|Mahmoud Abbas: Two-faced [Image Source]|
This past Friday, Abu Toameh filed a report ["The Palestinian Authority's Policy of Duplicity"] about the suppression of dissenting voices in the areas controlled by the Palestinian Authority. The PA's chutzpah - Abu Toameh calls it something else - can be seen in the way it sends Palestinian Arabs into the streets to mark a "day of solidarity" with Palestinian prisoners held in Israeli jails while, at the very same time, its security forces carry out a campaign of detention and imprisonment in which dozens of Palestinians suspected of being affiliated with Hamas and other dissenting groups are taken into PA custody.
While it is good of course, that the Palestinian Authority is arresting Palestinians affiliated with Hamas, the problem is that the Authority is also using this as an excuse to crack down on other political opponents, as well as journalists. Lawyers, human rights activists and families of those detained by the Palestinian Authority say they do not know why the Palestinian leadership ordered the clampdown. The timing of the arrests also seems problematic, especially as it came on the eve of of Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas's new bid for statehood at the UN General Assembly... The Palestinian Authority's conduct should raise alarm bells in Western capitals. If anything these latest occurrences show once again that the Palestinian Authority's credibility remains questionable. According to Palestinian sources, more than 100 Palestinians, among them journalists, researchers and political activists were rounded up by Palestinian security forces in less than 48 hours... As [an Abbas aide] was speaking [against Israel], his security forces were also detaining 35 Palestinians who had just been released from Israeli prison.Abu Toameh observes as well that Palestinians who are detained by Israel enjoy more rights than those incarcerated by the Palestinian security forces in the West Bank. The men of the PA know this better than anyone, and arguably the journalists in the area do too, but you will not see this reported.
Human rights activists say that many of the Palestinians held in Palestinian Authority detention centers are denied most of their basic rights, including seeing a lawyer and family visitations. .. Many Palestinians are convinced that the Palestinian Authority called for a "day of solidarity" with prisoners in Israeli jails to divert attention from its own detention campaign... Each time Palestinian Authority leaders seek to avoid problems at home, they call for demonstrations against Israel, using the issue of settlements or prisoners as an excuse. This is done in the context of a long-standing policy of blaming Israel for all the miseries of the Palestinians...