Friday, July 6, 2012

Ramallah: Breaking bones, breaking trust

Violence used by police against protesters will further the growing discontent with the Palestinian Authority

Daoud Kuttab

"Something deep and painful was broken in Ramallah last Saturday. Along with the bones broken by violent Palestinian plainclothes officers and security officials dealing with the protest, Palestinian trust was permanently wounded.

The protests were called for by non-partisan youth protesting the intended, unprecedented visit by the Israeli vice-prime minister, Shaul Mofaz, to Ramallah. Palestinian protesters made a strong argument for their opposition to the Mofaz visit. They explained that Mofaz was not permitted to travel to many countries around the world because of his alleged role in war crimes against Palestinians, including the killings in Jenin and the crimes that took place during the Israeli army's reoccupation of major West Bank cities in 2002. Mofaz has been accused of being behind the assassinations of PFLP leader Mustafa Abu Ali and Hamas' handicapped leader Ahmad Yassin, and the imprisoning of Fatah leader Marwan Barghouti.

The Mofaz visit was eventually called off, but the demonstration continued and was met with a violent crackdown. It is unclear why the visit was cancelled. Israeli media talked about conflicts within the Israeli government, while Palestinian leaders tried to take credit for the cancellation.

Regardless of the reason, the violent attacks against protesters were reminiscent of images of the Arab Spring. The acts of plainclothes security under the eyes of the head of the Ramallah police reminded many of similar attempts by thugs and shabiha in various Arab countries....."

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