The Palestinian Authority is gazing into an abyss, and it is beating people in the streets.
While news about Palestine has been dominated in recent days by an Al Jazeera investigation into Yasir Arafat’s death, the mainstream media has largely ignored another more serious series of events. This is that the Palestinian Authority – the regime that has administered several of small enclaves within the Israeli occupied West Bank since Arafat agreed to the Oslo agreements in the 1990s - is teetering at the edge of a political and financial abyss, and that its reaction to these circumstances is the brutal suppression the general population.
Violence broke out last Saturday and Sunday when protesters - campaigning against prospective negotiations between the PA’s unelected President, Mahmoud Abbas, and Israeli Vice Prime Minister Shaul Mofaz - were confronted by the Palestinian Security Forces and subject to vicious beatings that left several protesters badly injured. When most of the violence took place, on Sunday, approximately 200 protesters were met with a brigade of around 100 PA Security Forces in uniform and some 30-40 Mukhabarat (secret police) and plainclothes police officers that had infiltrated the crowd.