Senior Palestinian police officials are receiving immediate training from British counterparts on prisoner interrogation and care after it was disclosed this week that the Palestinians routinely tortured people in their custody.
London's Mail on Sunday broke the torture story Sunday, quoting Palestinian officials acknowledging the mistreatment, "including beatings, being suspended from the ceiling and electric shocks." In addition, at least four people are thought to have been killed in Palestinian Authority.
Most of the victims are Hamas members suspected of trying to undermine PA governance in the West Bank.
The British are financing the program, which cost £100,000 just to launch. The government already contributes £20million a year to the agencies responsible for the torture cases.
The story has not received the attention it might have had the torturers been Western or Israeli police. At the National Review Online, Tom Gross points out that PA prisoner abuse dates back to the Authority's foundating under Yasser Arafat:
"Meanwhile, as Palestinian detainees are being tortured to death in Palestinian Authority jails, Palestinian prisoners (including convicted terrorists) in custody in Israel are studying for Israeli university degrees (at Israeli taxpayers' expense) and also given cable TV, IPods and dental treatment – but international human rights groups criticize Israel, whose deputy foreign minister and former ambassador to Washington Danny Ayalon narrowly escaped being arrested in Britain for "war crimes" yesterday."
It's at least a hopeful sign that the training is taking place and that the PA official quoted by the Mail didn't try to duck the issue. The Brits should do all they can to ensure their latest PA donations aren't wasted.