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Rights Group Accuses Palestinians of Systematically Torturing Civilians

07-05-2022
Palestinian riot police and security officers in plainclothes clash with demonstrators following a rally protesting the death of Palestinian Authority outspoken critic Nizar Banat, in the West Bank city of Ramallah, Saturday, June 26, 2021. (AP Photo)
Palestinian riot police and security officers in plainclothes clash with demonstrators following a rally protesting the death of Palestinian Authority outspoken critic Nizar Banat, in the West Bank city of Ramallah, Saturday, June 26, 2021. (AP Photo)

JERUSALEM, Israel – An international human rights group on Friday said Palestinian leaders in the Gaza Strip and West Bank could be guilty of crimes against humanity for their alleged systematic torture of dissidents. 

Human Rights Watch made the accusations in a report submitted to the United Nations Committee Against Torture. 

The report said that Palestinian security forces, including the Hamas terror group, “use solitary confinement and beatings, including whipping their feet, and force detainees into painful stress positions for prolonged periods, including hoisting their arms behind their backs with cables or rope, to punish and intimidate critics and opponents and elicit confessions.”

The allegations came a year after the death of Nizar Banat, a prominent Palestinian activist and critic of the Palestinian Authority (PA). CBN News previously reported that according to Banat’s family, PA security forces burst into his home, beat Banat with iron rods and arrested him. He later died in custody, setting off weeks of major protests against the PA, which administers parts of the West Bank – biblical Judea and Samaria. 

Human Rights Watch says the PA has yet to hold its security forces responsible for Banat’s death. The group also accuses Palestinian officials of arresting civilians who rallied to protest the incident. 

“More than a year after beating to death Nizar Banat, the Palestinian Authority continues to arrest and torture critics and opponents,” said Omar Shakir, Israel and Palestine director at Human Rights Watch. “Systematic abuse by the PA and Hamas forms a critical part of the repression of the Palestinian people.”

In 2021, the Palestinian rights group called the Independent Commission for Human Rights “received 252 complaints of torture and ill-treatment against PA authorities in the West Bank and 193 against Hamas authorities in Gaza,” the report said. 

Four years ago, CBN News interviewed Palestinians who were involved in stopping terror attacks against Israelis and then tortured by the Palestinian Authority. 

The PA and Hamas say the incidents are isolated cases and that it holds abusers accountable. 

Human Rights Watch also charged Israeli authorities with mistreating and torturing Palestinians in the West Bank. 

The report cited another rights group called the Public Committee Against Torture in Israel, which says that it receives every year “dozens of complaints… alleging severe torture employed by the ISA (Shin Bet) interrogators. Torture methods reported included painful shackling, sleep deprivation, exposure to extreme heat and cold, threats, sexual harassment, and religion-based humiliation.”

Israel has long denied allegations of torture. 

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