Translations of this item:

  • Like the mainstream media in the West, the UN chooses to look the other way when Palestinians torture or kill fellow Palestinians.

  • The Palestinian Authority and Hamas claim that the three men committed suicide.

  • When three detainees die in less than a week, this should sound an alarm. But pro-Palestinian groups and human rights activists do not care about the human rights of Palestinians if Israel cannot be held responsible. Their obsession with Israel has made them blind to the plight of Palestinians living under the Palestinian Authority.

Three Palestinian men were found dead in their jail cells in the West Bank and Gaza Strip this past week.

But their stories did not attract the attention of the international media or human rights organizations in the U.S. and Europe. Nor was their case brought to the attention of the United Nations or the International Criminal Court (ICC).

By contrast, the case of 17-year-old Mohamed Kasba, who was shot dead north of Jerusalem by an Israeli army officer as he attacked the officer's car with stones, received widespread coverage in the Western media.

The UN even rushed to condemn the killing of Kasba, and called for an "immediate end" to violence and for everyone to keep calm. "This reaffirms the need for a political process aiming to establish two states living beside each other safely and peacefully," said UN Special Coordinator for the Middle East Peace Process, Nickolay Maldenov.

The UN official, needless to say, made no reference to the deaths that occurred in the Palestinian Authority (PA) and Hamas jails. He did not even see a need to express concern over the deaths or call for an investigation. Like the mainstream media in the West, the UN chooses to look the other way when Palestinians torture or kill fellow Palestinians.

The reason the case of the three detainees will not interest anyone in the international community is because the men did not die in an Israeli jail. Instead, the three men died while being held in Palestinian-controlled jails.

Had the three men died in Israeli detention, their names would have most likely appeared on the front pages of most leading Western newspapers. The families of the three men would have also been busy talking to Western journalists about Israeli "atrocities" and "human rights violations."

But no respected Western journalist is going to visit any of the families of the three detainees: they did not die in an Israeli jail.

The same week that the three Palestinian men were found dead in jail, the UN Human Rights Council decided to adopt a resolution condemning Israel over the UN report into last year's Operation Protective Edge in the Gaza Strip. Again, the UN Human Rights Council chose to ignore human rights violations by Hamas and the Palestinian Authority, who deny detainees basic rights and proper medical treatment.

Two of them died in PA security installations in Bethlehem, while the third was found dead in a Hamas-controlled jail in the Gaza Strip.

The two detainees who were found dead in their jail cells in Bethlehem are Shadi Mohamed Obeidallah and Hazem Yassin Udwan. The man who died in the Gaza Strip jail was identified as Khaled Hammad al-Balbisi.

The Palestinian Authority and Hamas claim that the three men committed suicide.

In the case of Obeidallah, the Palestinian Authority police said he hanged himself with a piece of cloth inside the jail restrooms. He was taken into custody on suspicion of committing a murder three years ago.

The second man, Udwan, died a few days later in another Bethlehem police facility. According to police officials, he too committed suicide.

The detainee in the Gaza Strip, al-Balbisi, was being held by Hamas authorities for allegedly assaulting his wife.

But al-Balbisi, 43, apparently did not commit suicide. He was very ill when he was arrested by the Hamas security forces, and did not receive proper medical care while in detention.

The Palestinian Center for Human Rights (PCHR), a Gaza-based non-profit group dedicated to protecting human rights, promoting the rule of law and upholding democratic principles in the Palestinian territories, called for an investigation into the circumstances surrounding the deaths of the detainees.

"PCHR stresses that the Palestinian Authority is responsible for the lives of prisoners and detainees under its control and is thus responsible for treating them with dignity, including offering them medical care," the group said in a statement.

The Palestinian Authority police on parade, January 2015.

When three detainees die in less than a week in Palestinian detention, this should sound an alarm bell, especially among so-called pro-Palestinian groups and human rights activists in different parts of the world.

But these folks, like the UN and mainstream media, do not care about the human rights of the Palestinians if Israel cannot be held responsible. Their obsession with Israel has made them blind to the plight of Palestinians living under the Palestinian Authority and Hamas, as well as to the horrific crimes committed every day by Muslim terrorists in the Middle East and elsewhere.

The story of the three men who died in Palestinian jails is yet another example of the double standards that the international community and media employ when it comes to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

  • Follow Khaled Abu Toameh on Twitter

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