Saturday, September 15, 2007
A Good Comment by Khalid Amayreh in Israeli-occupied WB
"The United States and the European Union (EU) are once again displaying criminal hypocrisy by keeping silent in the face of mounting repressive measures and clearly serious human rights violations carried out by the Western-backed Palestinian Authority (PA) regime in Ramallah against its citizens.
For months now, particularly since the mid-June events in the Gaza Strip, PA security forces and faceless Fatah militiamen have been carrying out a spate of repression, intimidation and human rights violations in the West Bank, targeting mostly innocent people on suspicion of supporting Hamas.
The PA government claims that the reign of repression is intended to prevent Hamas from building a militia similar to the Executive Force which defeated Fatah’s forces in the Gaza Strip a few months ago. However, it is amply clear to all keen observers that this excuse has very little credibility, given the ubiquitous presence of the Israeli military occupation in the West Bank, which makes it virtually impossible for Hamas or any other anti-Israeli resistance group to establish a serious military presence in the occupied territory.
Obviously, Israel and the PA realize this fact very well. Nonetheless, the two accomplices continue to use the mendacious excuse to justify unmitigated violations of Palestinians’ human and civil rights, including murder, imprisonment and attacks on property.
American and EU diplomats, as well as a large net of spies, observers, NGOs and other agents should be fully-aware of the daily acts of repression being carried out by PA security forces, occasionally in league with Israel, against innocent Palestinians.
Last week, Abbas’s security forces violently repressed a student meeting at the Hebron University, beating savagely students for “holding a meeting without permission.” The students were protesting a tuition hike and absence of loans that would enable thousands of poverty-stricken students to pursue college education. During the ugly “beating party,” by mostly ignorant and undisciplined security personnel, five reporters were beaten, including Yosri al-Jamal of Reuters and Hazem Badr of Agance France Presse.
This writer visited al-Jamal in hospital where he was being hospitalized for severe beating on the head by none other than the Commander of the Hebron region, Samih Seifi.
I really don’t know where else in the world security commanders, let alone phony security commanders (phony because these so-called commanders cower when confronted with the lowest-ranking Israeli occupation soldier), slap respected journalists and cameramen on the face.
The incident at the Hebron University attracted wide media attention, probably because journalists were involved. However, there are daily and more dangerous violations of the human and civil rights of ordinary Palestinian citizens, including abductions, prolonged detention, physical and psychological torture which pass unreported by much of the world media, as if Palestinians were children of a lesser God, and as if citizens had to be journalists in order to be spared the savagery and brutality at the hands of security personnel.
A few weeks ago, a Fatah “officer” shot and killed another student at al-Najah National University in the northern West Bank town of Nablus in full view of hundreds of students. Until this moment, it is still unclear if the murderer is in prison or has been allowed to get away with murder.
Similarly, hundreds of licensed charities and civic organizations have been closed down for alleged connections with Hamas when in fact such connections don’t exist in 98% of cases.
Needless to say, all these crimes, carried out under the rubric of maintaining law and order, are taking place outside the confines of the rule of law since the Fayyad government in Ramallah gave the security agencies a carte blanch to act and behave as deemed fit to avenge Fatah’s defeat in Gaza. Predictably, the ultimate and natural outcome of this policy is the evaporation of the rule of law and transformation of the West Bank into a kind of a wild, wide West.
The Ramallah regime lives on financial aid from the West, particularly the EU (American aid goes mostly to strengthen Abbas’s security forces). And Western silence toward these violations is interpreted by the PA leadership as approval and encouragement.
This is really sad and lamentable since the EU and US would have protested such violations if the perpetrator had been a different regime, say Syria or Iran. I understand that insecure regimes are induced to be despotic and repressive to ensure survival and stability. However, countries claiming to be concerned for human rights, such as EU countries, ought to remind petty dictators such as the PA, which is really a blight upon itself and its own people, that wrong doing and wrong doers should be dealt with through the due process of law, not through gangsterism and lawless violence.
It is probably useless and pointless to appeal to the vast bulk of European governments, not to mention the odious Bush administration, to pay more attention to human rights violations by the PA since the conspicuously-hypocritical policies of the US and Europe toward the Palestinian people and their enduring plight are part of the problem and can’t be part of the solution.
But there are many honest-minded Europeans, including members of the EU parliament as well as ordinary citizens who wouldn’t approve of their governments and taxpayers bankrolling the repressive practices of a regime whose very survival depends on foreign aid.
No one is asking the EU to embrace Hamas. However, EU governments and peoples must always make sure that EU aid money won’t be used to repress Palestinians, already thoroughly tormented by more than 40 years of the Nazi-like Israeli occupation.
It is just unacceptable to beat people, torture detainees, and vandalize private property under the pretext of avenging Fatah’s defeat in Gaza.
In short, the EU, which has a lot of leverage on the Abbas’s regime, ought to ask the Fayyad government in Ramallah why the rule of law in the West Bank has been taking an open-ended vacation while Palestinians’ rights are being raped and violated by a police state without a state that claims to be serving Palestinian interests."