DEPUTY PALESTINIAN Prime Minister Azzam al-Ahmed (left).
(photo credit: Suhaib Salem / Reuters)
The Palestinian Authority over the weekend closed down the offices of a human
rights group in the West Bank that criticized senior Fatah official Azzam al-
Ahmed, who is closely associated with PA President Mahmoud Abbas.
Interior Minister Said Abu Ali, who signed the closure order, said that the work
of the Palestinian Human Rights Foundation monitor was “not consistent” with the
interests of the Palestinians.
The decision to shut down the foundation
was taken following a recommendation by PA Foreign Minister Riad
Malki recommended that the offices of the human rights group in
the West Bank be shut down “due to differences between its representatives in
Lebanon and the Palestinian embassy in Beirut.” Abdel Aziz Tarekji, the regional
director of the human rights group, said that he did not receive a warning from
the PA authorities before the closure.
“We were completely surprised by
the decision to close down our offices in the West Bank,” Tarekji
He said that he recently received threats from an aide to Azzam al-Ahmed, a senior Fatah official and aide to Abbas.
According to Tarekji,
the real reason for the closure of his offices in the West Bank are statements
in which he criticized Ahmed for not visiting refugee camps when he was recently
Following the criticism, one of Ahmed’s aides phoned him and
threatened to shut down the group’s offices in the West Bank.
rights group is now considering taking legal action against the PA for closing
down its offices in the West Bank, Tarekji said, adding that he was planning to
send letters of protest to Abbas and Prime Minister Salam Fayyad.
human rights foundation was founded in Lebanon in 2005 as a non-political,
non-factional and non-governmental organization.