Arab Organisation for Human Rights in the UK (AOHR UK) has called on the European Union (EU) and other countries to cease all forms of support for the Palestinian Authority (PA), and in particular, the support provided to the PA’s security services.
It is deplorable, AOHR UK says, that the EU uses taxpayers’ money to fund the PA – a repressive organisation that has since its foundation killed and tortured Palestinians just as surely as the Israeli occupation has.
AOHR UK adds that officials’ claim EU does not prove support to PA’s security services are belied by the EU’s own documentation, which shows that the union has a police mission with the PA. This mission, headed by Nataliya Apostolova and with an annual budget of €12 million, provides training to the PA police force – a force that accompanies security services when arresting citizens and suppressing demonstrations. This is in addition to other public (and secret) support provided by the EU and its member states to those services.
Furthermore, AOHR UK questions where an annual budget of over € 1 billion, shared across six security agencies, comes from. The PA’s Civil Police, Preventive Security, General Intelligence, Military Intelligence, National Security, and Presidential Security forces together boast more than 75,000 staff. €1 billion is one-third of the PA’s budget (equivalent to that of ministries of education and agriculture combined): how could those forces’ combined strength be more than 75,00, if not for money from the EU, the US, and other states?
The EU’s program to support the rule of law in Palestine – allocating money to train judges, prosecutors, and courts – has had no effect, the AOHR UK claims. The judicial system is toothless relative to the security services, and indeed it is subject to its command; the judiciary authorizes the detention of activists despite their allegations of torture, whilst its release orders are ignored.
The killing of activist Nizar Banat and the subsequent attacks on demonstrators by the security services (in both uniform and plainclothes) shows that such programs do nothing except protect those services’ oppression of Palestinian citizens – a blatant contradiction of the principles on which European societies are based.
This terrible crime has again revealed the nature of those services to people across Palestine. Since the PA’s establishment, thousands of Palestinians have been arrested and many have died under torture, whilst more than 60 citizens have been assassinated. Those responsible have evaded punishment; there has been no effective, transparent accountability process.
The time has come to hold the PA’s officials accountable, starting with President Abbas, the Prime Minister, and security service officials, as led by Majed Faraj and Ziad Hab al-Reeh. The EU must cease all forms of support for the PA, and the International Criminal Court must investigate the crimes it has doubtless committed, especially since the chief prosecutor’s office has access to files that prove that the PA is committing crimes against humanity through its campaigns to eliminate its opponents.