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U.S. Palestinian Community Stands Against the Palestinian Authority’s Attacks on Palestinian Leaders

posted on: Oct 20, 2021

By: Omar Mansour / Arab America Contributing Writer

The Palestinian Authority has expanded its authoritarian crackdown on critical Palestinian voices, extending its boot from the confines of the occupied 1967 borders, or the “West Bank”, to the United States.

On September 30th, Executive Director and a board member of American Muslims for Palestine (AMP) Dr. Osama Abu Irshaid revealed that he had received threats to his life from other Palestinian-Americans acting on behalf of the Palestinian Authority (PA) due to his positions critical of the PA’s policies of repression and the assassination of activist Nizar Banat. It is far from uncommon for the Palestinian Authority (PA) to abandon any attempts at liberation in favor of targeting its critics, even amongst its own Palestinian people, but even more so in light of such a viral case such as that of the assassination of Nizar Banat, which has put the PA strongly on the defensive.  

Assassination of Nizar Banat:

U.S. Palestinian Community Stands Against the Palestinian Authority’s Attacks on Palestinian Leaders
An image of Nizar Banat is held aloft as Palestinians rally in Ramallah city in early August, denouncing the Palestinian Authority following his violent arrest and death. Photograph: Abbas Momani/AFP/Getty Images

On June 23rd, more than 15 security officers and soldiers affiliated with the Palestinian Authority stormed the house of Nizar Banat, an activist and an outspoken and stern critic of Palestine’s President Abbas, in the West Bank. He was beaten with iron sticks, tortured, and taken naked into custody. A few hours later, he was pronounced dead.

His death ignited a storm on social media, as much as on the streets of Ramallah. Protests called for the ousting of Abbas and for accountability for his murder. The demonstrations were reportedly faced with the iron fist of the Palestinian Authority’s (PA) security apparatus and plainclothes intelligence officers, who dragged protesters in the streets, arrested and violated the rights of people to protest. 

U.S. Palestinian Community Stands Against the Palestinian Authority’s Attacks on Palestinian Leaders

The events were not an isolated incident but the result of a very long process of taming the Palestinian Authority security personnel, which has gone from serving Palestinians to being their oppressors and collaborators with the occupying power, Israel.

Dr. Osama also revealed that operatives in the US working on behalf of the PA placed the American Muslims for Palestine logo on a forged letter with a forged signature of Dr. Abu Irshaid oddly addressed to the Honorable Patricia Lynn. The letter was designed to create suspicion and confusion of Dr. Osama’s and American Muslims for Palestine’s intentions and work for Palestine in the US.

Furthermore, based on the forged document written by PA proxies, a video made by a media outlet affiliated with the Palestinian Authority security services maligned and demonized Dr. Osama Abu Irshaid as an enemy of the Palestinian people. The video and the letter falsely accuse Dr. Osama and American Muslims for Palestine of lobbying the US government to cut aid to Palestinian prisoners, refugees, and families.

U.S. Palestinian Community Stands Against the Palestinian Authority’s Attacks on Palestinian Leaders
The Forged Letter – click to view

The following paragraphs are direct words taken from a joint statement condemning these authoritarian actions. Arab America condemns in the strongest terms the threats emanating from institutions associated with the Palestinian Authority and calls on all organizations and individuals to please consider adding themselves to this joint statement.


We, the undersigned Palestinian community members, leaders, and organizations condemn the recent attacks and threats made against Palestinian-American leader and Executive Director of American Muslims for Palestine, Dr. Osama Abu Irshaid.

These tactics of harassment, intimidation, and threats toward Palestinian leaders are unacceptable and are wholly rejected by the Palestinian community in the United States. We demand that the PA and those affiliated with it in the U.S. cease immediately and to stop disrupting the work for Palestine in America. The PA’s ineptitude and incompetence in managing the affairs of Palestinians have never been clearer. It is also clear from this experience and that of so many others, that those who work on behalf of the PA in the US are only interested in disrupting the incredible work of Palestinian-Americans working to uplift this cause and people.

We call on the Palestinian Authority, those who represent it and act as proxies of it in the United States to immediately end their intimidation, harassment, and threats to Palestinian-American leaders and organizations. We demand an outing of these individuals and an end to community collaboration with the PA in the U.S. Our work for Palestine in the US is non-factional and we will not accept any attempts by those committed to factionalism to coerce our work for their own benefit. As such, no Palestinian activist or organization in the US should operate as unregistered foreign agents. It is detrimental to our work, makes us vulnerable to attacks, and undercuts the decades of work that have built a vibrant and effective movement for Palestine in America.


The Palestinian community’s work to advance Palestinian rights and freedom in the US over the past several decades has been nothing short of incredible. One of the biggest obstacles we face in our work is the PA, its security collaboration with the Israeli occupation, and its inability to understand the value and importance of our advocacy. We will not allow the PA to disrupt our work, hijack it, or factionalize it. We will not allow the PA and those affiliated with it to turn Palestinian communities against each other.


Over a dozen organizations and dozens of individuals have signed the collective letter of condemnation and demands. Below is a list of the organizations. Please visit this link to read the full list of individuals and also please consider signing your name/organization yourself.

Organizations:


Al Awda Palestinian Right to Return Coalition
Palestinian Youth Movement
Samidoun Palestinian Prisoner Solidarity Network
National Arab American Women’s Association
Palestinian Assembly for Liberation
Yalla Indivisible
New Generation for Palestine
Nablus Association in USA
American Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee
Eyewitness Palestine
Palestinian American Women’s Association
Council on American Islamic Relations
US Palestinian Community Network
NY Muslims United for Civic Engagement
Palestinian American Women’s Association – Southern California

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