Hamas-affiliated group accuses PA of raiding event

Students at Bir Zeit University claim security officers also harassed Palestinian journalists.

PA Police 311 (photo credit: REUTERS)
PA Police 311
(photo credit: REUTERS)
Palestinian students at Bir Zeit University north of Ramallah complained Tuesday that Palestinian Authority security officers raided their campus to disrupt a press conference.
The students also accused the officers, who belong to the PA’s Preventive Security Service, of harassing Palestinian journalists who were on the scene to cover the event.
The Islamic Bloc, a student group affiliated with Hamas, held the press conference to protest against the PA’s security clampdown on the Islamist movement’s supporters in the West Bank.
At the press conference, the students announced that they would go on hunger strike on Saturday to demand an end to “political arrests” in the West Bank.
Speakers at the conference said that despite ongoing efforts to achieve reconciliation between the two sides, the PA was continuing to arrest Hamas supporters, including university students.
The speakers also took issue with the university administration for failing to come out against the security crackdown on students.
Some students who received summons for interrogation from the PA security forces have refused to comply and are squatting inside the campus.
PA security officers stopped journalists from entering the campus to cover the press conference, according to a number of students. They said the officers assaulted one reporter, Muhammad Ishtaiwi, who works for the Hamas-affiliated Al-Aksa TV station.
A security official in Ramallah denied the charges, insisting that no officer had resorted to violence. The official accused Hamas of “spreading lies” against the PA.
Meanwhile, three Hamas detainees held in a PA prison in Nablus have gone on hunger strike. The three are Suleiman Abu Salha, Shadi al- Kawni and Saed Abu Salha.
According to their families and lawyers, the men were being held despite court orders instructing the PA to release them.
The families said they would hold a demonstration outside the prison on Wednesday to demand the release of their sons.
A PA security source in Nablus denied that the men were on hunger strike.