FacebookTwitterRedditEmail

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

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 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 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 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 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 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 are 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 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 Palestinians.

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 ‘offences’.

“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 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 aims 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.

More articles by:

Ramzy Baroud is a journalist, author and editor of Palestine Chronicle. His latest book is The Last Earth: A Palestinian Story (Pluto Press, London, 2018). He earned a Ph.D. in Palestine Studies from the University of Exeter and is a Non-Resident Scholar at Orfalea Center for Global and International Studies, UCSB.

bernie-the-sandernistas-cover-344x550
Weekend Edition
March 27, 2020
Friday - Sunday
Rob Urie
Bailouts for the Rich, the Virus for the Rest of Us
Louis Proyect
Life and Death in the Epicenter
Paul Street
“I Will Not Kill My Mother for Your Stock Portfolio”
Jeffrey St. Clair
Roaming Charges: The Scum Also Rises
Pam Martens - Russ Martens
Stimulus Bill Allows Federal Reserve to Conduct Meetings in Secret; Gives Fed $454 Billion Slush Fund for Wall Street Bailouts
Jefferson Morley
Could the Death of the National Security State be a Silver Lining of COVID-19?
Ruth Hopkins
A Message For America from Brazil’s First Indigenous Congresswoman
Kathleen Wallace
The End of the Parasite Paradigm
Anthony DiMaggio
Misinformation and the Coronavirus: On the Dangers of Depoliticization and Social Media
Andrew Levine
Neither Biden Nor Trump: Imagine Cuomo
David Rosen
God’s Vengeance: the Christian Right and the Coronavirus
David Schultz
The Covid-19 Bailout: Another Failed Opportunity at Structural Change
Evaggelos Vallianatos
In the Grip of Disease
Edward Leer
Somebody Else’s World: An Interview with Kelly Reichardt
Robert Fisk
What Trump is Doing in the Middle East While You are Distracted by COVID-19
Daniel Warner
COVID-19: Health or Wealth?
Thomas Klikauer – Norman Simms
Corona in Germany: Hording and Authoritarianism
Ramzy Baroud
BJP and Israel: Hindu Nationalism is Ravaging India’s Democracy
Richard Moser
Russia-gate: the Dead But Undead
Ron Jacobs
Politics, Pandemics and Trumpism
Chris Gilbert
Letter From Catalonia: Alarming Measures
Richard Eskow
Seven Rules for the Boeing Bailout
Jonathan Carp
Coronavirus and the Collapse of Our Imaginations
Andrew Bacevich
The Coronavirus and the Real Threats to American Safety and Freedom
Peter Cohen
COVID-19, the Exponential Function and Human the Survival
César Chelala - Alberto Luis Zuppi
The Pope is Wrong on Argentina
James Preston Allen
Alexander Cockburn Meets Charles Bukowski at a Sushi Bar in San Pedro
Jérôme Duval
The Only Oxygen Cylinder Factory in Europe is Shut down and Macron Refuses to Nationalize It
Neve Gordon
Gaza Has Been Under Siege for Years. Covid-19 Could Be Catastrophic
Alvaro Huerta
To Survive the Coronavirus, Americans Should Learn From Mexicans
Prabir Purkayastha
Why the Coronavirus Pandemic Poses Fundamental Challenges to All Societies
Raouf Halaby
Fireside Chatterer Andrew Cuomo for President
Thomas Drake
The Sobering Realities of the American Dystopia
Negin Owliaei
Wash Your Hands…If You Have Water
Felice Pace
A New Threat to California’s Rivers:  Will the Rush to Develop Our Newest Water Source Destroy More Streams?
Ray Brescia
What 9/11 Can Teach Us About Responding to COVID-19
ADRIAN KUZMINSKI
The Covid-19 Opportunity
John Kendall Hawkins
An Age of Intoxication: Pick Your Poison
Kollibri terre Sonnenblume
The Propaganda Virus: Is Anyone Immune?
Nicky Reid
Fear and Loathing in Coronaville Volume 1: Dispatches From a Terrified Heartland
Nolan Higdon – Mickey Huff
Don’t Just Blame Trump for the COVID-19 Crisis: the U.S. Has Been Becoming a Failed State for Some Time
Susan Block
Coronavirus Spring
David Yearsley
Lutz Alone
CounterPunch News Service
Letter from Truthdig’s Editor-in-Chief Robert Scheer to the Publisher Zuade Kaufman
CounterPunch News Service
Statement From Striking Truthdig Workers
FacebookTwitterRedditEmail