The bells of hatred rang in Riyadh and Abu-Dhabi and its echoes were heard in the land that is administered by the Palestinian Authority. Yes, the echoes were heard in the West Bank, where the various branches of power are being tested. The PA is exercising its power and repression based on the fluctuating political climate of the region. One cannot forget to mention its security coordination with Israel.
After it sent warnings to a number of important news agencies, both Palestinian and Arab, the PA's image of authority would not have been complete without blocking the sites of Al-Qassam Brigades. Moreover, the PA has continued to search for other sites to place under its media watch. There is no distinction made between sites that give information, opinion and analysis.
With this action, the PA is not only showing its commitment to the US' alleged fight against terrorism; it is also preventing resistance against the occupation. In fact, the Palestinian Authority is confirming this time around that it does not represent the resistance and vice versa. The PA has insisted that the current attempts at resistance have little to do with the authority itself and that it does not agree with opposition on moral, national or even humanist grounds.
There is a new interconnected and tangled scene in the region with new demarcations being imposed on alleged limits of morality, principles and values. In this newly developed scene, the PA has decided to join the axis of the governments that have a firm counter-revolutionary stance. These regimes are exercising a level of power they hope to enjoy in the event that they achieve a true sovereign state. The blocking of news sites and the prohibition of the media is in line with the vision of that axis, which seeks to remove any power that threatens this vision. The Palestinian Authority is one of them in any case.
We do not know until this point whether the authorities blocking these sites have found the practice useful or not. This is, of course, due to the age of technological advancement we live in. News travels at such a speed that no one can live in ignorance. People have found a way out of the repression of freedom of speech, making the forbidden word loaded with magic and lustre. After all, does one not only need to find a way to circumvent the ban through alternative technological settings?
It is worth noting that most Palestinians and Arabs no longer obtain their news and information from traditional news sites but from alternative media platforms which are difficult to ban. In most cases, access to media and information is free in today's world. There are also news sites that provide their followers on social media with the type of information they need without the inconvenience of having to look for it. There is no longer the need to search for anything. Zionist forces have targeted new media platforms rather than traditional ones because they now understand the secret of quick impact and interaction.
Such decisions are absurd and we must look at the latest media blockade as a crime against the inherent right to freedom of speech and expression. What this all means is that governments or authorities like the PA tend to resort to unjustified oppressive measures against the freedom of expression. For instance, if officials in some GCC capitals choose to show sympathy for Qatar or criticise their governments, they will be jailed for several years!
The only positive indicator of such measures is that it shows the fear of the word and of opinions that some authorities have. It exposes the limits and follies of their policies and points to the anger that many of them will soon have to face. The PA (and its axis) must soon realise that even if it achieves silence, this does not indicate satisfaction. Silence is a form of anger and the eruption to come will not take long.
Translated from the Palestinian Information Centre, 21 June 2017
The views expressed in this article belong to the author and do not necessarily reflect the editorial policy of Middle East Monitor.