Dr. Mamdouh Akar, a Palestinian politician and human rights activist said that Yasser Arafat would be rolling in his grave if he knew what was happening in Palestine today. His remarks were made in a Ramallah press conference about the use of violence against protesters by the Palestinian Authority's security forces, which was posted on the Watan News Agency's YouTube account on July 6, 2021. Dr. Akar said that the day Palestinian activist Nizar Banat was murdered by the PA's security forces was a black day, but that today is even darker, because ensuing events have shown that the PA has become a police state. He said that Palestinians want a regime that respects them and for that they need elections. Dr. Akar said that the murder of Nizar Banat was a message from the PA, that anyone who dares to open their mouths will face a similar fate. Shawan Jabarin director of Al-Haq, a Palestinian human rights organization, said that the PA and the police should be ashamed that people were attacked and dragged on the ground right in front of his eyes. He added that this is not the conduct of a police force, which is supposed to protect the people and enforce the law. Jabarin continued to say that such conduct reflects the "essence of this authority and this leadership." He warned that this will lead to blood on the Palestinian street. For more about the protests following the killing of Nizar Banat, see MEMRI TV clip no. 8946.
Shawan Jabarin: "The most painful and shameful thing – and frankly speaking, what the PA, the police and everybody should be ashamed of – was how people were attacked and dragged on the ground, right in front of my eyes. So let no one lecture me and say that this might be exaggerated or whatever... No, no. This happened right in front of my eyes. In my opinion, this is not the conduct of a police force that is supposed to protect the people and enforce the law. I think that this conduct should terrify any free Palestinian who cares about his country. Secondly, this reflects the essence of this authority and this leadership, which does not know the meaning of rights, freedoms, the rule of law, uniting the country and the social fabric, or anything. This is what I can say about the situation with all honesty, clarity, and pain. My heart is bleeding at the sight of young people, women, doctors, and old people being dragged on the ground. No, no. These are not the ways of the Palestinians. We should all be ashamed of this. This should terrify us. This is upsetting, and honestly, this conduct will lead to blood on the Palestinian street."
Mamdouh Akar: "I really do not know what to say. It was a dark day when the martyr Nizar Banat was murdered – on the Thursday of the week before the last, June 24 – a dark day. Today it is even darker. Everything that I have seen over the last few days indicates that we are not even on a slippery slope towards a police state, we already act like one. I want this leadership to explain to us: Are we a democracy or a police state? If we are a democracy, then there are certain rules, laws, and norms that must be followed. If the [leadership] admits that what we have here is a police state, then the rule of the games will be different. We are not the first nation to have a police state. The nations [living in a police state] know how to get rid of them. I have a feeling that if President Abu Ammar [Yasser Arafat] would know what is happening in Palestine today, he would be rolling in pain in his grave.
"We want a regime that respects citizens and their honor and protects freedoms. The basis for all this is elections. We have been denied a legislative council, we have been denied freedom of the press, we have been denied freedom of opinion and all the other liberties, and even the right of peaceful assembly, which is a sacred right. The right to express opinion is also a sacred right. It seems that by murdering Nizar Banat, [the Palestinian leadership] wants to teach us that anyone who opens their mouth will face a similar fate."