Torture in Palestinian jails ‘systematic’: HRW

The report is likely to raise issues for governments that fund the PA’s security forces, including the United States, which has maintained security funding despite cutting aid to the Palestinians.

Shakir said both sides were “systematically, arbitrarily detaining critics and torturing those in custody”.

The PA has limited self-autonomy in the Israeli-occupied West Bank but no influence in Gaza since 2007, when Hamas expelled its forces in a near civil war. The two have run separate and rival administrations since.

The PA government is a signatory to a series of conventions including the United Nations Convention against Torture.

HRW said the report was the result of two years of research and nearly 150 interviews.

Shakir said the allegations undermined Palestinian criticism of Israeli rights abuses.

“You have Palestinian leaders going around the world speaking about Palestinian rights at the same time as they are directing a machinery of oppression to crush dissent,” he said.

Haitham Arar, head of human rights at the PA’s interior ministry, said the government “rejected everything in the Human Rights Watch report”.

“The report confuses politics and human rights and is consistent with the (US) Deal of the Century with the aim of weakening the PA,” Arar said, referring to Trump’s long-delayed peace plan that Palestinians fear will be biased towards Israel.

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