The human rights group criticized the Palestinians for jailing dissenters, despite the fact that one of its own operatives turned in an innocent Palestinian for daring to work with Israelis during the corona pandemic.
By Ezra Stone, United with Israel
On Thursday, human rights group Amnesty International blasted Palestinian regimes in Judea and Samaria and the Gaza Strip for arresting those critical of their policies.
Ironically, an Amnesty employee was at the center of one of the more egregious incidents involving Hamas’ crackdown on freedom of expression.
In mid-April, Amnesty’s Hind Khoudary, who identified herself as an “international research consultant” for the organization, exposed journalist Rami Aman of the Gaza Youth Committee for participating in a video conference with Israelis on Zoom to strategize responses to the coronavirus pandemic.
It is common knowledge in the Gaza Strip that individuals who “collaborate” with Israelis, even peace activists, are subject to torture, harassment, and other forms of retribution.
Khoudary “denounced Aman in a Facebook post – now inaccessible – and tagged three Hamas officials,” after which Aman was arrested and “has not been heard from since,” The Algemeiner reported
Khoudary was immediately castigated for putting Aman in tremendous danger at the hands of Hamas’ brutal enforcers.
Human Rights Watch official Peter Bouckaert, who is generally critical of Israel, told Khoudary, “You should be ashamed of yourself,” adding, “It is disgusting that a so-called ‘journalist’ got an activist for dialogue arrested by Hamas. Conflicts are resolved through dialogue and understanding, not hatred.”
Khoudary tweeted back at Bouckaert, “Being ashamed of myself for fighting normalization with Israel?”
Both the Palestinian Authority and its counterpart in the Gaza Strip, the Hamas terror group, have a lengthy history of crushing dissent and closely monitoring the press, punishing those who stray from party lines.
Israel remains one of the only nations in the Middle East that protects freedom of expression and guards individuals’ and the press’ right to speak without fear of retribution.
In its letter on Thursday, Amnesty recounted Aman’s horrific ordeal, but refused to mention Khoudary’s name even once.
“The [Palestinian] authorities in both the [Judea and Samaria] and Gaza Strip have violated the right to freedom of expression by arbitrarily detaining individuals solely for peacefully sharing their views on social media. This must immediately stop,” said Saleh Higazi, Deputy Middle East director at Amnesty International.
The letter also mentioned incidents in Judea and Samaria, including one in which a former member of Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas’ Fatah party was arrested for criticizing the ailing Palestinian ruler, who has refused to hold elections for 11 years.
While the Palestinian Authority refused to comment on the Amnesty missive, Iyad al-Bozum, spokesman for the Hamas-run Interior Ministry in Gaza, dismissed Amnesty’s criticism, AP reported.
“There are no detainees on freedom of expression and the names mentioned had committed violations punishable by law and have nothing to do with political opinion or color,” he said.
Amnesty called for all those detained in related matters to be released.
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