US report on human rights blasts Arabs

Study: Despite discrimination and violence, Israelis are generally respectful.

women at hawara 298 (photo credit: AP [file])
women at hawara 298
(photo credit: AP [file])
The annual US State Department report on human rights detailed Israeli transgressions, citing discrimination, violence, and corruption, while still maintaining that the Israeli government respects the rights of its citizens. The report said discrimination was directed mostly at the disabled, women, and foreign workers, as well as at Israeli-Arabs. Security prison facilities are in poor condition, and a small minority of security workers harass Palestinian prisoners, the report stated. The government also discriminates against non-Orthodox Israeli Jews, the US State Department claimed. In the Palestinian Authority, there is a lack of proper supervision over security forces, allowing excessive violence to be employed by its members. The State Department called the human rights records of key Arab allies poor or problematic on Wednesday, citing flawed elections and torture of prisoners in Egypt, beatings, arbitrary arrests and a lack of religious freedom in Saudi Arabia, and flogging as punishment for adultery or drug abuse in the United Arab Emirates. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice visited all three last month and called each a strategic partner or stalwart ally that wields regional influence or helps in such areas as anti-terror investigations. The relationship between the United States and the UAE is at the center of a political fracas over a Dubai company's plans to take over operations at several US ports. On Iraq, the report said the government's performance was handicapped by insurgency and terrorism that has an impact on every aspect of life. "The ongoing insurgency, coupled with sectarian and criminal violence, seriously affected the government's human rights performance," the report said. It cited increased reports of killings that may have been politically motivated. "Additionally, common criminals, insurgents, and terrorists undermined public confidence in the security apparatus by sometimes masking their identity in police and army uniforms," it said. The study, which has been published each year since 1977, offers a comprehensive analysis of all countries in the world. It calls records in Saudi Arabia and Egypt poor, and the UAE record problematic.