PA torture case still being ignored by the BBC

As regular readers may recall, the BBC has been ignoring an unusual story unfolding in Israeli courts for well over a year.

BBC News ignores an unusual legal story from Israel

Story of PA torture continues to be side-lined by BBC

“In a landmark ruling, the Jerusalem District ordered the Palestinian Authority to pay compensation of 13.2 million shekels (approximately $3.5 million) to dozens of suspected collaborators with Israel who were systematically tortured while incarcerated in PA jails.

Hadashot news reported Thursday the plaintiffs hope that Israel will be able to collect the compensation from the Palestinian Authority, and that if not, it could be raised by offsetting tax revenues collected by Israel on the PA’s behalf.”

The story took another turn when – as reported by the Jerusalem Post:

“The PA [Palestinian Authority] has appealed all of the District Court’s decisions to the [Israeli] Supreme Court and asked that the lower court’s decisions be frozen until the appeal is decided. […]

Hoping to deter the court, the PA warned that having to pay the damages, and possibly much larger future damages, might cause the PA to collapse. (The NIS 14 million related only to false imprisonment. That sum could pale compared to the damages the District Court might later issue for the full torture liability.)”

However:

“In a blockbuster ruling the Supreme Court on Wednesday effectively endorsed two judgements totalling close to NIS 14 million against the Palestinian Authority for falsely jailing 51 Palestinians. […]

Justice Yosef Elron’s rejection of the PA appeal means the PA is now obligated under Israeli law to pay the 51 Palestinians without delay – though there are still questions on how the plaintiffs can realistically collect. […]

Notably, the court said if Palestinians were cooperating with Israel to thwart terrorist attacks on Israelis, the PA is also obligated to assist in such efforts under the Oslo Accords. Accordingly, the court said the PA could not treat such Palestinians as criminals, much less torture them. […]

The case is likely to cause significant diplomatic and legal complications between Israel and the PA, especially about whether and how the PA would pay damages.”

The Palestinian Authority of course spends far more annually on financial rewards to terrorists and their families than the sum awarded in compensation to the plaintiffs in this case.

Despite having published a report pertaining to Palestinian torture just last month, the BBC nevertheless continues to ignore this unusual legal story.

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A second hand BBC News report on Palestinian torture

 

 

 

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A second hand BBC News report on Palestinian torture

BBC Watch has in the past documented the BBC’s decidedly sparse interest in internal Palestinian affairs.

“Although the conflict is clearly just one story among many in the region, only very occasionally do audiences see stand-alone reports about Palestinian affairs which are not framed within that context and do not have an Israel-related component.

Insight into internal Palestinian politics which would enhance audiences’ comprehension of Palestinian society (as well as the conflict) is relatively rare in BBC coverage. Reporting on social and human rights issues within Palestinian society is even more scarce and thus BBC audiences see a blinkered and largely one-dimensional view of Palestinian life.”

Reviewing BBC News coverage of internal Palestinian affairs

BBC News flunks on Palestinian internal affairs yet again

In August 2017 and again in July 2018 we noted that the BBC had totally ignored a story about Palestinian Authority citizens suing the PA over torture by its security forces.

BBC News ignores an unusual legal story from Israel

Story of PA torture continues to be side-lined by BBC

The last time the BBC News website produced any reporting on allegations of PA torture was over two years ago and prior to that – in 2009.

However, when ‘Human Rights Watch’ (one of the political NGOs most frequently quoted and promoted in BBC content) published a report on October 23rd, BBC News website quickly published an article linking to the relevant HRW press release under the headline “Palestinian forces routinely arresting and torturing critics – HRW“.

“The Fatah-led Palestinian Authority in the occupied West Bank and Hamas authorities in the Gaza Strip routinely arrest and torture peaceful critics and opponents, Human Rights Watch says.

A report based on interviews with former detainees alleges the rival factions have “established machineries of repression to crush dissent”.

Security forces, it says, often taunt, threaten, beat, and put detainees in painful stress positions.

The PA and Hamas deny the allegations.”

While the vast majority of the BBC’s 704-word article is given over to paraphrasing and quoting HRW’s press release, at its end readers find second-hand responses taken from a Reuters report on the same story.

“Officials in the West Bank and Gaza rejected the findings.

Maj Gen Adnan al-Dmairi, a spokesman for the PA’s security forces, told Reuters news agency: “Arrests are being carried according to the law and we are committed to upholding the law.”

Eyad al-Bozom, spokesman of the Hamas-run ministry of interior in Gaza, said: “We do not have a policy of torture. This is a violation of the law.”

“We have taken action against officers who violated the law, including issues of torture. Some were detained and put on trial, others were demoted,” he added.”

Readers may recall that Adnan Damiri (or, as spelt in the Reuters article, Dmairi) is the same PA police spokesman whom the BBC found it appropriate to quote when, in 2016, it portrayed a temporary roadblock set up by Israeli troops following a terror attack by a member of the Palestinian Authority security forces as “collective punishment”.

While it is obviously refreshing to see this issue getting some exposure on the BBC’s website (and the article did at least refrain from recycling the irrelevant comment relating to Israel found in the HRW report), it is nevertheless notable that this is not a report by the BBC informing its funding public about the serious topic of torture conducted by Palestinian factions but the recycling of a report by an external organisation.

And so, BBC audiences still await serious, original BBC reporting on this issue as well as on other aspects of internal Palestinian affairs.

Related Articles:

The Palestinian protests the BBC preferred to ignore

A rare BBC News report on internal Palestinian affairs

BBC’s Connolly ‘contextualises’ Hamas torture and execution (spoiler – it’s Israel’s fault)

Gaza Strip stories the BBC chooses not to report

 

 

 

Story of PA torture continues to be side-lined by BBC

Last August we noted on these pages that the BBC had ignored a very unusual legal story from Israel.

“The Jerusalem Post reported that:

“Fifty-one Palestinians tortured by the Palestinian Authority for cooperating with Israel can sue the PA in Israeli courts for damages, the Jerusalem District Court ruled on Wednesday.

The 1,860-page ruling is based on dozens of witness testimonies over several years.

It is one of the most bizarre in years, as it involves Palestinian Authority citizens coming before the courts of the Israeli “occupation” to get justice for their mistreatment by their own PA law enforcement. […]

The case is likely to cause significant diplomatic and legal complications between Israel and the PA, especially about whether and how the authority would be paying damages.” [emphasis added]”

Although the plaintiffs won their case last year, they had to wait for a second court to determine the level of compensation from the Palestinian Authority. Part of that process was completed last week.

“In a landmark ruling, the Jerusalem District ordered the Palestinian Authority to pay compensation of 13.2 million shekels (approximately $3.5 million) to dozens of suspected collaborators with Israel who were systematically tortured while incarcerated in PA jails.

Hadashot news reported Thursday the plaintiffs hope that Israel will be able to collect the compensation from the Palestinian Authority, and that if not, it could be raised by offsetting tax revenues collected by Israel on the PA’s behalf.”

Israel HaYom adds:

“According to Thursday’s ruling, the PA will compensate the 52 victims for wrongful imprisonment. Additional compensation for the torture the collaborators endured will be decided upon at a later date.”

Unsurprisingly given the corporation’s dismal record on coverage of domestic Palestinian affairs, just as the BBC did not report that story when the plaintiffs won their case, it has also ignored the court’s ruling concerning compensation. However, with the BBC having in the past demonstrated its fondness for stories concerning Israeli confiscation of PA tax revenues, there is perhaps still a chance that audiences may hear about this story.   

Related Articles:

BBC News ignores an unusual legal story from Israel

BBC News flunks on Palestinian internal affairs yet again

 

 

BBC News ignores an unusual legal story from Israel

A very unusual story that does not fit the BBC’s standard narrative on Israel and the Palestinians came to light recently.

The Jerusalem Post reported that:

“Fifty-one Palestinians tortured by the Palestinian Authority for cooperating with Israel can sue the PA in Israeli courts for damages, the Jerusalem District Court ruled on Wednesday.

The 1,860-page ruling is based on dozens of witness testimonies over several years.

It is one of the most bizarre in years, as it involves Palestinian Authority citizens coming before the courts of the Israeli “occupation” to get justice for their mistreatment by their own PA law enforcement. […]

The case is likely to cause significant diplomatic and legal complications between Israel and the PA, especially about whether and how the authority would be paying damages.” [emphasis added]

Haaretz added:

“The cases were filed by a number of Palestinians and Israeli citizens – mostly Arabs but at least one Jew – who were tortured by Palestinian security forces mainly in the 1990s and early 2000s. The ruling reveals the torture methods used by the security forces and how they kidnapped the victims. Some were abducted in Area C of the West Bank, which is under full Israeli civil and security control, and even in Jerusalem, where Palestinian forces are not allowed to operate. […]

Judge Moshe Yair Drori of the Jerusalem District Court stated in his almost 2,000-page ruling that Israeli courts have the authority to rule in cases where the people who were tortured are Israeli citizens or who were kidnapped from areas where Palestinian Authority security forces are not allowed to operate – or those who were tortured because they cooperated with Israel.”

The Times of Israel reported:

“Plaintiffs said interrogators beat them, put out cigarettes on their bodies, pulled out their teeth, forced them into painful positions for lengthy periods of time and withheld food and drink. Several said their genitals were abused, leaving them sterile and impotent.

In some cases prisoners were locked inside hot metal containers on hot days, or were alternately doused with searing and freezing water. Others recounted being forced to drink out of toilet bowls or sit on broken bottles. Some were made to witness the executions of other suspected collaborators. Prisoners were often denied medical attention.

The PA, while acknowledging the imprisonment of some of the plaintiffs, denied that any torture took place.”

As regular readers know, the BBC is usually very quick to report stories relating to legal and/or criminal issues in Israel with visitors to the BBC’s website already having seen 22 stories of that genre in the first half of 2017 alone. However, in this case BBC audiences have yet to see any reporting on a story that clearly falls outside the BBC’s usual framing.