[News] Abuse, Oppression and Murder: The PA Does Israel’s Dirty Work in the West Bank - Politics For The People
news at freedomarchives.org
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
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
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
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
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
‘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
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
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/
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