By Khalid Amayreh in the West Bank
In recent days, the American-backed Palestinian Authority
(PA) carried out a shameful crackdown against
non-conformist Palestinian intellectuals, journalists as
well as civic and religious leaders all over the West Bank.
PA security agencies have also violently suppressed
peaceful rallies by the pan-Islamic Liberation party
commemorating the downfall of the Ottoman Caliphate.
Eyewitnesses said undisciplined policemen beat participants
using plastic truncheons.
In Beit Jala, PA men beat four camera men who were filming
police cars. And in Hebron, a Reuter cameraman, Yosri al
Jamal, was assaulted and his camera broken.
The latest acts of violence took place under the watchful
eyes of the Israeli occupation army without whose consent
the PA can hardly function.
In Nablus and neighboring towns and villages, US-trained
security personnel raided private homes, municipal
buildings and public institutions, elected mayors, public
figures, college professors, student leaders and prominent
One of the people arrested was Professor Abdul al Sattar
Qassem, a well-known author and political activist.
A former presidential candidate, Qassem is not affiliated
with Hamas or any other political organization, but his
daring writings seem to have proven too unbearable for a
self-proclaimed “national” authority that claims to
represent Palestinian aspirations for freedom and
In Dura, near Hebron in the southern West Bank, PA security
forces arrested Awadh Rajoub, the West Bank correspondent
of the Arabic service of al-Jazeera.net after raiding and
thoroughly searching his press office and confiscating his
Rajoub is still being detained at the Preventive Security
headquarters in Hebron where he has been interrogated in
connection with a report he had written on the mistreatment
of prisoners in PA jails and lockups.
Four other journalists have also been arrested by the PA
police recently, including Muhammed Halayka and Alaa al
Titi of Hebron, Ausayd Amareneh of Bethlehem and Mustafa
Sabri of Qalqilya.
PA spokespeople claim that the arrests are carried out in
accordance with the rule of law.
However, it is amply clear that such claims carry very
little weight if only because the “rule of law” doesn’t
really exist in a police state (without a state), whose
very existence and survival depend almost completely on the
extent to which this entity meets the needs, obey the
instructions and serves the interests of the Israeli
These are conspicuous facts that every Palestinian man,
woman and child is aware of. Hence, it would be foolhardy
to try to hide the obvious from one of the most politicized
people on earth.
Interestingly, the stepped-up clampdown on freedom of
expression by the PA coincides with the ghoulish escalation
of Israeli criminality and ethnic cleansing throughout the
During the past few days, trigger-happy Israeli soldiers
murdered in cold blood two Palestinian minors, including a
10-year-old boy who was taking part in a peaceful protest
against Israeli schemes to grab more Palestinian land under
the pretext of building the so-called “separation wall.”
(the Israeli Chief of Staff Gabi Ashkenazi this week
admitted that the route of the wall was decided by
political, rather than security considerations as Israeli
officials have been claiming)
Similarly, Israel has been demolishing Arab homes,
including a multi-story building in East Jerusalem as
Nazi-like Jewish settlers are given a free rein to take
over Arab property and terrorize and savage Palestinian
children in the southern Hebron hills for the purpose of
driving their families away form their homes.
So, as if Zionist ethnic cleansing were not enough, the PA
is finding it necessary to complement Israeli criminality
by arresting, humiliating and tormenting patriotic
Palestinians for criticizing the Ramallah regime for
compromising Palestinian national interests and for
throwing itself squarely into the lap of the Bush
administration which itself is at Israel’s beck and call.
It is really difficult to make any sense of what is
happening except that the PA is effectively becoming
another layer of the Israeli occupation.
Otherwise, one is prompted to ask what national purpose
does this wave of repression of Palestinians by
Does it strengthen Palestinian steadfastness in the face of
the Israeli occupation?
Does it enhance the Palestinian ability to liberate the
usurped homeland from the criminal Zionist hands?
There is no doubt that in light of its shameful behavior
against the Palestinian people, the PA has effectively
become a serious liability undermining the enduring
Palestinian struggle for freedom and justice.
Indeed, a situation where Palestinians have to keep
guessing if their children will be abducted by “the
(Palestinian) authority” or “the (Israeli occupation)
authorities” is unbearable, to say the least.
It is a stigma of shame that a time has come when
Palestinian homes have to be raided in the quiet hours
before dawn by Palestinian policemen in order to arrest
young Palestinians activists.
Today, the PA has proven itself a moral, political,
economic and security disaster for the Palestinians and
their enduring just cause.
The Palestinian people had been dreaming of a “free
authority” that would heal their wounds, sooth their
afflictions and strengthen their steadfastness in the face
of the Nazis of our time.
They never dreamt of a ‘Judenrat’ of quislings and
collaborators that would arrest, torment, torture and even
murder Palestinians in order to receive a certificate of
good conduct from the occupiers of our country and their
guardian-allies in Washington.
Hence, it is paramount, for the sake of our future and the
future of our children that this outrageous PA apparatus,
where pseudo-nationalists, money-grabbing careerists,
hangers-on, opportunists and probably foreign agents as
well hold sway, be dismantled as soon as possible.
In fact, one can go as far as saying that the dissolution
of the PA is now a sine qua non for a successful
Palestinian struggle for freedom from diabolical Zionism.