Saturday, May 29, 2021

Abbas and the PA, friend or foe?

 It appears that the Palestinian Authority is doing the dirty work of the Israeli's by cracking down on militants in the demonstrations against the occupation. The campaign of arrests as a fear tactic, which is taking place at the same time as Israel’s “law and order” operation within the 1948 territories where hundreds of Palestinian citizens of Israel have been rounded up, is in line with how authoritarian governments behave.

Tarqi al-Khudeiri was charged with “stirring up strife”, “incitement” and “insulting symbolic leaders”.

“Palestinians need to hold on to this unity that we’ve witnessed has been forged over the recent events in Sheikh Jarrah and the rest of Jerusalem, in Gaza, and in 1948 Palestine,” he said. “We need to remain united under one flag to fight the Israeli normalisation, occupation and security coordination as a way of burying the so-called peace process, which is as dead as it gets. At the end of the day, what we are doing in the streets is so that our people can thrive and live honourably and in freedom.”

Al-Khudeiri’s case is one of the dozens of recent arrests of Palestinian activists and university students by Palestinian Authority security forces in the occupied West Bank. Other detainees include Mahdi Abu Awwad, Mustafa Al-Khawaja, Akram Salamah, Anas Qazzaz and Hussam Amareen, a medical student at al-Quds University. 

Shaker Tameiza, a lawyer with the Addameer prisoners’ rights group, the campaign of arrests began following the end of the Israeli offensive on the Gaza Strip, and after the West Bank witnessed popular protests expressing their support and solidarity.

“According to the testimonies we’ve heard, the arrested were subjected to torture in the form of shabah, verbal abuse, and physical beating,” he said. All of the arrests are based on the violation of freedom of expression, such as social media posts and chants during protests. “Most of the charges the activists are accused of are more or less the same, such as ‘stirring up sectarian and racial strife’ – which is taken to mean insulting the PA,” Tameiza said.

The crackdown on activists is not new, and is rooted in what political analyst Khalil Shaheen described as the PA’s “survival policy”. The PA is hanging on to its legitimacy from the international community by solely adopting the two-state solution discourse and the so-called peace process negotiations, he explained.

“That means that it sees any other policy, even if it is rooted in popular protests, as a threat against it. Any deviation from this PA strategy results in the government cracking down on activists, as it is not in the PA’s interest to see protests turn into an Intifada. The PA is worried that armed confrontation with Israel will spread to the occupied West Bank.” 

Shaheen went on to say, “On top of that, there’s a new generation of activists coming out that are not politicised according to party membership, and therefore cannot be co-opted. These youth have been at the forefront of confrontations with Israeli forces, either in Jerusalem or in Haifa, and are not traditionally known to the PA.”

Shaheen continued, “The PA rules with fear because it is desperate to maintain its authority,” he said. “This is why they have postponed elections because they knew it would be an embarrassing defeat for the dominant party Fatah.”

Why is the Palestinian Authority arresting West Bank activists? | Israel-Palestine conflict News | Al Jazeera

1 comment:

ajohnstone said...

A caveat should be added to this blog post that the article it is based upon is from Al Jazeera which is controlled by Qatar and Qatar is the main donor to Hamas, PA.s rival.

One should always be wary of sources and their motives.