem reports torture in non-Israeli jails is all but ignored by mainstream media.

Hillel Fendel ,

Torture (illustration)
Torture (illustration)

Both the Palestinian Authority (Fatah) and Hamas are practicing torture in their prisons, reports award-winning Jerusalem journalist Khaled Abu Toameh – but because it's not happening in Israeli prisons, it is not considered news.

The gist of Abu Toameh's report for the New York-based Gatestone Institute appears in this one paragraph:

"A Palestinian who points a finger at Israel is guaranteed a sympathetic ear among journalists. When a Palestinian complains of torture at the hands of Palestinian interrogators or security officers, it is seen as just more of the same. Worse: It is seen as 'Oh those Arabs, what can anyone expect from them?'"

Just last week, the PA's Maan news agency reported that a Gaza military court – i.e., Hamas - sentenced three Fatah members to life in prison, for gathering information about Hamas gangs in Gaza for PLO intelligence use.

Neither the PA nor Hamas "care a fig for the rights of detainees and prisoners, and both scoff at the values of international human rights," writes Abu Toameh.

PA leaders have occupied themselves of late with issuing threats and warnings against the U.S. and the Trump Administration if they move the American Embassy to Jerusalem, while at the same time reports of brutal conditions and human rights violations in PA prisons are buried.

A recent report on a Hamas-affiliated website exposes torture methods used by PA interrogators and reveals the harsh conditions in the Jericho Central Prison. The report is entitled, "Jericho Prison - A Fort of Torture?"

According to the testimony of a prisoner recently released from the jail, new detainees are blindfolded upon arrival, have their hands tied behind their back, and severely beaten by 5-10 security officers.

A common form of torture in the PA prison, he recounted, involves shackling the prisoner's hands, hanging him from the ceiling for hours, and beating him in this position. Beating with a house on one's bare feet for hours at a time is also prevalent. Other "methods" include sleep deprivation, solitary confinement, lock-up in a closet with powerful air-conditioning.

Detainees in Palestinian prisons have gone on hunger strikes to protest their incarceration and torture. Unfortunately for them, writes Abu Toameh, "they are not going on hunger strikes in an Israeli prison, where such actions garner the immediate interest of the mainstream media."