Palestinian Authority security forces attack, arrest lawyers, writers, activists and freed prisoners...

Palestinian Authority security forces attack, arrest lawyers, writers, activists and freed prisoners protesting assassination of Nizar Banat

UPDATE 2: Hind Shraydeh announced after her release that Ubai Aboudi has launched a hunger strike to demand he and his fellow detainees be immediately freed.

UPDATE: Several of the detainees have been released, including Omar Assaf, Shatha Assaf, Hind Shraydeh, Hadi Tarsha, Diala Ayesh, Tayseer al-Zabri, Deema Amin and Nadia Habash, as the protests have continued outside the police station.

The Palestinian Authority is continuing its series of arrests and attacks targeting Palestinian human rights defenders and activists protesting PA security forces’ assassination of Nizar Banat on 24 June and their ongoing security coordination with the Israeli occupation. On Monday, 5 July, dozens of Palestinians have been detained by PA security forces, including Ubai Aboudi, director of the Bisan Center, Omar Assaf, of the Palestinian Democratic Forum, Arjan Karajah, Khaled Odetallah, Ahmed al-Kharouf, Omar al-Awri, Khaled Awad, Hussam Barjas, Tayseer al-Zabri, Omar al-Jallad, Sari Othman Hammad, Adli Izzat Hanaisha, Osama al-Badir, and Bashir al-Khairy, although al-Khairy, a veteran Palestinian leader, was later released.

As the families and comrades of the detainees gathered outside the police station in Ramallah to demand their release, even more were arrested including Mays Abu Ghosh, student activist and former political prisoner; Deema Amin and Nadia Habash of the Bisan Center; Hind Shraydeh, Palestinian writer and Ubai Aboudi’s wife; Diala Ayesh of Lawyers for Justice; and Shatha and Aws Assaf, the son and daughter of Omar Assaf. Additional detainees include Asmaa Odetallah, Jenin Merhi, Basil Merhi, Juman al-Ezza, Yahya Abu al-Rub, Hadi Tarsha, and
two journalists, Mohammed Hamayel and Akil Awawdeh.

PA forces have also attacked demonstrators violently, including Haithem Siyaj, former prisoner and comrade of Basil al-Araj, who was beaten over the head and is now in the hospital. Most of those who have been seized by the PA are former political prisoners in Israeli jails.

Samidoun Palestinian Prisoner Solidarity Network demands the immediate release of all of these political detainees. Members of Samidoun Network in Occupied Palestine are protesting with many others outside the police station in Ramallah now, following the arrest of family members and the use of pepper gas against demonstrators. They are calling for wide participation, noting that “Only popular solidarity can protect us from this violent oppression and crimes against the Palestinian people.”

These attacks have followed days of violent repression targeting protests in the streets of Ramallah. Palestinian activists have recounted the security services beating them, threatening their lives, stealing their phones and attempting to terrorize them and stop them from taking to the streets against the PA’s coordination with the Israeli occupation regime.

**

Like the assassination of Nizar Banat, these arrests and attacks reflect a conscious policy of the Israeli occupation and the Oslo Palestinian Authority affiliated with it. The latter is carrying out its specific function to protect the existence of the occupation and its control over the Palestinian people in the West Bank. Acting as agents of the occupation, the PA is practicing all forms of oppression and terror, including political arrests, violent raids and assassinations, against the Palestinian people in order to serve the Zionist colonial project and to protect the privileges of the small sliver of the beneficiaries of the Palestinian Authority – the Oslo class affiliated with the Zionist regime.

This crime cannot be considered apart from the assassination policy against Palestinian leaders and fighters carried out continuously over the decades by the Israeli occupation regime. The “security coordination” framework, overseen and implemented by the United States, Canada and the European Union (all engaged in training, funding and oversight of Palestinian Authority security forces), is designed to employ Palestinian agencies to carry out the mission of Zionist colonialism – chasing, repressing, imprisoning and targeting the Palestinian resistance as well as many Palestinians — organizers, writers, intellectuals, student activists — who present an alternative vision for the liberation of Palestine, from the river to the sea, without the collaborationist entity of the Palestinian Authority.

The purpose of these Palestinian Authority security forces and the “security coordination” project under which they carry weapons is to prevent the Palestinian people and their liberation movement from effectively resisting and overthrowing the Israeli occupation regime throughout occupied Palestine through ongoing force, violence and repression, in full service of the interests of Zionism and imperialism, while bearing a Palestinian flag emblem on each agent’s badge.

Read our full statement here.

**

Despite these repressive tactics, Palestinians inside Palestine and in exile and diaspora are continuing to protest the assassination of Palestinian activist Nizar Banat by Palestinian Authority security forces, highlighting the role of the Palestinian Authority as an agent force collaborating with the Israeli occupation regime through the “security coordination” framework underlying the Oslo Accords. While thousands have taken to the streets inside occupied Palestine in outrage, highlighting the role of PA security as colonial enforcers of the occupation, they have been met with brutal beatings, mass theft of phones in an attempt to block documentation, and attempts by plain-clothes security forces to single out individual demonstrators for attack.

Multiple members of the Samidoun Network in Occupied Palestine have been beaten with rocks and batons, had hot coffee deliberately thrown on them, and had their phones stolen by uniformed or plainclothes Palestinian Authority security forces, alongside dozens to hundreds of other Palestinians facing identical treatment. The PA security forces responsible for these attacks have primary responsibility for security coordination with the Israeli occupation, and the brutal assassination of Nizar Banat by the over 25 PA security forces who exploded the door off the hinges of his home before beating him to death with iron bars in front of his family.

These repressive assaults have continued outside occupied Palestine as well. In Beirut, Palestinian refugees protesting the assassination of Banat utside the PA embassy were subjected to physical attacks and verbal bullying and assaults by PA security forces.

The Alternative Palestinian Path (Masar Badil) issued a call to action:

“The puppet Oslo authority supports the Zionist colonial project; that is its purpose for existing. It acts as the spearhead of the occupation and an effective means of ensuring the success of the Zionist project. It is responsible for the exacerbation of the crimes of the Israeli occupation not only because of its full partnership in killing, torture and arrests, and not only because of its role in preventing resistance operations and snuffing out resistance before it can fully blossom, but also because of its major political and historical crime – in reality, the most severe – which is to strike down the revolutionary consciousness of the Palestinian people and aim to replace the culture of resistance and struggle with a culture of subordination and submission to the will of the Israeli regime, global imperialist powers, and their followers in the Arab reactionary regimes.

The time has come to turn the page from this infamous period in the history of our Palestinian cause and to start building an alternative revolutionary path to the devastation caused by this authority of treachery.”

Demonstrations have been organized in multiple cities demanding an end to the PA’s security coordination and role as a subcontractor to colonialism. In New York City, Montreal, Berlin, Den Haag, Paris, London, Copenhagen, Toulouse, Athens, Vancouver, Amman, as well as in Beirut, Palestinians and supporters of Palestine have taken to the streets to denounce this system of injustice imposed upon the Palestinian people. Upcoming actions are already being organized in Frankfurt, Brussels, Stockholm and elsewhere.

Now is the time to take action to confront the Palestinian Authority and all those responsible for imposing it upon the Palestinian people to the detriment of the Palestinian struggle for return and liberation. The PA and its funders and trainers must be held accountable for its ongoing betrayal of the Palestinian people and its collaboration with the occupation regime and Zionist colonialism. We note that this crime is also an urgent call to boycott, isolate and resist Israeli occupation throughout Palestine and elsewhere. The Oslo project is backed by Zionism, imperialism and reactionary regimes – and it must and will fall on the road to the liberation of Palestine, from the river to the sea. 

Take Action: 

  1. Protest at the Palestinian Authority embassy, mission or consulate in your country – or at the Israeli embassy.. Demand justice and accountability for the assassination of Nizar Banat and make it clear that the PA does not represent the Palestinian people’s struggle for liberation! Find the PA mission or embassy in your country here: https://embassy.goabroad.com/embassies-of/palestine – we note — this is also an Israeli crime, first and foremost in the interests of the occupation. Protest at Israeli embassies and consulates: https://embassy.goabroad.com/embassies-of/israel
  2. Demand your government stop supporting Palestinian Authority security forces and sanction Israel. Aid and training of PA security forces is not designed to provide security to Palestinians, but instead to bolster the Israeli occupation and repress Palestinian resistance. Legitimate aid must support the rights of the Palestinian people, not directly undermine those rights.From Canada to Australia to the European Union, Western governments and imperialist powers provide ongoing diplomatic, political and economic support to Israel as well as selling billions of dollars of weaponry to the settler-colonial state. Meanwhile, they also purchase billions of dollars in weaponry from the Israeli state. Governments in league with imperialist powers, such as in the Philippines, Brazil, India and elsewhere, also buy weapons and “security” services — all “battle-tested” on the Palestinian population. Call your representatives, MPs, political officials and demand your government sanction Israel now, cut off all aid, expel its ambassadors, and stop buying and selling weapons – and stop financing and training the PA security forces to assist the occupation in its crimes.
  3. Join Palestinian movements and organizations fighting back against Oslo. Many Palestinians, inside Palestine and in exile and diaspora, are working to bring down Oslo and restore the compass of the struggle – for liberation and return, from the river to the sea, and upholding the resistance as the legitimate voice of the Palestinian people. Learn more and get involved with the Masar Badil (Alternative Palestinian Path) conference to convene in Madrid in October 2021.
  4. Boycott Israel – The international, Arab and Palestinian campaign to boycott Israel can play an important role at this critical time. Local boycott groups can protest and label Israeli produce and groceries.  By participating in the boycott of Israel, you can directly help to throw a wrench in the economy of settler colonialism. Download our Boycott Flyer to distribute at supermarkets, stores and other venues in your community!