Concerning reports of an escalation in violence by Palestinian Security Force officials against other Palestinians have reached the international press, provoking yet more violence--this time against the media. Mel Frykberg reports From Ramallah
IT HAS BECOME ROUTINE TO HEAR THE AGONISING screams and groans from the police station across the road. Being awoken by the yells in the middle of the night is not unusual. Sometimes the beatings are so severe that the whacking sound can be clearly heard as the truncheon blows are delivered on Palestinian prisoners. Looking out from the window where The Middle East is based in Ramallah one can see the interrogation rooms of the Palestinian police station just down the road from the Manara, or city centre, in the Palestinian Authority's (PA) defacto capital.
Next to the interrogation room is the room where those arrested wait for their turn to be interrogated, also clearly visible. Nervous arrestees pace the room, smoking fitfully and looking out from the window at their relatives waiting outside, but forbidden from entering the police station, in an effort to communicate with them.
"We have been standing here in the blazing sun for two hours but they will not let me see or speak to my son and they will not let us enter the police station," Abu Mustafa told The Middle East.
Mustafa's "crime" was getting into an argument with a member of Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas' presidential guard over a parking space in the nearby municipality of Al Bireh. Mustafa was manhandled, cuffed and dragged off to the police station by members of the presidential guard.
It is uncertain whether the screams that were heard and which brought The Middle East into the street were those of Mustafa or another Palestinian prisoner but that is how the conversation with Abu Mustafa began.
"I have no choice but to wait until they allow us in to see whether they will release my son but they have kept him overnight just because he argued with a member of the Palestinian security services over a very small matter," said Abu Mustafa.
At the end of Ramadan, fights broke out in Ramallah, between celebrating and rowdy Palestinian youths and Palestinian security forces, on a large scale with over 90 arrests. Police in riot gear stormed through the streets of the city beating anybody who got in their way as they tried to break up large groups of young men who were threatening to storm the police station.
The Middle East...