By Vacy Vlazna
‘A nation can survive its fools, and even the ambitious. But it cannot survive treason from within. An enemy at the gates is less formidable, for he is known and carries his banner openly. But the traitor moves amongst those within the gate freely, his sly whispers rustling through all the alleys, heard in the very halls of government itself. For the traitor appears not a traitor; he speaks in accents familiar to his victims, and he wears their face and their arguments, he appeals to the baseness that lies deep in the hearts of all men. He rots the soul of a nation, he works secretly and unknown in the night to undermine the pillars of the city, he infects the body politic so that it can no longer resist. A murderer is less to fear. The traitor is the plague.’ — Cicero
On May 30, 2014, unelected President Mahmoud Abbas affirmed that the Palestinian Authority’s acts of treason, spanning 21 years, against the people of Palestine were ‘sacred’:
“The security relationship [with Israel]…and I say it on air, security coordination is sacred, is sacred. And we’ll continue it whether we disagree or agree over policy.”
Conversely, resistance to the enemy, Israel, was once deemed sacred and the severest punishment for collaboration was made into law by the Palestinian Liberation Organization (PLO). The PA/PLO ‘security’ and intelligence collaboration with Israel since the 1993 Oslo Accords comes well within the terms of treason set out in the PLO Revolutionary Penal Code 1979 that is still applied:
Article 144: Any person who provides the enemy with documents, or is considered to have harmed military actions, or the security of military sites and centers, or any other military institutions shall be punished by death,
Article 148: Any person who leads the enemy to the sites of the revolutionary forces, or the allied forces, or misleads these forces shall be punished by death.
As per the disbanded Southern Lebanon Army which was controlled, funded and trained by Israel to quash Palestinians and Hizbollah, the Palestinian Authority Security Forces (PASF) and the Preventative Security Service (PSS) function as Israel’s mercenary collaborators: hired, trained and bankrolled since Oslo by Israel, the USA, the CIA and the EU, overtly to maintain social stability and covertly to prevent the establishment of the Palestinian state.
Hanan Ashrawi declared way back in 2003, “We are the only people on Earth asked to guarantee the security of our occupier, while Israel is the only country that calls for defense from its victims;” a guarantee which every PLO/PA and Fatah Central Committee (FCC) cat in Ramallah, fattened by foreign funding, readily fulfills without moral misgivings.
Cicero’s warning that a nation “cannot survive treason from within” proves ominously true. Thanks to the PA’s collusion with Israel in faux peace processes and subduing Palestinian resistance, Palestine has shrunk to less than 10% gorged away by facts-on-the-ground-illegal-settlements which proliferate by the second.
The PA/PLO/FCC, in line with Cicero’s portrayal, “For the traitor appears not a traitor; he speaks in accents familiar to his victims, and he wears their face and their arguments” has a benign public face and a hidden face of treachery.
Posturing as enemies, Israel and PA hasbara adroitly dissembles their interdependence. During Israel’s Operation Brother’s Keeper, Abbas publicly complained about Israel’s large scale arrests of Hamas supporters while, simultaneously, the PASF were assisting Israel with intelligence in the collective punishment of Palestinians in the West Bank and Gaza.
In effect, the PASF, with Abbas as its commander-in-chief are conspiring in the war crime of collective punishment under Article 33 of the Fourth Geneva Convention that the PA signed formally on 2 April 2014.
Systemic Crimes of Torture
The word ‘traitor’ comes from the Latin, ‘traditor’- one who delivers. And the PA certainly has delivered its people and their dream of freedom to the enemy. The plague of the PA’s treacherous detainment of Hamas supporters, as Cicero explains, ‘infects the body politic”. The infection intensified after the internationally-backed 2007 PA coup overthrew the democratically elected Hamas government in violation of the Palestinian constitution. Since then the PA has rounded up, detained and tortured thousands of Hamas supporters i.e. thousands of their fellow Palestinians.
Shocking details of grave human rights violations by the PASF…
“It is clear that the Palestinian security services have been using torture on a wide and systematic basis for several years using, inter alia, the following techniques: shabh (hanging) of all kinds, beating with cables, pulling out nails, suspension from the ceiling, flogging, kicking, swearing and cursing, electric shocks, sexual harassment and the threat of rape. At least six people have been killed while undergoing torture in Palestinian Authority centres: Shadi Shaheen, Ramallah; Majd Barghouti, Ramallah; Mohammed al-Haj, Jenin; Kamal Abu Taima, Hebron; Haitham Amro, Hebron; Fadi Hamadna, Nablus. Many ex-detainees have permanent disabilities. Mass arrests have taken place on political grounds.” (2011)
… are well documented in the reports, Documenting the crime of torture in the Palestinian Authority’s Territories by The Arab Organiation for Human RIghts in the UK in association with the Middle East Monitor, 2011 and Detention Policy: Striking Palestinian National Immunity at its Core, The Arab Organization for Human RIghts in the UK, 2012.
The atmosphere of fear imposed by the brutal Israeli/PA partnership constricting Palestinian resistance explains why a 3rd Intifada has not emerged. Even minor dissent means torture and imprisonment, therefore Palestinians who have families to support and protect, know, through the shocking experiences of detainees, the horrific dangers of challenging the corruption and treachery of the PLO/PA elite or simply participating in a protest.
Take the experience of Samih Elewi from Nablus. His 5th arrest occurred in March 2010 for filing a case against the PSS for loss of income. During his previous imprisonment he had been tortured, beaten, his nails pulled out, his health deteriorated to the point of a heart attack. While undergoing surgery the PSS raided and looted his jewellery shop and home leaving his family destitute.
AOHR UK has documented the case of journalism student Mus’ab Adnan Al-Husari , 22,’who was arrested and tortured by PA intelligence services on the 12th of May 2014 as punishment for his support for his father who has gone on a hunger strike in Israeli prisons’ and rearrested by Israeli occupation forces on the 27th of May 2014’ purposely jeopardising his graduation.
Union leader, Bassam Zakarneh who was brought to court on 30 June 2014 for accusing Ahmed Majdalan, former Minister of Labour, of corruption and inefficiency, claimed “the charges are a “futile attempt to scare trade union activists.”
These are merely 3 examples of the thousands of Palestinians subjected to torture by the PASF/PSS. The AOHR UK states that from October 2007 to October 2010, almost 8,640 Palestinians were detained by their own traitors. Each has a horror story.
PA Undermining BDS
The PA’s treachery is also evident in its efforts to protect Israel by working overtly and ‘secretly … to undermine the pillars of the’ Boycott Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement. A blatant example occurred in Australia when in October 2011, The Australian (a devout pro-Zionist newspaper) reported an anti-BDS statement by,
‘Izzat Abdulhadi, head of the General Delegation of Palestine to Australia, said yesterday he did not support a full-scale boycotts, divestment and sanctions campaign designed to isolate and delegitimise Israel, and was scathing about recent BDS-inspired protests outside the Max Brenner chain of shops, which are Israeli-owned. “BDS is a non-violent process and I don’t think it’s the right of anybody to use BDS as a violent action or to prevent people from buying from any place,” Mr Abdulhadi said of the Max Brenner protests, which have occasionally turned violent.’
Abdulhadi then scurrilously tainted the BDS activists with the Nazi brush,
‘(The BDS) is also sensitive to the Jewish people (because) in 1937 their businesses in Europe were boycotted.’
…. a refrain taken up ever since by pro-Zionist Australian politicians including the former PM Kevin Rudd and the present Attorney General George Brandis of East- Jerusalem-is-NOT- OCCUPIED notoriety.
Max Brenner is owned by the Strauss Group which actively supports the viscous Golani and Givati elite brigades.
Under pressure, Abdulhadi made a retraction which can be taken with a grain of salt when considering, at a talk in March 2014 by leading French BDS activist, Olivia Zemor, at the Australian National University, Abdulhadi’s staffer, Suheir Gedeon duly insisted that Australians were not ready for BDS.
Late last year, Ali Abunimah blogged on Abbas’ outrageous rejection of boycotting Israel because, “We have relations with Israel, we have mutual recognition of Israel” at, of all places, in South Africa, the wellspring of BDS, on the eve of Mandela memorial service.
This was a snide attack on BDS because the PA knows full well that the BDS movement does not boycott Israel but settlement products and significantly, institutions, individuals and businesses that support the occupation under which Palestinians suffer and resist (when they are not in a PA prison).
BDS activists inside Palestine are quickly suppressed. Only two months ago, the Gatestone Institute reported that Zeid Shuaibi, Abdel Jawad Hamayel, Fadi Quran and Fajr Harb, were put on trial on 28th May for “provoking riots and breach of public tranquility.” by the PA simply because they protested the performance of an Indian dance troupe that had performed in Tel Aviv.
Undermining the Unity Government
The PA didn’t need Israel’s Brother’s Keeper military intervention to undermine the unity government which since its establishment on 2 June after the failure of the ‘peace’ process, the PASF have maintained the momentum of arresting Hamas supporters and “Palestinian activists and journalists especially those who support Palestinian detainees in Israeli prisons who have gone on a hunger strike.” (AOHR UK)
During Operation Brother’s Keeper, Abbas’ prime concern was for the survival of the PA, not for the hunger striking prisoners nor for the Israeli tsunami of arrests and house invasions. Quick to disloyally concur with Netanyahu that the suspects were connected to Hamas, and without a shred of evidence, Abbas announced the ‘kidnappers’ were “seeking the destruction of the [Palestinian] Authority,” then went on to praise “the Palestinian security forces for their efforts to “stop the PA from being dragged into disorder and prevent the factions from taking advantage of the situation for non-nationalistic purposes.”
Abbas also expeditiously acknowledged the humanity of the 3 missing Israelis, “The missing settlers in the West Bank are human beings like us, and we must look for them and return them to their families,” A humanness Netanyahu turned into emotional gold by sending the 3 mothers to the UN.
And did the PA organise a UN visit for the Palestinian mothers of slaughtered 18 year old Yusuf Abu Zagher, 14 year old Mahmoud Dudeen,15 year old Muhammad Abu Thahr ,17 year old Nadim Nuwara and 16 year old Mohammed Abu Khdeir?
But then the PA has a poor record of supporting the mothers of Palestinian martyrs and heroes. When Samer Issawi, the heroic hunger-striker was in a critical condition, Abbas refused to see Samer’s desperate mother. Hunger-striking prisoners tend to galvanise popular support that transcends factions and division- a dangerous trend for the Israeli-PA alliance.
Fall of the PA
The PA’s odious betrayal of Palestinians through its ‘sacred’ collusion in Israel’s Operation Brothers Keeper unjustified collective punishment may be its last act of hubris and corruption. Palestinians have had enough as The Real News reports,
“Someone get killed from al-Jalazun few–like, three, four days ago during the invasion. So this guy got shot, and they’re seeing they’re suffering, and the PA is doing nothing, and it’s their job to protect them. So when they went outside that night to stop the army and [to provoke?] the army and they saw that the PA, with all their guns and all their money that they’re getting, doing nothing and just watching their people being killed, basically they attacked the army, and then the army left. And it really pissed them off how they saw all the policemen sitting on the balcony, drinking coffees and smoking cigarette, with all their rifles and all their jeeps. Like, they have–in the central police station they have lots of jeeps outside and, like, riot police buses. So when they saw that, like, they were doing nothing and they were sitting and there are people being killed, that’s why they attacked the police cars at night.”
A sure sign of the PA’s fall is the jostling of the Ramallah fat cats for the leadership line up. Chief negotiator Saeb Erekat recently criticised Abbas, as did Maj. Gen. Jibril Rajoub, the deputy secretary of Fatah Central Committee, and Mohammad Dalan ironically accused Abbas of abandoning Palestinians.
Where were their voices and actions preventing PASF/PSS human rights abuses from 1995 – 2014?
Well, Erekat was busy begging Israelis with weaselly compromises while concurrently resigning ad nauseum from rounds of absurd peace negotiations; the charmer Rajoub had been setting up the brutal and aptly named Preventive Security Service (PSS) – preventing Palestinians from dissenting and resisting the occupation, and Dalan the Goon was heading the aforementioned PSS, getting rich and running death squads.
Cicero asserts that treachery “rots the soul of a nation”. It doesn’t apply to Palestine because the members and employees of the PA/PLO/FCC have no souls. They are not ‘Palestinians’. They are Zionists. Not one of them has an iota of the thriving soul and sumud symbolized by the likes of Samer Issawi, Hanan Zoabi, and Ahed Tamimi.
– Dr. Vacy Vlazna is Coordinator of Justice for Palestine Matters. She was Human Rights Advisor to the GAM team in the second round of the Acheh peace talks, Helsinki, February 2005 then withdrew on principle. Vacy was coordinator of the East Timor Justice Lobby as well as serving in East Timor with UNAMET and UNTAET from 1999-2001. She contributed this article to PalestineChronicle.com.