The man I am sitting with in the photo below, taken in Jericho last Saturday, is Bassem Eid, the founder and manager of the Palestinian Human Rights Monitoring Group. Mr. Eid is a Muslim and a member of the largest Arab tribe in the West Bank.
Right to left: the author, Bassem Eid, Ruth Lautt.
Mr. Eid formerly helped monitor and investigate claims of human rights violations by the Israelis. After the founding of the Palestinian Authority by the Oslo agreements, Eid noticed that no one was paying attention to HR violations by the PA or Palestinian militias. So Eid founded the PHRMG in 1996.
PHRMG's latest revelations of human-rights violations by the PA and Hamas were released yesterday, entitled, "Fatah and Hamas Human Rights Violations in the Palestinian Occupied Territories from June 2007 to October 2007" (PDF online).
No one else is doing the work that Bassem Eid and his small number of assistants are doing. He was arrested by the PA in the 1990s, but was held only a day. The fact that his tribe is the largest in the West Bank - and therefore has the most muscle to retaliate against anyone who might harm him - is almost certainly the only reason he is still breathing.
I'll post a summary of our conversation with Mr. Eid soon.