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Palestinian minister withdraws threat to quit over activist

Demonstrators protest over the death of Nizar Banat in the Israeli-occupied West Bank, June 27, 2021. (Reuters)
Demonstrators protest over the death of Nizar Banat in the Israeli-occupied West Bank, June 27, 2021. (Reuters)
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12 Jul 2021 12:07:05 GMT9
12 Jul 2021 12:07:05 GMT9
  • The PA announced the opening of an investigation into Banat’s death, but demonstrators continued protesting weeks after

RAMALLAH: The Palestinian Authority labor minister who declared he would resign amid protests over the death of an activist in custody will ultimately remain in office, he said Sunday.

Nasri Abu Jaish, who is also the representative of the left-wing People’s Party in the government, said late June he would quit the Fatah-led PA due to “its lack of respect for laws and public freedoms.”

Abu Jaish had announced his pending resignation as protesters demanded President Mahmud Abbas step down, following the violent arrest and death in custody of activist Nizar Banat.

Banat, a 43-year-old known for social media videos denouncing alleged corruption within the PA, died on June 24 shortly after security forces stormed his house, beat him and dragged him away.

But on Sunday, Abu Jaish said in a statement that prime minister Mohammad Shtayyeh had twice refused to accept his resignation, leading him to “continue in the Palestinian government as a minister of labor.”

The PA announced the opening of an investigation into Banat’s death, but demonstrators continued protesting weeks after.

On Sunday, hundreds of people in Ramallah called for the resignation of Abbas, denouncing the Palestinian security’s use of force in quelling recent demonstrations.

“We will remain standing in the street until justice is achieved,” protester Maher Akhras said Sunday, accusing the PA of having “killed Nizar Banat and assaulted demonstrators.” Banat had registered as a candidate in Palestinian parliamentary elections that were set for May, until Abbas postponed them indefinitely.

Demonstrators expressed anger at the lack of a democratic process in the territory.

“We have the right to elections, to elect our representatives and to elect a president,” protester Omar Assaf said.

“We need to rebuild the entire political Palestinian system.”

AFP

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