MORE CHANGE IS IN THE AIR

BLOG 523

June 28, 2021

WISE ON THE MIDDLE EAST

Each week Robert L. Wise, Ph.D., explores the Middle Eastern situation, ranging from Egypt through Jordan, Syria, Lebanon, Israel and the surrounding area. Wise first traveled to Israel and the neighboring countries in 1968. Two of his sons taught in Jordan and Lebanon universities. Wise presents an objective view of the behind the scenes situation in these countries.

MORE CHANGE IS IN THE AIR

Last week I described the possibilities of violent change in the Palestinian controlled areas with a revolt against the P.A. (Palestinian Authority) leader Abbas. Of course, charges of abuse  constantly go back and forth. People in the West often struggle to make sense out of what is happening. However, here’s an immediate event that will help you have a more defined sense of why the struggles continue and no progress is made.

After Abbas canceled planned Palestinian elections in April, Banat, himself a legislative candidate on an independent list, gave an interview harshly critical of the PA president to a Hamas-linked television channel. A few days later, unidentified gunmen fired at his home in Dura, near Hebron. Banat fled to a hideout in an Israeli-controlled part of Hebron. The West Bank city has been divided since the 1997 Hebron Protocol, which split the city into Palestinian and Israel-administered areas.

On Thursday morning, members of the PA security services raided the house where he was staying. According to his family, the officers stripped Banat, sprayed pepper gas in his eyes, before “viciously beating him” and dragging him away. Two hours later, his family learned that Banat was dead.

The PA has said it will conduct a full investigation with representatives from the family and human rights groups.

His death sparked widespread outrage among Palestinians, causing protests to break out in Ramallah on Thursday. Hundreds of demonstrators marched through the streets, calling for the end of Abbas’s 16-year rule. They were met by police wielding batons and firing tear gas canisters. On Friday, during the funeral procession for Banat in Hebron, protesters chanted “get out, get out, Abbas. This is the vote of all the people.” Invoking one of the best-known slogans of the 2011 Arab revolutions, demonstrators called out during the funeral: “The people want to topple the regime!”

“Out, out, out, get the dogs of the PA out,” others shouted.

A crowd of Palestinians appearing to number in the dozens also gathered following Friday prayers at the Al-Aqsa Mosque in Jerusalem to chant anti-Abbas and pro-Hamas slogans. The site is the third holiest in Islam and it lies on the Temple Mount, Judaism’s holiest site.

Get the picture? Nothing new here. It’s an old story. However, the scene will help you understand why turmoil appears to never end.

My latest books:

I Marched with Patton: A Firsthand Account of World War II

Alongside One of the U.S. Army’s Greatest Generals!

by Frank Sisson (Author), Robert L. Wise (Author)

You can find I MARCHED WITH PATTON on Amazon.

82 Days on Okinawa: One American’s Unforgettable Firsthand Account of the Pacific War’s Greatest Battle!

You can find 82 DAYS ON OKINAWA on Amazon.

by Art Shaw (Author), Robert L. Wise (Author)

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Filed under Israel, Palestinians, The Middle East

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