Human Rights Watch has published an important report on the methods used by Palestinian security forces against dissidents in both Gaza and the West Bank. Arrested individuals have in a number of cases been illtreated and tortured.
In Gaza most of the victims have been activists for Fatah and in the West Bank they have primarily been Hamas supporters. In other words, the conflict between the two major Palestinian political groupings is now also reflected in mutual human rights violations.
Security forces on both sides have received foreign assistance, primiarly in order to prevent violence and chaus. Israel has developed close cooperation with the security structures of the Fatah-run Palestinian Authority which was established under the Oslo agreement.
Those who have aided the training of Palestinian security officials in order to promote professional behaviour now need to react. Also Swedish authorities should convey a strong message that these criminal violations are absolutely unaccetable and must stop without delay.
The Israeli occupation of the Palestinian territories is no excuse for the systematic torture. The executive director of the Palestinian independent human rights organisation Al Haq, Shawan Jabarin, made this point clear:
“The fact that Israel systematically violates Palestinians’ most basic rights is no reason to remain silent in the face of the systematic repression of dissent and the torture Palestinian security forces are perpetrating”.