A side show to the middle east international news attention this week that was focused on Saddam Hussein was provided at the meeting of the Palestinian Legislative Council at the private office compound of Yassir Arafat in Ramallah, a gathering that was acclaimed by the world’s press as an exercise that exemplified Palestinian democracy.

So far, so good, unless you want to know the details of what really transpired this week in Ramallah.

Yet over the past two weeks, the Palestinian Authority security services have rounded up more than 200 dissidents, accusing them of cooperation with Israeli authorities.

In the words of Khaled Abu Tumah, writing in the Jerusalem Post on August 24, 2002, reported that all 200 jailed dissidents could expect to be executed very shortly. Many of them have complained of torture and may face execution. Among the suspects are former Fatah and Hamas members who have been leveling accusations against alleged widespread corruption in the Palestinian Authority.

Two of the suspects,are expected to go on trial before a “state security court” in Gaza next month. One of them is Haidar Ghanem, 39, a resident of the United Nations Relief and Works Agency Rafah refugee camp, who worked as a field researcher for a human rights organization.

A second dissident, Akram Zatmeh, 23, was arrested and accused of assisting Israel in the assassination of top Hamas terrorist Salah Shehadeh, on Gaza July 22.

Ghanem and Zatmeh will face the death penalty.

As the PLC convened,two other Palestinian dissidents in custody were summarily executed, and former Russian Jewish Prisoner of Zion Ida Nudel held a meeting with Papal ambassador to Israel, the Papal Annuncio, Msgr. Pietro Sambi to intervene on behalf of the dissidents against the Palestinian Authority.

As Nudel said to the Vatican ambassador, “we who were dissidents in a totalitarian regime know that only when the moral voices of the world make their voices heard will the lives of the dissidents be spared”.

However, Akram Zatmeh’s lawyer’s appeal to international human rights organizations to intervene on behalf of her condemned client fell on deaf ears.

Organizations such as Human Rights Watch, Amnesty International and the Association of Civil Rights in Israel have expressed no interest in the fate of 200 Palestinian dissidents. When I asked a high level delegation of European Union diplomats who visited the Palestinian Authority this week if they would intervene on behalf of 200 dissidents condemned to die by the PA, EU commissioner Anna Diammatopoulou would only answer with the platitude that “we know that there is a problem of human rights in the Palestinian Authority”.

It would seem that the spin masters of the Palestinian Authority have hypnotized the world’s media, diplomatic community and international human rights organizations into believing that 200 dissidents who were condemned to die are no more than “collaborators”, a term that connotes those European nationals who worked with the Nazis during World War II and who of course deserve to die.

As the PLC sessions continued in Ramallah, 200 PA dissidents sat in death row of the Palestinian Authority, and nobody seemed to care.


  1. I think that by now, there is only one real answer to the probmels in Sderot:Level a Gaza school the next time a mortar crew sets up in the front yard.Restraint hasn’t worked, so maybe it’s time to speak a language that the terrorists understand.


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David Bedein
David Bedein is an MSW community organizer and an investigative journalist.   In 1987, Bedein established the Israel Resource News Agency at Beit Agron to accompany foreign journalists in their coverage of Israel, to balance the media lobbies established by the PLO and their allies.   Mr. Bedein has reported for news outlets such as CNN Radio, Makor Rishon, Philadelphia Inquirer, Los Angeles Times, BBC and The Jerusalem Post, For four years, Mr. Bedein acted as the Middle East correspondent for The Philadelphia Bulletin, writing 1,062 articles until the newspaper ceased operation in 2010. Bedein has covered breaking Middle East negotiations in Oslo, Ottawa, Shepherdstown, The Wye Plantation, Annapolis, Geneva, Nicosia, Washington, D.C., London, Bonn, and Vienna. Bedein has overseen investigative studies of the Palestinian Authority, the Expulsion Process from Gush Katif and Samaria, The Peres Center for Peace, Peace Now, The International Center for Economic Cooperation of Yossi Beilin, the ISM, Adalah, and the New Israel Fund.   Since 2005, Bedein has also served as Director of the Center for Near East Policy Research.   A focus of the center's investigations is The United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA). In that context, Bedein authored Roadblock to Peace: How the UN Perpetuates the Arab-Israeli Conflict - UNRWA Policies Reconsidered, which caps Bedein's 28 years of investigations of UNRWA. The Center for Near East Policy Research has been instrumental in reaching elected officials, decision makers and journalists, commissioning studies, reports, news stories and films. In 2009, the center began decided to produce short movies, in addition to monographs, to film every aspect of UNRWA education in a clear and cogent fashion.   The center has so far produced seven short documentary pieces n UNRWA which have received international acclaim and recognition, showing how which UNRWA promotes anti-Semitism and incitement to violence in their education'   In sum, Bedein has pioneered The UNRWA Reform Initiative, a strategy which calls for donor nations to insist on reasonable reforms of UNRWA. Bedein and his team of experts provide timely briefings to members to legislative bodies world wide, bringing the results of his investigations to donor nations, while demanding reforms based on transparency, refugee resettlement and the demand that terrorists be removed from the UNRWA schools and UNRWA payroll.   Bedein's work can be found at: www.IsraelBehindTheNews.com and www.cfnepr.com. A new site,unrwa-monitor.com, will be launched very soon.