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(Ismael Mohamad / United Press International)

Video: Journalists “savagely” beaten by Palestinian Authority forces

صحافيون "تحت بساطير" عناصر أجهزة الأمن الفلسطيني

This video report from Wattan TV shows Palestinian Authority security forces beating and arresting Palestinian journalists in the occupied West Bank city of Ramallah today.

The violence occurred as journalists were taking part in a rally, called for by the Palestinian Journalists Syndicate, against previous violations of their rights by the PA.

The report by Farah al-Zahalqa includes journalists’ testimonies of what happened.

“We were a group of photographers covering a rally in Manara Square,” photographer Hadi Dabis said. “We were just taking pictures normally and all of a sudden all the police and security pounced on us.”

Dabis said the PA men started beating the journalists and confiscating their cameras, adding, “I’ve never seen anything as savage.”

In the video, police can be seen dragging people away, and during one scuffle a voice can be heard saying “Give me the camera!”

PA security forces are financed by and trained under the auspices of the European Union and the United States.

Photographer Muath Mishal of Turkey’s Anatolia News Agency said three journalists were “savagely” beaten and arrested, and had their cameras and telephones confiscated. He named two of them as Muath Amarneh and Anis Arqoub.

Mishal said that plainclothes officers had been going around telling the journalists that they could not take photographs. When journalists asked the men to identify themselves, the journalists were attacked.

Journalist Yousef al-Shayib told Wattan TV that today’s events “are the biggest proof that we are living in a state, or entity, that is becoming a police state.”

Al-Shayib demanded accountability for those who had ordered and taken part in the attacks.

Broad repression

The journalists’ rally today coincided with a march in Ramallah by relatives of Hamas members imprisoned by the Palestinian Authority, according to al-Zahalqa’s report.

And the attacks on the journalists are part of a wider crackdown by Palestinian Authority de facto leader Mahmoud Abbas against Palestinians who oppose his rule or mobilize for Palestinian rights.

Human rights groups have called for the PA to end its prosecution of four Palestinians arrested in connection with a peaceful protest calling for the boycott of Israel.

Abbas, who strongly opposes the boycott of Israel, announced last month that he considers collaboration with the Israeli occupation to be a “sacred” duty.

He was recently praised by senior US official Martin Indyk for ongoing collaboration between PA security forces on the one hand, and the Israeli occupation army and Shin Bet secret police on the other.

This close cooperation with the occupation continues in spite of Israel’s verbal opposition to Abbas’ recent “reconciliation” deal with Hamas.

PA repression also continues despite of Abbas’ recent signing, on behalf of the “State of Palestine,” of the UN Covenant on Civil and Political Rights.

Comments

"PA security forces are financed by and trained under the auspices of the European Union and the United States."

Probably true, but you leave out the contribution of Israel's most rabid supporter: Canada. It's couched in bland aid terms, but Canada's Conservative regime is delighted to help the PA control Palestinians:

"Canada’s support for justice sector reform is helping to meet Palestinians’ needs for a society based on respect for the rule of law, and will facilitate security cooperation with Israel."
- http://www.pm.gc.ca/eng/news/2...

"Support to the Palestinian security sector will help strengthen and professionalize its institutions, strengthen the rule of law, and further the objective of ultimately providing Israel with a capable and reliable partner for security in the West Bank. In partnership with the United States Security Coordinator, and with the active support of the Department of National Defence through its Operation PROTEUS, the Department of Foreign Affairs, Trade and Development will focus on the provision of technical assistance to the Palestinian Authority Security Forces"
- http://www.pm.gc.ca/eng/news/2...

"At the Paris Donors Conference in December 2007, Canada announced a commitment of $300 million over 5 years towards improving Palestinian security, governance and prosperity."
- http://www.international.gc.ca...

"In 2009, as part of Canada's aid effectiveness agenda, West Bank and Gaza was identified as one of Canada's development programs of focus....
"In line with these goals, Canada's development programming is focused on justice sector reform ...."
- http://www.acdi-cida.gc.ca/wes...