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Palestinian human rights activists reject Human Rights Watch report on torture in PA and Gaza

Headline: “Jurists: The Human Rights Watch report distorts the facts and politicizes them”

“Palestinian human rights activists and jurists said that the report that the human rights organization Human Rights Watch published yesterday [Oct. 23, 2018] under the title Two Authorities, One Way, Zero Dissent: Arbitrary Arrest and Torture Under the Palestinian Authority and Hamas… is an unfair report that distorts the facts.

Those that spoke emphasized that the report serves political goals more than it focuses on human rights, which is completely unacceptable to the State of Palestine, which is committed to the international agreements in the matters that the report deals with.

Director General of the Palestinian Independent Commission for Human Rights Ammar Dwaik said: ‘The facts, the stories, and the events that were mentioned in the report are mostly true, and we spoke about some of them in our annual report, but there is exaggeration in connecting them and drawing conclusions – especially in saying that the torture is systematic. We are astounded at the fact that this organization petitioned the International Criminal Court with a request to investigate the matter, as we think that the Palestinian violations are not of a level that they should be within the framework of the authority of the International Criminal Court, which needs to focus on its authority and put the Israeli war criminals on trial.’

Dwaik explained: ‘I call to examine the report and the incidents that appear in it, to deal with the incidents that occurred, and to demand an accounting from those responsible for them; but I’m stunned at the exaggeration in connecting the matters and presenting them as if they are a general policy of the state, which is not true. The ideal solution is to deal with the incidents presented in the report, to study them, and to take the appropriate steps regarding them after these incidents will be seriously examined.’

Head of the Democracy and Human Rights Unit in the Palestinian [PA] Ministry of Interior Haithan Arar said: ‘We view this organization’s report gravely, as it relies on a series of deceptions, which are based on the use of human rights for political goals.’ She added: ‘The State of Palestine is a state that is based on a democratic foundation, which guarantees the human freedoms and rights and acts to establish these principles by ratifying the human rights conventions, including the convention against torture. The [PA] government has also ratified the reference document to establish the national system to prevent torture, which reflects that Palestine is a state based on the rule of law, honoring human rights, and preventing all types of violations against the Palestinian citizens.’

Chairman of the Palestinian Bar Association Jawad Obeidat said: ‘There are clear exaggerations in this report. This organization has begun to act in a political manner in order to harm the legal Palestinian rule, which adheres to the Palestinian national principles.’”

The Human Rights Watch report, published on Oct. 23, 2018, concludes that both the PA and Hamas systematically violate the basic human rights of those under their rule to such an extent that their actions may constitute a crime against humanity.