Wall Street Journal Europe
Israel's harshest critics claim to champion the rights of Palestinians. So we're curious about the fallout, or lack thereof, from revelations that the Palestinian Authority regularly brutalizes its own in the West Bank while enjoying a steady flow of dollars and euros.
Senior PA official Haitham Arar was quoted in the Daily Mail more than a week ago openly discussing the abuses. That follows a Mail On Sunday report in January that detailed the Authority's regular use of beatings, whippings, attacks with electrical drills, and other methods of torture doled out to anyone seen threatening the authority of Fatah, the party of President Mahmoud Abbas. Murder and rape are also commonplace.
As Middle East analyst Tom Gross points out, the only news here is that a Western newspaper has bothered to write about it. At least some ink is spilled documenting Hamas's blunt methods, but much less has been made of Fatah's abuses since Yasser Arafat took over most of the territory in 1993. What's more, Western governments support the internecine violence with ever-increasing aid. As of Sept. 15, the European Union had delivered â¬268 million to the Authority this year, and in July the U.S. extended an additional $200 million.
The money will not stop now that Ramallah is no longer trying to hide the mistreatment. Westminster's one response has been to quietly send officers to the West Bank to train Authority forces on how not to torture prisoners.
So here's the state-of-play in the department of moral outrage. When Britain is accused of abetting U.S. interrogations, lawsuits, investigations, and threats to try Tony Blair for war crimes quickly follow. When Israel attacks Hamas in order to end rocket launches on its soil, it risks a session before the International Criminal Court. But when the West funnels billions to a Palestinian government whose abuses are brazen and ongoing, there is mainly silence.