This is Keith Dayton’s Fatah’s fiefdom

[ 04/10/2010 – 11:03 PM ]

By Khalid Amayreh

The United States and to a lesser extent Europe never stop praising the Ramallah-based Palestinian Authority (PA) regime. Indeed, upon hearing the never-ending commendations of the Ramallah Junta, one would think that “the police-state without a state” is a paragon of good governance, democracy and all that is good.

One would also think that there is an active and exemplary justice system that respects human rights and civil liberties, a system that doesn’t discriminate against citizens on the basis of creed, sex and political orientation.

However, the shocking truth is that the Ramallah regime is none of that. It is rather a police state apparatus whose main function is mainly confined to   persecuting and tormenting Palestinian citizens deemed “non-conformist.” And as we all understand, this repression is done on Israel’s behalf and in order to obtain a certificate of good conduct from the evil occupiers.

A few days ago, I received a message from Palestinian lawmaker Nasser Abdul Jawwad from the Salfit region, describing how the PA security agencies have been tormenting and punishing people for their ideological views.

In the message, Abdul Jawad, an honest man of unquestionable credentials, pointed out that a poor woman whose husband had been fired from the local Police apparatus because he looked too religious (for frequenting the mosques for prayer) applied for the petty job of selling falafel at the local girls’ school. The school’s principal agreed, but demanded that the woman receive a “security clearance” from three agencies: The police, the Preventive Security, and the Mukhabarat or General Intelligence. The unsuspecting woman applied for a “certificate of good conduct” thinking that the matter was only routine and procedural in nature and that she had nothing to worry about anyway, given her clean record.

A few days later, however, she was summoned for an “interview’ at the Mukhabarat’s regional headquarters in Salfit. There, she was told that she couldn’t obtain a certificate of good conduct since she had voted for an Islamic-oriented candidate in the 2006 elections. She argued that selling Falafel had nothing to do with her political preferences and that she had an absolute right to obtain a certificate of good conduct in order to find a job and be able to support her family. So after selling Falafel for a trial period for 21 days at the local school, she had to leave her short-lasting job which she did on 28 September.

It was not clear if the Mukhabarat apparatus asked the woman to “work” with them as an informer. The various security agencies have consistently taken advantage of the Palestinian people’s severe economic condition to recruit thousands of people all over the West Bank to work as “mandoobeen” or agents to inform on people who might criticize the PA or show signs of opposition to the Ramallah junta.

Hence, every conceivable institution in the West Bank, including schools, colleges, and hospitals, has been thoroughly implanted with informers. Just imagine a situation where a school teacher is made to spy on his colleagues, or an office clerk is made to inform on his or her fellow clerk. Imagine college professors and lecturers always worried that one of their students or even colleagues might inform on them to the security agencies in case they said something that might be interpreted “differently” during their lectures.

Well, this is how the Keith Dayton’s republic is trying to foster freedom of thought and expression in occupied Palestine. This must be a promising preview of the Palestinian state that Abbas and cohorts are trying to create. !!!! May God help the Palestinians.

Going back to that poor woman, Abdul Jawwad reminded us that her husband, a policeman for ten years, was unceremoniously fired from his job and jailed for four months, during which he reportedly was subjected to cruel torture, for no reason other than being a religious man.

Like his wife, the former policeman reportedly was accused of having voted for  a candidate affiliated with the “wrong” political party in 2006. Eventually, he was fired from his job because, according to the police, “he didn’t enjoy good reputation.” To add insult to injury, the now unemployed and impoverished former policeman is yet to receive his benefits from the police where he worked for ten years.

Now, one is prompted to ask what kind of a state or quasi-state or political entity would treat its citizens this way? Are Palestinian citizens supposed to work as collaborators and informers for Israel in order to please the Dayton republic? Must they work in Jewish settlements in order to be good citizens? Surely, the answer is the responsibility of Mahmoud Abbas and Salam Fayyadh.

Needless to say, this poor and modest family is only a random epitome caricaturing the general situation facing thousands if not tens of thousands of Palestinian families. Moreover, one exaggerates very little by suggesting that this case represents more or less the modus operandi at most if not all the private and public institutions operating under the Dayton regime in Ramalalh.

More to the point, if selling falafel sandwiches at a girls’ school in the heart of the Palestinian countryside requires all these KGB-style calculations, including summoning dignified housewives to the offices of the security agencies, just imagine how the “procedure” of appointing high-ranking civil servants would look like.

In short, the problem under this hateful regime goes far beyond the dismissal of thousands of civil servants, including teachers, doctors, and engineers from their jobs because of their political views or association with the “wrong people”, but also include the sullen hostility shown toward hundreds of thousands of Palestinians who are suspected of supporting Hamas and other Islamic organizations.

This is a message of paramount significance to the Hamas and Fatah officials who are going to meet in Damascus in a few days to iron out a possible national reconciliation agreement.

A successful national reconciliation can’t be achieved without putting all these despicable acts, done by an entity that has shown no respect for its own citizens, in the dustbin of history.  Otherwise, the goal of true national reconciliation would remain as elusive and as distant as ever.

This is Keith Dayton’s Fatah’s fiefdom.

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