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PCHR Strongly Condemns the Use of Force against Peaceful Demonstrations in Ramallah PDF Print E-mail
Monday, 02 July 2012 01:00

Ref: 73/2012

 

The Palestinian Centre for Human Rights (PCHR) condemns the use of force by the Palestinian police, backed by security services, to disperse peaceful demonstrations organized by dozens of Palestinians on Saturday, 30 June 2012, and Sunday, 01 July 2012, in protest of a planned visit by Israeli Deputy Prime Minister, and leader of the Kadima Party, Shaul Mofaz to Ramallah to meet with the Palestinian President.  PCHR further condemns the accompanying attacks on media professionals and threats to civil society activists in Ramallah.  PCHR calls upon the Palestinian police in Ramallah to respect the right to freedom of opinion and expression and the right to peaceful assembly, which are ensured under the Palestinian Basic Law and international human rights instruments.

 

 

According to investigations conducted by PCHR and statements given by eyewitnesses, at approximately 17:00 on Saturday, 30 June 2012, dozens of Palestinians gathered to organize a peaceful demonstration near al-Manara Square in the center of Ramallah, in protest of a planned visit by Israeli Deputy Prime Minister Shaul Mofaz to Ramallah to meet with President Mahmoud Abbas.  The demonstrators walked towards the presidential compound, but the Palestinian police stopped them.  As the demonstrators arrived near the Bir Zeit public transport station in al-Ersal Street which leads to the al-Muqata'ah (the presidential compound), police officers and members of the security services in civilian clothes used clubs to beat demonstrators and media professionals.  As a result, a number of demonstrators and media professionals sustained bruises.  In addition, members of the General Investigations Service (GIS) arrested 7 Palestinians, including journalist Mohammed Yasser Jaradat, who was severely beaten in the GIS Headquarters although he told the GIS that he is a journalist.  Jaradat was transferred to the Palestine Medical Compound for medical treatment.  The other protestors were released 2 hours later.

 

At approximately 17:00 on Sunday, 01 July 2012, dozens of Palestinians gathered to organize a peaceful demonstration near al-Manara Square in the center of Ramallah, in protest of the attacks that took place the previous day.  As the demonstrators walked towards the presidential compound and arrived near the Bir Zeit public transport station, police officers and members of the security services in civilian clothes used clubs to beat demonstrators and media professionals.  As a result, 8 Palestinians, including 4 media professionals, sustained bruises.  In addition, members of the GIS arrested 3 Palestinians, including Ahmed Mesleh (27), a freelance journalist.  The protestors were released 30 minutes later.

 

PCHR’s fieldworker in Ramallah reported that GIS members and police officers tried to confiscate Mesleh's camera, and threatened to beat him, even though he told them that he is a journalist.  Eyewitnesses reported that the Chief of Police in Ramallah and al-Bireh Colonel Abdul Latif Qaddoumi and his assistant, Mohammed Abu Bakr, were present and participated in the use of force against the demonstrators.

 

PCHR notes that Shaul Mofaz served as the IDF Chief of Staff between 09 July 1998 and 09 July 2002.  Under his command, the Israeli Army implemented "Operation Defensive Shield" in the West Bank.  This Operation, which started on 29 March 2002, resulted, inter alia, in the massacre in Jenin refugee camp in the north of the West Bank.  On 04 November 2002, Mofaz was appointed as the Israeli Defense Minister.  When he was serving in these 2 positions, the Israeli occupation forces committed many war crimes in the West Bank and the Gaza Strip, resulting in the death and injury of hundreds of innocent Palestinian civilians.  PCHR has filed several cases before a number of European courts against Mofaz for his responsibility for such crimes.

 

PCHR strongly condemns the use of force against the 2 peaceful demonstrations and:

1. Strongly condemns the prevention of the organization of peaceful demonstrations and the use of force to disperse demonstrators, and stresses that Palestinians have a legal right to public meetings and to organize peaceful protests.

2. Reiterates that the right to peaceful assembly (public meetings) is ensured under the Palestinian Basic Law and international human rights instruments.

3. The visit of Mofaz to Ramallah and receiving of him in the Palestinian presidential compound constitutes, if they take place, a total disregard for the feelings of the Palestinian people and an official denial of victims' rights and the suffering of victims' families.

 

 



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