In July, Jerusalem’s district court issued one of the lengthiest verdicts in Israeli history, detailing the torture inflicted on 52 Palestinian men by the Palestinian Authority. Suspected of collaborating with Israeli authorities, the men were arrested by Mahmoud Abbas’s police. Over 1,860 pages, the verdict describes each case in graphic detail. Some had urine injected into their veins. Others had their teeth pulled out. All were beaten, starved, and humiliated, and, the court found, all were entitled to compensation for their suffering.
Before it could determine how much, exactly, the PA owed each man, the court asked the plaintiffs to produce expert medical opinions determining the exact extent of the long-term damages each of them suffered as a result of being tortured. Their attorneys contacted a host of Israeli human rights organizations, confident that they’ll soon be able to locate and contact volunteer doctors to perform rudimentary examinations. But the human rights groups refused.
“We contacted every organization,” said Barak Kedem, the plaintiff’s lawyer, but most of them “refused to help, saying they only assisted Palestinians who sued the State of Israel.”
The only exception was Blue and White Human Rights, an NGO founded by the Institute for Zionist Strategies, a pro-Israeli, pro-civil-rights think tank.
I reached out to several of the organizations that refused to help, asking why Palestinians severely tortured by the PA were any less deserving of protection, assistance, and compassion than Palestinians suing the Jewish State, but received no comments.
Liel Leibovitz is editor at large for Tablet Magazine and a host of its weekly culture podcast Unorthodox and daily Talmud podcast Take One. He is the editor of Zionism: The Tablet Guide.