The attempt to assassinate the former deputy Prime Minister and a leader in Hamas, academic Nasser Al-Din Al-Shaer, a few days ago in Nablus, which resulted in him being shot by several bullets in his leg, indicates the desire of the shooters, and those who prompted them, to commit this heinous crime to take the Palestinian situation back to square one of the division and fragmentation that is in favour of the occupation.
In the Palestinian context and, in view of the recent escalation of attacks by the PA's security agencies against activists, university students and Palestinian resistance fighters, especially in Nablus and Jenin, we can speculate that it was behind the assassination attempt. This is especially since its members committed the crime of assassinating activist, Nizar Banat, in a gruesome manner more than a year ago, with political and legal cover from the leadership of the Fatah Movement and the PA in the occupied West Bank. Justice has not been served yet against those responsible.
The attempt to assassinate Al-Shaer may come now as a continuation of the crime of attacking him at An-Najah University in mid-June by the security officers from the Fatah Movement, but the facts on the ground indicate that political motives stand behind the crime of shooting a figure as senior as Al-Shaer. Especially since the PA still has not, as of yet, provided proof that it conducted a professional investigation to prosecute and arrest the perpetrators of this crime and bring them to trial.
Looking at the Palestinian situation in recent times, we find that there has been a significant escalation recently in the level of political arrest campaigns, which has reached 87 activists, students and released prisoners, according to statements published by the Palestinian Information Centre, quoting human rights activist in the West Bank, lawyer Muhannad Karajah. This prompted some to go on hunger strike in protest of their illegal detention, and legal bodies, such as Lawyers for Justice, issued statements condemning this behaviour that violates human rights and the freedom of opinion and expression.
These escalating crimes come after the decision to appoint Hussein Al-Sheikh as Secretary of the PLO Executive Committee and task him with critical tasks related to PA President, Mahmoud Abbas, according to what was published by several media sources. This basically means that the security coordination movement, led by Hussain Al-Sheikh and Majed Faraj, will dominate the Palestinian decision-making in leading the PA and PLO. These two men are the closest to the occupation army and have worked for years on fighting the Palestinian resistance in cooperation with the Israeli security agency. Recently, they have been controlling the Palestinian political and diplomatic decisions, in addition to their control over money and the security services affiliated with the PA, which has become like a militia that arrests and kills outside the framework of the Palestinian law and constitution.
We do not rule out an obstruction of the political horizon in the face of the Oslo Accords trend and the failure of the settlement option adopted and defended by the Fatah Movement for more than a quarter of a century. This was clear from US President Joe Biden's statements that the two-state solution has become "out of reach", and it is one of the reasons that prompted the leadership of this trend to return to square one in the Palestinian division, in an attempt to distract the Palestinian public from this great political failure. It imposed its control by escalating its attacks against political opponents, for fear of the spread of the resistance models in Jenin and Nablus to the rest of the areas under the PA's control in the West Bank.
Those following the repeated opinion polls over the past years confirming the Palestinian people's demand for the resignation of Mahmoud Abbas due to his political failure, and the public's conviction that corruption has become ingrained in the pillars of the PA and its institutions, may believe this is one of the reasons that prompted the PA to escalate its attacks against Palestinian citizens. Corruption cases that have surfaced recently, such as the ministers of Shtayyeh's government illegally employing their sons and daughters, in addition to the repeated strikes led by many professional unions in the West Bank in rejection of the PA's policies, are just examples of the Palestinian street reaching a boiling point against the leadership of the PA and the Fatah Movement.
I am fully convinced that all attempts to divert the compass from the deep political failure that afflicted the PA, and its attempts to distract the Palestinian street with marginal issues, will all fail. Those following the situation in the occupied West Bank are well aware that the PA failed small tests, such as pressuring the occupation and demanding that it treat Palestinian travellers using the Al-Karama crossing with dignity or preventing the occupation army from going deep into its areas to kill Palestinian youths. The PA is now unable to regain its firm control over the Palestinian public.
In conclusion, the recent crimes and attacks against Al-Shaer and activists in the West Bank, which are carried out outside the framework of the law, foretell a miserable state of fear and terror that the Palestinian people will experience at the hands of these agencies if Hussain Al-Sheikh becomes the head of the PA, succeeding Mahmoud Abbas in the near future.
This article first appeared in Arabic in Felesteen on 26 July 2022
The views expressed in this article belong to the author and do not necessarily reflect the editorial policy of Middle East Monitor.