A leading international rights group has raised concerns that the Palestinian authorities in the West Bank are increasingly clamping down on student dissent.

Human Rights Watch said Thursday that dozens of students were arrested in the territory for criticizing the Palestinian Authority of President Mahmoud Abbas or for their affiliation with the militant Hamas group, which runs the Gaza Strip.

The New York-based group says one student was held without charges for almost two weeks by Palestinian security forces for "insulting a public official" after he called on Facebook for soccer official Jibril Rajoub to resign after the Palestinian team lost to Jordan.

Palestinian spokesman Adnan Dameri denied arbitrary arrests for political reasons in the West Bank. He says that "otherwise, you would have seen thousands of people in jail."