The Palestinian Authority’s forced removal of independent members of parliament staging a sit-in at the office of the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) in Ramallah Sunday evening is a gross violation of the human rights of its own citizens, says the Euro-Mediterranean Human Rights Monitor.
The three lawmakers had sought refuge at the ICRC, after PA President Mahmoud Abbas suspended their parliamentary immunity so he could bring charges against them, as well as two other MPs, for suspicions of embezzlement, weapons smuggling, defamation and “insults.” However, they say instead that Abbas is retaliating against them for their alliance with Mohammad Dahlan, who was ousted from Fatah by Abbas in 2010. After preventing the delivery of food or water to the MPs—as well as visits by journalists—during the sit-in, the PA police entered the ICRC while the armed members of the Presidential Guard waited outside, and ordered them out.
"It is sad and inconceivable that official Palestinian security forces would break into an international organization’s building, violating international laws and conventions, at the same time that the PA is seeking to join human rights organizations and agreements to enhance its global position and leverage against the Israeli occupation,” noted Sandra Owen, head of Euro-Med Monitor’s Department of Middle East Policies.
The PA’s action was in direct contradiction of the Palestinian executive system and its commitment to human rights standards as dictated by international agreements to which it has become signatory during the last two years. President Abbas’ unilateral move to strip the MPs of their immunity also violates the principle of separation of powers.
“The PA must comply with its own rules and international law,” says Owen.