Reports out of Gaza indicate that not only has Hamas fired on its own citizens since protests against the Hamas regime started last month, but 17 reporters were arrested and the U.N. envoy to Israel and the Palestinian areas said some were brutally beaten, according to The Times of Israel.
U.N. envoy to Israel and the Palestinian territories Nickolay Mladenov stated, “I am particularly alarmed by the brutal beating of journalists and staff from the Independent Commission for Human Rights and the raiding of homes. The long-suffering people of Gaza were protesting the dire economic situation and demanded an improvement in the quality of life in the Gaza Strip. It is their right to protest without fear of reprisal.”
He continued, “I call on all Palestinian factions to engage in earnest with Egypt in order to implement the Cairo Agreement (2017) in full. The United Nations will continue its efforts to avoid escalation, relieve the suffering of people in Gaza, lift the closures, and support reconciliation,” as the Jerusalem Post reported.
The Times of Israel noted that the Palestinian Journalists Syndicate acknowledged that 17 reporters were arrested; ten were released, and four required hospital treatment. The syndicate added that security forces had beaten journalists. The Jerusalem Post added, “Eyewitnesses said that Hamas security officers also beat human rights activist Jamil Sarhan, who was taken to a hospital for medical treatment. They said that Baker al-Turkumani, a lawyer working for the Palestinian Independent Commission for Human Rights, was also beaten by Hamas officers.”
According to Gulf News, “Protests started in the two cities of Khan Younis and Deir Al Balah, where demonstrators burned tires and blocked roads on Friday to protest against mismanagement, corruption and tax hikes by Hamas authorities, while a 32-year-old demonstrator set himself on fire … According to Palestine TV, Hamas kidnapped Rafat Al Qadra, director-general of the Gaza Strip’s radio and television station, from his home on Saturday night.”
According to The Algemeiner, 80 protesters were arrested in one 24-hour period.
The Palestinian Non-Governmental Organizations Network said it “strongly condemned the campaign of arrests and aggression that the security forces launched in Jabaliya in northern Gaza against the right of dozens of citizens.”
Even leftist Amnesty International has condemned the brutality of Hamas’ actions, saying:
Hundreds of protesters have been subjected to beatings, arbitrary arrest and detentions, and torture and other forms of ill-treatment since 14 March, when Palestinians took to the streets across the Gaza Strip to protest against the rising cost of living and deteriorating economic conditions under the Hamas de facto administration.
“The crackdown on freedom of expression and the use of torture in Gaza has reached alarming new levels. Over the past few days, we have seen shocking human rights violations carried out by Hamas security forces against peaceful protesters, journalists and rights workers,” said Saleh Higazi, Deputy Middle East and North Africa Director at Amnesty International.
After summarizing the incidents over the last week, Amnesty International stated, “Meanwhile, several journalists across Gaza were beaten, detained and were forbidden from documenting the demonstrations.”
Strangely, none of the major media networks seem to be reporting on their websites about Hamas’ brutal crackdown on journalists.