The physique of Banat, 45, was borne aloft via the streets of Hebron the place he lived, following a funeral ceremony on the mosque. Crowds, estimated by CNN at 15,000 in quantity, walked behind the physique waving Palestinian flags, proclaiming him a martyr.
Individuals chanted, “Abu Mazen is a traitor” — referring to Abbas by the widespread Arabic kunya “Abu” which means “father of” — and “The individuals say, ‘Down with the Authority!'”
Most of the mourners additionally carried the inexperienced flag of Hamas, the Islamist group that runs Gaza, and one among Abbas’s major political rivals.
Anti-PA protests have additionally been held in Ramallah and in Jerusalem’s Previous Metropolis exterior the al Aqsa mosque.
Banat was a well known and outspoken critic of Abbas and the PA, utilizing social media to denounce PA leaders for alleged corruption and incompetence.
One in all his final posts on Fb slammed the PA over its botched swap cope with Israel for 1 million doses of the Pfizer vaccine for coronavirus.
He was arrested within the early hours of Thursday in an operation involving about 20 armed officers, his household instructed CNN, throughout which he was brutally crushed, the household stated.
A preliminary post-mortem report launched by the Ramallah-based Unbiased Fee for Human Rights with the blessing of Banat’s household, described accidents “within the type of bruises and abrasions in lots of areas of the physique, together with the pinnacle, neck, shoulders, chest, again, higher and decrease limbs, with cuffing marks on the wrists and rib fractures.”
The report stated preliminary post-mortem outcomes indicated an “irregular” demise however stated figuring out the principle reason behind demise would wish the outcomes of laboratory tissue exams.
Hebron Governor Jibreen Al Bakri stated Banat had died after “his well being deteriorated” through the arrest, which he stated had been ordered by the PA’s Legal professional Normal.
The PA has stated it can launch an inquiry into what occurred.
Standing along with his grandfather exterior the mosque Friday earlier than the funeral ceremony, Nizar’s 6-year-old son, Kifah, instructed CNN, “I heard from my mom that they assassinated my father. They attacked and killed him, and I do not know why.”
Jihad Al Khatib, an older resident of the town, instructed CNN there was little question why Banat had been focused by the PA. “He’s the one which speaks towards the oppressor, and for the oppressed … They killed the hope in us. They killed him after he uncovered their corruption,” he stated.
Banat’s demise has drawn responses from throughout the worldwide group.
The US State division stated in a press release it was “deeply disturbed” by the demise and urged the PA “to conduct a radical and clear investigation and to make sure full accountability on this case.”
The assertion went on: “We’ve severe issues about Palestinian Authority restrictions on the train of freedom of expression by Palestinians and harassment of civil society activists and organizations.”
Human rights teams have been involved for years about what they are saying is the rising authoritarianism of the PA beneath President Abbas.
Particularly, they’re involved by the 2017 “Regulation on Digital Crimes” which permits “arbitrary restrictions on the rights to freedom of expression, privateness and safety of information,” in line with Human Rights Watch.
Banat himself was arrested beneath that regulation final November and spent a number of days in detention after posting a video on social media sharply criticizing the PA management for the resumption of its coverage of safety coordination with Israeli forces.
That coverage, which sees PA safety forces typically working intently with Israeli safety within the West Financial institution, had been suspended by Abbas over the specter of annexation by Israel’s authorities led by then-Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.
Through the years, although, Abbas has usually caught onerous to the coverage, beneath strain from key worldwide supporters like the USA, the UK and others, which have been closely concerned in coaching PA safety forces.
Palestinians typically see safety coordination as helping Israel in its army occupation of their land, and folks in Hebron expressed anger at what they stated should have been cooperation with Israel within the operation which resulted in Banat’s demise.
“It is a crime in all points,” Mazeed Saqf Al-Hait from Nablus instructed CNN. “The PA is the principle suspect on this crime. Israel is a suspect as a accomplice on this crime as a result of [the PA arrest operation] requires safety coordination. Additionally, the US and the EU are companions within the crime via their monetary assist to the safety forces. It’s the system that’s legal and is chargeable for the killing and ought to be held accountable.”
The demise comes lower than two months after President Abbas canceled elections for the Palestinian Legislative Council, which haven’t been held since 2006, in a transfer which drew widespread criticism from many Palestinians.
Mustafa Barghouti, a long-time unbiased politician and human rights activist, instructed CNN Banat’s demise is an especially damaging second for the Palestinian Authority.
“It proves that we can not go on with out democratic elections, with out legislative authority, with out unbiased judiciary and with out separation of powers. Palestine wants greater than a safety system that’s unable to guard its individuals from Israeli assaults. Palestine wants democracy and elections instantly,” he stated.