Al-Mughni's statement was technical, legalistic, convoluted and entirely unconvincing. Indeed, if anything, it reaffirmed nearly universal suspicions that the websites were, in fact, blocked for political rather than bona fide legal reasons. Many Palestinians have expressed alarm, and privately speak of the potential for the development of an authoritarian “police state” in which opinion will be far more tightly controlled that it has been in the past.
Since the split between Gaza and the West Bank in 2007, there has always been an obvious contrast between the creeping totalitarianism imposed by Hamas and the relative liberalism of the PA. Even with these new measures that smack of authoritarianism, there is no comparison with the level of repression in Gaza. But the trend is nonetheless deeply troubling.
It's not just the general public or international opinion that is troubled by these steps. Sabri Saidam, the Advisor on Internet Affairs to Abbas, bemoaned the lack of clear legislation protecting Internet freedom and said these steps give the impression that the PA is trying to "muzzle people's mouths and block freedom of opinion."