Palestinian Authority violently dispersed Nakba Day march in Hebron

As leaders of the Hamas and Fatah factions meet in Cairo to discuss a Palestinian Authority (PA) “national unity government,” the Palestinian Centre for Human Rights, a leading independent organization, has condemned the Ramallah-based Palestinian Authority headed by Mahmoud Abbas for violence against Palestinians in the Israeli-occupied West Bank on Nakba Day:

The Palestinian Center for Human Rights (PCHR) condemns the violent dispersion by Palestinian security services of a peaceful demonstration organized in Hebron on Sunday, 15 May 2011. The demonstration was on the 63rd anniversary of the Palestinian Nakba – the uprooting of the Palestinian people from their lands in 1948. Human rights defenders were prevented from carrying out their work and materials relevant to their work were confiscated. PCHR calls upon the government in Ramallah to respect the right to peaceful assembly and public liberties, which are ensured under the constitution and international human rights standards.

According to investigations conducted by PCHR and eyewitnesses’ testimonies, on Sunday at approximately 12:00, 15 May 2011, numerous Palestinian police and security officers were deployed at al-Zawia Square in the old town of the southern West Bank town of Hebron. They prevented dozens of participants from marching towards Area B, which is under full control of Israeli forces, in commemoration of the 63rd anniversary of the Palestinian Nakba. The police and security officers used force to disperse and drive the demonstrators away from the area. A number of demonstrators were violently beaten. Additionally, police and security officers confiscated a camera from Hisham Sharbati, a journalist and a field worker for al-Haq, and prevented him from reporting on these incidents.

Earlier today, The Electronic Intifada reported that Saeb Erekat, a senior PA official affirmed that the PA security forces would continue their close “security coordination” with the Israeli army despite any pact with Hamas.