Political arrests in Palestine have continued despite the spread of the Coronavirus, political commentators in Palestine reported.
However, the Coronavirus seems to be giving the Palestinian Authority yet another excuse to apprehend more people.
Writing from Gaza for Palestine online, Jamal Ghaith reported that Hussam Khader, a former MP who belongs to the Fatah Movement, was detained from his house in the Balata refugee camp near the city of Nablus.
— Palestine Chronicle (@PalestineChron) March 10, 2020
Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas had declared a state of emergency of 30 days, starting on March 5, to curtail the spread of the Coronavirus. Despite the decision, however, political arrests carried on unabated.
West Bank-based activist Khalil ‘Assaf, strongly criticized the crackdown on Palestinian writers, journalists and activists.
In his article, Ghaith also quoted Suha Jbara criticizing the condition of PA prisons.
According to Jbara, PA prisons are already unprepared to accommodate the minimally-required medical needs of prisoners.
“What if the Coronavirus spread among the prisoners in the Palestinian Authority prisons?,” Suha asked.
In a new development, several Palestinians have been reportedly arrested for allegedly spreading ‘fake news’ about the Coronavirus in Palestine.
The PA intelligence told PNN news agency that they have arrested two Palestinians in the Hebron (Al-Khalil) area and a third in Bethlehem for falsely claiming that their regions have been inflicted by the Coronavirus.
Bethlehem has witnessed the largest number of Coronavirus cases, estimated at 28 cases out of a reported total of 29.
— Ramzy Baroud (@RamzyBaroud) March 7, 2020
The Palestine Chronicle could not confirm the nature of the ‘fake news’ claimed by the PA.
“Rumors are a lethal weapon that affects the morale of the people,” Tarek al-Haj, commander of the PA Police in Bethlehem, told the Palestinian news agency Wafa.
Currently, there are many political prisoners who languish in PA prisons, most of them are held for criticizing a ‘higher authority’, namely PA President Mahmoud Abbas.
(The Palestine Chronicle)