The US and EU taxpayers need to ask their governments why they continue to fund and train Palestinian security forces that are harassing and intimidating women. And they also need to ask why their media representatives do not bother to report about human rights violations that are committed by the various branches of the Western-funded Palestinian security services.

Palestinian women have become the latest victims of a security crackdown launched by Palestinian Authority security forces that are funded, equipped and trained by Americans and Europeans.

It is such repressive measures that turn Palestinians against the Palestinian Authority and drive many of them into the open arms of Hamas.

In the past few weeks, at least five women from the West Bank have been detained, beaten or summoned for interrogation by the Palestinian Authority's General Intelligence Service and Preventative Security Force.

One could understand if such practices were taking place under Hamas in the Gaza Strip.

But why does the fact that award-winning female journalist Majdoleen Hassouneh has to go into hiding to avoid being arrested by the Preventative Security Force in Nablus does not seem to bother any of her foreign colleagues or international human rights organizations?

Hassouneh, a recipient of the Thomson Award for her investigative reporting, is wanted by the Palestinian security force for daring to cover a sit-in strike held by families of Palestinians who are detained in Palestinian prisons in the West Bank.

Because she refused to report for interrogation, the security force has arrested her two brothers as a means of pressure to force her to turn herself in.

The Palestinian security forces have meanwhile warned Palestinian journalists against reporting about the case of Hassouneh.

A few weeks ago, another female journalist from Nablus, Ibtihal Mansour, was beaten by policewomen while she was covering the weekly sit-in strike, which is being held outside the Palestinian-administered Jneid Prison.

The two journalists are not the only women to be targeted by Palestinian security services in the West Bank.

In the past few days, the wives of two Palestinian men who are being held without trial in a Palestinian prison in Hebron, Zein al-Din Shabaneh and Anas Rasras, were detained for interrogation about the activities of their husbands. The two wives later complained that Palestinian interrogators humiliated them, but did not elaborate.

In a more recent case, the Palestinian security forces summoned 50-year-old Rusaila al-Titi, from the Fawwar refugee camp, for interrogation. But she, like Hassouneh, has announced her refusal to appear for interrogation. Now al-Titi also faces detention for defying the summons.

Of course the stories of these women have not made it to the Western media, which has hundreds of representatives in this region. Human rights organizations and groups that claim to defend freedom of expression and the media have shown almost no interest in the measures taken by security forces loyal to Mahmoud Abbas and Salam Fayyad against women.

The media and human rights groups are apparently ignoring such stories because they are lacking an anti-Israel element.

Palestinian security authorities intimidating a female Palestinian journalist is obviously not a story as far as most of the Middle East editors are concerned.

But an Israeli soldier shouting at a Palestinian cameraman at a checkpoint is a big story, one that needs to be covered from all angles.

The Palestinian Authority is targeting women because they are easy prey -- and as a means to intimidate others.

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