Along with regional Arab governments and Israel, leaders of the Palestinian Authority have been closely monitoring political upheaval in various Arab countries in North Africa and the Middle East. Closely allied for many years with the Mubarak government in Egypt, PA leaders are said to be especially concerned that Palestinian citizens might rise up and demand political reforms inside the PA, which has often been charged with widespread corruption.
Concerns grew after the London-based Arab Organization for Human Rights group issued a report accusing PA security forces of practicing torture against arrested members of the opposition Muslim Hamas movement. The report said that torture has been carried out on a “widespread and systematic basis for several years.” PA officials charged that the British-based Arab human rights group is biased against it, being largely funded by Hamas and also connected to other radical Islamic fundamentalist groups. They also note that Hamas violently took over the Gaza Strip several years ago, killing or wounding many Palestinian civilians and PA security forces in the process. PA leaders are especially fearful that Hamas may take over neighboring Jordan.
By David Dolan
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