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The Only Democracy? » Human Rights Activists in the Crosshairs » Palestinian Police Crack Down on Protest for Israeli Army. UPDATE: They Apologize

Palestinian Police Crack Down on Protest for Israeli Army. UPDATE: They Apologize

by Jesse Bacon

Mousa Abu Maria at the appeal of his previous administrative detention

Organizer Mousa Abu Maria, whose home was raided March 8th, has been detained again. This time, the force attempting to suppress his demonstrations in Beit Ommar was not the Israeli army, but rather the Palestinian Authority police. It seems both Israeli and Palestinian officials can agree on something: that protest must be crushed.

His wife and co-organizer Bekah Wolf reports:

While  Salam Fayyad and other PA ministers march in Bil’in and Bethlehem declaring their support of the Popular Resistance, the Palestinian police have continued to repress any such resistance that is organized outside of their control.  Because of this, Mousa Abu Maria was arrested at 1:40 this morning by Palestinian police, reportedly in coordination with the Israeli military.  Residents reported more than a dozen Palestinian police vehicles were involved in the operation in Beit Ommar, where they also attempted to arrest National Committee member Younes Arrar, who was not home.His family said the police had no warrant.”

Despite all the rhetoric about how the Palestinian Authority needs to “end incitement” to violence, this action shows how much they are still doing Israel’s dirty work. This will only incite more resistance to them and Israel’s policies. Will supporters of the Palestinian Authority speak out against it? Will critics of the Palestinian Authority who complain when it defies Israel’s government be similarly outraged by this crackdown against its own people? Meanwhile, protest continues at Beit Ommar.

Yesterday, a peaceful demonstration was held for the third time this month on the highway outside Beit Ommar, organized by the National Committee of Beit Ommar against continued settlement expansion on Beit Ommar land by the settlements Bat Ayin and Karmei Tsur.  Israeli, International and Palestinian activists sat in the road [Route 60], a primary highway through the southern West Bank for settlers and Palestinians.”

Watch Mousa Abu Maria (in brown baseball cap and white T-shirt)  organizing a sit-in in the first few moments of this video, before Israeli soldiers fire tear gas.

UPDATE: Bekah Wolfe reports Mousa’s release.

At approximately 1:30 pm Monday, after calls from several people in the Palestinian Government, Mousa Abu Maria was kissed on the head by the head of the police in Hebron, apologized to, and released from custody. The police claimed they didn’t know who he was when they illegally arrested him the night before. They would not explain why he and Younis Arrar from the National Committee of Beit Ommar were on their list of people to arrest and claimed they were looking for car thieves during their operation in Beit Ommar overnight.”

Palestinian Police also had to defend their crackdown in Bethlehem.

The Palestinian police also violently broke up a demonstration last wek in support of the 10 Palestinians arrested during a Palm Sunday demonstration in Bethlehem. PA officials who had publicly backed non-violent resistance said they would “investigate” why their own police forces would attack such demonstrations.”

Related posts:

  1. Israeli Forces Invade Palestine Solidarity Project in Beit Ommar
  2. Midnight raids continue, father of three taken from home.
  3. Beit Sahour Professor Faces Arrest by Israeli Military for Nonviolent Protest

Written by

JESSE BACON (Philadelphia) is a freelance activist and father. He has a Masters in teaching from Roosevelt University in Chicago. He is an observant progressive Jew, and is trying to be a good ally for Palestinians and all dispossessed peoples, while staying true to the best traditions in Judaism. He visited Israel and Palestine in 1996, 2001, and 2002. He served for three years on the local steering committee of Jewish Voice for Peace-Chicago, and one year on the board of Pursue the Peace in Seattle. Read his posts here.

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