Palestinian Authority tries to snuff out anti-occupation groups

We’ve all become used to reports of scandals hitting the Palestinian Authority (PA), so much so that it is fair to say we are somewhat desensitized to them.

Just thinking randomly, there was the report back in 2004 of the cement factory owned by the prime minister at the time, Ahmad Qurei, supplying concrete slabs for Israel’s apartheid wall.

Then came the Palestine Papers – leaked PA documents published by Al-Jazeera website in 2011 – which revealed a wealth of shameful behaviour by PA officials bordering on high treason.

And that’s not to mention the rampant corruption which has seen PA officials pocket foreign aid while Palestinians in the occupied territories scavenge for food and children in Gaza suffer permanent deformities brought about by malnutrition.

Being optimists, as each scandal comes to light we think to ourselves that matters cannot possibly get worse and that the only way is up.

But suddenly they do get worse and today is no exception.

According to Reuters news agency, to help ease through US Secretary of State John Kerry’s so-called “peacemaking drive” the PA has been “quietly cutting off funds for grassroots campaigners against Israel’s occupation”.

The agency quoted a briefing for diplomats and reporters by Major-General Nitzan Alon, Israel’s top military official in the occupied West Bank, on 18 June. In the briefing, held at the Jerusalem Centre for Public Affairs, a conservative think-tank, he said the PA has “almost stopped financing a group that dealt with some riots and protests against Israel, and they halted the funds of this group in the last couple of months”.

Speaking later to Reuters, Alon named the group as the Popular Committee Against the Wall and Settlements, whose activism focuses on Palestinian land lost to Israel’s West Bank barrier and Jewish settlements.

He said the PA had kept its bankrolling of the group, and the cut-off of cash, secret. “They weren’t looking for diplomatic recognition for the move but rather for the territory to quiet down,” he said. In other words, the PA was simply seeking to end what resistance there is to the occupation in the West Bank.

Not surprisingly, PA officials could not immediately be reached for comment, Reuters reported.

It’s almost as if the PA is in a race against itself to prove that it is the best quisling administration Israel could ever wish.

But try as it may, the PA cannot succeed where Israel has failed. It cannot quash the Palestinian people’s spirit of steadfastness and resistance.

On the contrary, it is only a matter of time until the PA itself meets its overdue end at the very hands of the grassroots organizations it is trying to strangle.

Then, and only then, will the bell begin to toll for the Israeli occupation.

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