For the first time the annual Report for 2022 of the Human Right’s Watch (HRW) organization criticizes the Palestine Authority and the Hamas authorities in Gaza for mistreatment of their own Palestinian citizens. Here are the relevant portions of the Report
Hamas in Gaza
Hamas authorities detained opponents and critics for their peaceful expression and tortured some in their custody. The Palestinian statutory watchdog, the Independent Commission for Human Rights (ICHR), received 75 complaints of arbitrary arrests and 72 of torture and ill-treatment against Hamas authorities between January and September 2020. [In an article in the J. Post entitled “The war on Palestinians,” Emily Schrader gives these numbers as 252 and 279 for 2021.]
Since they took control in Gaza in June 2007, Hamas authorities carried out 28 executions following trials marred with due process violations, but none during the first nine months of 2021. Courts in Gaza had, as of October 24, sentenced 19 people to death this year and 161 since June 2007, according to the Gaza-based Palestinian Center for Human Rights.
In February, Hamas authorities issued new restrictions that allow male guardians to request local authorities to block unmarried women from leaving Gaza when such travel will cause “absolute harm,” a broad term that allows men to restrict women’s travel at will.
Following the death in custody of activist Nizar al-Banat in June, the PA detained activists on manifestly political charges, like insulting “higher authorities” and creating “sectarian strife,” that in effect criminalized peaceful dissent. Between January and September 2021, the ICHR received 87 complaints of arbitrary arrests, 15 of detention without trial or charge pursuant to orders from a regional governor, and 76 of torture and ill-treatment against the PA.
PA personal status laws discriminated against women, including in relation to marriage, divorce, custody of children and inheritance. Women’s rights groups have documented an increase in reports of domestic violence since the beginning of the Covid-19 pandemic, with five women killed across the OPT in 2021. Palestine has no comprehensive domestic violence law. The PA is considering a draft family protection law, but women’s rights groups have raised concern that it does not go far enough to prevent abuse and protect survivors.
The penal code in force in the West Bank and Gaza permits corporal punishment of children by parents, which remains a widespread practice.
Note that during the past years when the BDS movement has been criticizing Israel for its repressive “occupation” and for being “an apartheid state,” both spurious accusations, the PA and Hamas have been torturing and murdering far more Palestinians than Israel’s activities ever have.
PS. I am going on vacation with my son and family to Paris on Weds, so there will be a break in my blog posts..