US report accuses Israel of mistreating Palestinian prisoners – i24news
Annual State Dept report slams ‘killing, abuse’ of detainees; Hamas and PA also criticized for violations
An annual US State Department report regarding human rights violations across the globe accuses Israel of institutional discrimination against Palestinians in the West Bank and Gaza, with a special focus on Palestinian prisoners.
The “Country Reports on the Human Rights Practices for 2014: Israel and the Occupied Territories,” released on Thursday, charges Israel with “excessive use of force against civilians, including killings; abuse of Palestinian detainees, particularly during arrest and interrogation.”
The alleged mistreatment of Palestinians included “austere and overcrowded detention facilities; improper use of security detention procedures; demolition and confiscation of Palestinian property; limitations on freedom of expression, assembly, and association; and severe restrictions on Palestinians’ internal and external freedom of movement.”
The report also slammed the Israeli authorities for their interrogation methods, which purportedly made use of threats, intimidation, solitary confinement and physical violence, sometimes against minors.
Citing testimonies from NGOs – including the Public Committee Against Torture in Israel, Breaking the Silence and Defense for Children International in Palestine – the report claimed that in 2014, Israel detained 156 minors as security prisoners in addition to 51 others who had entered Israeli territory illegally.
While all prisoners had access to basic needs like food and water, it stated that one of the country’s main detention centers did not provide adequate accommodation for female Palestinian prisoners.
The State Department also took aim at Israel for limiting movement in and out of the Gaza Strip, as well as for violence by Jewish settlers against Palestinians in the West Bank.
With regards to violations by the Palestinian Authority, the report described the “mistreatment of detainees, poor and overcrowded detention facilities, prolonged detention, and infringements on privacy rights.”
Other “serious problems” under the PA were child labor, discrimination against women, homosexuals and the disabled.
As for Hamas, the report accused the group of “killing, torturing, arbitrarily detaining, and harassing opponents, including Fatah members, and other Palestinians with impunity.”
The Islamist group, which rules over Gaza, was also criticized for condoning terror activities and launching rockets and mortars indiscriminately against Israeli civilians.