Daily TIP

Torture in Palestinian prisons

Posted by Tip Staff - January 30, 2017
Enhanced interrogation. Torture is commonplace in both Hamas and Palestinian Authority prisons, according to an article published by renowned journalist Khaled Abu Toameh Monday. A new report detailing abuse behind bars in the Palestinian Authority’s Jericho Central Prison is just the latest example.

New arrivals are blindfolded and severely beaten by five to 10 security officers. Many are subjected to torture in the “shabah” position, when one has one’s hands shackled and then is hanged from the ceiling for several hours. Sometimes this takes place in lavatories.

Other practices include sleep deprivation, whipping bare feet, and being asked to “climb” a non-existent ladder on a wall. Because there is no actual ladder, the detainee is punished for his inability to complete the task with more beatings.

A London-based human rights organization reported 3,175 cases of human rights violations by the PA security forces in the West Bank during 2016. Hundreds of those detained include university students and lecturers, as well as schoolteachers.

Next year in Jerusalem. “I want to take the opportunity to make it unequivocally clear that our position has always been, and remains so now and at all times, that the U.S. embassy should be here, in Jerusalem,” Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said Sunday. His fervent backing was flexible on timing.

Moving the United States embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem comes with substantial benefits, Robert Satloff, the executive director of The Washington Institute for Near East Policy, wrote in the Washington Post last Wednesday. The Jerusalem Embassy Act of 1995 declared the move to be official policy dating back to the Clinton era.

A chief benefit would include “restoring balance to U.S. policy.” The United States already maintains a diplomatic facility in Jerusalem to represent Washington to the Palestinian Authority—skewing U.S. policy in favor of the Palestinians, he wrote.

“Sending a strong message that the new administration stands with the Israeli government on a major symbolic issue with high potential costs could push the Palestinian leadership to a greater sense of urgency in negotiations,” according to another Washington Post op-ed published last month. “The U.S. Embassy move could even help advance efforts to duplicate the precious Jewish-Muslim coexistence model of Samuel’s Tomb for Jerusalem’s other contested sacred spaces.”

Denying history. After the Secretary-General of the United Nations affirmed the centrality of Jerusalem to the Jews, Palestinian officials fumed. In remarks made to Israel Radio, UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres said that it is “completely clear that the Temple that the Romans destroyed in Jerusalem [in 70 CE] was a Jewish temple.” Guterres also said that there is “no doubt” of the sanctity of Jerusalem in Judaism, Christianity, and Islam. Ahmad Majdalani, a member of the Palestine Liberation Organization’s Executive Committee said that Guterres’ statements “undermines the trustworthiness of the UN as a body that should support occupied peoples…It appears that the secretary general of the United Nations lacks culture and knowledge in his own specialization.” Adnan al-Husseini, the Palestinian Authority’s Jerusalem Affairs minister, said, “[Guterres] ignored UNESCO’s decision that considered the Al-Aksa Mosque of pure Islamic heritage,” referring to UNESCO resolutions passed in October that denied any Jewish connection to the Temple Mount.

The resolutions were fiercely criticized worldwide. U.S. Representative Ted Lieu (D-Calif.) released a statement reading, “That’s why we at UNESCO like to pass bigoted resolutions, such as this silly one that revises history and denies the known Jewish and Christian connections to the Temple Mount. Please visit our alternate universe often, where you will see unicorns and flying dragons. But in the UNESCO alt-reality, you won’t encounter any Jews or Christians because they don’t exist.”

Then-Italian Prime Minister Matteo Renzi called the vote “mistaken”, “inconceivable”, and “shocking”, as well as “incomprehensible, unacceptable and wrong.” The vote was also criticized by outgoing United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, UNESCO director-general Irina Bokova, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and President Reuven Rivlin, and nearly 40 other members of Congress. 


Bad behavior. Iran launched a medium-range ballistic missile on Sunday in violation of United Nations Security Council Resolution 2231, according to U.S. officials. Iran has conducted several ballistic missile tests since the nuclear deal was implemented in January 2016, most recently last July, when it fired a modified North Korean missile with a range of 2,500 miles, putting nearly all of the Middle East (including Israel) and much of mainland Europe within reach. One launch, last March, included a missile with a range of around 870 miles that had the phrase “Israel must be wiped from the face of the earth” inscribed on it in Hebrew.
UN Security Council Resolution 2231 codifies the nuclear deal and calls on Iran “not to undertake any activity related to ballistic missiles designed to be capable of delivering nuclear weapons, including launches using such ballistic missile technology.” The resolution also says that Iran must abide by previous Security Council resolutions, which placed restrictionson ballistic missile work until 2023.
NATO leaders said in a joint communique last July that they were “seriously concerned by the development of Iran’s ballistic missile programme and continuing missile tests that are inconsistent with [Resolution] 2231.” 

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