Europeans Support PA Despite Known Abuses

On 23rd June, more than 1,000 parliamentarians from 25 European countries wrote a letter to Europe’s leaders urging them to act against Israeli annexation of parts of the West Bank.

Israeli Sovereignty campaignIsraeli Sovereignty campaign (photo AFP)

They claimed to be: profoundly concerned about the impact of annexation on the lives of Israelis and Palestinians’ and expressed the opinion that:

‘Europe must take the lead in bringing international actors together to prevent annexation
and to safeguard the prospects of the two-state solution and a just resolution to the conflict.’

But like many other politicians around the world, they appear to be unaware of evidence about the living conditions of people under the rule of the Palestinian Authority (PA).

Just over two weeks ago a journalist wrote about the opinions of Palestinians who say they would prefer to live under Israeli rule. One of them was quoted as saying:

“I want the residents of my village to be happy. Today they are subject to the Palestinian Authority,
but they want to live under Netanyahu more than anything, and to obtain Israeli identity cards.”

Now you may ask, ‘What difference does it make if a few Palestinians say they would prefer Israeli rule?’ It makes a lot of difference, because it is very dangerous for Palestinians to speak out against the PA.

That is demonstrated by another recent article reporting that most of the Palestinians who spoke to an Israeli reporter about their views have since been arrested and sent to ‘torture centres.’

If that claim seems wild to you, bear in mind that human rights organisations have reported arbitrary arrests and torture by the PA for years. The Human Rights Watch organisation highlighted the problem again just last year. Noting that over a 15-month period the PA detained 1,609 people for insulting ‘higher authorities’ and creating ‘sectarian strife’.

‘These two charges in effect criminalize peaceful dissent.’

One detailed account that has emerged involves a Palestinian social activist who was arrested on 3rd November 2018. Forty heavily armed men are reported to have burst into her home and dragged the mother-of-three away. More than a year later she is still fighting for justice.

Amnesty International’s Middle East Deputy Director confirmed that the PA’s legal system operates on a ‘guilty until proven innocent basis,’ with charges often relying on confessions rather than evidence. As a result, torture is incentivised as an efficient tool to conclude investigations.

Do more than 1,000 European parliamentarians realise that this is the type of statehood they are supporting?