The Palestinian Authority (PA) is cracking down on dissidents, Palestinian Media Watch reports Monday, after it arrested a man for "slandering" Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) leader and arch-terrorist Yasser Arafat as not being a "martyr."
"The [PA] General Intelligence Service arrested today [April 25, 2015] Khalil Ali Afaneh, a clerk at the Ministry of Religious Affairs in Abu Dis, after he attacked and slandered Yasser Arafat, the eternal Martyr leader and the symbol of the Palestinian people," official WAFA news reported last week.
Non-official daily Donia al-Watan gave more details about the arrest, explaining it stemmed after Afaneh commented on a Facebook post which blamed Fatah's defeat in student elections at Birzeit University on its identification with Arafat.
In addition, "activists on Facebook called on Birzeit University to expel the student for having attacked Martyr Yasser Arafat," it explained.
"Simultaneously, several figures with close ties to Birzeit University's administration stated that the university has decided to expel the student and issue a letter on behalf of the Ministry of Education prohibiting any university in the homeland from admitting the student."
This is not the first time the PA has responded violently to suppress free speech. In June 2014, security forces savagely beat protesting journalists in Ramallah, who were in turn protesting attacks on journalists attempting to cover tensions between Fatah and Hamas.