[News] How sickening can PA hypocrisy get over the Palestinian prisoners' issue?

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Tue Sep 14 16:49:29 EDT 2021


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<https://www.middleeastmonitor.com/20210914-how-sickening-can-pa-hypocrisy-get-over-the-palestinian-prisoners-issue/> 



  How sickening can PA hypocrisy get over the Palestinian prisoners' issue?

Ramona Wadi - September 14, 2021
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September 14, 2021 at 5:09 pm

What does the Palestinian Authority care about the conditions of 
Palestinian prisoners in Israeli jails? If the rhetoric of Prime 
Minister Mohammad Shtayyeh is all we have to go on, the narrative is no 
more than a façade. He has appealed to the International Committee of 
the Red Cross (ICRC) and the UN to ensure that the prisoners are not 
subjected to torture.

Reports 
<https://www.timesofisrael.com/report-palestinians-agree-to-help-israel-track-down-escaped-inmates/> 
in Israeli media, based on an unnamed source within the Palestinian 
Authority, suggest that Ramallah was involved in locating and 
recapturing the Palestinian prisoners who escaped from Gilboa Prison 
last week. The deal was that they would be captured alive and there will 
be an easing of the conditions in which Palestinian prisoners are held 
by Israel.

What can be gleaned from the latest collaboration with the occupation 
state is that security coordination remains "sacred" for Mahmoud Abbas. 
Indeed, Israeli Defence Minister Benny Gantz has ensured that it remains 
so, with the latest concessions offered in return for strengthening the PA.

Palestinian prisoners escape from high-security prison - Cartoon 
[Sabaaneh/Middle East Monitor]

Palestinian prisoners escape from high-security prison – Cartoon 
[Sabaaneh/Middle East Monitor]

Shtayyeh's comments, therefore, will do little to reassure Palestinian 
prisoners and their families. The trend of exploiting media-hyped 
stories remains one way by which the PA tries to gain some political 
relevance and public Brownie points. The prime minister's appeal does 
nothing to disguise the oppression which Palestinians face at the hands 
of both the PA and Israel; it is not just in Israeli jails that 
Palestinians face torture and abuse. Security coordination with Israel 
ensures that Palestinians face similarly brutal treatment in the PA's 
jails. In light of the recent killing of Nizar Banat by PA security 
forces, as well as the brutal repression of public protests in its 
aftermath, Shtayyeh would have been more honest if he had also thrown 
the spotlight onto PA cruelty as well.

"We've reached the last chapter of the transitional period with the PA 
and they know that the only way they can stay in power is with bullets 
and batons," declared 
<https://www.aljazeera.com/news/2021/6/28/bullets-and-batons-palestinian-authority-beats-back-dissent> 
Shawan Jabarin, the director of Al-Haq human rights organisation recently.

What is being considered to be the ultimate manifestation of repression 
against the Palestinian public has long been used against Palestinian 
dissenters who end up being handed over to Israel by the PA security 
forces. Is Shtayyeh asking us to believe that the conditions of arrest, 
detention, and imprisonment under the PA are better than those of 
Israel, given that security coordination is decisive in the fate of 
Palestinian prisoners? The PA's detention conditions 
<https://www.aljazeera.com/news/2021/5/28/why-is-palestinian-authority-arresting-activists-in-west-bank> 
should be of as much interest to international organisations as Israel's 
if only human rights were truly a concern for the international community.

The only certainty gleaned from Shtayyeh's appeal to international 
organisations is the periodical exploitation of Palestinian prisoners. 
They are the vanguard of resistance which the PA thinks it can 
capitalise on, as long as it feigns concern about human rights 
violations committed by Israel while ignoring its own.

Would the PA have been concerned about Palestinians in Israeli jails if 
the escape from Gilboa had not hit the headlines? The PA is delusional 
if it thinks that public relations opportunities can convince a united 
Palestinian public that the leadership has shifted from security 
coordination, torture, and extrajudicial killing, into a political 
entity abiding by international human rights norms.

How sickening can PA hypocrisy get over the Palestinian prisoners' 
issue? Quite probably even more so than it is now.

The views expressed in this article belong to the author and do not 
necessarily reflect the editorial policy of Middle East Monitor.

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