Palestinians Are Dying in Hamas Prisons, and Self-Defined Champions of “Human Rights” Are Too Bigoted to Care

March 11, 2020 | Bassam Tawil
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On February 23, Essam al-Sa’afeen, a Gaza native, died in Hamas custody under suspicious circumstances, only a month after his arrest. He is but one of several Palestinians—many of whom were members of the rival Fatah party—who have met similar fates. Bassam Tawil comments:

Sa’afeen’s death did not surprise Palestinians who are familiar with the various methods of torture in Hamas and Palestinian Authority prisons. The Gaza-based al-Mezan Center for Human Rights said that an autopsy conducted by the forensic medicine department on Sa’afeen’s body showed “bruises and a change in the color of the skin”—implying he had been physically abused. . . . The center also called on Hamas to investigate whether Sa’afeen had received medical treatment during his detention for the high blood pressure and diabetes from which he suffered.

Of course, Tawil writes, no investigation will take place. Nor will those in the West who profess so much concern over the mistreatment of Palestinians make a peep—an irony that is not lost on Palestinians themselves:

Sa’afeen’s mother [stated] that the Israelis treat Palestinians much better than Hamas does. “When the Jews arrest someone, they contact his family to say they are holding him,” she said. . . . The Palestinian news website Amad pointed out that on the same day that Sa’afeen was pronounced dead, the Israeli authorities installed phones for the use of Hamas prisoners.

Palestinian detainees do not die of dubious causes in Israeli prisons; perhaps that is why no one in the international community seems to care. When Palestinians die in Palestinian prisons, the murders are presumably regarded as the handiwork of supposedly savage Arabs, who are—with racist contempt—held to a lower standard of conduct than Westerners, and therefore regarded as unworthy of human rights, accountable governance, due process, or equal justice under the law.

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