Amnesty International – update
Detailed criticism of Palestinian human rights abuses; but promotion of ‘right of return’
Amnesty International released two reports on Palestinian issues this month. An October 24 report — Occupied Palestinian Territories: Palestinian factional strife fuelling abuses – details Fatah and Hamas human rights abuses in 2007. Amnesty’s statement prefacing the report notes that, "Neither medical nor educational facilities were immune as they and residential buildings were both attacked and used as firing positions from which to mount attacks"; the report attributes the "lawlessness" and "interfactional fighting" to "the prolonged and systematic failure of the PA to uphold and enforce the law." The report accurately points to Palestinian government corruption and violence as a source of rights abuses – and this belated recognition marks an important change for Amnesty.
Amnesty also published an October 17, 2007 report– Lebanon – Exiled and suffering: Palestinian refugees in Lebanon. The report criticizes the Lebanese government, which places these Palestinians "in a situation akin to that of second class citizens and denies them access to their full range of human rights, even though most of them were born and raised in Lebanon." However, Amnesty also repeatedly promotes the Palestinian "right of return" throughout the document, a highly contentious position and a major barrier to peace in the Israeli-Arab conflict (as it would mean the destruction of Israel as a Jewish state)