Palestinian Grassroots Protests & Violent Repression by the Palestinian Authority
Recorded on Friday, July 9, 2021
featuring Aseel AlBajeh (Al Haq), Dr. Yara Hawari (Al Shabaka), and Mona Shtaya (7amleh)
with Sarah Anne Minkin (FMEP)
Two weeks ago, Palestinian security forces violently arrested Nizar Banat, a political activist and well-known critic of the Palestinian Authority. Banat’s subsequent death – viewed by many Palestinians as a political murder if not a deliberate assassination – sparked outrage across the West Bank. Protests against the PA that began immediately after his death are continuing today, as Palestinians take to the streets to oppose the PA. They are doing so despite facing brutal repression at the hands of PA security forces and PA supporters, with women – especially female human rights workers and journalists – facing particularly tough intimidation and harassment.
Join FMEP and a panel of experts – all of whom are located in the West Bank – to discuss these protests and the PA’s response. We will discuss questions including: who are the people going out to protest against the PA? What are their demands? What risks do they face in protests? What is behind the PA’s violent response? What do these protests tell us about Palestinian grassroots organizing and leadership, especially in relation to the recent Palestinian uprisings in Jerusalem and inside the Green Line? Where might things go from here? And how is the uprising against the PA part of a larger struggle against occupation, annexation, and apartheid?
Resources shared in this webinar:
Please follow our panelists & their organizations on Twitter:
- Mona Shtayya → @Monashtayya – https://twitter.com/Monashtayya
- 7amleh → @7amleh – https://twitter.com/7amleh
- Yara Hawari → @yarahawari – https://twitter.com/yarahawari
- Al-Shabaka → @AlShabaka – https://twitter.com/AlShabaka
- Aseel AlBajeh → @AseelAlBajeh – https://twitter.com/AseelAlBajeh
- Al-Haq → @alhaq_org – https://twitter.com/alhaq_org
On Nizar Banat and Palestinian protests against the PA
- “Who was Nizar Banat, the outspoken critic who died in Palestinian Authority custody?” (Middle East Eye)
- For more on Nizar Banat, and Palestinians protesting the PA over the past two weeks, listen to this FMEP podcast with Peter Beinart and Fadi Quran: https://fmep.org/resource/occupied-thoughts-rising-up/
General Information About Gendered Violence Right Now
- “Palestinian women journalists speak out against ‘deliberate’ attacks by PA forces” (Middle East Eye) https://www.middleeasteye.net/news/palestine-women-journalists-speak-up-pa-attacks
- Mariam Barghouti wrote, “Who is the Palestinian Authority protecting? Not us.” https://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/2021/07/02/nizar-banat-palestinian-authority-protests-violence/
- “As Palestinians Protest Death of Abbas Opponent, Women Are Assaulted in Response” (Haaretz) https://www.haaretz.com/middle-east-news/palestinians/.premium.HIGHLIGHT-as-palestinians-protest-death-of-an-abbas-opponent-women-are-assaulted-in-response-1.9966244
On Israel’s Role
- “‘Targeted as a Palestinian and a Woman’: Israel’s Gendered Intimidation Campaign” (Haaretz)
- Haaretz journalist Amira Hass recently wrote on how the PA and Israel cooperate in suppressing protests → “Israel and the Palestinian Authority Know How to Scratch Each Other’s Back”
- Nadi Elia recently wrote, “How subcontracting the occupation fuels gendered violence” (Middle East Eye)
From our Panelists:
- Aseel shared her story on Twitter during the June 27th protest: https://twitter.com/AseelAlBajeh/status/1409249403563544578/photo/1 & https://twitter.com/AseelAlBajeh/status/1409229502924853248
- Aseel was recently interviewed by Reuters about the violence she suffered at the June 27th protest: https://www.reuters.com/world/middle-east/criticism-palestinian-security-forces-raises-pressure-abbas-2021-06-30/
- Mona Shtaya: “Narratives and Social Media: Palestinians’ Uphill Battle” → https://timep.org/commentary/analysis/narratives-and-social-media-palestinians-uphill-battle/
- In an important Twitter thread, Yara wrote: “The Palestinian Authority is known for its gendered violence against Palestinian activists & those who challenge its dictatorial rule…We heard loyalist thugs saying that they wanted to get their hands on any woman to rough them up & teach them a lesson. This isn’t a case of a few bad apples. The whole system is rotten from the street thug to the president.” Read the whole thread → https://twitter.com/yarahawari/status/1409428913621815298
- Yara Hawari: “Defying Fragmentation and the Significance of Unity: A New Palestinian Uprising” → https://al-shabaka.org/commentaries/defying-fragmentation-and-the-significance-of-unity-a-new-palestinian-uprising/
- Al Haq: “Al-Haq Sends an Urgent Appeal on the Arbitrary Detention of the Human Rights Defender Farid al-Atrash” → https://www.alhaq.org/advocacy/18599.html
Aseel AlBajeh is a legal researcher and advocacy officer at Al-Haq, a Palestinian human rights organisation. Aseel was awarded the Ireland-Palestine Scholarship Programme to study at the Irish Center for Human Rights at National University of Ireland Galway, completing her LL.M. in International Human Rights Law in 2020. In addition to her academic research, which focused on transitional justice and decolonisation in Palestine, she writes opinion articles for several media outlets including the Electronic Intifada, AlJazeera Blogs and the New Arab. She tweets at @AseelAlBajeh.
Dr. Yara Hawari is the Senior Palestine Policy Fellow of Al-Shabaka: The Palestinian Policy Network. She completed her PhD in Middle East Politics at the University of Exeter, where she taught various undergraduate courses and continues to be an honorary research fellow. She is also a frequent political commentator writing for various media outlets including The Guardian, Foreign Policy and Al Jazeera English. She tweets at @yarahawari.
Mona Shtaya is a Digital Rights defender working in the Arab region. She is currently the Local Advocacy Manager at 7amleh- the Arab Center for the Advancement of Social Media. She tweets at @Monashtayya.
Sarah Anne Minkin, PhD is the Director of Programs & Partnerships. She is an expert on the intersection between Israeli civil society and Palestinian civil rights and human rights advocacy as well as the ways that American Jews approach the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. She leads FMEP’s programming, works to deepen FMEP’s relationships with existing and potential grantees, and builds relationships with new partners in the philanthropic community. She is an affiliated faculty member at University of California, Berkeley’s Center for Right-Wing Studies. She tweets at @saminkin.