Palestinians Can Sue PA for Torture, Israeli Court Rules

An Israeli court ruled on Wednesday that 51 Palestinians have grounds to sue the Palestinian Authority for torture they suffered while in PA custody, The Jerusalem Post reported.

The Jerusalem District Court said in a 1,860-page ruling that the plaintiffs could sue the PA in Israeli courts, noting that they had been tortured for helping Israeli authorities thwart terror attacks, something that the PA was obligated to do. The suit is supported by dozens of witlessness and covers events that occurred over several years.

The court excluded eight plaintiffs from the suit, ruling that they were convicted of petty crimes and that, therefore, the issue was a local Palestinian matter over which the court has no jurisdiction.

According to the court, PA authorities tortured the plaintiffs in the case by “beating them on all parts of the body, hitting them with lead pipes, extinguishing cigarettes on their bodies, hanging them in torture positions for hours and starving them.”

Some of the plaintiffs “were also exposed to extreme heat and cold, or extremely hot or cold water was dumped on them.” The court also said that the PA forced doctors to pull out healthy teeth instead of treating unhealthy ones.

In the next phase, the court will determine what compensation is due to the plaintiffs.

The PA countered the charges with a number of arguments, both denying that its officials tortured the plaintiffs and arguing that they had a right to pressure detainees who posed a risk to national security. They also argued that Israel’s judiciary did not have jurisdiction over the plaintiffs, who are PA citizens, and argued that international law—not Israeli personal-injury law—should govern the cases.

“Notably,” the Post reported, “the court said if Palestinians were cooperating with Israel to thwart terrorist attacks on Israelis, that the PA was also obligated to assist in such efforts under the Oslo Accords.” Given these obligations, the PA could not treat the plaintiffs as criminals or torture them.

The court also found that some of the plaintiffs were arrested even though they were located within the Green Line or had Israeli citizenship. In both cases, the PA had no jurisdiction over them.

The news of the PA’s mistreatment of Palestinians who helped Israel thwart terrorist attacks comes amid reports that the PA increased its payments in 2017 to Palestinians who attack Israelis.

[Photo: AP Archive / YouTube ]