Political alliance demands PA leaders resign as European envoys urge answers over Banat death

Political alliance demands PA leaders resign as European envoys urge answers over Banat death
3 min read
01 July, 2021
An alliance of Palestinian parties has urged a transitional arrangement for six months to allow for elections to be conducted.
Protests have been widespread since Nizar Banat's death [ABBAS MOMANI/AFP/Getty]

An alliance of Palestinian political parties has urged that the Palestinian Authority (PA) government be removed from office.

The group takes issue with PA violence towards reporters and protesters at rallies for Nizar Banat, a government critic who died in Palestinian custody last week, Arabi21 reported on Thursday.

At a Ramallah media briefing on Wednesday, Omar Assaf of the Palestinian Democratic Rally (PDR) argued that the current government, headed by premier Mohammad Shtayyeh has culpability for what happened and, therefore, should go.

He said: "What has occurred from the [PA's] security services is a shame and a disgrace and is vile."

He suggested that a transitional arrangement could see figures from a wide variety of backgrounds participate in running the country, be they from the Palestine Liberation Organization or elsewhere.

Assaf suggested underrepresented groups including women have a part to play, as do the nation's civic groups.

He advocated that the transitional arrangement last for up to six months to allow for elections to be conducted.

Assaf also took the opportunity to urge that Palestinian security chiefs be relieved of their duties. He contended that anyone implicated in what happened to Banat or other "victims of torture" in the past should be brought to justice.

The PDR is comprised of the five left-wing parties with minor representation in electoral politics.

The group includes the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine, the Democratic Front for the Liberation of Palestine, the Palestinian People's Party, the Palestinian National Initiative and the Palestinian Democratic Union.

Concern over Banat's death has extended to European diplomats, who have demanded answers.

Israel's Kan public broadcaster reported on Thursday that these officials have sought specifics on the case.

As many as twenty diplomats and consuls attended General Intelligence Service chief Majed Faraj's office on Wednesday.

In Ramallah, they pressed him on the matter.

Kan indicated that the intelligence leader acknowledged wrong had been done, saying that the matter has been looked into and that improvements would be made.

While the European officials also highlighted the PA's repression of protesters, Faraj alleged that it was rival faction and Gaza rulers Hamas who were behind the rallies.

The Banat family is set to meet with the European diplomats on Thursday, so they can learn more about their view.

On Tuesday, the official Wafa news agency reported that PM Shtayyeh had referred the initial report of a committee he set up to probe Banat's death for the military judiciary to consider.