Israeli and PA Forces Conduct Mass Arrests of Palestinian Protesters

Peoples Dispatch
Nizar Banat’s mother carries a photo of her son during a march calling for Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas’s resignation on July 3, 2021. Photo : The Times of Israel

Human rights lawyers and activists have been arrested in Palestine.The arrests were conducted reportedly in relati on to their participation in protests that have been taking place against the custodial death of well known anti-PA activist, Nizar Banat, last month.

Israeli and Palestinian Authority (PA) security forces conducted a series of arrests of human rights activists and rights lawyers on Sunday, July 4. The arrests were conducted reportedly in relation to their participation in protests that have been taking place following the custodial death of well known anti-PA activist, Nizar Banat, last month. The protesters have been demanding the resignation of president Mahmoud Abbas and urging the PA to end its security and intelligence coordination with Israel.

Those arrested were lawyers Farid al-Atrash and Muhannad Karajah, and activists Jihad Abdo, Salem Qatash and Izzeddine Zaoul.

According to reports, al-Atrash was arrested on Sunday at the Israeli al-Container checkpoint near Jerusalem while he was returning to Bethlehem after taking part in an anti-PA protest in Ramallah. Al-Atrash works with the Independent Commission of Human Rights (ICHR). The ICHR, in its statement, said that “Farid’s health deteriorated significantly during the process of his arrest, which necessitated his transfer to Hadassah Hospital for treatment.” His friend and fellow Palestinian activist, Issa Amro, stated that after being released from the hospital, al-Atrash was questioned by Israeli authorities.

The same day, Muhannad Karajah, along with Jihad Abdo, Salem Qatash and Izzeddine Zaoul, were detained. Karajah, the director of legal aid group Lawyers for Justice, was arrested just as he entered the court building to represent another arrested activist, Ghassan Al-Saadi. Meanwhile, Abdo, Qatash and Zaoul were detained moments before a scheduled sit-in demonstration against the arrests outside the Ramallah court building. Security forces also reportedly ordered journalists present at the location to leave the premises before the protest began.

Karajah is also the lawyer of the slain activist, Nizar Banat. He represented Banat when he was detained by the PA in December last year and was not released despite a court order.

Lawyers for Justice member Thafer al-Saaydah said Karajah was held without an arrest warrant. He was taken into custody as soon as he entered the court premises and taken to a police station, instead of being produced before a public prosecutor to hear the charges.

Al-Saaydah also said that PA authorities had been intensifying the persecution of the group for their legal aid work.

The Palestinian Bar Association strongly condemned the arrests and demanded the unconditional release of Karajah. 

Daoud Darawi, a member of the bar association, said that it would escalate protests against the PA if he was no released soon

Despite the ongoing crackdown on dissent by the PA, more protests were held over the last two days, with thousands of protesters chanting slogans such as “Abbas, leave,” “the people want the fall of the regime,” and “Abbas, dissolve the PA, and get out of our way!” Saturday’s protest was also attended by Nizar Banat’s mother, who held up a photo of her deceased son while marching with the others. 

Activist enters 2nd day of hunger strike, in protest against his arrest by Palestinian Authority

Quds Network
Palestinian journalist and rights activist Alaa Al-Rimawi has entered his second day of hunger strike, in protest against his arrest by the Palestinian Authority over a speech he gave at the funeral of the Nizar Banat.

On Sunday, July 4, Al-Rimawi started his first day of an open hunger and water strike in protest against his arrest by the Palestinian Authority on Sunday evening over a speech he gave at the funeral of the Nizar Banat, an outspoken critic of the PA who was killed on June 24, during his arrest by the PA’s forces.

Meanwhile, over three activists were detained for participating in a protest expressing their disapproval at the PA’s arrest of activists.

Nizar Banat’s killing by the PA’s forces during his arrest has been met with anger on the streets and condemnation from Palestinian factions and human rights organizations.

In response, Palestinians have rallied to the streets to express their anger and condemnation while chanting against the PA president, Mahmoud Abbas, and calling him to step down.

The protestors have also called to conduct a comprehensive investigation into what happened and to ensure that those responsible for Banat’s death were punished.

The PA’s forces, however, prevented the demonstrators and suppressed the protesters and violently attacked them.

Also, the PA’s forces dressed in civilian clothes, walking in the peaceful protests and brutally assaulting the protesters using batons and stones.

They were also seen intensively throwing tear gas bombs at the protesters.

The forces were also seen attacking journalists and confiscating their cell phones, trying to prevent them from covering the forces’ suppression of the protesters.

Moreover, after they stole their personal handbags and snatched phones off the hands of female protesters, the PA forces have been blackmailing the female protesters online after they participated the protests by posting private pictures of the female protesters on social media, in an attempt to blackmail and intimidate them to suppress their voice.