West Bank and Jordan: Human Rights Groups, U.S., Europe Support the Unacceptable Yet Again
This is how Arab despots fight those who dare to criticize them or demand democracy or freedom of expression. One of those arrested by Palestinian policemen – trained and funded by Americans and Europeans - Ismat Abdel Khalek, university lecturer, single mother of two, and in deteriorating health, is awaiting trial in solitary confinement. International human rights have refused to endorse her case out of fear of alienating the Palestinians leadership in the West Bank.
Both Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas and Jordan's King Abdullah have been clamping down on anyone suspected of daring to criticize His Excellency The President, or His Majesty The King -- or any Arab dictator – by making it a crime to "extend the tongue."
In Jordan, two young men were recently sentenced to prison for "extending their tongues" against King Abdullah; six other Jordanians are awaiting trial on the same charges.
The Jordanian authorities arrested all the men during demonstrations and rallies in support of reforms and democracy in the kingdom.
One of the suspects was arrested for burning a picture of the monarch; the rest were accused of chanting slogans against the regime and in favor of democracy and reform.
In a separate case, an Arab citizen of Israel was arrested by the Jordanians after he was suspected of speaking ill of the king. The man was released following the intervention of the Israeli authorities.
The Palestinian Authority, not much different from other Arab dictatorships, has also been cracking down on Palestinians who dare raise their voices in favor of freedom of speech and democracy.
In the past two weeks, Palestinian Authority policemen -- who are trained and funded by Americans and Europeans -- arrested three journalists for allegedly "extending their tongues" against Abbas and Palestinian government officials.
One of those arrested is the journalist and blogger Ismat Abdel Khalik, a single mother of two from the West Bank.
Her crime was that she posted a comment on Facebook that denounced Abbas as a "traitor" and "fascist" and called for dismantling the Palestinian Authority.
Abdel Khalik, who is also a university lecturer, is now facing trial for "extending her tongue" against the Palestinian president. She is being held in solitary confinement in a Palestinian prison.
Abdel Khalik's relatives and friends said that she was hospitalized shortly after her arrest because of her deteriorating health.
Some of her colleagues complained that international human rights organizations have refused to endorse her case out of fear of alienating the Palestinian leadership in the West Bank.
Abdel Khalik would have been more fortunate had she been arrested by Israel. Then she would have been depicted by the Western media as a hero and the UN Human Rights Council would have held an emergency session to condemn Israel and call for her immediate release.
Palestinian journalist Tareq Khamis, who protested against her arrest by posting a critical comment on Facebook, quickly found himself being led to interrogation by agents belonging to Abbas's much-feared Preventive Security Service. He too was suspected of "extending his tongue" against the president.
In light of the clampdown, Jordanians and Palestinians have been advised to keep their tongues inside their mouths to avoid detention and prosecution. This is how Arab despots fight those who dare to criticize them or demand democracy and freedom of expression. Ironically, the crackdown on those who "extend their tongues" is being led by the two Arab leaders who are considered among the West's best allies in the Middle East: Mahmoud Abbas and King Abdullah.
Reader comments on this item
|HRW did protest Abdel Khalik's arrest [53 words]||Mordecai Ben-Abraham||Apr 10, 2012 10:11|
Comment on this item
by Burak Bekdil
Where Turkey stands today is a perfect example of how, when Islamists -- mild or otherwise -- rule a county, even the most basic liberties are systematically suppressed.
"A climate of fear has emerged in Turkey." — Hasam Kilic, President, Turkey's Constitutional Court.
The prosecutor demanded a heavier penalty for the victim than for her torturers.
The European Commission identified government interference in the judiciary and bans imposed on social media as the major sources of concern regarding Turkey's candidacy for full membership.
by Khaled Abu Toameh
To understand what drives a young Palestinian to carry out such a deadly attack, one needs to look at the statements of Palestinian Authority leaders during the past few weeks.
The anti-Israel campaign of incitement reached its peak with Abbas's speech at the UN a few weeks ago, when he accused Israel of waging a "war of genocide" in the Gaza Strip. Abbas made no reference to Hamas's crimes against both Israelis and Palestinians.
Whatever his motives, it is clear that the man who carried out the most recent attack, was influenced by the messages that Abbas and the Palestinian Authority leadership have been sending their people.
by Richard Kemp
Would General Allen -- or any other general today -- recommend contracting out his country's defenses if it were his country at stake? Of course not.
The Iranian regime remains dedicated to undermining and ultimately destroying the State of Israel. The Islamic State also has Israel in its sights and would certainly use the West Bank as a point from which to attack, if it were open to them.
There can be no two-state solution and no sovereign Palestinian Arab state west of the Jordan, however desirable those things might be. The stark military reality is that Israel cannot withdraw its forces from the West Bank.
Fatah leaders ally themselves with the terrorists of Hamas, and, like Hamas, they continue to reject the every existence of the State of Israel.
If Western leaders actually want to help, they should use all diplomatic and economic means to make it clear to the Palestinians that they will never achieve an independent and sovereign state while they remain set on the destruction of the State of Israel.
by Louis René Beres
The Palestine Liberation Organization [PLO], forerunner of today's Palestinian Authority, was founded in 1964, three years before Israel came into the unintended control of the West Bank and Gaza. What therefore was the PLO planning to "liberate"?
Why does no one expect the Palestinians to cease all deliberate and random violence against Israeli civilians before being considered for admission to statehood?
On June 30, 1922, a joint resolution of both Houses of Congress of the United States endorsed a "Mandate for Palestine," confirming the right of Jews to settle anywhere they chose between the Jordan River and the Mediterranean Sea. This is the core American legacy of support for a Jewish State that President Obama now somehow fails to recall.
A sovereign state of Palestine, as identified by the Arabs -- a Muslim land occupied by "Palestinian" Arabs -- has never existed; not before 1948, and not before 1967. From the start, it was, and continues to be, the Arab states -- not Israel -- that became the core impediment to Palestinian sovereignty.
by Timon Dias
It looks as if this new law is meant to serve as a severe roadblock to parties that would like to dismantle the EU in a democratic and peaceful way from within.
A rather dull semantic trick pro-EU figures usually apply, is calling their opponents "anti-Europe."