Just days after attacking a protest against PA President Mahmoud Abbas’ participation in the funeral of former Israeli president and war criminal Shimon Peres, Palestinian Authority security forces attacked and arrested former prisoners and long-term hunger strikers Khader Adnan, Mohammed Allan and others when they went to greet freed prisoner Hussein Abu Obeideh in the village of Sarra, near Nablus.
On Sunday, 9 October, individuals claiming to represent the Fateh movement attacked Adnan and his delegation with sticks and other weapons; Palestinian Authority security forces then intervened and arrested Adnan, Allan and their colleague Maher al-Akhras, holding them for hours at Junaid prison in Nablus before their release. Islamic Jihad responded by saying that the PA security forces have “crossed all red lines…this attack on the sons of the movement proves their loyalty to the Israeli occupation and security coordination.” Adnan and his colleagues had gone to the celebration to present a plaque honoring the freed prisoner Abu Obeideh; people in the village gathered around Adnan to protect them, but they were threatened with arrest by the PA forces.
This is not the first time that Adnan has faced harassment and arrest at the hands of PA security services. Having secured his freedom from administrative detention – Israeli imprisonment without charge or trial – twice through hunger strikes of 66 and 55 days, Adnan is one of the most visible symbols of the Palestinian prisoners’ movement. He is a frequent participant in actions and demonstrations for the freedom of all Palestinian political prisoners, and in support of Palestinian hunger strikers in Israeli jails. Adnan himself noted that the attack on him is not an individual incident but part of a policy of repression of all political forces who reject the policies of the PA, including Islamic Jihad, Hamas and the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine.
These events come only days after Addameer lawyer Muhannad Karajah – the brother of imprisoned Palestinian activist Hasan Karajah – was beaten and attacked, his clothes torn, while participating as a legal observer in a protest on Tuesday, 4 October, challenging PA President Abbas’ participation in Peres’ funeral and honoring Palestinians killed by Israeli occupation forces over the past year. Protesters gathered near the Yasser Arafat Square in Ramallah and were attacked by dozens of plain-clothes PA security forces. Dressed in civilian clothes, they beat and shouted cures at the young women and men participating in the protest. Karajah and other lawyers present attempted to intercede and stop the security forces from attacking the protesters. His suit and clothing were ripped and he was injured in the face and neck, requiring medical care. Participants’ phones were taken, confiscated and thrown to the ground, breaking them and preventing participants from taking photographs or videos.
The Palestinian Human Rights Organization Council released a statement denouncing the actions of the PA security forces and the violation of Palestinians’ right to protest and freedom of expression. The Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine said that Abbas was “personally responsible for the brutal attack by the security services” on the Ramallah rally, demanding accountability and “confrontation of the authoritarian policies and practices of the repressive security apparatus.”
Another protest is being called in Ramallah today, Monday, 10 October at 4:30 pm at Manara Square, to protest the suppression of Palestinian protests by PA security forces. Palestinian organizers have linked the suppression of Palestinian protests in support of the intifada and the prisoners to the ongoing policy of PA security cooperation with the Israeli occupation, noting that these policies come hand in hand with the suppression of Palestinian resistance on behalf of the occupation.