They also attacked a CNN crew, breaking their camera. Lama Khater, a writer, told Wattan TV in a video report that people had gathered at a mosque after Friday prayers to rally in support of Palestinian prisoners in Israeli jails as well as against the violent Israeli assault on Hebron over the past week.
“We were surprised by large numbers of uniformed Palestinian Authority forces from different apparatuses,” Khater said.
“As soon as the march started, and although not with large numbers, after just a few meters, the attack started and men and women were beaten. A number of young men were arrested and cameras were smashed and mobile phones confiscated,” she added.
Some 125 Palestinian political prisoners remain on hunger strike in Israeli jails, protesting their detention without charge or trial.
Safa Abu Hussein, the wife of prisoner Said Abu Hussein, said: “Women police officers attacked us with clubs in a savage manner, injuring my one-year-old daughter and causing me bruises. A large number of Palestinian security forces beat us and the youths taking part and prevented us from carrying banners and flags.”
Khater confirmed to Wattan TV that Safa Abu Hussein was beaten, as well as the mother of prisoner Tarik Deis among dozens of others.
The elderly mother of prisoner Mazen al-Natshe, interviewed by Wattan TV, expressed shock at what happened. “We came down to say we want our men, we want our prisoners who have been 58 days without food,” she said.
“We thought they would be with us, but instead they came and beat us,” rally participant Israa Karama told Wattan TV of the Palestinian Authority forces. “We don’t want them with us, but at least don’t let them be against us.”
This cell phone video posted on YouTube shows rally participants trying to advance through the street and being pushed back by Palestinian Authority forces in riot gear:
Palestinian Authority security forces are financed by and trained under the auspices of the European Union and the United States.
CNN camera smashed
Veteran CNN reporter Ben Wedeman tweeted: “Palestinian Authority police attack CNN crew in Hebron, break camera.”
He posted a photo of his cameraman with the broken camera:
Ma’an News Agency quoted an unnamed journalist saying that for a time, “Journalists were prevented from taking pictures of the march.”
It also comes after more than a week of an ongoing Israeli military assault in the West Bank. Acting in coordination with the Palestinian Authority, Israeli forces have killed three Palestinians, arrested more than 300 people and ransacked hundreds of homes, educational and social organizations.
Israel claims the assault is aimed at locating three settlers who went missing on 12 June, but Israeli officials have instead engaged in a wide-scale crackdown and collective punishment.