Monday, November 05, 2012

Western Funding Of Abbas Regime Supports His Crackdown On Free Speech

Many Palestinian writers and journalists in the West Bank today live in fear of being harassed by the Palestinian Authority because of their views and writings. Some practice self-censorship, while others are writing under different names or have found themselves new and less dangerous professions.
Khaled Abu Toameh

Khaled Abu Toameh writes that Western funding of the Abbas regime does more just pay for the salaries of imprisoned Palestinian terrorists. In fact Western donations to Abbas help suppress freedom of speech:
Until recently, the Palestinian Authority, which is funded by the US and EU, used to throw its critics into prison.

But following condemnations from Palestinian and international human rights organizations, the Palestinian Authority decided to resort to a new method to silence its critics - this time by accusing them of "belittling the dignity" of a non-existent Palestinian state.

This charge is based on a 1960 Jordanian law still effective in the West Bank. Although the Palestinian Authority has its own laws, to achieve its goals it does not hesitate every now and then to resort to Jordanian laws.
Read the whole thing.

One example of Abbas's suppression of free speech is Jihad Harb, whose article "Presidential Decisions Are Made In A Coffee Shop," criticized Abbas's decision to promote more than 500 civil servants over the past five years, many of whom were unqualified.

Before being summoned for interrogation, Harb had already received threats from from the Palestinian Authority officials that he would be punished for publicly criticizing the PA.

This is all part of the Abbas regime's intimidation of Palestinian writers and journalists, contrary to a recent claim that "sky was the limit for freedom of expression".

Unfortunately, those who face no limit on their free speech have failed to raise an outcry about the crackdown by the Palestinian Authority and Abbas. Instead, the millions of dollars poured into the regime are wasted.

Failing to hold the Palestinian Authority accountable for its actions will only drive more Palestinians into the arms of Hamas and the other radical forces.
Yet the West's blindness to the corrupt and incompetent Abbas regime continues.

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