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PA: Palestinian protestors shoot live fire and homemade bombs at Palestinian security forces

Nov. 18, 2016 10:23 A.M. (Updated: Nov. 20, 2016 7:27 P.M.)
TUBAS (Ma'an) -- A group of Palestinian youth Thursday night shot live fire and locally made bombs at Palestinian security forces near the al-Faraa refugee camp in the occupied West Bank district of Tubas during a protest against the Palestinian Authority (PA)'s arbitrary detention of Palestinian youth in the refugee camp.

Palestinian security forces told Ma’an that a group of youth closed the main street near the al-Faraa refugee camp at midnight, prompting security forces to head to the area.

Local sources from the refugee camp told Ma’an that the youth had closed the street in protest of Palestinian security forces continuing to detain youth from the camp without charge or trial.

While security forces attempted to open the closed street, two locally made bombs were thrown at them, prompting Palestinian forces to open fire in the air before chasing after the youth, security sources said.

Live fire was also shot at the security forces when they approached the refugee camp, according to Palestinian security sources.

The PA has come under a wave of criticism in recent months, as Palestinians have accused security forces of arbitrarily detaining and imprisoning Palestinians as part of another escalation of the PA’s “security coordination” with Israel -- through what critics have called a “revolving door policy" of funneling Palestinians from PA jails into Israeli prisons.

In September, protests erupted against the PA as six Palestinian activists held in PA prison without charge or trial for five months launched a hunger strike to demand their release. The six also reported being tortured by the PA during their detentions.

Sahar Francis, director of the prisoners’ rights group Addameer, told Ma’an in September that Palestinian law allows the detention of anyone for up to six months without charge or trial for the purpose of interrogation, adding that “usually [the PA] uses this in cases of political prisoners to avoid charging them.”

The six were released after going on hunger strike for nine days. However, friends and families of the former detainees expressed fear over the possibilities of Israeli forces detaining the activists again.

Palestinian prisoner solidarity network Samidoun said during their detention in PA prison that the six young men were all "well known in their communities and families for their commitment to Palestinian freedom. Their arrest, torture, and continued imprisonment clearly comes under the auspices of Palestinian Authority security coordination with Israel.”

Since their release in September, four of the six Palestinians, Muhammad Harb, Haitham Siyaj, Muhammad all-Salamin, and Seif al-Idrissi, have been detained by Israeli forces, according to Samidoun, and ordered to six months of administrative detention -- an Israeli policy of internment without charge or trial.

In October, a video was released by Israeli media, showing Israeli forces beating Haitham Siyaj during his detention in Hebron, while a woman screams in the background.

Meanwhile, Israeli forces have continued to raid the home of former PA detainee Basil al-Araj, a well-known local activist who has been outspoken against the Israeli-PA security coordination, in the Bethlehem-area village of al-Walaja, while summoning his brothers and father to interrogations with Israeli intelligence last week.

According to Samidoun, al-Araj’s mother has consistently told Israeli forces that her son has not stayed in their family’s home since his release from PA prison.

Immediately following the release of the six, friends and family members of al-Araj expressed worry when they told Ma’an that al-Araj had not returned to their home since being released from the PA prison.

The PA has long been criticized for its security coordination with Israel, criticism that took on a new significance after the police beating in August that killed Ahmad Halaweh, while Israel too has been the target of widespread international condemnation for unlawful killings of Palestinians since a wave of unrest swept across the Palestinian territory last October.
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