Anger Mounts in West Bank at Increasingly Under-Fire Mahmoud Abbas: Investigation

Angry demonstrators carry pictures of Nizar Banat, an outspoken critic of the Palestinian Authority, and chant anti-PA slogans during a rally protesting his death, in the West Bank city of Ramallah, Thursday, June 24, 2021. Banat who was a candidate in parliamentary elections called off earlier this year died after Palestinian security forces arrested him and beat him with batons on Thursday, his family said

DAYS OF PALESTINE – WEST BANK – France 24 has published an investigation into the Palestinian Authority’s killing of Palestinian activist Nizar Banat after his arrest, and the repercussions that this has caused among Palestinians.

France 24 reporters travelled around the West Bank, from Hebron to Nablus and from Ramallah to Balata, where more and more Palestinians are expressing their lack of hope. As Nizar Banat’s cousin told the reporters: “We are caught between two occupiers. The Israeli occupier and the occupier that is the Authority of Mahmoud Abbas”.

On June 24, 2021, Palestinian political activist Nizar Banat died after being violently beaten by Palestinian security forces. Banat was a fierce critic of corruption in the Palestinian Authority.

His killing had an immediate effect: Thousands took to the streets in the Palestinian Territories to protest against the ruling Fatah party and Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas.

The 86-year-old Abbas is clinging on to his position, having cancelled the first elections in 16 years. Our reporters Gwendoline Debono and Laurent Van der Stockt went to meet Palestinians who are openly denouncing their leadership and who feel abandoned.

In this documentary, Nizar Banat’s family members speak out about the intimidation they say they have suffered in their fight to obtain justice for him. Camp militiamen tell us why they are now joining radical movements. Students in the Hebron region, meanwhile, feel abandoned amid increasing violence from Israeli settlers.

In terms of key political issues, Palestinians do not expect any real changes to follow. The status quo suits both Israel and the PA, Palestinians said in France 24 investigation.

The PLO exists mainly to rubber-stamp Abbas’s controversial decisions, according to the investigation.

After killing of the activists Nizar Banat, the Palestinians have already come out to reject the ruling elite. Amid growing discontent with the status quo, Palestinians know they must unite not only to resist Israel, but also to reclaim their own institutions.

People who have remained on their land and resisted occupation for more than seven decades can surely reclaim their cause from an illegitimate leadership.

Globally, Palestinians need to unite to pressure the current leadership to make way for the next generation, and to push western states to stop supporting the status quo, which gives Israel the cover it needs.

Such calls for change can bring significant pressure on Abbas and his team to step down – and this movement will continue long past the PCC meeting.

(Source / 15.02.2022)

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