International Community Expresses Concern Over Palestinian Crackdown

YERUSHALAYIM -

There were expressions of concern in the international community on Tuesday over the Palestinian Authority’s ongoing crackdown on protesters, The Times of Israel reported.

The United Nations human rights office said it was “deeply concerned at continuing pressure on those seeking to exercise their rights to freedom of expression and assembly in Palestine.”

Demonstrators have been demanding justice since the June death of Nizar Banat — an outspoken critic of the Palestinian Authority. Banat died in custody after security forces stormed his home in Chevron and dragged him away.

The U.N. agency said that PA security forces had arrested 23 people in Ramallah during the weekend on the grounds that “they were holding a public protest,” but noted that 21 of them “were detained before any protest had even started.”

It said “more arrests appear to be taking place” targeting “well-known human rights defenders and political activists,” and called for “the immediate release without charge of these individuals.”

The European Union representative in Yerushalayim also condemned the arrests, which it said had come “against the backdrop of reports of an increase in apparently politically motivated arrests by the Palestinian Authority over the past few months.”

“Violence against peaceful human rights defenders, activists and protesters is unacceptable,” the E.U. said.

The Palestinian Authority was not immediately available to respond to the criticism.