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Palestinian Authority curbs freedom of expression in the West Bank

MEMO | September 20, 2012

Palestinian Authority curbs freedom of expression in the West BankThe security services in the occupied West Bank have detained more than 60 Palestinians with political backgrounds, including writers, journalists and activists, Al-Dameer Association for Human Rights (DAHR) said on Thursday. At least 35 of those held are former prisoners who served long sentences in Israeli jails; most are affiliated to the Islamic Resistance Movement (Hamas).

Sources said that the security services started detention campaigns against citizens who took part in the recent demonstrations against price rises in the West Bank. Demonstrators called for Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas and his Prime Minister Salam Fayyad to resign.

Prisoner Hisham al-Shirbati, who spent 14 years in prison in Israel, was reportedly in a serious health condition after being admitted to Al-Khalil Hospital. He was tortured severely by Palestinian security services in Hebron, writer Lama Khater alleged.

However, a spokesman for the security services in the West Bank, Adnan al-Dameeri, said that all the people arrested recently are “arm dealers” who tried to hijack peaceful protests. According to DAHR, though, most of those detained are journalists, writers and activists, including the prisoners who were freed by the Israelis just a few months ago.

Ahrar Society for Studies and Human Rights said that its manager, Fuad al-Kefish, also a former Israeli prisoner, is among the detained, as is Waleed Khalid, a journalist who spent two years in solitary administrative detention in Israel and was released just two weeks ago.

DAHR condemned the detentions as a severe violation of human rights and a threat to Palestinian civil society. It called for the PA in the West Bank and the Gaza Strip to stop all political detentions and press ahead with the reconciliation process. It also called on both to respect freedom of speech and freedom of expression.

The West Bank witnessed large scale demonstrations against the Ramallah-based Palestinian Authority’s policies of security collaboration with the Israelis, political detention and the economic crisis. The demonstrations were triggered by a protest against price hikes in which protesters called for the resignation of Mahmoud Abbas and Salam Fayyad.

September 20, 2012 Posted by | Civil Liberties, Wars for Israel | , , , , | 4 Comments

Report: Israel urges US, EU to send funds to Ramallah

Ma’an – 11/09/2012

BETHLEHEM – The Israeli government has appealed to Washington and the EU to transfer hundreds of millions of dollars to rescue the collapsing Palestinian economy amid mass protests in the West Bank, Israeli media reported Tuesday.

Prime Minister Salam Fayyad has said the Palestinian Authority is unable to pay August salaries in full or on time because donor funds have not arrived. He said last week the PA was waiting for the US Congress to approve a request by President Barack Obama’s administration to pay $200 million to the Ramallah government.

The Hebrew-language newspaper Maariv said the European Union had reduced its financial aid to the PA due to economic crisis in Europe.

Protests against rising costs of living in cities across the West Bank have called for the resignation of Fayyad and President Mahmoud Abbas, and demanded the cancellation of the PA’s economic agreement with Israel, the Paris Protocol.

In Hebron and Nablus on Monday night, protesters threw rocks at PA security forces and dozens of security officers and demonstrators were injured.

Israel fears that demonstrations and strikes in cities across the West Bank against rising costs of living could weaken the PA and its security services, which coordinate with Israeli forces under agreements laid out in the Oslo Accords, Maariv reported.

Israeli officials fear protests could develop into a third intifada and the collapse of the PA, and protesters might attack Israel’s illegal settlements in the West Bank, the report added.

September 11, 2012 Posted by | Economics, Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, Solidarity and Activism | , , , , , , , | Comments Off on Report: Israel urges US, EU to send funds to Ramallah

Palestinian universities set strike for Wednesday

Ma’an – 11/09/2012

HEBRON – Employees at all Palestinian universities will go on general strike Wednesday protesting the government’s failure to respond to their demands, a joint committee of the employees’ union and the union of students councils said Tuesday.

The committee explained in a statement that both academics and students could understand the ongoing popular protests in the streets. “The occupation is behind all our calamities and problems,” the statement added.

“After the Palestinian government has failed to undertake its basic duties toward the different sectors in the Palestinian society, especially the education sector, despite being given enough chances, you have to listen to the cries of anger and to comply with the popular demands,” the statement said addressing the PA premier.

The statement urged the protestors to keep their movement peaceful and show a sense of responsibility.

On the other hand, schools will operate normally, according to the secretary general of the Palestinian general federation of teachers, Muhammad Suwwan.

September 11, 2012 Posted by | Solidarity and Activism | , , , , | Comments Off on Palestinian universities set strike for Wednesday

IMF refuses to give $1bn loan to the PA

MEMO | July 3, 2012

The International Monetary Fund (IMF) has rejected a request from Benjamin Netanyahu to offer the Palestinian Authority a $1 billion loan, because the PA “is not a state”. The Israeli Prime Minister made the request via the governor of the Bank of Israel, Stanley Fischer, after discussions about the PA’s financial crisis with the Ramallah Prime Minister Salam Fayyad.

If agreed, the loan would have been repaid through Israel. The IMF said that it rejected the Israeli request because it did not want to set a precedent of a state taking a loan on behalf of a non-state entity. It is believed that the request was made in April during the IMF’s annual conference in Washington.

Fayyad told Fischer that Europe and the US are unable to increase their financial support for the PA because of the economic crisis; Arab States are not transferring the funds they have promised; and Palestinian banks are refusing to extend any more credit to the government due to its inability to make debt repayments. Insider sources claim that Fayyad and Fischer are still discussing the financial problems in the hope of finding a solution and preventing the potential collapse of the authority.

July 3, 2012 Posted by | Corruption | , , , , , | Comments Off on IMF refuses to give $1bn loan to the PA