Why Doesn't the EU Condemn Palestinian Torture?
The EU has refrained from condemning the Palestinian Authority or Hamas in wake of a report that pointed to an increase in human rights violations in the West Bank and Gaza Strip.
This is the same EU that regularly condemns Israel for building in the settlements or seizing funds belonging to the Palestinian Authority.
More recently, the EU condemned Israel for demolishing 22 Palestinian structures in the West Bank and Jerusalem.
But when it comes to human rights violations committed by Hamas and the Palestinian Authority, the EU is prepared to do its utmost to avoid angering the two Palestinian governments.
In response to the report, which was released by the Palestinian Independent Commission For Human Rights, the EU missions in Jerusalem and Ramallah, in an apologetic tone, only expressed "concern" over recurrent cases of torture and ill treatment of detainees in Palestinian prisons.
And instead of criticizing or condemning Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas for human rights violations perpetrated by his security forces, the EU missions chose to "welcome" his instruction to respect the prohibition of torture in his detention centers and prisons.
It is worth noting that the EU and some Abbas loyalists, including Fatah propagandists and media outlets, were the only ones to "welcome" his decision to ban torture.
So not only is Abbas not condemned for the death of two detainees in his prisons and the crackdown on freedoms of speech and the media, he is in fact being praised by the EU for ordering his security and intelligence officers to stop torturing Palestinians.
One would have expected the EU to take a tougher stance toward the Palestinian Authority and Hamas human rights violations, as indicated by the report.
But the EU missions to Ramallah and Jerusalem are apparently reluctant to take such a position because of their direct and indirect involvement in funding and supporting the Palestinian Authority and various Palestinian institutions in the West Bank and Gaza Strip.
The EU also seems to be afraid of criticizing the Palestinian Authority and Hamas out of concern for the safety of its representatives, especially those who operate in the West Bank and Gaza Strip.
As the human rights group's report shows, there has been a 10% increase in the number of complaints of torture and mistreatment by Hamas and the Palestinian Authority during 2012 compared with the year before.
More than half of the 306 complaints about torture that were received last year came from Palestinians who had been detained or imprisoned by Abbas's security forces in the West Bank, the report revealed.
Altogether, 11 detainees died in Palestinian Authority and Hamas prisons last year, according to the report.
Still, the EU did not see any need to refer to these cases. Nor did the EU comment on the report's accusations that Abbas's security forces are continuing to crack down on journalists and academics and ignore court rulings.
Expressing "concern" over serious human rights violations will not deter the Palestinian Authority or Hamas from pursuing their anti-democratic practices against their own people.
Praising Abbas for instructing his security forces to stop torturing Palestinian detainees is like welcoming a convicted armed robber's promise to retire.
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