A rave party at a Muslim holy site in the West Bank has led to several arrests, including of leading DJ Sama Abdulhadi, and prompted the Palestinian Authority to launch a commission of inquiry, after the event sparked sharp criticism among Palestinians.
Dozens of young Palestinians from East Jerusalem, Ramallah and Bethlehem attended the party Saturday night at Nabi Musa where, according to Muslim belief, the prophet Moses is buried. Participants brought large quantities of alcohol to the site near Jericho, which was built in the 12th century and includes a mosque and hostel for visitors.
Video clips from the party were posted on social media, sparking angry responses among West Bank Palestinians. There was widespread criticism of the Palestinian Authority, which was blamed for approving the party.
Palestinian Prime Minister Mohammad Shtayyeh called to bring those responsible for the party to justice and the PA established a commission of inquiry.
PA security forces arrested a number of participants, including Abdulhadi, one of the organizers dubbed "the Palestinian techno queen," Palestinians reported. According to reports on social media, the compound was rented out by a production company – which allowed renting the site out – while PA law enforcement authorities turned a blind eye.
Hundreds of young people from East Jerusalem who were angered by the party arrived at Nabi Musa on Saturday night and drove out the partyers. On Sunday, dozens arrived at the site and held prayer services there, also destroying and burning furniture and equipment used by the hostel.
Senior Palestinian government officials warned against attempts to take advantage of the incident to attack the government. At the same time, liberal Palestinian circles slammed the holding of the party and objected to the use of freedom of expression and liberal values to justify it.
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On social media, Palestinians said the incident could provide Israel with the legitimacy to harm holy sites or allow similar parties, by invoking the principle of freedom of expression.