Posted by: Lister | July 26, 2009

Two Police States, No Solution

From Mel Frykberg at anti-war:

Palestinian civilians are paying the price as the Islamic resistance movement Hamas, which controls the Gaza Strip, and the Fatah-affiliated and western-backed Palestinian Authority (PA), which rules the West Bank, continue to target their political opponents as part of their bitter power struggle.

“We don’t have a police state here in Palestine. We have two police states. One in Gaza and one in the West Bank,” says Rabie Latifah from the Palestinian human rights organization Al Haq.

[…] Mysterious bomb blasts, assassinations by masked gunmen, detainees denied access to their lawyers, torture and death in detention, the random arrest of critical journalists, and the banning of peaceful demonstrations are but a few of the human rights violations sweeping the Palestinian territories.

While armed men are being arrested, politically motivated arrest campaigns are also targeting citizens suspected of merely sympathizing with the opposition.

“We have endured over 40 years of occupation and human rights abuses by the Israelis, and now we are doing it to ourselves,” says Raji Sourani, director of the Palestinian Center for Human Rights (PCHR).

[…] The Preventive Security Services (PSS) of the PA, responsible for the brutal interrogation of Palestinian detainees, has been accused of a number of violations including the torturing to death of several Hamas members while in detention.

The PSS in the northern West Bank city Qalqilia has refused to release Hamas member Mustafa Sabry, a 43-year-old Palestinian journalist and city council member, despite being ordered to do so by the PA High Court in Ramallah.

The High Court judges ruled that the military prosecution did not have the authority to arrest Sabry as he is a civilian. This is not the first time the PSS has refused to accept the verdict of the PA’s judiciary.

Human rights groups have expressed alarm about Palestinians on death row who have been tried by military courts and allegedly not received a fair trial.

[…] Making international headlines has been the banning of the Qatari-based Al- Jazeera Network for airing an interview with Fatah member in exile Farouk Qaddoumi during which he accused PA President Mahmoud Abbas of being involved in a plot to poison the late Yasser Arafat.

[…] At the same time, Hamas’s Internal Security Services (ISS) has arrested a number of journalists and closed down several pro-Fatah newspapers.

[…] On Tuesday this week a bomb explosion at the wedding celebrations in the Gaza Strip of a relative of a senior Fatah member injured 60 Palestinians, several seriously.

The groom was the nephew of former Fatah security advisor Muhammad Dahlan, who was forced to flee Gaza for the West Bank when Hamas overthrew the PA in 2007, after winning elections in 2006.

al-Jazeera is back in the West Bank now:

The Palestinian Authority (PA) has revoked its decision to suspend Al Jazeera network’s operations in the occupied West Bank, days after sanctioning it for ‘false reporting’.

[…] The PA banned Al Jazeera on Wednesday after it broadcast allegations by Farouk Kaddoumi, a Palestinian Liberation Organisation (PLO) official and secretary-general of the Fatah movement, that he had documents indicating that Mahmoud Abbas, the Palestinian president, had plotted to assassinate Yasser Arafat, his predecessor.

[…]In a statement released at its Doha headquarters on Wednesday, Al Jazeera said it was “stunned” that it had been sanctioned for the story, which had also been aired by several other media.

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