The Palestinian Authority (PA) has launched a crackdown on protesters and activists in West Bank cities.
Thousands of people marched in the West Bank city of Ramallah on Friday, Saturday and Sunday of last week.
Protesters are angry at the PA for arresting prominent activists, and for failing to resist Israel’s occupation of Palestine.
They called for PA president Mahmoud Abbas to resign.
They also chanted “The people want to overthrow the regime”—the slogan of Arab Revolutions ten years ago.
PA security forces—some in riot gear, some in plain clothes—beat them with clubs and fists, and shot them with rubber bullets and tear gas.
The marches were called after the PA arrested several prominent activists—including Nizar Banat, who cops apparently beat to death while in custody.
It comes after thousands of people across Palestine rose up against Israel in May of this year.
The uprising was so large and popular that it forced the PA to support it by organising marches during a general strike.
But now the PA wants to negotiate with the US and Israel—and is trying to silence activists who criticise it and want more resistance.
Its crackdown follows a meeting in May between Abbas and US secretary of state Anthony Blinken, who said he wanted to “empower” the PA.
The PA hopes that by cooperating with Israel and the US it will be allowed to create a state in a small part of Palestine.
The PA was formed after a deal with the US and Israel in 1993, when Palestinian politicians agreed to end resistance to Israel’s occupation.
Israel gave the PA limited rule in some areas of the West Bank, which it has occupied militarily since 1967.
In return, the PA helped Israel control the West Bank—and hold back Palestinian resistance.
But Israel never had any intention of letting the PA set up a state. Instead it has tightened its grip on the West Bank by building more town-like settlements for Israeli citizens to live on Palestinian land.
Now the PA is in crisis, and has little support among ordinary Palestinians.
It had been set to hold elections this year—its first since 2006—but Abbas cancelled them when it looked likely that he would lose.
A poll published by the Palestinian Centre for Policy and Research in June found that 56 percent of Palestinians see the PA as a burden.
It also found support for armed struggle against Israel, and Palestinian groups associated with resistance such as Hamas, has risen after May’s uprising.
The mass protests and strikes across all of Palestine marked a new beginning for resistance to Israel among ordinary Palestinians.
Current protests in the West Bank show that their resistance is continuing—including against the “official” Palestinian leaders who want to stamp it out.