West Bank Streets Quiet as Palestinian Authority Suppresses Protests
Security forces have been creating disruptions more frequently of late, in light of Egyptian and Tunisian uprisings, and release of the Palestinian Papers.
The Palestinian Authority (PA) is using brute force and intimidation tactics -- similar to those deployed in Cairo -- to suppress pro-Egyptian and Tunisian protests in the West Bank...it appears Palestinians are not yet ready to rise up like their brethren in the region.
PA Special Police Forces, undercover police and other plain-clothed security personnel have disrupted several attempts by Palestinians in Ramallah to express solidarity with protesters in Egypt and Tunisia. Palestinian television, meanwhile, has largely ignored the unrest in the region.
Undercover security forces in plain clothes and police wielding batons have forcibly dispersed small impromptu gatherings. A number of protesters were arrested and physically dragged away. Meanwhile, a pro-Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak rally, alleged to comprise members of the security forces in civilian clothing, went ahead with no police interference.
...The PA spends approximately one third of its budget on security and has one of the highest ratios of security personnel to civilians in the world -- many accuse the PA of running a police state, but without a state.
...despite Abbas’ close ties with Mubarak and his unpopularity due to lack of democracy, the chances of a major uprising in the Palestinian territories against authoritarian rule both in Gaza and the West Bank appears unlikely at present.
..."We’ve seen decades of political upheaval and gone through two uprisings, none of which brought us any closer to freedom, but in fact left us weaker and poorer than before," Aziz Zabanah, a shop-keeper who witnessed both uprisings told IPS.
"People are worried about surviving economically and feeding their children and they have little faith in the respective leaderships," coffee shop manager Hossam Al Gharbi told IPS.