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PA Human Rights Abuses Start with Hamas Flag

PA security forces charged with beating civilians with weapons, firing live ammo, raiding homes with no warrant.
By Ari Yashar
First Publish: 5/9/2014, 8:29 AM

PA Security Forces (file)
PA Security Forces (file)
Flash 90

The Palestinian Center for Human Rights (PCHR) has called for an investigation of the Palestinian Authority (PA) security forces, over reports of serious human rights abuses on Monday in the town of Yatta near Hevron.

The abuses started when PA security forces stopped a car for flying the Hamas flag according to PCHR; the passengers, family members of jailed hunger-striking terrorist Zaid Ismail Abu Fanar, were on their way to a solidarity event at Abu Fanar's father's house in Hevron.

It should be noted that the PA and Hamas have signed a tenuous reconciliation deal to form a unity government, which both PA Chairman Mahmoud Abbas and Hamas have said they will rule.

The driver, 22-year-old Mohammed Awdatallah Abu Fanar, drove away ignoring orders by the PA officers for all passengers to exit the car, at which point the officers gave chase in their Volkswagen mini-bus for roughly two miles, PCHR charged according to International Middle East Media Center.

The officers reportedly slammed into Abu Fanar's car several times with their vehicle before causing it to crash into a wall. At that point the officers pulled Mohammed out of his car and began kicking him and beating him with their rifles.

Mohammed's wife Hanadi was pushed to the ground and fainted after trying to defend her husband, according to the reports.

Some other local residents tried to intervene and stop the officers, at which point the officers fired into the air with live ammunition to disperse the crowd.

That night at 10 p.m., PA officers raided the home of Ismail Abu Fanar in Hevron, where the solidarity tent for his hunger-striking terrorist son was set up. The officers dispersed those in the tent by firing live ammunition in the air and throwing tear gas canisters.

Abu Fanar was reportedly beaten by the PA officers with a torch.

Warrant-less raids, bulldozers, and more beatings

In another incident on Monday, another group of PA security force officers raided several homes in Yatta, accompanied by a bulldozer. The officers arrested 20 civilians; four were released on Tuesday.

One local Arab, Hana Saher Awad, reports being beaten up by the officers after they raided her home without a warrant.

The officers further were accused of damaging a number of cars in the area, including a Mercedes Benz 608 bus belonging to Ismail Sameh Abu Fanar, another member of the Abu Fanar family. The bulldozer brought by the force also damaged several unlicensed cars used by mechanics for spare parts.

In light of the various incidents, PCHR called on "the Attorney General to open a serious investigation into those incidents, especially that civilians were beaten and some belongings were damaged."

PCHR further called on the PA government to "compel members of security services to respect the rule of law and human rights principles that are guaranteed under the Palestinian Basic Law and international standards."

The complaints are not the first of rampant human rights abuses; in January the Palestinian Independent Commission for Human Rights (ICHR) charged the PA and Hamas with repeated cases of torture, oppression, assaults on freedom of expression and academic freedoms, as well as ignoring court orders.

It is worth noting that PCHR, which reported the incidents on Monday, was one of the signers of a joint letter to Abbas on Thursday, urging him to join the International Criminal Court and put PA-controlled areas of Judea and Samaria under international jurisdiction.