Israel, Palestinians accused of human rights abuses in U.S. annual report

Cnaan Liphshiz

(JTA) — The United States reiterated accusations of human rights abuses by Israel, the Palestinian Authority and Hamas in a 2014 report on human rights practices.

The summary on Israel and the Palestinians in the report, which the State Department’s Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights and Labor released Thursday, mostly repeated language used in the 2013 report and earlier documents.

“Human rights problems related to actions by Israeli authorities inside the West Bank and Gaza included reports of excessive use of force against civilians, including killings; abuse of Palestinian detainees, particularly during arrest and interrogation,” the text read.

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“Human rights abuses under Hamas included security forces killing, torturing, arbitrarily detaining, and harassing opponents, including Fatah members, and other Palestinians with impunity,” it said.

Under the Palestinian Authority in the West Bank, human rights abuses “included abuse and mistreatment of detainees, poor and overcrowded detention facilities, prolonged detention, and infringements on privacy rights,” according to the annual report.

Discrimination based on sexual orientation and HIV/AIDS status persisted under the Palestinian Authority in the West Bank, according to the report. “There were some limits on worker rights, and there was forced labor. Child labor, including forced labor, also remained a serious problem,” it read.

Violence by settlers against the Palestinian population, the report said, “continued to be a problem, as did inconsistent punishment of these acts by Israeli authorities.”

On Israeli issues unrelated to the Palestinian-Israeli conflict, the report noted that “other human rights problems included institutional and societal discrimination against non-Orthodox Jews, some minority religious groups, and intermarried families, and labor rights abuses against foreign workers.”

Like the 2013 report, the document released Thursday also reference Ethiopian Jews as victims of discrimination in Israel.

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