On Wednesday 11 May, while seeking to apply for a job in one of Ramallah’s many cafes, 26 year-old Kefah Quzmar was assaulted violently and arrested by members of the Palestinian Authority’s General Intelligence, a branch of the burgeoning PA security forces. Quzmar was taken away and imprisoned for nearly two weeks, during which he was denied access to a lawyer and visits by his family. Moreover, for eight days he was kept in solitary confinement and prevented from studying for his upcoming university final exams.
What was his crime? What terrible transgression did he commit to deserve such treatment? Amazingly, he had simply updated his Facebook status.
Objecting to a similar arbitrary arrest of a friend, on 21 April Quzmar wrote that the Palestinian Security Forces were “rotten”. His full post said: “Do you know why the mukhabarat [intelligence service] is a rotten agency? Because the entire PA is rotten. Seif al-Idrissi is under arrest! #FreedomforSeif”
Though the authoritarian and anti-democratic nature of the PA has been increasingly clear over the past decade since the end of the Second Intifada, this kind of episode highlights the astonishing depth of perniciousness and absurdity to which it is prepared to descend.