Annual Report: Palestinian Authority 2010

May 28, 2010

Annual Report: Palestinian Authority 2010

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Unlawful killings

During and immediately following Israel's military operation in the Gaza Strip, Hamas forces and militias there engaged in a campaign of abductions, deliberate and unlawful killings, torture and death threats against people they accused of "collaborating" with Israel and other opponents and critics. More than 30 individuals were summarily killed. Scores of others were shot in the legs, kneecapped or otherwise injured in ways intended to cause permanent disability, or they were severely beaten or otherwise tortured or ill-treated. These abuses were committed with impunity, with the apparent approval of the Hamas leadership.

  • Saleh Jahjouh from Beit Hanoun was shot dead in al- Shifa' Hospital on 21 January. He had been held at Gaza Central Prison accused of "collaboration" with Israel but was moved to the hospital after being injured in an Israeli air attack on the prison.

In addition to the targeted killings, at least five civilian bystanders were killed and injured in the West Bank and Gaza Strip during violent clashes between Palestinian security forces and armed groups.

  • On 31 May, one civilian was killed in the West Bank town of Qalqiliya during a gunfight between PA police and armed supporters of Hamas who were resisting arrest. Three policemen and two armed members of Hamas were also killed.
  • On 14 and 15 August, at least four civilians were killed and others injured in Rafah in the Gaza Strip during a clash between Hamas security forces and members of Jund Ansar Allah, an armed group that claims allegiance to al-Qa'ida. In all, some 24 people were killed and more than 100 injured in the gunfight.

Abuses by armed groups

The armed wing of Hamas and other Palestinian armed groups based in Gaza fired hundreds of rockets and mortars into southern Israel before Hamas declared a ceasefire on 18 January. The attacks killed three civilians and severely injured at least four others. Several homes were also damaged.

  • Seven-year-old Uriel Elazarov was seriously injured by shrapnel when a rocket exploded in Bersheva, southern Israel, on 15 January. Five other civilians were injured in the same attack.

After 18 January, the PFLP, Fatah and Islamic Jihad continued sporadically to fire rockets and mortars from Gaza into southern Israel.

Hamas continued to deny the captured Israeli soldier Gilad Shalit access to the ICRC or visits from his family. In October, Hamas issued a video of Gilad Shalit that showed he was still alive and in captivity.

Justice system

The judicial systems in the West Bank and Gaza remained extremely problematic. The PA continued to prohibit former members of the judiciary and security forces from working for the Hamas de facto administration in Gaza, and to pay them for not working. Hamas continued to use alternative prosecutors and judges who often lacked the necessary training and qualifications. In the West Bank, PA security forces frequently failed to comply with court decisions calling for them to release specific detainees.

Arbitrary arrests and detentions

In the West Bank and Gaza hundreds of people were arbitrarily arrested and held without charge or trial. Those detained were often suspected of involvement with a rival political party.

Torture and other ill-treatment

Detainees held in the West Bank and Gaza were frequently beaten, subjected to sleep deprivation, and forced to spend long periods handcuffed in painful stress positions (shabeh) during the interrogation period. Complaints of torture were rarely investigated.

Deaths in custody

In the West Bank, three detainees died while being detained by PA security forces; all three were reportedly arrested because of suspected involvement with Hamas and were alleged to have been tortured or otherwise ill-treated in custody.