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Wednesday, May 25, 2005
PHRMG: Corruption in Palestine under the shadow of the new PA

Press release
May 23, 2005

Corruption in Palestine under the shadow of the new PA

Although President Mahmoud Abbas (Abu-Mazen) has taken new security measures
and made reforms aimed at establishing and improving security in the
Palestinian territories, it is still a matter of concern. Civilians in the
Palestinian territories are still suffering from corruption and lack of
safety and security. Many incidents of corruption have occurred causing
tension and confusion in the Palestinian streets. The situation is worsened
by the negligence of the authority, which fails to follow up on these
shameful incidences and hold the responsible persons accountable.

Many incidents, which can only be described as 'Corruption', have occurred
after the new Palestinian Authority was elected:

1. On 14/1/2005 al-Risala Newspaper office in Gaza, a weekly newspaper
published by Al-Khalas Islamic group (Salvation Group), was attacked by
unidentified persons who fired gunshots and threw a handmade bomb on the
newspaper office which caused major damages. This act is considered to be
against freedom of speech.

2. On 10/2/2005 an armed attack was committed against the Central Prison in
Gaza City which led to the death of three prisoners. Two similar acts took
place within 6 months, reflecting a negative picture of the people in
charge. The attacks reveal their negligence in protecting prisoners against
those who believe that they are above the law and who believe that they can
accomplish anything by force and not by law.

3. Election processes were disrupted by groups of armed men on several
occasions and locations using the threat of weapons, including the elections
at the Youth Club of Balata on 1/4/2005, the local elections of Attara
village/Ramallah in 5/5/2005, the elections of Bitonia/ Ramallah Club on
13/5/2005, in addition to the attack launched by nine armed men on the
office of the Central Election Commission (CEC) in Deir al-Balah/Gaza on
8/5/2005. The group forced the CEC to close election registration centers in
the central Gaza Strip. Such acts violate the right of electoral freedom and
violate the Palestinians' right to choose their representatives.

4. On 12/3/2005 thousands of unemployed workers attacked the Legislative
Council in Gaza contesting the deteriorated living conditions and the lack
of work opportunities throughout the past four years.

5. On 8/4/2005 an armed man shot a woman and her fiancÚ in Gaza which lead
to the woman's death.

6. Many violent acts were committed against governmental hospitals and
staffs of doctors and nurses. On 12/4/2005 a group of armed men, working for
the general intelligence system, attacked Ramallah Hospital and hit a number
of doctors and nurses and destroyed governmental property and medical
devices. Other similar incidents occurred on 8/3/2005 when the head of
nursing department and others in the Palestinian Nursing College in Khan-
Younes/Gaza were attacked.

7. On 14/4/2005 a group of unidentified armed men fired shots towards Mr.
Ahmad al-Batsh's house and car in Beir Nabala near Ramallah. Mr. al-Batsh is
a member of the Legislative Council of Jerusalem. Similarly, on 15/2/2005
the house of the governor of Gaza City, Mr. Bsesso, was attacked, and on
5/3/2005 the house of Palestinian Minister Jameel al-Tareefi was also

8. On 2/5/2005 a group of family members attacked a judge and the ruling
committee while judging three men who were accused of murder in Central
Prison in Gaza. These and many other incidents of corruption took place
and even extended to attacking schools and teaching faculties, honor
killings, stealing private property. Even the Palestinian Cellular Telecom
Corporation 'Jawwal' in Hebron was not excluded from the acts of corruption.

Since Mr. Mahmoud Abbas became President, 36 Palestinians were killed by
other Palestinians. Among them, 18 were killed by gunfire, 6 by stabbing, 2
by beating, 4 honor killings and 6 suspected for collaborating with Israel.
On the other hand, in that same period of time, the Israeli soldiers killed
63 Palestinians in the Occupied Territories.

PHRMG strongly condemns these crimes and reiterates its call for the PA to
immediately act to confront the misuse of weapons in the Occupied
Palestinian Territories, which threatens the safety and security of
Palestinian civilians.

PHRMG believes that the real first step which should be taken to accomplish
security begins with the Palestinian Authority itself. The Palestinian
Authority should start taking serious measures to question and punish those
who are responsible for corruption and violation of law and should start
prosecuting those who think they are above the law.

The Palestinian Human Rights Monitoring Group (PHRMG) is a Palestinian,
independent, non-governmental organization working to end human rights
violations committed against Palestinians in the West Bank, Gaza Strip, and
East Jerusalem, regardless of those responsible. The members of the
Monitoring Group believe that the strength of democracy and civil society in
Palestinian society will be determined by the Palestinian people, through
their defense or neglect of human rights.

Ragheb Nashashibi Street 5
Sheikh Jarrah-Jerusalem
P.O. Box 19918
East Jerusalem 91198
tel. 972-2-582-3372/3
fax. 972-2-582-3385

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