PA forces nab academic allegedly tied to Hamas

Arrest is part of a crackdown targeting dozens of Palestinians.

Palestinian Authority security personnel over the weekend arrested another Palestinian academic in the West Bank on suspicion of affiliation with Hamas.
The latest arrest is part of a crackdown that has so far targeted dozens of Palestinians suspected of supporting Hamas.
Over the weekend, 15 Palestinians were arrested by the PA’s forces in Ramallah, Bethlehem and Hebron.
Hamas and human rights activists said hundreds of suspects were being held in PA prisons, without trial and in bad conditions.
Some of the detainees have complained that they were tortured while in prison.
Khader Sundak, former dean of the Faculty of Shari’a at Nablus’s An-Najah National University, the largest Palestinian university, was picked up by PA security agents from his home in the city on Friday night.
Sundak’s oldest son, Anas, was arrested two weeks ago by the Fatah-dominated security forces in the West Bank, also on suspicion of being affiliated with Hamas.
The father is a prominent academic who had been arrested by the IDF at least five times in the past.
Sources in Nablus told The Jerusalem Post that at least eight An-Najah University lecturers and professors have been rounded up by various branches of the PA security forces in the past few days.
Among them are Dr. Hassan Safarini, a lecturer with the Faculty of Law, and Dr.
Farid Abu Dhair, who teaches political science and journalism at the university.
PA security forces also arrested Ghassan Khaled, a law professor released by Israel late last year after being held in administrative detention, without trial, for nearly two years.
The arrests of the academics have drawn strong condemnations from many human rights organizations in the West Bank and Gaza Strip.
The Palestinian Center for Human Rights called for the detainees’ immediate release from Palestinian prison.
“The center condemns the continued arbitrary arrests and illegal detentions of members of Hamas by Palestinian security services in violation of the law,” it said in a statement.
In an unrelated development, Palestinian journalists on Saturday condemned the PA for closing down TV and radio stations in the West Bank and assaulting some of their colleagues.
The Palestinian Journalists’ Forum said that three journalists had been beaten up by PA security officers who came to close down a private TV station in Nablus.
The forum pointed out that PA Communications Minister Mashhour Abu Dakka had apologized for the incident.
The journalists said they were beaten when they tried to protest against the decision to shut down the TV station, under the pretext that it was operating without a license.
The forum also expressed concern over the continued detention of five Palestinian journalists in PA prisons in the West Bank.
It named the detained journalists as Ahmed Bittawi, Muhammad Anwar Muna, Amer Abu Arafeh, Tareq Abu Zeid and university lecturer Farid Abu Dhair.
A PA security official said that all the academics and journalists had been arrested on suspicion of membership in Hamas, and not because of their profession.