Palestinians demand end to Abbas presidency after activist dies during ‘brutal beating and arrest’
The body of Banat, 45, was borne up through the streets of Hebron where he lived, following a funeral event at the mosque. Crowds, approximated by CNN at 15,000 in number, strolled behind the body waving Palestinian flags, announcing him a martyr.
Individuals shouted, “Abu Mazen is a traitor” — describing Abbas by the typical Arabic kunya “Abu” significance “father of” — and “The people say, ‘Down with the Authority!'”
Much of the mourners likewise brought the green flag of Hamas, the Islamist group that runs Gaza, and among Abbas’s primary political competitors.
Anti-PA demonstrations have actually likewise been kept in Ramallah and in Jerusalem’s Old City outside the al Aqsa mosque.
Banat was a popular and outspoken critic of Abbas and the PA, utilizing social networks to knock PA leaders for supposed corruption and incompetence.
Among his last posts on Facebook knocked the PA over its messed up swap offer with Israel for 1 million dosages of the Pfizer vaccine for coronavirus.
He was apprehended in the early hours of Thursday in an operation including about 20 armed officers, his household informed CNN, throughout which he was completely beaten, the household stated.
An initial autopsy report launched by the Ramallah-based Independent Commission for Human Being Rights with the true blessing of Banat’s household, explained injuries “in the form of bruises and abrasions in many areas of the body, including the head, neck, shoulders, chest, back, upper and lower limbs, with cuffing marks on the wrists and rib fractures.”
The report stated preliminary autopsy results suggested an “abnormal” death however stated identifying the primary cause of death would require the outcomes of lab tissue tests.
Hebron Guv Jibreen Al Bakri stated Banat had actually passed away after “his health deteriorated” throughout the arrest, which he stated had actually been bought by the PA’s Attorney general of the United States.
The PA has stated it will introduce a questions into what took place.
Standing with his grandpa outside the mosque Friday prior to the funeral event, Nizar’s 6-year-old kid, Kifah, informed CNN, “I heard from my mother that they assassinated my father. They attacked and killed him, and I don’t know why.”
Jihad Al Khatib, an older local of the city, informed CNN there was no doubt why Banat had actually been targeted by the PA. “He is the one that speaks against the oppressor, and for the oppressed … They killed the hope in us. They killed him after he exposed their corruption,” he stated.
Banat’s death has actually drawn actions from throughout the worldwide neighborhood.
The United States State department stated in a declaration it was “deeply disturbed” by the death and advised the PA “to conduct a thorough and transparent investigation and to ensure full accountability in this case.”
The declaration went on: “We have serious concerns about Palestinian Authority restrictions on the exercise of freedom of expression by Palestinians and harassment of civil society activists and organizations.”
Human rights groups have actually been worried for many years about what they state is the growing authoritarianism of the PA under President Abbas.
In specific, they are worried by the 2017 “Law on Electronic Crimes” which permits “arbitrary restrictions on the rights to freedom of expression, privacy and protection of data,” according to Human being Rights Watch.
Banat himself was apprehended under that law last November and invested a number of days in detention after publishing a video on social networks greatly slamming the PA management for the resumption of its policy of security coordination with Israeli forces.
That policy, which sees PA security forces typically working carefully with Israeli security in the West Bank, had actually been suspended by Abbas over the hazard of addition by Israel’s federal government led by then-Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.
For many years, however, Abbas has actually typically stuck difficult to the policy, under pressure from crucial worldwide fans like the United States, the UK and others, which have actually been greatly associated with training PA security forces.
Palestinians typically see security coordination as helping Israel in its military profession of their land, and individuals in Hebron revealed anger at what they stated should have been cooperation with Israel in the operation which led to Banat’s death.
“This is a crime in all aspects,” Mazeed Saqf Al-Hait from Nablus informed CNN. “The PA is the main suspect in this crime. Israel is a suspect as a partner in this crime because [the PA arrest operation] requires security coordination. Also, the US and the EU are partners in the crime through their financial support to the security forces. It is the system that is criminal and is responsible for the killing and should be held accountable.”
The death comes less than 2 months after President Abbas canceled elections for the Palestinian Legal Council, which have actually not been held because 2006, in a relocation which drew extensive criticism from lots of Palestinians.
Mustafa Barghouti, a long-time independent political leader and human rights activist, informed CNN Banat’s death is a very harmful minute for the Palestinian Authority.
“It proves that we cannot go on without democratic elections, without legislative authority, without independent judiciary and without separation of powers. Palestine needs more than a security system that is unable to protect its people from Israeli attacks. Palestine needs democracy and elections immediately,” he stated.
Jobber Wiki author Frank Long contributed to this report.