The Palestinian Authority has decided to ban Palestinians who are lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer (LGBTQ) from politically organizing in the West Bank.
The move came as the grassroots group Al-Qaws for Sexual & Gender Diversity in Palestinian Society, which helps LGBTQ Palestinians, was planning an event in Nablus after holding one last month.
Justifying the decision, Palestinian Authority police spokesperson Luay Zreikat called the LGBTQ events “harmful to the higher values and ideals of Palestinian society,” as well as “unrelated to religions and Palestinian traditions and customs, especially in the city of Nablus.”
Zreikat blamed “dubious parties” were seeking to “create discord and harm civic peace in Palestinian society.”
“The Palestinian police announcement about our activities is very unfortunate,” said Al-Qaws in a statement. “It’s very strange that they are accusing us of being a suspicious entity working to take apart Palestinian society. Al-Qaws is a Palestinian organization that has been operating since 2001, and is carrying out educational and professional programs on sexual and gender diversity. We totally reject the attempt to create an atmosphere of prosecution and intimidation, as well as threats of arrest.”