“Bullets and Batons”: The Palestinian Authority Hits Back on Dissent | Israeli-Palestinian Conflict News
Ramallah, the occupied West Bank – A leading Palestinian human rights defender warned that the West Bank is on the verge of a serious rebellion against the Palestinian Authority (PA) because it is fighting desperately for political survival and is determined to keep power at all costs.
For four days, Palestinians have been protesting on the streets of major Israeli-occupied West Bank cities The death of Nizar Banat, A political activist and a major critic of the Palestinian Authority, was beaten by Palestinian Authority security personnel-presumably members of the Preventive Security Agency-who attacked his home in the Hebron area of ??the southern West Bank.
Shawan Jabarin, director of the Al-Haq human rights organization in Ramallah, said: “We have reached the final chapter of the transition period with the Palestinian Authority and they know that the only way they can stay in power is to use bullets. And batons.”.
Jabalin told Al Jazeera: “The Palestinian Authority understands that it cannot win in democratic elections, and the elites in the organization are afraid of losing their privileged lifestyle. They believe that the only way they can maintain control is to use force, fear and intimidation.”
According to a preliminary autopsy, Barnet suffered a broken rib, bruises all over his body, and a head injury. The family said he was beaten by iron rods and truncheons when he was first arrested.
But despite the Palestinian Authority’s brutal suppression of protesters in the West Bank — including arrests, attacks on journalists, and the confiscation of media equipment by plainclothes security personnel and Fatah supporters — more demonstrations are still planned.
Protests also took place in international cities such as Boston, Beirut, London and Amman to show their support.
Jabalin said that this time he thinks the situation in the West Bank is different because people are getting tired of Palestinian leaders.
“This situation has been going on for several years. Every additional layer of pain and humiliation adds to the pressure on the pressure cooker. The Palestinians have had enough.
“they are Tired of the corruption of the Palestinian AuthorityThey were unable to resist the Israeli settlers, and their continued security coordination with the Israelis led to the imprisonment and torture of hundreds of Palestinian activists. The “peace process” has yielded nothing, and the democratic space has been closed,” Jabalin said.
Al Jazeera asked Palestinian officials to comment, but received no response.
The Prime Minister of the Palestinian Authority Mohammed Steye expressed condolences to Banat’s family at the weekly cabinet meeting on Monday. He said that an investigation team “will work with all professionalism and transparency to clarify the truth and correct problems within the Palestinian legal framework.”
Shtayyeh said: “Anyone involved in this matter will be handed over to the competent judicial authority, which gives everyone the right, and we require the investigation committee to complete its report within the next two days.”
‘Not our lord and master’
During one of the protests, Majidi, a married middle-aged Palestinian man who did not care about politics and had never had any problems with the Palestinian Authority’s security services, told Al Jazeera that he did not want to reveal his full name. Because he didn’t want to be arrested and came out of his house in the middle of the night and went to jail.
“Anyone who opposes the Palestinian Authority, especially members of the opposition party, will be arrested, tortured and possibly killed,” said Majidi, who runs a restaurant in Ramallah Manara or near the city center.
“But the protests are not just for Nizar. People have long been angry at the corruption and arrogance of the Palestinian Authority. The security forces have forgotten that they are serving the people and they are not our lord and master.”
‘No longer obedient’
However, Jabalin said that the Palestinians’ fear factor has diminished in the past few months because the Palestinians have advocated for attacks on the Al-Aqsa Mosque and the deportation of Palestinians from their homes in occupied East Jerusalem. And challenge Israel yourself.
“The new generation is tech-savvy, they use fast communication methods and no longer follow the cultural tradition of obedience to authority,” he said.
Two other protesters, Mohamed Ali and Ahmed Mohamed, told Al Jazeera that they participated in a demonstration on Sunday and condemned the way Banat was treated.
These people are colleagues of an aluminum construction company, and despite fear of reprisals and initial reservations, they agreed to provide their names and take photos of them.
“Why are they killing him?” Ali said. “If he did something wrong, they could have sent him to jail and charged him, and allowed him and a lawyer to challenge the charges.”
Rami Arrar, a Palestinian living in Norway, was visiting his family in Ramallah while on vacation. His criticism of the Palestinian Authority was less important and said that security officials may have committed crimes during Banat’s arrest. A real mistake.
“I will not completely condemn the Palestinian Authority because I think they have done some good things for our society, and maybe not all facts are available,” he told Al Jazeera. “Nevertheless, this situation is not handled well and needs to be investigated.”
The Palestinian Authority faces internal and international pressure to demand a credible investigation into Banat’s death. But Jabalin said that the authorities’ investigation is neither credible nor will the people behind Banat’s death be held accountable.
Jabalin said: “No Palestinian organization is ready to participate in the whitewashing, because the Palestinian Authority is the defendant, judge and jury.”
“Al Haq and the Independent Human Rights Commission [ICHR] Both parties refused to participate in the investigation, and so did the Bar Association,” Jabalin said.
“On the contrary, we will implement the Nizar procedure to ascertain all the facts and support those who are accused of engaging in political activities against the Palestinian Authority and facing prosecution in the future.”
ICHR stated that if the Palestinian Authority refuses to cooperate, the two organizations will deal with related matters to the United Nations.
Human Rights Deterioration
Before his death, Binat warned his family that if he died in Palestinian custody, they should not trust any subsequent investigations by the Palestinian Authority.
Palestinian political activists are Often arrested and tortured by the Palestinian Authority According to Human Rights Watch (HRW), in the West Bank and Hamas in Gaza.
Binat was not the first Palestinian to die at the hands of the Palestinian Authority’s security services.
Previous deaths in Palestinian Authority custody include the 42-year-old imam Majid al-Barghouti in a mosque in Kobar village on the outskirts of Ramallah. He was arrested by the Pennsylvania General Intelligence Service (GIS) on February 14, 2008, and was pronounced dead a week later.
Photos of the body taken by Human Rights Watch that day showed deep and extensive bruises on the legs, feet and back, consistent with the marks caused by the beating.
In a recent report, the Palestinian Human Rights Center in Gaza stated that since the declaration of a state of emergency in 2020 to combat COVID-19, the human rights situation of the Palestinian Authority has been deteriorating and that the situation has been exacerbated by internal divisions. Due to the internal struggle between Hamas and Fatah, the executive, legislative and judicial institutions of the Palestinian Authority have been affected.
Human Rights Watch reported that Palestinian Prime Minister Mohamed Steyer promised to end arbitrary arrests in July 2019, but this did not happen.
Since the president of the Palestinian Authority Mahmoud Abbas cancelled elections in May — after warning that his party was about to lose — dozens of political opponents and critics have been arrested by the Palestinian Authority’s security services.
In addition to growing anger on the streets of Palestine, the Palestinian Authority is also facing pressure from the international community. The United Nations, Europeans and Americans said they were shocked by Binath’s death.
Although Washington has long supported the Palestinian Authority’s security agencies in economic and military training, the European Union recently issued a statement stating that it only provides technical support to civilian police, while economic support is used to help small businesses and non-governmental organizations.
Jabalin concluded that unless the Palestinian Authority implements urgent democratic reforms, he fears that a bloody future will emerge in the occupied territories.
Armed members of the Binat family further warned that if the murderer is not brought to justice, they will do it themselves.