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.
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.
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.