Amnesty slates Is­rael and Pales­tini­ans in re­port

The Jewish Chronicle - - News - BY BERNARD JOSEPHS

BOTH THE Pales­tini­ans and Is­rael have been heav­ily crit­i­cised in a ma­jor re­port is­sued this week by Amnesty In­ter­na­tional to mark the 60th an­niver­sary of the In­ter­na­tional Dec­la­ra­tion of Hu­man Rights.

Launch­ing the re­port, the or­gan­i­sa­tion’s sec­re­tary-gen­eral Irene Khan said it cov­ered coun­tries all over the world, but noted that in the Mid­dle East the brunt seemed “to fall on civil­ians tak­ing no part in con­flict”.

She said: “Hu­man-rights flash­points de­mand im­me­di­ate ac­tion. In­jus­tice, in­equal­ity and im­punity are the hall­marks of our world to­day.”

In its Mid­dle East sec­tion, the Lon- don re­port said that both the Pales­tini­ans and Is­rael were guilty of a range of of­fences, in­clud­ing the tar­get­ing of civil­ians, the use of tor­ture and the de­nial of eco­nomic and so­cial rights.

But Is­rael ap­peared to at­tract most of the crit­i­cism, with its ac­tions against Pales­tinian ex­trem­ists be­ing blamed for cre­at­ing po­lit­i­cal and eco­nomic crises in Gaza and the West Bank.

Pin­point­ing Is­rael’s ac­tions to pre­vent Pales­tinian rocket at­tacks against Negev town­ships, Amnesty said that 330 Pales­tini­ans, more than half of them civil­ians, in­clud­ing chil­dren, were killed in the first four months of this year.

In the same pe­riod, 14 Is­raeli civil­ians and nine sol­diers were killed in at­tacks by Pales­tinian armed groups us­ing “home-made” Kas­sam rock­ets.

The hu­man-rights sit­u­a­tion in the Is­raeli-oc­cu­pied Pales­tinian ter­ri­to­ries was “dire”, Amnesty said.

“The Is­raeli au­thor­i­ties con­tinue to ex­pand il­le­gal set­tle­ments in the West Bank, de­mol­ish Pales­tinian homes in East Jerusalem, the Jor­dan Val­ley and else­where and more than 500 mil­i­tary road­blocks con­tin­ued to im­pede the move­ment of Pales­tini­ans.”

In Gaza, the Is­raeli block­ade “had an in­creas­ingly dis­as­trous im­pact” on its 1.5 mil­lion-strong pop­u­la­tion.

Meth­ods used by Is­rael to in­ter­ro­gate sus­pected ter­ror­ists breached hu­man-rights codes, said the re­port. They in­cluded “beat­ing, ly­ing in pain- ful po­si­tions for pro­longed pe­ri­ods and threats to harm the detainee’s rel­a­tives”.

I n the Pales­tinian Author­ity, Amnesty said that in­ter-fac­tional po­lit­i­cal vi­o­lence had es­ca­lated “dra­mat­i­cally” over the past year, with both Pales­tine pres­i­dent Mah­moud Ab­bas’s Fatah party and Ha­mas “com­mit­ting grave hu­man-rights abuses, in­clud­ing killings, ar­bi­trary de­ten­tion and tor­ture”.

More than 300 Pales­tini­ans were killed in the fight­ing be­tween the two groups and the “cli­mate of law­less­ness and im­punity”, had es­ca­lated. There were cases of Ha­mas gun­men throw­ing Fatah of­fi­cials and sup­port­ers from build­ings.

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