Fatah militia leader killed by PA forces
Maureen Clare Murphy, Electronic Intifada, Aug 24 2016
Ahmad Izzat Halawa
The fatal beating of a detainee at the hands of PA security forces in Nablus on Tuesday was met with street protests and condemnations from Palestinian factions and human rights groups. Ahmad Izzat Halawa, 50, was arrested during the pre-dawn hours at a home in the northern occupied West Bank city, according to the Palestinian Center for Human Rights. He was taken to a PA compound where he reportedly “argued with security officers, who then severely beat him to death despite attempts by other security officers to rescue him,” PCHR stated. The rights group described the incident as an “unlawful” act of “revenge” for the killing of two PA security officers in Nablus last Thursday. PA security spox Adnan Damiri told al-Haq that Halawa was the most wanted suspect in connection to the fatal shootings. Halawa has been described by Palestinian media as a well-known leader of the al-Aqsa Martyrs Brigades, the military wing of the Fatah party, in the Nablus area. He is the third wanted person to be killed by PA security forces in the city since Thursday.
Addameer described the slayings as “acts of torture and ill-treatment, which exemplify modern lynching techniques by government personnel.” James Heenan, head of the UNHRC office in the OPT, said his agency was “extremely concerned about the apparent extrajudicial execution” of Halawa, Ma’an News reported. Halawa’s killing prompted a slew of resignations by members of Fatah, which dominates the PA. Halawa’s family condemned the slaying, stating that he was killed “in cold blood without the slightest regard for the sanctity of human life.” Sami Abu Zuhri, spox for the Islamist party Hamas, accused the PA security forces of “a policy of field executions.” Abu Zuhri added that “these crimes reflect the bloody nature of the security apparatus that exceeds security coordination with the occupation.” The PFLP called for an investigation to hold those responsible to account. Hundreds protested in Nablus following the killing on Tuesday. Demonstrators marched on the streets calling for the departure of PA PM Rami Hamdallah, Nablus governor Akram Rajoub and security forces commander Nidal Abu Dukhan before being dispersed by PA who reportedly used tear gas on the crowd:
Shops in Nablus’ Old City were shuttered after a general strike was declared:
Hamdallah announced that a committee had been formed to investigate the “exceptional” incident. The deadly events of the past week come one month after two other PA security forces personnel were shot dead in Nablus. Adnan Damiri said on Sunday that PA would continue their arrest campaigns in Nablus until “the phenomenon of illegal weapon possession is brought to an end,” Ma’an News reported. Damiri said that security forces found weapons in Nablus’ Old City, suggesting that they were supplied by Israel to foment intra-Palestinian tensions. He said:
This gang has never pointed a weapon to the Israeli occupation.
Weapons confiscated in the Old City of Nablus on Aug 21 (Photo: Nedal Eshtayah)
At the same time that the PA security forces were arresting Halawa, IOF conducted a massive operation in the southern West Bank to search for weapons the JPost reported. IOF claimed they found “seven workshops, 54 guns and 22 lathes for the manufacture of weapons, as well as other firearms, ammunition clips and weapon parts.” They produced videos claiming to show the weapons confiscated during the raid:
The WaPo added:
Since the start of 2016, IOF have raided 29 weapons factories and confiscated 49 lathes and over 300 firearms in the West Bank.
Improvised firearms have been used by Palestinians in several attacks during the sharp uptick in deadly violence that began in late 2015. In some cases, PA acting as individuals have turned their weapons on IOF. Amjad Sukkari, a security forces officer from the Nablus area of the West Bank, was killed in February after he fired his legally issued handgun towards IOF at a checkpoint in the central West Bank reserved for the movement of VIPs. Haaretz described the incident as “the nightmare scenario that has worried Israel for months.” Israel depends on the PA, backed by Pindostan & Eurostan, to neutralize resistance against its military occupation. The IOF central command said that the PA were responsible for approximately 40% of all arrests of “suspected terrorists,” Haaretz reported in May. As a result, IOF decreased the number of operations in areas of the West Bank under nominal control of the PA, the paper added, “because the PA security services are doing more of the work.” In April, Moshe Yaalon, Israel’s defense minister at the time, said of the Palestinian security forces:
If they’ll do the work, why not? … If they do less, we’ll do more; if they do more, we’ll do less.