August 5, 2020

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AFP reports on PA arresting “pro-annexation” Palestinians



Usually international media ignores Palestinian abuses against their own people, so kudos to AFP for this story (which was in Israeli media weeks ago):

The Palestinian Authority has arrested several people who said they would favour Israeli annexations in parts of the West Bank, corroborating sources say, despite Ramallah’s denial.

In an Israeli television report aired in early June, several Palestinians in the occupied West Bank are heard expressing the hope of becoming Israelis if annexation under a US-Israeli plan moves forward.

The comments by those interviewed directly contradict the Palestinian Authority’s (PA’s) total opposition to any West Bank annexations, a view shared by an overwhelming majority of the Palestinian public, according to surveys.

The Palestinians featured in the programme were captured by hidden camera and their identities concealed in the broadcast through blurred faces and distorted voices.

“I want an Israeli identity card,” one Palestinian is heard saying. Another stated that he didn’t see “Israelis as enemies — their government is the enemy”. And a third said he “chose Israel” and wasn’t afraid to speak out publicly.

The prominent Israeli journalist who made the report, Tzvi Yehezkeli, said at least six people who spoke out in favour of annexation were subsequently arrested by the PA’s security services.

“I was surprised to see that even though I’ve blurred the faces of all the people I filmed and distorted their voices, the Authority has reached and arrested (some) of them, it’s just amazing,” he told AFP.

Yehezkeli, who has been a correspondent in the Palestinian territories for nearly 25 years, told AFP he realised there are also many Palestinians who do not share the outright opposition of their leaders.

Some interviewees had told him that “we don’t care about annexation” and that “the Palestinian Authority has failed” and was “corrupt”, he said, adding that he regretted not airing all those comments on television.

He insisted he had been told of their subsequent arrests by their families and stressed that he felt “responsible”.

One Palestinian contacted by AFP said his relative, who had criticised the PA in the report, had been held for several weeks by Palestinian police and was due to face a court soon.

The individual said he was also in favour of annexation and, despite “fear” of being arrested, added he remained hopeful “that Israel will give us citizenship”.

Who knows, maybe Human Rights Watch will even cover this one day.

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