|MORE PALESTINIAN DEMOCRACY THANKS TO US STATE
PA keeping lid on Hamas protests in West Bank
ETGAR LEFKOVITS and YAAKOV LAPPIN , THE JERUSALEM POST Jan. 5, 2009
The Palestinian Authority Police has proven capable of quelling violent
protests and maintaining law and order in the West Bank during Israel's
military offensive against Hamas in Gaza, Israeli security officials said
"The Palestinian police have succeeded in dealing with the demonstrations in
the West Bank over the last week," Judea and Samaria Police spokesman
Ch.-Supt. Danny Poleg said.
The PA police, which recently received training from the Americans, had
largely been able to contain violent protests in Palestinian-controlled
cities, so they didn't spill over into Israeli-controlled areas, Poleg
said."They are under the same high alert as we are," he said.
On the instructions of PA President Mahmoud Abbas,the Fatah-controlled
security forces have banned pro-Hamas demonstrations.
Hamas supporters in the West Bank said the PA's security forces threatened
to arrest them if they raised Hamas flags or chanted slogans in favor of the
"We were told that we could only stage protests against Israel and in
solidarity with the Palestinian people in the Gaza Strip," a Hamas
representative said. "We were also warned against initiating confrontations
with the Israeli army."
He added that it was ironic that "millions of people" in nations across the
world were being permitted to demonstrate in solidarity with the
Palestinians in the Gaza Strip while Abbas and other Arab leaders were
prohibiting such protests.
The tough measures in the West Bank are aimed at preventing Hamas from
stirring trouble and undermining the Palestinian Authority, a senior PA
official in Ramallah said.
He pointed out that Hamas leaders have in the past few days called on
Palestinians living in the West Bank to rise up against Israel and the PA.
"Our security forces have instructions to use an iron fist against anyone
who incites and expresses support for Hamas," the official said.
On Friday, the PA security forces used force to disperse several hundred
demonstrators in Hebron. Sources in the city said at least five protesters
Separately, IDF troops shot and killed Mufid Saleh Walweel, 22, during
violent protests near Kalkilya on Sunday, Palestinian medical officials
The military said the soldiers fired at a man who was trying to cross the
West Bank security barrier during a protest in which firebombs and stones
were thrown at the troops.
Meanwhile, the Israel Police remain on the highest state of alert nationwide
over the weekend as the ground operation in Gaza got under way.
Hamas has said it would carry out suicide bombings in Israeli cities in
retaliation for the Israeli offensive.
Nearly 600 Arabs suspected of taking part in violent protests in Israel
against the Gaza operation were arrested over the past week, most of them in
northern Israel and in Jerusalem, police said.
Two hundred and thirty of them remain in detention, while dozens have been
charged with rioting and disturbing the peace.
Scores of police officers were lightly wounded in t