US report cites Israel and Arab countries as having major human rights flaws
A report released on Wednesday by the United States Department of State on human rights around the world cited Israel has having a problematic record regarding the treatment of Palestinian detainees.
The report said that "serious abuses by some members of the security forces against Palestinian detainees" existed in Israeli prisons, according to the AFP.
It added that Israeli authorities also discriminated against Arabs holding Israeli citizenship, non-Orthodox Jews, women, and handicapped citizens.
It went on to say that despite the fact that the Israeli government generally respected the rights of its citizens, discrimination, violence and corruption still existed.
Along with Israel, the report labeled human rights records in many of its ally countries poor, including three countries visited by US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice in a recent tour of the Middle East-- Egypt, Saudi Arabia and the UAE.
Egypt was criticized harshly, with reports of fraud and vote rigging, and torture of prisoners.
In Saudi Arabia, beatings, arbitrary arrests, lack of religious freedom or the right of women to vote were highlighted.
Despite the findings, Rice visited called each of the three Arab countries a strategic partner and ally.
Iran and Syria were also sharply criticized in the report, with the two having some of the worst human rights problems, according to Barry Lowenkron, the US assistant secretary of state for democracy, human rights and labor.
The report, published annually since 1977 by the US government, cites human rights records of 196 countries around the world.