A few days ago, it was reported by the family of Ameer Spitan–a 27-year-old graduate of Birzeit University (with degrees in political science and journalism) and social media journalist from the occupied Palestinian village of Beit Dooku (located approximately 10 miles northwest of Jerusalem)–that he was arrested by the Palestinian Authority (PA) and sent to a detention center in Jericho. No charges have been filed, and the PA will not let his family visit or receive any information about him. Ameer is the son of a first cousin of USPCN co-founder Hatem Abudayyeh, and his only two brothers, Saed and Mohammad, are currently in Israeli jails under administrative detention.
Although we have no official explanation from the PA, the speculation is that Ameer was arrested for posting a powerful video on his Facebook page, which ultimately went viral and reached well over 1.5 million views. In it, Ameer interviews his 80-year-old grandmother about PA President Mahmoud Abbas’ leading of an official Palestinian delegation to the September 30th funeral of Israeli politician Shimon Peres, the infamous Butcher of Qana who also, along with the equally criminal Yitzhak Rabin, developed the “force, might, and beatings” policy used to brutally repress Palestinians during the first Intifada that began in 1987.
Ameer’s grandmother expressed the sentiments of millions of Palestinians across the world by calling the PA and Abbas a “disgrace” for attending Peres’ funeral, and especially for asking current Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu for permission to attend. “Why should he ask permission? Why should he even go to the funeral?” she asks in the video. “Have the Israelis ever offered condolences to our dead?” she adds, “No, they kill us and don’t offer condolences.”
Ameer’s arrest is only one of hundreds of PA attacks on journalists and others who criticize Abbas and his government. The PA is notorious for restrictions on freedom of speech, press, and assembly, especially because its anti-democratic policies and “security coordination” with zionist Israel have long ago made it delegitimate and unrepresentative of the vast majority of Palestinian people. Calls for Abbas’ resignation, as well as the liquidation of the PA, are made regularly.
USPCN and Samidoun demand the immediate release of Ameer Spitan, and ask for our supporters to take the following ACTION:
- Call PA Minister of the Interior Rami Hamdallah at +970 229 68989, AND email him at firstname.lastname@example.org (ccing email@example.com);
- Additionally for those in the U.S., call Ambassador of the PLO Delegation to the U.S. Maen Areikat at 202.974.6360, AND email him at firstname.lastname@example.org (ccing email@example.com).
Sample letter / talking points you can use:
To: PA Minister of the Interior Rami Hamdallah, PA President Mahmoud Abbas, and Ambassador of the PLO Delegation to the U.S. Maen Areikat
I demand the immediate release of Ameer Spitan from PA detention in Jericho, and for you to allow him to contact his family in Beit Dooku, Occupied Palestine.
Ameer is a journalist and has been arrested only because he is critical of PA President Mahmoud Abbas and his policies.
I also demand that you uphold freedom of speech, press, and assembly, and stop the PA’s repression against the Palestinian people it is supposed to represent.
[City, State, Country]