Posts Tagged ‘Palestinian Authority’

Unity between Palestinians is more urgent than any other need

 please sign the petion Ahewar
We have yet to be free as a people but have diverged from the path to liberty. This social contract is the basis of a new popular movement towards our liberation.

The Palestinian people and their struggle are now confronted by a disastrous situation. We are divided. Our priorities are confused, and our agenda for liberation is unclear. We have consequently fallen short of achieving our freedom. We lack justice and have yet to practice our inalienable right of self-determination.

Today, we derive our strength and legitimacy from our urge to end the suffering and aspirations of the Palestinian people in Jerusalem, the West Bank, Gaza Strip, Galilee, in the compulsory diaspora in Syria, Lebanon, Jordan, and around the world. We stand infused with the energy emanating from the Arab people’s glorious revolutions in Tunisia and Egypt, and the revolutions in Arab countries from the Atlantic Ocean to the Arabian Gulf. We say, in the name of our innocent martyrs, the wounded, prisoners, refugees, men, women and children, youth and elderly that our compass now points in one direction, and it points towards freedom. To get there we must and shall achieve the following:

Freedom, Justice, and Self-determination

The Palestinian people shall begin to build a realistic vision for their future based on a new Palestinian Social Contract. Our social contract shall be based on the inalienable rights to liberty, justice, self-determination, and the pursuit of happiness. This contract shall ensure freedom, human dignity and justice. Equality, clarity, transparency, democracy and full societal participation in the struggle shall be the guiding principles for this contract. The Palestinian citizens’ cause, concerns and aspirations cannot be reduced, in anyway, to one third of the Palestinians who are in the West Bank and the Gaza Strip. Therefore, the required Social Contract represents all the Palestinians. It addresses their rights within a formula that observes what is common among all Palestinians and recognizes the differences among the diverse components of our society.

This statement balances between the daily concerns of the Palestinian people and their aspirations. It also suggests realistic alternatives to the current status quo that results in a state of division, weakness, economic crises and the marginalization of the majority of the Palestinian people. We pose three necessary changes to the status quo that express our vision for the Palestinian people.

First: The Establishment of a New Palestinian Social Contract

The Social Contract is based on the need to establish unity amongst the Palestinian people (in Palestine within its historical borders and in the diaspora). We all have the same aspirations: Freedom, justice, return, the unhindered pursuit of happiness, and the dream that we will practice our right to self-determination. To achieve these aspirations all sectors of the Palestinian people, civil society, different political factions, the youth and trade unions are invited to:

– Rebuild the PLO as the sole representative of the Palestinian people and maintain its independence. This requires re-structuring its institutions and ensuring that it is away from the Israeli occupation control.
– Reformulate the Palestinian National Charter in accordance with the new Social Contract, in a manner that ensures the supremacy of freedom, justice and equality that light the path for our movement towards liberation, democracy and self-determination.
– Re-building of the PLO requires, first and foremost, election of a Palestinian National Council (PNC) representing all Palestinians (inside and outside the homeland). Preparations for the elections shall ensure full democracy.
– Pursuant to the PNC elections, the PLO Executive Committee shall be formed in a manner representing political forces, independent personalities and representative institutions with a special focus on ending the factional quota tradition.
– Full separation between the PLO institutions, tasks and persons and the institutions of the administrative bodies responsible for maintaining the day to day life of Palestinian people in the occupied Palestinian territories (OPT).
– End the existing status quo and begin building mechanisms that ensure the broadest democratic representation of the Palestinian people.
– Ensure that the newly formulated PLO is the sole responsible party for the political track of the Palestinian cause before the Palestinian people. Consequently, the Palestinian Authority, as an institution or personalities, does not politically represent the Palestinian people and does not identify mechanisms of our struggle and resistance.
– Struggle against the occupation and its injustices using all internationally legitimate and ethical means. Any strategies for the struggle shall be decided upon through national consensus (achieved within the PLO) and strategically formulated according to the challenges the Palestinian cause is facing to ensure that the most practical tactics are being used.
– Ensure that our inalienable rights are non-negotiable.

Second: The Struggle Against the Occupation and its Apartheid policies

Main principle: The Palestinian people shall struggle against the Israeli occupation using all morally legitimate means of resistance until they are free and establish a just society with full equality.

– The Palestinian people, through the PLO, shall identify the strategies of the struggle.
– We shall increase the momentum of nonviolent popular resistance, using the media, international law, strikes, boycotts, divestment and sanctions and shall seek international support for our struggle.
– We shall support the steadfastness our people on their land, especially in Jerusalem, areas threatened with eviction such as the Jordan Valley and areas in the Negev desert, and near the Apartheid barrier.
– We shall form popular committees to confront occupation’s measures and create daily realities to protect innocent people, their private properties and land.
– We shall launch international campaigns to combat the occupation and its racist separation. We shall use international law to assist us in ascertaining our rights and coordination with international organizations that support values such as human rights, freedom, and equality.
– We shall struggle against the Israel’s racist measures against our people inside the Green Line, support them and provide political and legal protection for their demands and struggle.

Third: Administration of the daily living affairs of the Palestinian people in the OPT

Main principle: The Palestinian administration in the Occupied Palestinian Territories is the civil entity mandated by the PLO to manage the Palestinian affairs. Hence, it does not have the authority to represent all Palestinians. It is not a political entity or authority.
– The PLO forms a representative council for the Palestinians in the OPT responsible for management of their life affairs.
– The representative council is the realistic alternative of the Palestinian Legislative Council and the Presidential institution in the OPT.
– An administrator shall be elected from the representative council. He/She shall nominate the heads of the differnet administrative directorates, which shall work according to a platform set up and approved by the representative council to ensure the fulfillment of the people’s day-to-day demands in the OPT.
– The representative council shall be constituted of experts and not politicians whose tasks are confined in taking care of administrative and legislative demands pertinent to people’s day-to-day lives. This will reduce factional competition and enhance the role of the elected representative council.

Formation of security apparatuses and their tasks, and the resistance arms
– All security apparatuses will be integrated within one police service that maintains public safety and the rule of law in the OPT.
– The police apparatus shall be fully separated from and independent of the political factions.
– Weapons shall be used for legal reasons only such as maintaining the people’s safety and defending them from mortal harm.
– Political factions do not have the right to individually select their resistance strategies.
– The police apparatus will be restructured based on new laws that shall govern its duties.

Combating corruption
– Full transparency shall be restored. Corrupt institutes and individuals shall be tried and the stolen funds returned to their rightful owners and the Palestinian people.

Requirements of national and societal reconciliation
– Banning any political platform from inciting to violence.
– The youth and academic experts shall formulate a document to end Palestinian disunity in a manner that is beneficial for the Palestinian cause.
– The youth shall use wide ranging activities to pressure all conflicting sides to come together
– Any delay in ending the division after this document is presented shall be borne by the present leaderships.
– A court shall be formed from independent persons guaranteed by the PLO to decide on all the division implications at the individual and collective levels. The court’s decisions are binding to all.

Let all people who love their people and their country now say, as we say here:
– WE SHALL STRUGGLE FOR FREEDOM, SIDE BY SIDE, THROUGHOUT OUR LIVES, UNTIL WE HAVE WON OUR LIBERTY.

please sign the petition on Ahewar

The extent of the funding pledged to the Palestinian Authority by donor countries reflects the extent of their support for Israel and its policies. The American taxpayers’ contribution to the Ramallah government’s bank account is dwarfed by the large sums the U.S. government donates to Israel every year. It’s impossible to get excited over the American pledge of $900 million (two-thirds of it for strengthening Salam Fayyad’s government and the rest for Gaza’s recovery) and forget the $30 billion the United States has promised Israel in defense aid by the end of 2017, as last week’s Amnesty International report noted.

The $900 million pledged to the Palestinians in Sharm el-Sheikh should be seen as part of the regular American aid to Israel. As an occupying power, Israel is obligated to assure the well-being of the population under its control. But Israel is harming it instead, after which the United States (like other countries) rushes to compensate for the damage.The Clinton and Bush administrations – and Barack Obama appears to be following in their footsteps – erased the phrase “Israeli occupation” from their dictionaries and collaborated with Israel in ignoring its commitments as enshrined in international law. The billions of dollars that Israel receives from the United States for weapons and defense development – which played a significant role in the destruction in the Gaza Strip – are part of Israel’s successful propaganda, which presents the Rafah tunnels and Grad rockets as a strategic threat and part of the Islamic terror offensive against enlightened countries.

 

The West has blown the Hamas movement out of proportion, exaggerating its military might to the point of mendacity; this allowed for an extended siege and three weeks of Israeli military intractability. In the Palestinian and larger Arab world, this embellishment helps Hamas depict itself as the real patriotic force. The hundreds of millions of euros that have been donated or pledged to help Gaza, as though it were beset by natural disasters, are overshadowing the trade ties between Europe and Israel. The Western countries concerned about humanitarian aid for the Palestinians also buy from Israel arms and defense knowledge developed under the laboratory conditions of the occupation, that serial creator of humanitarian crises.

And the 1 billion petrodollars? First of all, they were generated from a natural resource that logic dictates should benefit the Arab peoples. Second, they were pledged at a conference that boycotted Gaza (neither Hamas nor business people or social activists from the Strip participated in the donors conference). This is how Saudi Arabia lends its hand to the American and Israeli veto of inter-Palestinian reconciliation.

Every cent paid to the Palestinians – whether for the Ramallah government’s budget or medical treatment of children wounded by Israeli pilots or soldiers – lets Israel know that it can continue its efforts to force a capitulation deal on the Palestinian elite. Only by recognizing that surrender is the goal can one understand that 16 years after Oslo, no Palestinian state was established. When did Shimon Peres, Ariel Sharon and Tzipi Livni begin talking about two states? Only after their bulldozers and military bureaucrats crushed the realistic physical basis of a Palestinian state. And this basis is: June 4, 1967 land (including East Jerusalem), Gaza – an inseparable part of the state – and zero settlements (and that applies to Gilo and Ma’aleh Adumim).

During the 1990s it was still possible to describe donations to the Palestinians as an expression of confidence and hope in Israel’s readiness to free itself of the occupation regime it had created. But not in 2009. Support for Israeli policy – this is the only way to understand the fact that other countries keep pouring in hundreds of millions of dollars meant to put out the fires set by this policy, without extinguishing the source of the blaze.

http://www.haaretz.com/hasen/spages/1068553.html

UPDATE! FURTHER INFORMATION ABOUT THE ARREST WRITTEN BY KHALID AT THE BOTTOM OF THIS POST! With friends like these – WRITTEN BY SHERINE BAHAA

KHALED AMAYREH, the Al-Ahram Weekly correspondent in the West Bank was arrested Sunday evening by the Preventive Security Forces (PSF) in Hebron. He was released after two days. Amayreh, 52, lives in Dura, 12 miles southwest of Hebron and has worked as the Weekly correspondent since 1997, as well as for a number of other media outlets.

 

He has a BA in journalism from the University of Oklahoma and an MA in journalism from the University of Southern Illinois. For a long time, he suffered, as do all Palestinians in the occupied territories, being confined by the occupation to his home village.

 

Not long ago, he was prohibited by Israeli forces from leaving Hebron at an Israeli checkpoint, detained and released only after being threatened for his courageous articles documenting Israeli crimes in the Weekly.

 

Surprisingly though, this time, Amayreh was not arrested by the Israelis, he was detained by the PSF; the PA police apparatus. This was the fourth time that Amayreh was arrested by the PSF. But this time why was he arrested? He was not in a demonstration, nor was he smuggling weapons to his fellow Palestinians being killed by Israelis on a daily basis.

 

His crime was explaining, during an interview with the Beirut based Al-Quds satellite TV, why there are only a few demonstrations in the West Bank in support of the people of Gaza. Amayreh frankly said that the PA did not allow such demonstrations. Amayreh did not mean to undermine the PA but he said, “the PA has certain commitments towards Israel and they (PA) do not want things to get out of their hands.” Amayreh also said the Israelis do not respect the PA and view the PA as a kind of “servant” to Israeli interests.

 

For the PSF, this was defamation. Amayreh speaking to the Weekly immediately after his release, explained that he only spoke of how Palestinian officials were prevented from moving freely and how Israel added more checkpoints to try to cordon Palestinians in closed areas. In short, they did not like the tone of the interview.

 

“They interrogated me for six hours, then they locked me in a dark cell for two days, where I could not tell day from night.”

 

“I think they released me because of the media and public pressure,” Amayreh said. According to Amayreh, around 15 journalists have been arrested over the past few months and some of them are still in jail.

 

Amayreh, father of nine, was taken from his family home to the headquarters of the PSF in Hebron. His family were denied any access to him.

 

The International Society for Translators and Linguists issued a statement condemning his arrest and asking for his immediate release. “These police units do not represent anything for Palestine except murder, destruction, corruption and chaos,” the statement said. “This apparatus is a disgrace to the history of the Palestinian Authority. Khaled Amayreh has helped the Palestinian cause much more than those people have,” the statement added.

 

In the past three weeks, dozens of Hamas supporters have either been detained or summoned for investigation by the PA’s much-feared Preventive Security Forces and General Intelligence Service. Coordination between the PA police forces and the Israeli occupation forces and Shin Beth has continued even as Gaza is being destroyed, in pursuit of their common goal of uprooting Hamas in the West Bank.

 

Five months ago, Amayreh was invited to attend a media conference in Germany and was granted a visa from the German representative office in Ramallah, the main stipulation being that he had never been arrested or detained by Israeli authorities. In spite of this, the Israeli military authorities refused to give him a permit to leave the West Bank and he was unable to travel. But be it the Israelis or the PA Security apparatus, it is evidently clear that Palestinians are continuously having their civil rights violated.

 

KHALID AMAYREH’S ACCOUNT OF HIS ORDEAL

Source: Islamonline 
http://www.islamonline.net:80/servlet/Satellite?c=Article_C&cid=1232976490385&pagename=Zone-English-Muslim_Affairs%2FMAELayout 

“Five Minutes” With the PA Interrogators
Muzzling Freedom of Expression in Palestine

By  Khalid Amayreh : Journalist – Occupied Palestine

When the Beirut-based Al-Quds satellite television interviewed me last week on the recent genocidal Israeli onslaught on the Gaza Strip, it never occurred to me that the few sound bites I uttered would land me in a slimy prison cell at the headquarters of the Palestinian Authority (PA) Preventive Security Apparatus (PSA) in Hebron.

During that interview, I was asked why the American-backed regime in Ramallah was not allowing large protests in solidarity with the Gaza Strip. I answered that the PA didn’t want things to get out of control and that it didn’t wish to antagonize Israel.

Interestingly, Israel itself had allowed a massive demonstration against the war on Gaza to take place in the Israeli Arab town of Sakhnin where as many as 150,000 people, including some Jewish peace activists, took to the streets to protest the nauseating killings and bombings of civilian targets all over the coastal enclave.

I further pointed out that Israel didn’t really respect the PA and was effectively treating it as a subservient entity serving  Israeli interests.
I  did think, and I still, that I was stating the obvious. However, the PA security establishment had a different idea.

Proverbial Cup of Coffee 
 
I was immediately locked up inside a small room and my mobile phone was confiscated.On Jan. 18, shortly afternoon, someone from the local PSA center invited me to drink a cup of coffee with the head of office for five minutes. Eventually, the “five minutes” were stretched into 55 hours of nightmarish experience.  

I knew they wanted to arrest me since most Palestinians have come to associate the onerous telephone call with imminent arrest by any of the security agencies.

When I arrived there, I was neither asked to meet with the local security chief nor offered the proverbial cup of coffee. Instead, I was immediately locked up inside a small room and my mobile phone was confiscated.

My watch and shoe laces were also taken from me. They must have been awfully worried about my safety!

Half an hour later, I was taken to the PSA headquarters in Hebron, 14 kilometers away. There, I was scolded for “besmirching and distorting the PA image,” “sowing discontent,” and “indulging in incitement.”

I was subjected to four sessions of interrogation which covered a whole set of issues and subjects from the Iranian strategy in the Middle East to the receding chances for the creation of a Palestinian state.

I told my interrogators that what they were doing was against the law, since the Palestinian law stated that “the security apparatus has no right to question, interrogate or detain a journalist in connection to his or her work.”
When I uttered these words, one operative scoffed at me, saying that “we are in Palestine, not in Sweden.”

Small, Semi-dark, Rancid-smelling Room

The interrogators didn’t really abuse me neither physically nor verbally. However, I was thrown into a small, semi-dark, rancid-smelling room with two other inmates, one a political prisoner and the other a common-law prisoner. That in itself was a humiliating form of mistreatment.

Getting dumped inside a slimy cell, with an exposed water circuit, was not exactly the right way to treat a journalist who has spent a lifetime defending the just Palestinian cause in face of Israeli propaganda and lies. But, then, they were probably right in a certain sense. The West Bank is not Sweden, and the PA regime is not the government of Sweden.

On Monday evening, Jan. 20, I was asked to meet with the PSA Chief, Abu Al-Fateh, who explained to me that the overall situation facing the PA was sensitive and delicate and that journalists had to be careful and cautious about what they say and write.

I generally concurred with him. However, I did forcefully argue that suppressing freedom of expression, especially press freedom, was a very harmful idea. I further  explained that when people are made to fear the government, it means that that the government is undemocratic and had a lot of things to hid from the people.

At the end of the conversation, I was told I could go home.

My latest encounter with the PSA is not the first time I am hounded by the PA security establishment. Last year I was subjected to intensive interrogation by the PA Mukhabarat (or general intelligence), also in connection with my professional work.

In 1998, I was arrested and briefly imprisoned for reporting on the prevalence of torture in some PA interrogation centers. I was also interrogated by both the Palestinian and Israeli security apparatuses over an article I had written on the  centrality of the right of return for Palestinian refugees uprooted from their ancestral homeland in what is now Israel.
These days, most Palestinians arrested by either Israel or the PA are rearrested by the other side after their release.

Self-censorship

Self-censorship is the ultimate enemy of healthy journalism.I knew that the main aim behind my brief but unjustified incarceration was to make me exercise “self-censorship” and refrain from calling things by their real names.

However, for journalists, “self-censorship” is not an innocuous word. It actually represents the ultimate enemy of healthy journalism. After all, a journalist ought to be responsible first and foremost to his or her conscience within the frame of the law.

Unfortunately, very few people within the Palestinian security establishment understand the language of human rights and civil liberties.

This condition is made even worse by the persistent power struggle between Hamas and Fateh, which is often used as a pretext and justification for the police-state atmosphere prevailing in the West Bank now.

Hence, one would exaggerate very little by saying that the situation of human rights and civil liberties is the West Bank is probably worse today than it ever has been since the establishment of the PA more than 15 years ago.

Rampant Violations

My latest experience pales in comparison to the more serious persecution haunting non-conformist journalists throughout the West Bank.In truth, my latest experience pales in comparison to the more serious persecution haunting non-conformist journalists throughout the West Bank.

Last week, PA security personnel assaulted and severely beat AP correspondent Majdee Ishtayyeh while filming an “unlicensed” demonstration in Ramallah. Ishtayya reportedly was taken to a nearby building where he was badly beaten, causing a severe hemorrhage from his nose.

The 44-year-journalist had to undergo a surgical operation to fix his battered nose at a Nablus hospital.

Some other journalists, photojournalists, and cameramen were violently assaulted and had their equipment broken or confiscated. 

Last year, as many as 20 Palestinian journalists were imprisoned for relatively lengthy periods for reporting news or views the PA regime considers detrimental to their interests or image. Many of these journalists were beaten and even tortured for refusing to abide by the “official line.”
And in nearly all cases, concocted charges were leveled against them, such as  “sowing division, incitement, and endangering national unity.”

Last year, Awad Rajoub, an Al-Jazeera.net correspondent was detained in a PSA prison cell in Hebron in what he described “harsh and humiliating conditions” for 32 days. Rajoub was forced to sleep inside a bare room, without mattresses or blankets, and had to use his own shoes as a pillow.
Rajoub was accused of interviewing critics of the PA.

Carte Blanch for Law Violation

In fact, there is a widespread impression that the security agencies are granted  a virtual carte blanch to violate the law for the sake of punishing and savaging political opponents of the PA regime, particularly people affiliated with the Islamic camp.

During my brief stint at the Hebron jail, I saw several inmates being subjected to the Shabah (hooding) technique where a prisoner is made to sit down in a small room with his hands tied to his back.

At one point, I heard an inmate crying “why are you beating me, why are you beating me.”

The PA government in Ramallah claims that it is doing its utmost to uphold the rule of law. This is its usual response to criticisms voiced by local and international human rights organizations.

However, it is obvious that the status of human rights and civil liberties under the PA   continues to deteriorate, especially with the virtual paralysis of the Palestinian justice system and especially in light of the conspicuous hegemony the security agencies exercises over civil society. This is why Palestinians do hope that the PA government, which many people view as both illegal and illegitimate, will issue clear and unmistakable orders to the security agencies to stop arresting and mistreating journalists and to respect the basic human and civil rights of Palestinian citizens.

Such a step is crucial for the creation of a healthy society based on the rule of law and respect for human dignity. It is also a sine-qua-non for the success of the Palestinian  national struggle for justice and freedom from the shackles of the colonialist Israeli occupation.

Khalid Amayreh is a journalist living in Palestine. He obtained his MA in journalism from the University of Southern Illinois in 1983. Since the 1990s, Mr. Amayreh has been working and writing for several news outlets among which is Aljazeera.net, Al-Ahram Weekly, Islamic Republic News Agency (IRNA), and Middle East International.