PA forces carrying out massive arrest campaign in occupied West Bank
The Israeli-backed Palestinian Authority has concentrated its campaign against activists, journalists, and students
By News Desk - July 30 2022

(Photo credit: Al-Monitor)

The Palestinian Authority (PA) has been carrying out one of its largest arrest campaigns in years against Palestinian activists, journalists, and students in the occupied West Bank, with at least 94 people detained over the last two months, media reported on 29 July.

The Ramallah-based organization, Lawyers for Justice, reported that at least 20 university students and political activists are currently in PA custody without charge.

The head of Lawyers for Justice, Muhannad Karajeh, referred to the arrest campaign as “one of the most major campaigns since at least 2012.”

A significant number of released prisoners cite mistreatment and torture while in the custody of the PA, Karajeh said.

While most of the arrested activists are affiliated with Hamas and the Palestinian Islamic Jihad (PIJ) resistance movement, Karajeh explained, some of those detained come from the PA’s own Fatah party, as well as the leftist Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP).

“The majority were interrogated over their political activism, for example, their participation in elections – whether as candidates or as supporters of certain lists – and others, like students, over their student union activities,” Karajeh said.

Spokesman for the PA Security Service (PSS) Talal Dweikat acknowledged the recent arrest campaign, confirming “strong instructions from the president Abu Mazen [Mahmoud Abbas]” to apply as much pressure as possible and avoid “chaos and disorder in the Palestinian street.”

Last month, Hamas released a statement strongly condemning the PA’s violent repression of Palestinians, which it said “serves the interests of the [Israeli] occupation and does not contribute to the unity of the national front.”

Several Hamas-linked organizations have also condemned the use of force by the PA against student activists from a number of Palestinian universities.

On 14 June, the PSS took part in the violent repression of a student rally at a West Bank university, leaving several protesters and academics wounded.

Discontent with the PA has been mounting across the West Bank over the past year, especially since the murder of Palestinian activist Nizar Banat in 2021 at the hands of PA forces.

In particular, there have been major concerns over the close security cooperation between the PA and Israeli troops.

In early January, an Israeli official revealed that PA forces carried out raids in the West Bank city of Jenin at the direct request of Israeli forces.

The PA, which regularly coordinates with Israel, has been accused of being an extension of the occupation, and of being a tool to assist Israel in its oppression of Palestinians.

Most Popular