[News] Abuse, Oppression and Murder: The PA Does Israel’s Dirty Work in the West Bank - Politics For The People

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Mon Mar 9 10:51:25 EDT 2020


  Abuse, Oppression and Murder: The PA Does Israel’s Dirty Work in the
  West Bank - Politics For The People

*By Ramzy Baroud - March 7, 2020

Merely two weeks after Palestinian Authority President, Mahmoud Abbas, 
declared that the PA will suspend all ‘security coordination’ with 
Israel, Palestinian security forces in the West Bank killed 
<https://www.timesofisrael.com/palestinian-teenager-killed-in-clashes-between-pa-and-locals-near-jenin/> unarmed 
teenager, Salah Zakareneh.

Zakareneh is not the first and, sadly, will not be the last Palestinian 
to be killed by the PA security forces, which in recent years have 
dramatically increased their oppressive tactics against any form of 
political dissent in Palestine.

The 17-year-old boy died soon after PA security was dispatched to the 
village of Qabatiya, south of Jenin, in the northern West Bank to 
allegedly confront a “military-style demonstration” that was being planned.

The official version of the story claimed that as soon as the PA force 
arrived in Qabatiya, armed men from the village opened fire while others 
hurled rocks, prompting PA officers to respond with live bullets and 
teargas canisters, resulting in the death of Zakareneh and the wounding 
of others. No PA officers were wounded by gunfire.

There is no denying that anti-PA sentiment has grown 
<https://www.timesofisrael.com/new-poll-finds-palestinians-deeply-distrust-their-leaders/> exponentially 
throughout the occupied  Palestinian territories in recent months. 
Abbas’s Authority is rife with corruption and continues to rule over 
Palestinians, in whatever limited capacity permitted by Israel, with no 
democratic mandate whatsoever.

Moreover, the PA consists largely of loyalists to Abbas’s Fatah party, 
which is itself divided between various centers of power.

In 2016, the PA set up 
<https://www.islamweb.net/en/ramadan/article/219064/palestinians-speak-out-about-torture-in-pa-prison> a 
joint body of Palestinian intelligence agencies in Jericho with the sole 
purpose of cracking down on supporters of Abbas’s arch-enemy, Mohammed 
Dahlan, who is currently in exile 

Since its creation, the new intelligence body, which reports directly to 
the President, has expanded its mandate and is actively cracking down on 
any individual, organization or political entity that dares question the 
policies of Abbas and his party.

Soon after Abbas claimed 
<http://www.palestinechronicle.com/abbas-says-all-ties-with-us-israel-officially-cut-including-security-coordination-video/> in 
a speech before the Arab League in Cairo, on February 1, that the PA 
will severe all contacts with Israel “including security relations”, a 
senior PA official informed Israeli media that the cooperation between 
the PA and Israel is still ongoing.

“Until now, the coordination is ongoing, but relations are extremely 
tense,” the official told 
<https://www.timesofisrael.com/after-abbas-speech-official-says-pa-has-not-halted-security-ties-with-israel/> the Times 
of Israel.

‘Security coordination’ is perhaps the only reason why Israel is 
allowing the PA to exist despite the fact that Israel, with the support 
of the United States, has completely reneged on all of its commitments 
to the Oslo accords and all subsequent agreements.

It is quite surreal that the Palestinian leadership in Ramallah, which 
once promised Palestinians freedom and liberation in an independent, 
sovereign state, now exists mostly to ensure the very security of the 
Israeli army and illegal Jewish settlers in occupied Palestine.

The PA and the Israeli occupation now co-exist in some kind of symbiotic 
relationship. To ensure the continuation of that mutually beneficial 
relationship, both entities are invested in suppressing any form of 
resistance, or even mere protest, in the occupied West Bank.

In truth, whether the protesters in Qabatiya were accompanied by gunmen 
or not would have made little difference. The only form of protest or 
mass gathering which is currently allowed in the West Bank is those held 
by Abbas’s own loyalists, chanting his name and chastising his enemies.

Last year, the Arab Organization for Human Rights in the UK accused 
<https://www.middleeastmonitor.com/20190119-pa-continues-to-torture-palestinian-prisoners-rights-group-says/> PA 
security services of using repressive measures against Palestinian 
activists and employing psychological and physical torture against its 
critics; in other words, duplicating Israeli policies in dealing with 

Those who are often targeted by the PA’s Preventive Security Service 
(PSS) and various other intelligence units include students and 
previously released prisoners.

In its 2020 report 
on “Israel and Palestine”, Human Rights Watch (HRW) said that hundreds 
of Palestinians have been detained and tortured by PA security forces 
for the most insignificant ‘offenses’.

“The PA held 1,134 people in detention as of April 21 (2019),” according 
to HRW figures.

The rights groups also reported that “between January 2018 and March 
2019, (the PA) detained 1,609 persons for insulting ‘higher authorities’ 
and creating ‘sectarian strife,’ charges that in effect criminalize 
peaceful dissent, and 752 for social media posts.”

While many Palestinian prisoners held unlawfully in Israel undergo 
prolonged hunger strikes demanding their immediate release or better 
imprisonment conditions, news of Palestinian prisoners on open hunger 
strikes in PA prisons often go unreported.

Ahmad al-Awartani, 25, was one of the thousands of Palestinians to be 
arrested based on outrageous charges 
as the young man was detained under the so-called Cyber Crimes Law. He 
was arrested by PA police for a single Facebook post in which he 
criticized the Palestinian Authority.

In April 2018, al-Awartani entered a hunger strike that went almost 
completely unnoticed by Palestinian, Arab, and international media.

Arbitrary arrests, torture, and violence are regular occurrences in 
occupied Palestine. While Israel is responsible for the greater share of 
the violation of Palestinian human rights, the PA is part and parcel of 
that same Israeli strategy.

While it is true that Abbas’s crackdowns are tailored to serve his 
personal interests, PA action has ultimately served the interests of 
Israel which aim at keeping Palestinians divided and is using PA 
security forces as an extra layer of protection for its soldiers and 
settlers alike.

That in mind, Zakareneh’s death cannot be viewed as a marginal 
occurrence in the Palestinian struggle against Israeli occupation and 
apartheid. Indeed, the Palestinian Authority has made it crystal clear 
that its violence against dissenting Palestinians is no different than 
Israeli violence targeting any form of resistance, anywhere in Palestine.

/– Ramzy Baroud is a journalist and the Editor of The Palestine 
Chronicle. He is the author of five books. His latest is “//These Chains 
Will Be Broken/ 
Palestinian Stories of Struggle and Defiance in Israeli Prisons” 
(Clarity Press, Atlanta). Dr. Baroud is a Non-resident Senior Research 
Fellow at the Center for Islam and Global Affairs (CIGA), Istanbul Zaim 
University (IZU). His website is //www.ramzybaroud.net/ 

Freedom Archives 522 Valencia Street San Francisco, CA 94110 415 
863.9977 https://freedomarchives.org/
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