HRW report on intra–Palestinian abuses includes false allegations against Israel
The Human Rights Watch (HRW) July 2008, 113-page report, “Internal Fight: Palestinian Abuses in Gaza and the West Bank,” focuses on “serious human rights abuses” by Hamas and Fatah, including torture, summary executions and illegal arrests. While such behavior is well known, it is rarely discussed in the self-proclaimed human rights community, and this major report marks a change from HRW’s previous policy of largely ignoring intra-Palestinian violence, while targeting Israel (as documented by NGO Monitor). However, the transition is partial, and includes swipes at Israel in order to create the illusion of political balance, repeating false allegations of “persistent abuses” by Israel (pg. 3), Israeli “violation of international humanitarian law” (13) and “collective punishment” (16) in Gaza. Similar comments were by Sarah Leah Whitson in an Inter Press Service News Agency (IPS) article. HRW’s political bias is also displayed when Hamas’ terrorist organization, which targets Israeli civilians, is described as “traditionally focused on social programs and fighting the Israeli occupation” (54).
The Palestinian NGO Al-Haq also released a report on intra-Palestinian abuse in July, documenting torture and arbitrary detention in Gaza and the Palestinian Authority. The report concludes that the “majority of arrests in the West Bank and Gaza Strip are politically motivated,” and that the “PNA Preventive Security Force and General Intelligence Service” and the “Hamas Executive Force and Izz-al-Din al-Qassam Brigades” are responsible for most of the torture. Amnesty International also made a Public Statement on July 28, 2008, condemning intra-Palestinian violations.