Palestinian police vow to crack down on planned LGBT event

RAMALLAH, West Bank (AP) — Palestinian police have threatened to arrest anyone involved in a gathering planned by LGBT activists and have called on people to come forward with information about them.

The announcement over the weekend followed word that al-Qaws, an LGBT group in the Palestinian territories, was planning a gathering this week in the northern West Bank town of Nablus.

Police said Sunday they would “pursue this gathering” and seek charges against anyone involved in it. The police are under the Western-backed Palestinian Authority, which governs parts of the Israeli-occupied West Bank.

Word of the gathering had sparked fierce debate on social media, with some Palestinians defending the activists and others condemning them for violating religious and traditional norms. Homosexuality is taboo in Arab countries, many of which criminalize it.

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