The Palestinian Police, which is under the control of the dissolved Hamas government in Gaza, barred on Friday a peaceful procession commemorating the Nakba. The police also barred a Women Convention on Saturday May 10, and another convention on May 13. The Palestinian Center For Human Rights (PCHR), The Al Mezan Center for Human Rights, the Ad Dameer Center for Human Rights, investigated the incidents and found out that after the Higher Committee for Commemorating the Nakba, decided to hold a procession in northern Gaza Strip districts, the Palestinian police was extensively deployed on main junctions and stopped dozens of cars of residents who were heading to the area to participate in the event.
The police also attacked and struck dozens of residents, including Jamal Yassin Abu Jabal, the head of the Popular Committee for Refugees in the Jabalia refugee camp.
After Jamal left the area and headed to his parents home, which is nearby, the police attacked the home. The police also clubbed dozens of residents, including organizers of the event and activists of different Palestinian factions.
It is worth mentioning that the organizers of the event informed the Hamas-controlled police in Gaza of their intention to hold an activity commemorating the Nabka. Some of the organizers even met with the head of the police department in northern Gaza on Wednesday, May 14, and he responded by saying that he needs the approval of the Ministry of Interior.
On Sunday, May 18, the police force published in its website that “it was obliged to bar the activities because they were not approved by the Ministry of Interior”.
Yet, according to basic Palestinian law, organizers of public events are not required to obtain a permit from the ministry of interior, all what they need to do is to inform the police or the governor of the date, time and place of their activities, which is exactly what they did.
Human Rights groups in Gaza expressed their rejection to this attack and slammed the police force for barring the event and for using force against the participants and the organizers.
The groups added that these attacks violate the Palestinian law which protects the residents, their right to hold peaceful gatherings and their right to express their opinions.
The groups also expressed concern over the insistence of the Gaza police that all peaceful gatherings should be approved, especially since the police is now demanding that even meetings in closed areas, should be approved before they are conducted.
The Human Rights Groups said that the basic Palestinian law and the public gatherings law number 12-1998 protects the right of the residents to hold public gatherings without conditioning these gatherings with obtaining a permit.
The law states that the organizers of the gatherings should only send a written notice to the governor or the head of the police force informing them of the event 48 hours before its actual time.
The groups also said that article number 5 of section 26 of the modified Palestinian law states that the Palestinians have the right to participate in the political process, and have the right to hold peaceful public gathering without police presence.
Article number 2 of the public gatherings law states that the residents have the right to hold public gatherings, seminars and processions freely without any preconditions except for certain regulations to maintain law and order.
The Human Rights Groups in Gaza said that these violations carried by the police, included excessive use of force, and barring the activity, and that such violations are against the Palestinian law.
They demanded that the government respects the residents rights to hold peaceful gatherings, and also demanded a probe into the attacks carried by the police against the residents and national figures, especially since some of them required hospitalization.