Yesterday, thousands of Palestinians took to the streets of Hebron, Ramallah and Bethlehem calling for the overthrow of the Palestinian Authority and the cancelation of the Oslo Accords signed with Israel in 1993, including the security coordination with the Israeli military.
These protests erupted after the brutal murder of political activist Nizar Banat by some two dozen PA security forces on Thursday, June 24th, 2021.
Like the previous protests, yesterday’s demonstrations were met with excessive use of violence to suppress and disperse the peaceful protesters who are calling for dismantling the authoritarian system of the PA as part of holding the murderers of Banat accountable.
In Ramallah, once hundreds of people gathered at Al-Sa’ah Square at 6.00 PM, hundreds of the PA security forces dressing in civilian clothes raided the place and started dispersing the protesters through using violence.
Many protesters, males and females were severely and savagely beaten by the undercover security forces. Those who tried to rescue them were met with more violence.
Women were particularly targeted by the security forces. According to witnesses of Stop the Wall team who was in the area, many women were seen screaming in the streets of Ramallah. Some were being violently assaulted while others were being sexually abused.
Members of monitoring teams of human rights violations like Al-Haq’s were assaulted by the security forces in an attempt to stop them from documenting the human rights violations committed by them.
The security forces also attacked journalists, damaged and confiscated their equipment to hide the horrific suppression of the peaceful protesters.
The undercover security forces used batons, pepper spray and sharp metal wires to assault the protesters and intimidate them.
All of the violent assaults were committed under the protection of armed police officers.
Due to the brutality of the security forces and the collusion of the police with them, Stop the Wall team could not take pictures of or film the huge human rights abuses that took place yesterday in Ramallah.
In both Hebron and Bethlehem, the demonstrators were also met with violence. Through batons, tear gas and stun grenades, the armed security forces of the PA suppressed the protesters.
Palestinians see in their continuous protests against the PA authoritarianism and securitization an urgency not only to hold the murderers of Banat accountable, but to protect themselves from more violence and suppression of free speech and assembly.
43-year-old Nizar Banat, a father of five children, was an outspoken and harsh critic of the very authoritarian and securitized system of the PA that the protesters are calling for it to be dismantled. This oppressive system, Palestinians believe only serves in entrenching Israel’s three-tiered system of oppression: Settler colonialism, apartheid and military occupation.
The PA authoritarianism is a regime that allows for more space of collaboration with the Israeli occupation through security coordination with the Israeli military.
The consolidation of the PA oppressive structures to which Banat and others before him were lost has been enabled through Western support, mainly the US and the European Union to its security forces.
European and American aid to the post-2007 security reform processes as part of the so-called state building project has resulted in the absence of democracy and accountability. The support that has been given to the PA autocracy rather than to the people under Israeli occupation has also undermined Palestinian decolonization project through solidifying the oppressive Israeli colonial regime.