Abbas Dismisses Top Official for Criticizing Banat’s Extrajudicial Killing

Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas. (Photo: Kremlin, via Wikimedia Commons)

Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas is reported to have dismissed the head of the Palestinian National Library, Ihab Bseiso, for criticizing the security services’ extrajudicial killing of political opponent Nizar Banat.

Local media outlets said the Palestinian Authority has warned all officials not to condemn or comment on Banat’s murder or the violent suppression of peaceful protests that followed.

Al-Araby Al-Jadeed quoted sources who spoke on condition of anonymity who confirmed that Abbas yesterday dismissed Bseiso from his post after he criticized Banat’s death on social media.

On June 24, Bseiso took to Facebook to describe Banat’s voice as being as strong and clear as a “laser beam”, adding that “nothing justifies his death”.

“Killing a human being is a crime, no matter how blurry, ambiguous and emotional the picture seems, and we must always side with the human against various forms of lethal steel,” Bseiso said, adding that “difference in opinion is not an epidemic, an emergency, or a justification for bloodshed, incitement and rushing into the labyrinth of chaos and political tension.”

On June 28, Bseiso posted a video and series of photos of the protests that followed Banat’s death. Bseiso has made no comment on reports surrounding his dismissal.

Banat, 43, was a social activist who had accused the PA of corruption, including over a short-lived COVID-19 vaccine exchange with Israel this month and the postponement of a long-delayed election in May. He had registered as a parliamentary candidate for that contest.

(MEMO, PC, Social Media)

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