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Hamdallah signs off on recommendations made by fact-finding commission

RAMALLAH (Ma’an) — Palestinian Prime Minister Rami Hamdallah has committed to implementingrecommendations made in a report released on Monday by a fact-finding commission, which notably called for Palestinian forces to be punished for using unjustified force against a peaceful protest in Ramallah, while also recommending that legal action be taken against civilians involved with an “illegal” protest held the same day in Duheisha refugee camp.

In his capacity as interior minister, Hamdallah ordered for the investigation after police injured at least 11 civilians and smashed journalists’ equipment at a sit-in in front of the Ramallah magistrate’s court, held in protest of a case against activists charged by the Palestinian Authority with planning an attack on Israel — despite the fact that four of them are held in Israeli prison and one, Basel al-Araj, was shot dead by Israeli forces the previous week.
Palestinian forces suppressed a similar protest held later that day in Duheisha refugee camp with live fire, when demonstrators threw homemade explosives at police.
Government spokesperson Tariq Rishmawi said Wednesday that Hamdallah signed off on all recommendations that were referred to both the prime minister’s and interior minister’s office.
The commission of inquiry recommended that the Interior Ministry take “appropriate legal procedures” against head of Ramallah district police Abd al-Latif al-Qaddumi and also against his subordinate, the head of the special police force in the field, for ordering to immediately and forcefully disperse the sit-in.
The report recommended the ministry also punish one policeman for using an electric baton on protesters, and another plainclothes officer who punched a demonstrator in the face.
The commission called on the the Interior Ministry to also issue instructions regarding the appropriate use of tear gas, and to issue a directive that undercover police not intervene in dispersing sit-ins or marches.
The Interior Ministry was also asked to issue an immediate directive to all members of security services to respect journalists in the field, on how to deal with journalists when their reporting methods break the law, and recommended journalists be compensated “for the damages done to their equipment.”
The commission also suggested that police patrols be provided with loudspeakers to call out to protesters, and further stressed that officers in the field be better trained on how to manage peaceful protests, “especially in the context of the continuous Israeli assassinations and assaults against Palestinians.
Recommendations issued to the cabinet, or minister’s council, included a review of the public meetings law so that it may be compatible with international agreements and resolutions regarding human rights, especially the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights.
The cabinet was also recommended to follow up issuing a law, compatible with international principles of human rights, that stresses the function of police as a service to civilians.
The commission further recommended that the cabinet expedite the issuance of a law regarding the right to information, which also organizes a relationship between official institutes and journalists.
The lengthy report also issued a number of recommendations to various other governmental and judicial bodies, as well as to Palestinian official media and political factions regarding how future protests should be organized and covered.

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