Palestinian Authority police are trying to ban the activities of Palestinian LGBTQI rights group al-Qaws, claiming that the group is operating contrary to the “values of Palestinian society” and threatening to arrest its staff members.
In a statement over the weekend reported by the Times of Israel, Palestinian Authority police spokesman Louay Arzeikat said events by al-Qaws “go against and infringe upon the higher principles and values of Palestinian society” and said police would seek to have its staff prosecuted.
Al-Qaws has offices in East Jerusalem and Haifa which are beyond the reach of Palestinian police and the group says it intends to continue its work inside Palestine.
On Sunday, al-Qaws condemned the police statement as “very unfortunate.”
“[Al-Qaws will] continue its work in different parts of Palestine, while taking into account the generally loaded atmosphere because of media outlets and the police’s incitement, so that we do not put any of our activists or friends at risk,” al-Qaws director Haneen Maiki told Ultra Palestine.
The Palestinian Authority has not passed its own laws to criminalise homosexuality since its inception in 1994.
It was not illegal in the West Bank when it was under Jordanian law, but was illegal in Gaza under a British law dating back to 1936 before the creation of Israel.