Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Fascism in Ramallah

By Khalid Amayreh
The American-backed, Israeli-tolerated Palestinian Authority has been unmasking its ugly face.In recent days and weeks, ruthless and undisciplined Security forces have been suppressing public dissent, especially opposition to futile talks with Israel
Such talks are looked upon by most Palestinians as a clear surrender to Israeli whims and dictates.

In the West Bank, the Mukhabarat or intelligence Personnel, have been harassing and even beating opposition figures. Clearly undemocratic, even barbaric methods, have been used to intimidate, harass and even terrorize civic leaders and public figures who dared to voice their opposition to the PA decision to unconditionally join so-called peace talks with Israel even though the apartheid Israeli regime continues to vehemently refuse to freeze settlement expansion and stop the ongoing aggressive Judaization in East Jerusalem.

In Ramallah, the seat of the police state without state, known as the Palestinian Authority, or PA, respectable public figures have been assaulted and beaten without any justification. What kind of government would allow ignoramuses and school dropouts to beat and mistreat professors, doctors, engineers and civic leaders, the crème de la crème of society?

Understandably, this repressive behavior represents a serious retreat from the rule of law the PA has been claiming it wants to establish. In fact, what the Palestinian people have seen in recent days and weeks is that the PA is upholding the law of the truncheon, rather than the rule of law.

The semblance of freedoms and liberties that Palestinians continue, more or less, to enjoy had been earned through a long struggle during which blood was shed and lives were sacrificed. Hence, it is important that the PA realize that it wouldn't be doing a favor to the people by allowing them to demonstrate or hold rallies anywhere in the few areas it so partially and superficially controls. We did hold demonstrations and protests when the Israeli military governor was sat in his headquarters in Ramallah. Hence, it is illogical and unacceptable that we are denied that right under the authority that calls itself "national."

Needless to say, an authority that beats civic leaders and public figures, some of whom spent the prime of their lives in Israeli jails, dungeons, and detention camps, is neither national nor respectable. On the contrary, it is anti-national as its general behavior is decidedly incompatible with fundamental national dignity.

We have seen some PA officials and spokespersons deny the obvious, namely the indulgence of security personnel in acts of repression. However, it is sad that lying to the public has by and large become a modus operandi for PA spokespersons whose spasmodic discourse tells much about their way of thinking.

Unfortunately, lies, even brash, unsophisticated lies, are not only uttered by manifestly ignorant security figures, who continue to indulge in every conceivable violation of the law with total impunity. These lies are often echoed and reiterated by high-ranking officials, such as the President of the PA Mahmoud Abbas and his unelected and controversial Prime Minister Salam Fayyadh.

For example, both routinely claim that the PA doesn't detain people because of their ideological and political convictions. Needless to say, these claims are not true because innocent people are being arrested on a daily basis because of their ideological and political convictions.

None the less, the insistence on lying by people who are supposed to set an example of virtue and honesty to their people shows that these leaders either lie knowingly, since it is unlikely that they are unaware of what is going on. Or that they don't know what is going on, which is a greater calamity.

Recent days and weeks saw PA security forces storm and desecrate several mosques in the West Bank. The manner in which these mosques were stormed infuriated ordinary, un-politicized citizens who are not affiliated with any political orientation, which really generates a lot of disdain and anger toward the Fatah organization and its authority.

We all know that prior to the establishment of the PA regime in the early 1990s, Israeli soldiers and officers were often reluctant to enter mosques with their boots on. Hence, the disgusting behavior of PA "soldiers" should be severely condemned by all free-minded Palestinians.

Besides, the sweeping arrests of young Islamist activists, who do very little if any besides observing their religious duties, remains a stigma of shame incriminating, even criminalizing, PA treatment of its own people.

There is no moral or legal justification for the recurrent arrest and maltreatment of people because of their political views. The Palestinian law, which the PA government claims to uphold, says so.

Cynically, the PA continues to invoke the so-called "Gaza coup" to justify and extenuate the gravity of its own crimes against its own people. However, while the Gaza government, which was democratically elected by the people, is not without mistakes, it is sufficiently obvious that there is no real comparison between what is happening here in the West Bank and what is happening there in the Gaza Strip.

Here, there is a systematic persecution bordering on an inquisition. What else can be said about the illegal and illegitimate incarceration of thousands of innocent people on no grounds other than the fact that they are religious and supportive of an Islamic political party, Hamas, that won the elections in 2006.

To be sure the arrests are only one aspect of PA repression of its citizens. According to human rights organizations, thousands of teachers and civil servants have been summarily and un-apologetically fired from their jobs for no reason other than having a relative who happens to be an affiliate of Hamas.

If this is not fascism, what is fascism then?

Interestingly, this blind disregard for the rule of law takes place while the PA is continuing rather shamelessly to invoke national unity by urging Hamas to sign a worthless Egyptian document that would perpetuate fascism and tyranny.

Needless to say, Hamas must never ever accept such an arrangement. In the final analysis, the Palestinians have not been struggling for ages to finally settle for a police state without a state which is what the PA is all about!!

More to the point, we all know deep in our hearts that the main motive behind this stupid and barbarian inquisition (barbarian because several people have died under torture in PA custody), has more to do with a sick desire on the part of the PA to obtain a certificate of good conduct from Israel and the US government, especially the American general Keith Dayton who runs the PA security apparatus, than with any legitimate security concerns.

Finally, it is crystal clear that no matter how savagely and brutally the PA treats its own people, especially the political opposition, the thuggish Israeli government would never grant the PA any real award, probably apart from allowing PA officials to walk through Israeli checkpoints and roadblocks. Israel, as we all know, treats the PA as a beggar or quisling entity, and neither the beggars nor the quislings can be choosers, even if they claim sovereignty and dignity.

There are those who argue that savaging the Palestinians is a sin-qua-non for the PA. This argument shouldn't be dismissed easily. There are real fears among Palestinians that the PA security forces would be eventually used to suppress any opposition to any unacceptable deal with Israel, a deal that would liquidate the Palestinian cause. Some say this is the raison d'etre of the PA security forces.

This is the real looming danger that all free and dignified Palestinians must be vigilant about.

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