The PA is wrong to suppress Palestinian mourning

Ramona Wadi

Middle East Monitor  /  March 9, 2023

While the emerging Palestinian resistance has declared its opposition to Israel, the Palestinian Authority has unleashed its security services on the Palestinian people. On Wednesday, the PA security services violently dispersed the funeral procession of 49-year-old Abdelfattah Kharousheh in Nablus, who was affiliated to Hamas and killed by the Israeli military in Jenin on Tuesday.

PA spokesperson Talal Dweikat said that the security services intervened only when Hamas supporters joined the mourning procession and “turned the funeral into a protest against the PA.” Palestinians were then prevented from raising Hamas flags, despite Kharousheh being a member of the movement.

For Palestinians whose relatives are murdered by Israel, funerals are not only part of the grieving process, but also a political statement. The PA, however, is not in a position to allow the slightest dissent or opposition to its rule. Instead, it prefers to emulate Israeli tactics and send a clear message to the Palestinian people that Ramallah holds nothing sacred, particularly lives lost in anti-colonial resistance.

In doing so, the PA continues to seal its own fate; if such intimidation worked in the past, it is clear that it is now futile. The more that the PA reacts with force, the more that the Palestinian resistance will garner momentum. PA leader Mahmoud Abbas inspires no loyalty in Palestinians. Security coordination with the occupation state will be both his poisonous legacy and the main reason why the PA continues to spiral downward in the occupied West Bank, even as the international community tries its best to keep the illusion of the status quo still functioning.

Had the PA not intervened to disrupt the funeral, it would have displayed a level of tolerance, if not acceptance, of the relevance of other Palestinian political factions. The PA, however, does not care about relevance, especially when its survival is at stake. Yet its actions reek of desperation, of the fact that it has nothing to sustain it other than using brutal force against the people it should be protecting. Of course, PA officials routinely call upon the international community to protect the Palestinian people, even though their collaboration with Israel enables the daily persecution of the Palestinian people.

What is wrong with mourners at a Palestinian funeral displaying the flags of different Palestinian factions? Kharousheh was involved in anti-colonial resistance, he was affiliated to Hamas, and the funeral reflected that part of his political identity. The procession was supposed to reflect what Kharousheh stood for; as events unfolded, it was clearly not the PA’s brand of politics.

For all the PA attempts to portray other Palestinian factions as being unpolitical and too well-versed in violence, its actions illustrate that it depends on violence against the people of occupied Palestine to stay in power. With no political legitimacy to back up its brutal rule, the PA routinely engages in violence through the security services to subdue any shard of Palestinian resistance. The PA is not called out by the international community because differentiation in violence is a political act that serves the PA temporarily, and Israel in the long run. Hence the silence when Palestinians are brutalized by Israel and Ramallah; they are the intentional collateral damage in a lengthy game of colonial violence.

Ramona Wadi is an independent researcher, freelance journalist, book reviewer and blogger; her writing covers a range of themes in relation to Palestine, Chile and Latin America