As their violent actions often show, the Palestinian Authority security forces are nothing more than subcontractors of the Israeli regime.
On June 24, the Palestinian Authority (PA) activist and outspoken critic Nizar Banat was arrested and Beaten to death Provided by PA Security Services.
Many people call this a political assassination. Since then, Palestinians in the occupied West Bank and other areas have taken to the streets to protest. In their chants, the protesters not only demanded justice for Banat and his family, but also demanded the fall of the regime and the end of the rule of the Palestinian Authority Chairman Mahmoud Abbas.
Security forces responded to protests throughout the West Bank, especially Ramallah, with violence and repression. They used Israeli-made crowd control weapons such as tear gas and stun grenades against the protesters. Policemen in uniforms and plain clothes also beat and arrested activists and reporters.
Although demonstrations and protests have long been sites of gender-based violence, in the past few weeks, we have also witnessed an increase in the targeting of female protesters and activists. In addition to using sexist insults and hints that often amount to verbal sexual harassment, plainclothes security forces also physically harass female protesters.
Sexual harassment of women in these spaces aims to punish them for exercising their rights and prevent them from participating in future political actions. In addition, this will cause male activists to worry about their safety and then try to discourage them from participating in protests.
As we all know, outside of the protests, the Secret Service called on the families of women and girls to “discuss” their radicalism and even threatened them. In fact, misogyny is a modus operandi of the Palestinian security forces and larger Palestinian political institutions.
Palestinian human rights organizations and other civil society organizations have condemned the abuse and violence we have seen in the past few weeks. However, this oppression is not new — it is part of a systematic attempt by the Palestinian Authority to stifle political opposition and freedom. The Palestinian Authority security forces are the key pillar of this attempt. Since the signing of the Oslo Agreement, they have grown exponentially. In fact, almost half of the public servants of the Palestinian Authority are employed by the security services today. The security sector’s budget is also larger than the education, health, and agricultural sectors combined.
The Palestinian Authority’s security forces exist under the framework of “security and peace”, which means they have an obligation to cooperate fully with the Israeli regime. This security cooperation includes the transfer of information and the whereabouts of Palestinian militants to the Israeli army, as well as joint meetings and seminars that led to the use of similar oppressive techniques against Palestinians in colonized Palestinian areas.
Funded and trained by international donors such as the United States, the European Union, the United Kingdom, and Canada, the role of the Palestinian security forces is to maintain Palestinian compliance with the occupation regime and suppress Palestinian resistance to the status quo.
There are already several internationally funded projects to ensure that more women are employed in the Palestinian security sector, but these efforts will only contribute to more misogyny and gender-based violence. In fact, by promoting more Palestinian women to join the police and Secret Service, international donors have helped expand the department’s ability to select Palestinian female activists.
The past few weeks have shown once again that the Palestinian Authority and its security forces are not serving the Palestinian people. Some people looked at the human rights violations committed by the Palestinian Authority’s security forces and claimed that they had clearly “failed”. However, they actually succeeded in achieving their main purpose: to suppress Palestinian dissent. The Palestinian Authority security forces are nothing more than subcontractors of the Israeli regime. Contrary to the accusations against the protesters, they have a “foreign agenda.”
As the Palestinian Authority continues to suppress political opposition, people around the world are basically watching silently. However, now more than ever, anyone who supports the Palestinian struggle must recognize that the Palestinian Authority and its security forces are running counter to our collective liberation.
The views expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect Al Jazeera’s editorial stance.