The Palestinian Authority has reportedly banned members of a Palestinian LGBTQ community from holding events in the West Bank, and further threatened to arrest members for activities authorities called “harmful” to the ideals of society.
The ban Monday comes after the Palestinian Authority learned that Al-Qaws, a Palestinian group that supports sexual and gender diversity, was planning an event for its members in Nablus, a city in the northern West Bank, the Jerusalem Post reported.
PA Police spokesman Luay Zreikat told the paper that such activities are “harmful to the higher values and ideals of Palestinian society” and completely “unrelated to religions and Palestinian traditions and customs, especially in the city of Nablus.”
Zreikat then charged that “dubious parties” were working to “create discord and harm civic peace in Palestinian society.”
He warned that members of the group will be sought, arrested and put on trial, asking the Palestinian community for help in locating people connected to the group, the Post reported.
Al-Qaws later responded, calling the PA’s statement “very unfortunate,” according to the Times of Israel. Members of the group have reportedly received threats and hate messages since the statement.
Ahmad Harb, commissioner-general of the Independent Commission for Human Rights, wrote an online post condemning the way police have handled the situation, the Times of Israel reported.
“It rises to the level of calling for ‘community violence and inciting a crime,’” Harb wrote. “Many understood this statement as a call to wastefully spill blood and take the law into one’s hands by implementing killing operations.”
He added: “This is not how issues are handled. This is not how the police protect its citizens.”