The Palestinian Authority police have recently released an unprecedented statement saying that they plan on preventing any Gay event incident in Palestinian society reports Sicha Mekomit. The statement came after Al-Kaus, the first Palestinian LGBT organization organized an event in Shechem (Nablus) that has led to a wave of harsh criticism as well as threats on social networks.
The PA’s announcement came roughly three weeks following the stabbing of a gay man from the Arab village of Tamra by his brother after the former came out of the closet. The silence from mainstream Israeli media prompted a Jewish activist named Noam Federman to propose a pride parade in that village. This led to Haifa ‘s first demonstration by the Palestinian LGBT community in Israel. After the announcement, Al-Kaus made the following statement:
“Last night (Saturday, August 17) Palestinian Authority police spokesman Louis Arzykat issued a statement regarding the activities of Al-Kaus in Judea and Samaria. The original statement given by the PA stated that they would prevent the event called “Al-Kaus for Gender and Sexual Diversity” from organizing or running Palestinian society. Police claimed it violated “traditional Palestinian values” and accused us of being “foreign agents.” The statement also called on citizens to file complaints regarding any “suspicious” activity by our staff And the activists of Al-Kaus for the purposes of prosecuting them.
The statement was released one week after Al-Kaus held an event in Nablus which received publicity, and three weeks following the stabbing of a gay Arab from the northern village of Tamra. Prior to Arzikat’s statement, there was a wave of unprecedented attacks by dozens of people on the al-Kaus social media pages framing the expressing outrage at the event in Shechem, which is considered both a holy and “traditional” Palestinian city. The messages threatened violence and persecution and reportedly spread lies about “Al-Kaus” and their activities, as well as lies about LGBT people as a whole.
In a statement, the group said: “Al-Kaus” condemns the use of persecution, intimidation, and arrests, whether by police or ordinary civilians. Our activity has always been visible and accessible, through an active site, social media presence, and civil engagement. However, we have never experienced threats of this magnitude before. This reaction paves the way for the flourishing of unethical media practices through the adoption and encouragement of violent discourse, gaining traction and legitimization on social media. We believe that the police and the Palestinian society as a whole should focus on combating the occupation and all forms of violence that tear apart the sensitive fabric of our society and values, rather than pursuing hard-working activists to end all forms of violence.”