Fatah official booted from Palestinian mourning tent

Palestinians accuse their government of maintaining security coordination at the 'expense of Palestinian lives'.

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    The Palestinian Authority has been widely criticised for maintaining security coordination with Israel [File: Adel Hana/AP Photo]
    The Palestinian Authority has been widely criticised for maintaining security coordination with Israel [File: Adel Hana/AP Photo]

    A senior member of Fatah, the party ruling the occupied West Bank, has been expelled from the mourning tent for a Palestinian slain by Israeli forces.

    A video posted on social media shows Azzam al-Ahmad being kicked out of Friday's mourning procession in Jordan's capital, Amman, by relatives of Ahmad Jarrar, a 22-year-old who was killed last week by Israeli forces in the occupied West Bank after a month-long manhunt.

    The relatives accused al-Ahmad of complicity in Jarrar's death, citing the ongoing security coordination of the Fatah-ruled Palestinian Authority (PA) with Israel.

    Attendees interrupted the speech of al-Ahmed, a member of Fatah's central committee, and demanded he left the mourning tent, the video shows.

    Under the Oslo deals signed between Israel and Palestine in the 1990s, the PA is obliged to share intelligence with Israel about any armed resistance to the Israeli occupation in a practice known as "security coordination".

    Jarrar allegedly killed Israeli settler Raziel Shevah in a drive-by shooting near a Jewish-only settlement adjacent to Nablus, a Palestinian city in the northern West Bank, on January 9.

    On Tuesday, Israeli forces surrounded a building where Jarrar was hiding in Yamoun, situated in the Jenin area of the West Bank, and opened fire when he allegedly exited the building holding a firearm.

    The anger over the PA's role in Jarrar's death highlights ongoing discontent among Palestinians over their government's reported role in security coordination with Israel, said Diana Buttu, a policy fellow at Al-Shabaka: The Palestinian Policy Network.

    Buttu, a former negotiator for the Palestine Liberation Organisation (PLO), accused Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas of overseeing a government that attempts "to be as repressive as possible", pointing to anger over security coordination and a lack of transparency about potential elections.

    "You've got, on the one hand, Abbas, who has said security coordination is effectively dead and the US and Israel have killed Oslo," she told Al Jazeera.

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    "On the other hand, the same person, despite a decision by the PLO security council to end the cooperation, he's still holding on to the very essence of Oslo, which is security collaboration," she added.

    "It's not for the freedom for Palestinians," Buttu continued. "It's quite the opposite. It's the basis for his [Abbas's] personal political survival, and he's doing all of this at the expense of Palestinian lives."

    'Leader should call it a day'

    According to a December 2017 poll conducted by the Palestinian Center for Policy and Survey Research, 70 percent of Palestinians want 82-year-old Abbas to resign.

    "A vast majority of people living under the thumb of the PA are saying the leader should call it a day," Buttu said, describing security cooperation as one of many "ongoing grievances" with the Palestinian leadership.

    In December, US President Donald Trump announced his intention to recognise Jerusalem as the capital of Israel after initiating plans to move the US embassy to the city.

    The PA has long maintained that East Jerusalem would be the capital for a future Palestinian state.

    Last week, a former senior Palestinian intelligence official, Tawfiq Tirawi, and the head of the West Bank bar association, Jawad Obeidat, announced that they were suing Abbas after documents leaked by a self-described whistle-blower purported the Palestinian government's widespread wire-tapping of Palestinians.

    The operation, which was allegedly backed by the US Central Intelligence Agency (CIA), targeted the intelligence official, Obeidat and a host of Palestinian officials, judges and civil society members.

    Speaking to the Associated Press at the time, Adnan Damiri, a spokesperson for Palestinian security services, described the allegations as "nonsense".

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    Israel has occupied the West Bank, including East Jerusalem, and the besieged Gaza Strip since the June 1967 Middle East war.

    More than half a million Israelis live in Jewish-only settlements across the occupied West Bank, including East Jerusalem, according to the Israeli rights group B'Tselem.

    Although all settlements are considered illegal under international law, there are more than 100 outposts that were built without authorisation and are considered illegal by even the Israeli government.

    SOURCE: Al Jazeera News


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