|Palestinian security confronts journalist in Ramallah 370.(Photo by: REUTERS)|
Activists urge probe on PA's journalist crackdown
Security forces’ actions incompatible with both letter and spirit of law, says Palestinian Independent Commission of Human Rights.
Palestinian journalists and activists on Tuesday called for an independent
investigation on the harsh crackdown by the Palestinian Authority’s security
forces on demonstrators and journalists in the last two days.
called for a number of demonstrations to protest the actions of the security
forces, which many views as stifling basic liberties like the freedoms of
expression and assembly.
The PA’s security forces beat, injured and
detained several people on Saturday as dozens of protesters rallied to demand
the calling off of a planned visit by Vice Premier Shaul Mofaz’s (Kadima) to the
presidential headquarters in Ramallah.
Activists gathered again on Sunday
before facing a similarly severe response from the police.
evening, the presidential office chairman Hussein al-Araj apologized to the
press for the last events of the last two days, and conveyed apologies from PA
President Mahmoud Abbas and the Palestinian leadership.
Speaking from the
presidential headquarters, Araj told journalists covering a Palestine Liberation
Organization meeting that incidents like those that had occurred recently would
not happen again, confirming the Palestinians’ right to peaceful assemblies
within the framework of law and order.
Palestinian Interior Minister Said
Abu Ali said that he had formed a committee to investigate the incidents. Araj
said that legal measures will be taken against those who are responsible for the
Journalists Union chief Abdul Nasser Najjar considered
the attack on journalists a clear reneging on the government and police’s
previous commitments to ensure the freedom of the press and to facilitate
journalists’ duties in covering events.
The union is organizing a sit-in
in Ramallah on Tuesday condemning the assault on journalists. Journalists were
asked to wear their protective gear to send a message to the Palestinian
security forces that journalists are in danger.
One producer, Muhammad
Jaradat, said he was beaten by members of the security forces while he was at
the demonstration, and was beaten again while he was at police
Sources told The Jerusalem Post that the PA president is
considering paying a visit to Jaradat tomorrow.
Activists have called for
another demonstration on Tuesday evening against negotiations and attacks on
The Palestinians for Dignity group said in a
statement that the populace is the source of power.
“We call on all
Palestinians from Haifa and Jenin to Ramle and Hebron to participate in the
demonstration heading to the presidential headquarters... we confirm that
the physical pain will fade away, but not the disgrace of hitting [Palestinian
Palestinian intellectuals along with groups advocating for
human rights and freedom of the media strongly criticized the Ramallah events
and called for the formation of an independent commission to investigate and
hold accountable those responsible for the incidents. Activists said they will
file a complaint relating to the attack against them.
Independent Commission of Human Rights (ICHR) considered the crackdown to be
incompatible with the letter and spirit of the Palestinian Basic
“The right of assembly is enshrined and guaranteed by the
Palestinian Basic Law, the Law of Public Assembly and international human rights
conventions, and demands that the security agencies, especially under the
current conditions, address peaceful gatherings wisely; allow people,
particularly the youth, to express their opinions peacefully and freely; and
investigate attacks on the participants and the concomitant events,” an ICHR
press statement said.
Dozens of Palestinian journalists and intellectuals
issued a statement strongly condemning what they described a crime and insult to
the integrity of the protesters, and called for the dismissal of the city’s
director of police headquarters, Colonel Abdul Latif Al-Qaddoumi.
can’t possibly stay in charge after what happened,” the statement
“Do we sabotage our national agreement for a murderer like this?”
The statement said the youth in Ramallah objected to the
visit of a murderer who scared their children and raided their
Palestinian security forces spokesman Gen. Adnan Dmeiri said that
calling for the dismissal of Qaddoumi is nobody’s right.
Al-Shark radio, Dmeiri defended the police action as blocking a banned protest
near the presidential headquarters.
On Monday morning, Abbas stated that
the Palestinian Authority accepts constructive but not harmful
In a phone speech he gave to Voice of Palestine Radio, he
defended the people’s right to the freedom of expression, saying it is
guaranteed by the law.
Abbas said that he would not allow anyone to
violate the people’s freedoms, specifically the freedom of speech and
expression, and that he would not accept anyone violating the law.
later statement issued by his office, Abbas demanded that people obey the law,
saying that he would not allow anyone to attack the official institutions or
humiliate those applying and protecting the law.
In turn, Hanan Ashrawi,
a member of the Executive Committee of the Palestine Liberation Organization,
condemned the suppression of the protests, adding that this affects the
fundamental rights of the Palestinians.
“This harms the image of our
people and our state institutions, and, moreover, jeopardizes our democratic
future, which preserves and protects human rights and the rule of law,” Ashrawi
said in a statement.