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On April 26, the White House issued an executive order to stop technology companies from helping Iran and Syria commit human rights abuses.
But the U.S. is missing an opportunity to promote positive change in a government over which it has much more leverage: Mahmoud Abbas’ increasingly repressive fiefdom in the West Bank.
As reported by the Palestinian Ma’an News Agency, Palestinian officials have “quietly instructed Internet providers to block access to news websites whose reporting is critical of President Mahmoud Abbas.”
In April 2011, Human Rights Watch issued a 35-page report titled “No News is Good News: Abuses Against Journalists by Palestinian Security Forces.”
The U.S. has just issued a waiver releasing $192 million in aid for the Palestinians that had been frozen by Congress without first demanding that Abbas take measures to guarantee free speech in the West Bank. This was a lost opportunity.
The writer is vice president for research at the Foundation for Defense of Democracies.

(Jonathan Schanzer – Foreign Policy)

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