Palestinian Rights Group Forges Sturdy Link Between West Bank, Gaza

A leaflet was distributed early this week in Nablus calling for a halt to the security collaboration with Israel in the West Bank. That very day, the Palestinian Preventive Security agency arrested a key activist of the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine, which was behind the leaflet. The man was released within a few hours, but an acquaintance who visited him related that the signs of the beating he received were still visible on his body.

It’s likely that the arrest and beating will be part of the statistics contained in next year’s report of the Palestinian Independent Commission for Human Rights mso-fareast-font-family:"Times New Roman"”>‏ 150%;font-family:"Verdana","sans-serif";mso-fareast-font-family:"Times New Roman";
Violations of the right to personal security and physical safety, especially in the form of torture and ill treatment "Arial","sans-serif";mso-fareast-font-family:"Times New Roman"”>‏) mso-fareast-font-family:"Times New Roman";mso-bidi-font-family:Verdana”>“Violations of the right to freedom of expression.”

The report for 2012, published on Tuesday, states that last year, the ICHR documented 306 violations in the category of torture and ill-treatment − 172 in the West Bank and 134 in the Gaza Strip. This is a considerable increase over 2011, when 214 cases of ill-treatment and abuse of persons in detention were recorded. The past year saw an increase of 10 percent in the overall number of complaints by residents of the Palestinian Authority regarding violations of their rights by the authorities − 3,185 150%;font-family:"Arial","sans-serif";mso-fareast-font-family:"Times New Roman"”>‏) in mso-fareast-font-family:"Times New Roman"”>‏ mso-fareast-font-family:"Times New Roman"”>‏ mso-fareast-font-family:"Times New Roman"”>‏ mso-fareast-font-family:"Times New Roman"”>‏ line-height:150%;font-family:"Verdana","sans-serif";mso-fareast-font-family:
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The report contains a list of 140 Palestinians who were killed in 2012 under unnatural circumstances font-family:"Verdana","sans-serif";mso-fareast-font-family:"Times New Roman";
mso-bidi-font-family:"Times New Roman"”>(and not by the Israeli army or in road accidents
mso-fareast-font-family:"Times New Roman"”>‏ mso-fareast-font-family:"Times New Roman"”>‏ mso-fareast-font-family:"Times New Roman"”>‏ mso-fareast-font-family:"Times New Roman";mso-bidi-font-family:Verdana”>− 563 in the West Bank, 226 in the Strip font-family:"Arial","sans-serif";mso-fareast-font-family:"Times New Roman"”>‏) satisfactorily line-height:150%;font-family:"Arial","sans-serif";mso-fareast-font-family:"Times New Roman"”>‏). With regard to complaints of torture and cruel treatment of individuals in detention, the authorities, both in Gaza and the West Bank, have one response: They deny the allegations. The report’s authors note this fact, though the wording they use intimates that they do not accept the denials as the last word.

On the civil side, the bodies against which most complaints were made were the Social Affairs Ministry (310) and the Education and Higher Education Ministry (237) both in the West Bank.

Many of the violations are the result of the Palestinians’ 2007 political split into two governments. This development also added an unwritten and unforeseen task for the ICHR. The commission has become the major state body that operates both in the Gaza Strip and in the West Bank, and implements one policy under one administration. It’s true that the Palestinian Water Authority is also continuing, under one administration, to fulfill its thankless task of trying to develop the water and sewage infrastructures − not only in the West Bank but in the Gaza Strip as well. Apart from that, the Palestinians have two prime ministers, two education ministers, two interior ministers, two separate judicial systems, two competing state news agencies, and so on.

The Hamas authorities in Gaza have no reason to object to the presence of the Ramallah-based water authority, as only in this way will the donations and funds continue to arrive that will enable services to be provided in this near-disaster area. line-height:150%;font-family:"Verdana","sans-serif";mso-fareast-font-family:
"Times New Roman";mso-bidi-font-family:"Times New Roman"”>(More than 95 percent of the water pumped in the Gaza Strip aquifer is not fit for drinking and must undergo prior treatment.