The Palestinian National Authority (PNA)
is an autonomous entity created by the Oslo accords that administers
part of the Occupied Palestinian Territories (OPT).
Although it is accorded security and civil control over 18% of the OPT
and civil control only over 41%, its existence does not change the
legal status of the Gaza Strip and West Bank (including east
Jerusalem) as occupied territories, as Israel invades PNA-controlled
areas at will, and its policies still have a direct impact on all
aspects of life in the OPT. The PNA’s human rights record fails to
meet international standards in several areas:
arrests. Since its creation in
1993, the PNA has carried out numerous politically motivated arrests
under Israeli or American pressure, often without charge and in
violation of international human rights standards. In addition,
Palestinian police have failed to implement judicial orders issued
by Palestinian courts to release illegally detained individuals.
The PNA released nearly all of its prisoners at the beginning of the
al-Aqsa Intifada, fearing that detention facilities would be bombed
by Israeli warplanes. In the autumn of 2001, however, the PNA
resumed its practice of illegal arrests without evidence or judicial
court. The PNA has established
special state security courts to bypass the judiciary, violating
standards of transparency and due process. Trials are often summary
and take place before military judges with court-appointed defence
counsel; sentences are carried out without opportunity for appeal.
Many of those subjected to torture, unfair trials, and the death
penalty have been accused of collaborating with Israeli occupation
forces. This situation is further complicated by the Oslo accords,
which grants blanket immunity to any Palestinian who has “maintained
contact with the Israeli authorities.” PCHR supports investigation,
trial, and punishment for collaborators, but maintains that such
processes must meet international human rights standards.
institutions. Before the al-Aqsa
Intifada, the executive branch of the PNA regularly undermined the
Palestinian Legislative Council (PLC), failing to ratify laws that
have been passed, ignoring the PLC’s demands and orders, and failing
to consult it properly. The PLC has been unable to meet during the
al-Aqsa Intifada due to the closure imposed by Israel.
[Last updated 18 March 2002]