Sunday, November 18, 2012

Clashes in West Bank as anger over Gaza is directed at Mahmoud Abbas

Palestinian Authority blamed for failing to take action and for co-operating with Israeli security forces against protesters

The Guardian,
Fresh clashes erupted in the West Bank on Sunday as Palestinian youths threw rocks at Israeli soldiers, who responded with teargas. But anger in the West Bank has not only been directed at Israel: many also blame the Palestinian Authority for failing to take action over the Gaza offensive and for co-operating with the Israeli security forces against protesters.

Hazem Abu Helal was arrested after joining a protest at the Bet El checkpoint near Ramallah after several female demonstrators were arrested by the Israeli army. "They began shooting a lot of teargas so I moved back to the City Inn Hotel, which is inside the Palestinian controlled area," he said.

Abu Helal was detained not by the Israeli army but by Palestinian security forces, who took him to a Ramallah police station for questioning. "They said, 'You're making a problem for the [Palestinian Authority]'," Abu Helal said. "They told me, 'Go make a demonstration in Ramallah'."

According to Shawan Jabarin, the director of Al-Haq, a Palestinian human rights group, Palestinian security forces often suppress protests against Israel in the West Bank.
"They stop them, arrest them, beat them sometimes," Jabarin said.

On Sunday, he said, Palestinian security forces prevented protesters from reaching Israel's Al Jalame checkpoint near Jenin. "The Palestinian police have become a guard for Israel's interests," he said.
This security co-operation, outlined under the now two-decade-old Oslo Accords, is a key grievance for Palestinian activists. "At minimum what [President Mahmoud] Abbas could do now is stop this co-operation with Israel," Abu Helal said. "He doesn't believe in the power of his people, only of the people outside. Now he only cares about the UN."......"

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