The Palestinian Authority (PA), now calling for an international inquiry into the March 30 events along the border between the Gaza Strip and Israel, says that Palestinians in the Gaza Strip have the right to demonstrate and protest against Israel.
Ironically, however, when it comes to areas under the control of the PA in the West Bank, Palestinians are banned from staging protests in front of President Mahmoud Abbas’s “presidential” Mukata headquarters in Ramallah. In general, the PA leadership does not tolerate any form of criticism — which happens to be the reason that protests against Abbas and his government are virtually unheard of.
The only protests the PA accepts and welcomes are those directed against Israel. Yes, in PA-controlled territories in the West Bank, Palestinians can stage daily protests against Israel anywhere and at any time they wish! They can throw stones at IDF soldiers and Jewish settlers, and the Palestinian policemen will do nothing to stop them. Does any Palestinian, however, dare to throw a stone at a Palestinian policeman? You guessed it. Definitely not.
In a similar vein, the PA security forces feel free to arrest any Palestinian they want, even for the most trivial infraction. They are allowed to hold Palestinians in detention without trial and deny them visits by their family and lawyer. They are allowed to arrest any Palestinian journalists they wish for posting supposedly critical remarks on Facebook. Rami Samara, for instance, was arrested by PA security forces on April 3. for criticizing “arbitrary measures” taken by the PA against Palestinian journalists. Unwilling to face the strong protests by human rights organizations and Palestinian journalists, Abbas ordered the release of Samara hours after the journalist was taken into custody.