Middle East Monitor / June 27, 2021
Palestinian activist and political candidate Nizar Banat (44) was killed in the early hours of Thursday morning.
But it was not Israeli soldiers that killed him.
Banat was a critic of the Palestinian Authority, or PA, condemning its corruption and its central policy of “security coordination” with Israel.
His popular Facebook page (as of this writing) has more than 122,000 followers. The late activist, who lived in the Hebron area, regularly posted videos online giving his analysis of the Palestinian political scene, the latest crimes of the Israeli occupation, and the PA’s collaboration with the enemy occupier.
Banat had recently called for the European Union to stop funding the PA.
From all reports of his death, it sounds like what happened yesterday was nothing short of political assassination by the PA.
And indeed, opposition Palestinian factions – including Hamas and the Marxist-Leninist group the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine – in their statements have called it precisely that.
According to Banat’s family members, present at his home that fateful night, no less than 25 PA “security” thugs barged in, in the dead of night, at 3 am and beat him bloody. They then dragged him out, barely conscious.
That was the last time his family saw him.
The PA’s Al-Khalil/Hebron governor announced two hours later that Banat had died, without mentioning any cause of death.
“A security force unit arrested him at dawn, during which his health deteriorated and he was transferred to Hebron’s public hospital,” the governor, “General” Jibreen al-Bakri claimed. “Upon examination by the doctors, it appeared that he was dead,” the statement continued passively.
It’s very striking how much the gangsters of the PA have learned from Israeli occupation forces. Surprise “arrests” in the dead of night, such as that done to Banat, are a common tactic of the Israeli military in their quest to suppress Palestinian dissent.
In the same way, the PA was furious at Banat for his incisive criticisms and decided to stamp them out by simply killing him. This murder has already caused mass disgust among Palestinians in the West Bank, who have come out onto the streets to protest at the PA’s murderous policies.
Aside from the simple and planned issue of their financial corruption, the key criticism that Banat – like so many other Palestinians – had of the PA was “security coordination”. Unelected PA president Mahmoud Abbas once infamously called this policy “holy”.
“Security coordination” would more accurately be described as a collaboration – cooperation with Israel, the enemy occupier.
PA forces today in the West Bank have absolutely no power to arrest or even question the Israeli soldiers and Israeli settlers that regularly carry out killings, abuses, and other crimes against Palestinians. If they ever tried, they would be swiftly killed.
The only direction the PA is permitted to turn its guns is against the Palestinian population itself. The location of Banat’s home (in an area of Hebron directly controlled by the Israeli army, with no pretence of PA presence) makes it clear that the arrest had been directly coordinated with and given the green light by the Israeli occupation forces.
Contrary to many misconceptions in the West (even among many on the left and in the Palestine solidarity movement) the PA is not a “government” in charge of a state. Ironically, considering its name, it has little real authority and does not serve Palestinian interests.
In fact, its main and only real purpose is to quash Palestinian resistance to Israel – whether armed or peaceful.
And the PA’s policy of collaboration with the enemy is not a matter of weakness, degeneration or of corruption (although the PA is also very corrupt, with a well-known and well-deserved reputation for misappropriating funds) – it is a matter of design during the Oslo capitulation process.
The PA was always designed as a subcontractor for the Israeli occupation. Every occupation force and colonial entity in history has sought to recruit native informants and agents to its cause, and Israel is no different in that regard.
The United States recruited Native American trackers and warriors to its side in its wars of expansion, conquest, and extermination against the indigenous peoples of North America. The British Empire is a past master in the brutal colonial art of divide and rule. The Israeli occupation in South Lebanon – before the Lebanese resistance drove them out in 2000 – ran whole armies of Lebanese collaborators. The Americans in Iraq ran local sectarian militias.
The PA are little different. The neutralization of the PLO, the Palestinian liberation movement, was long a dream of Israel. Not only did they achieve this via the Oslo process in 1993, but they actually managed to recruit former PLO fighters to their side – a big win for the Israeli occupation.
Today, the PA is one of the main, if not the primary barrier to Palestinian liberation from Israeli occupation.
It must be dismantled.
Asa Winstanley is an investigative journalist living in London who writes about Palestine and the Middle East