Hebron, Occupied West Bank – The family of Nizar Banat, a fierce critic of the Palestinian Authority (PA) who was allegedly beaten to death by its security forces in May, has resolved to seek international justice if necessary despite coming under heavy pressure to drop the legal fight.
Nizar’s family appeared before the Ramallah military court on Sunday and presented witness statements as part of the ongoing trial for 14 security officers implicated in his death.
Relatives have criticised the trials as being a publicity stunt.
“Those 14 men are small fish in a big pond, and are being used as sacrificial lambs,” said Nizar’s brother, Ghassan.
“They were obviously taking orders from much higher above but none of the higher-ranking officials has been questioned or investigated,” Ghassan told Al Jazeera.
Al Jazeera contacted the PA’s press office and was told no one could comment on the issue.
“We have hired British lawyers to work on the case and will consider approaching the United Nations and various other international actors if we don’t get justice in Ramallah,” Ghassan said.
“This is an international issue because the international community is funding the PA and instead of them spending the money on schools, hospitals etc, the money is going towards repression.”
Family friend Hisham Sharabati, a human rights advocate with Palestinian rights group Al-Haq and political activist with the Hebron Defence Committee, told Al Jazeera the “family will also consider approaching the International Criminal Court [ICC], but only after other legal steps locally and internationally have been taken”.
Sharabati said the PA was in a difficult position and feared the matter being tried before international jurisdiction, which would mean, in the future, members of the PA could be tried abroad.
“They have tried to resolve the matter through tribal reconciliation and offered an enormous amount of money, equivalent to reparations for the death of 14 people,” Sharabati told Al Jazeera.
“The family refused as this would lead to much milder consequences for the killers and negate the family’s chance for justice through the courts,” he added.
“They are now putting enormous pressure on the family by raiding family members’ homes and arresting relatives.”
Nizar Banat, from the town of Dura in Hebron, was a vocal critic of the PA, regularly accusing it of corruption and nepotism, and had been subjected to censure including his ID being taken away.
In early May, Nizar was abducted from his home and allegedly beaten to death in the early hours of June 24 by masked men, some of them armed, from the PA security services, who raided his cousin’s home where he was taking refuge, and attacked him while he was sleeping.
Nizar received multiple death threats before his killing and was staying in area H2 of Hebron, under direct Israeli military control, thinking he would be safe.
His brother Ghassan said the PA had coordinated with the Israeli military to get to Nizar.
“Dozens of heavily armed men had to pass an Israeli military post, situated approximately 500 metres away from Ghassan’s home, on their route from PA intelligence headquarters in Hebron. How could they have passed the Israeli soldiers without their knowledge?” asked Ghassan.
“There was obviously coordination with the Israelis as this was in Area H2 of Hebron which is under Israeli control.”
He said he believed the 14 men had been paid off, and would receive relatively minor jail sentences.
Family members arrested
Nizar’s cousin Hussein, one of the main witnesses of the attack, was arrested several weeks ago by PA security forces.
“They came in the early hours of the morning and arrested me. I was shackled and beaten in the car before being interrogated at Hebron’s security headquarters,” Hussein told Al Jazeera.
“Over nine days I was held in stress positions with my hands shackled to the roof, beaten and given electric shocks as they tried to force me to change my original testimony.”
Hussein said he was sleeping together with his brother, Muhammad, in the same room as Nizar when he was abducted.
“They want me to say that Nizar attacked the PA security forces first and then they responded with violence, but this is not true and I won’t change my testimony. He was sleeping when they started beating him,” said Hussein.
Sharabati said the raids were illegal.
“Although the behaviour of the PA security forces has become a little better since Nizar’s death, they are raiding homes without search warrants and arresting family members without arrest warrants or approval from the prosecuting authorities.”
‘I worry about my sons’
The PA has accused family members of having guns and shooting one of the men allegedly involved in Nizar’s death at the family home, a charge the family denies.
Hussein’s twin brother, Arafat, was also arrested and taken in for questioning in recent weeks, along with other family members.
The stress of the situation has forced some relatives to go into hiding and others to leave the West Bank, including Nizar’s mother who is now living in Jordan.
Nisam Banat, the mother of Hussein and Arafat, said the continuous raids were causing her sleepless nights.
“I worry about my sons being hurt or killed, and when lots of young men raid my house in the middle of the night it disturbs my daughters, too,” Nisam told Al Jazeera.
“Every time a person we don’t know comes to the house we think it’s somebody connected to the PA.”
Nizar Banat, an outspoken critic of the Palestinian Authority, speaks to journalists in the West Bank city of Hebron on May 4, 2021 [File: Nasser Nasser/AP Photo]Keeping his memory alive
Ghassan said he was being constantly monitored by PA intelligence and his phone had been hacked, forcing him to use several different devices.
“I’m unable to use WhatsApp or other social media sites. There is constant interference on my phones and a whole lot of strange numbers from overseas have suddenly become contacts on my phones,” said Ghassan, adding he is continually on the move and sleeping in different West Bank towns and cities.
Despite the heavy pressure, the family said they are determined to continue their fight for justice for Nizar and to keep his memory alive.
Relatives held a memorial service last week in Ramallah to commemorate Nizar’s life. Representatives of various Palestinian political parties, as well as other Palestinian supporters and a number of international dignitaries, attended the event.
Ghassan said they issued a large number of identification cards with Nizar’s name and details on them, “to remember him after the PA confiscated his ID last year”.
Outstanding Performance of NIC Funds Exceeds Expectations
The noticeable performance of the funds outperformed market benchmarks Hamad Al Humaidi: Mawarid Fund achieved a return of 34.82% outperforming local equities funds in Kuwait. Al Wataniya Fund recorded a good performance with a return of 28.88% bringing the returns to 299.08% since inception Al Darij Fund achieved a return of 22.50% by trading…
The noticeable performance of the funds outperformed market benchmarks
Hamad Al Humaidi:
Mawarid Fund achieved a return of 34.82% outperforming local equities funds in Kuwait.
Al Wataniya Fund recorded a good performance with a return of 28.88% bringing the returns to 299.08% since inception
Al Darij Fund achieved a return of 22.50% by trading in selective Shariah-compliant shares
Zajil Fund achieved a return of 18.83%
NIC has an active strategic approach to achieve the highest returns on the long term and reduce risks
Following launching of the service, NIC is a market maker in the shares of Boursa Kuwait and Gulf Cable
NIC was one of the first companies to obtain a Market Maker License in Boursa Kuwait
The diversified investment funds managed by National Investments Company (NIC) successfully achieved record performance ratios in the first ten months of 2021 thanks to the pioneering efforts made by its professional team and successful hands-on experience. These results helped NIC maintain its position as one of the leading investment institutions in Kuwait and the region.
NIC, a leading investment company in Kuwait and the region in terms of performance and AUM, announced that the performance of its investment funds outperformed their benchmarks in 2021, despite the ongoing Covid-19 effects on the financial markets.
In a press release, NIC praised the outstanding performance of its investment funds which reflected the sound approach and the prudent management of a work team with extensive expertise and a proven track record of achievements in managing local and regional portfolios and investment funds.
EVP MENA Securities Sector at NIC, Hamad Al Humaidi said that according to the monthly fund information published by Boursa Kuwait Co. on website, Mawarid Industrial and Petroleum Services Fund achieved strong performance and outstanding results, recording a return of 34.82%. Mawarid aims to provide capital appreciation and income to its shareholders by investing in Kuwaiti and Arab Shariah-compliant listed and unlisted equities in the industrial and petroleum service sectors.
He added that Mawarid fund, established in 2006, aims to provide maximum expected return on a risk-adjusted basis by investing in Shariah-compliant listed and unlisted equities in the industrial and petroleum services sectors and provide diversification among the industrial and petroleum services sector in Kuwait and GCC based on liquidity, capital appreciation and dividend yield.
Al Wataniya Fund
Al-Humaidi said that Al Wataniya Fund achieved a return of 28.88% as of end of October 2021, bringing the returns to 299.08% since inception. He added that Al Wataniya maintained its good rank among the large-sized funds category of more than KD 50 million.
He explained that Al Wataniya fund established in 2001, is one of the top-performing local funds that invest in listed and unlisted equities on Boursa Kuwait. The Fund selects good-performing companies from different sectors with the aim of achieving good returns for subscribers. Al Humaidi added that Al Wataniya continues to seize the best investment opportunities and benefit from them.
He said that Al Wataniya performance is excellent compared to the size of net assets of other funds. Al Wataniya is one of the biggest investment funds in Kuwait with a net assets value of KD 160 MN. The Fund also aims to invest in the blue-chip stocks with rewarding returns, solid management and a clear future vision, which greatly resulted in the stability of the level of its dividends and bonuses.
Al Darij Fund
“Established in 2003, Al Darij Fund achieved a return of 22.50% as of end of October 2021. The Fund aims to maximize the expected return by trading primarily in selective listed and unlisted Shariah-compliant equities in Kuwait and GCC markets.” Al Humaidi added.
He said that Al Draij fund aims to achieve the highest returns on a risk-adjusted basis by trading in listed and unlisted Shariah-compliant equities in Kuwait and the GCC and achieving returns for subscribers higher than those of traditional Islamic deposits.
Al Humaidi said that Zajil Services & Telecommunications Fund achieved a good return of 18.83% in the first ten months of 2021. The fund established in 2004, aims to achieve maximum expected return to subscribers and to invest in listed and unlisted equities in the services and telecommunications sectors in Kuwait and the Arab region, which abide by Islamic Shariah.
He pointed out that the Fund seeks to achieve capital appreciation and maximum potential return on a risk-adjusted basis by trading equities in the services and telecommunications sectors which abide by Islamic Shariah. It also provides diversification among Kuwaiti and Arab equities in the service and telecommunications sectors based on liquidity, capital appreciation and dividend yield.
Managed by a specialized investment team with extensive experience, the Fund provides a single investment tool with the objective of achieving returns higher than those of traditional Islamic deposits, creating a liquid vehicle for investors wishing to benefit from the potential returns of an investment fund dedicated to Islamic guidelines.
Al Humaidi expressed his happiness with the good performance of NIC funds achieved in the first ten months of 2021 compared to the same period last year. He pointed out that successful investment requires a number of factors and basic qualifications such as investment experience, professional management and comprehensive and diligent follow-up of all news and decisions that affect the financial markets.
He said that NIC has an active strategic approach to achieve best returns in the long term by reducing the risks of stock markets and maximizing potential returns. This was evident in the performance of NIC funds during 2021.
On the other hand, Al Humaidi said that NIC launched successfully the “Market Maker” in Boursa Kuwait starting August 2021. The Boursa Kuwait Co, share was selected to be the first practice of this service, with the Gulf Cable Co. following suite. More companies are expected to be added in the near future.
He added that NIC was one of the first companies to obtain a Market Maker License in Boursa Kuwait, after passing the final tests of Boursa Kuwait Co. following signing the activity practice agreement with Boursa Co.
He added that the Market Maker system has become a cornerstone in the financial markets, contributing to diversifying investment options and addressing the defects that dominated the market when past individual trades were based on rumors and unjustified speculation. It also contributes to attracting more local and foreign institutional investments and restores the ability to quickly liquidate, which is one of the most important functions of financial markets.
Al Humaidi stressed that NIC focuses on understanding the dynamic needs of clients with the objective of improving services and products and identifying appropriate new investment opportunities given the current market conditions. He added that NIC aims to maintain a research-based approach, anticipate trends, improve clients’ investment position and achieve their goals, ensure developing innovative products, expand its business reach, and achieve high-performance results in the coming years.
Kuwait Times Sunday, November 28, 2021
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Israel to ban entry of all foreigners over Omicron variant
Ban, which is pending government approval, will come into effect at midnight between Sunday and Monday.Israel says it will ban the entry of all foreigners into the country, making it the first nation to shut its borders completely in response to a new and potentially more contagious coronavirus variant. In a statement on Saturday, Prime…
Ban, which is pending government approval, will come into effect at midnight between Sunday and Monday.Israel says it will ban the entry of all foreigners into the country, making it the first nation to shut its borders completely in response to a new and potentially more contagious coronavirus variant.
In a statement on Saturday, Prime Minister Naftali Bennett said the ban, pending government approval, would last 14 days.
Officials hope that within that period there will be more information on how effective COVID-19 vaccines are against Omicron, which was first detected in South Africa and has been dubbed a “variant of concern” by the World Health Organization.
“Our working hypotheses are that the variant is already in nearly every country,” Interior Minister Ayelet Shaked told N12’s Meet the Press. “And that the vaccine is effective, although we don’t yet know to what degree.”
The ban will come into effect at midnight between Sunday and Monday. A travel ban on foreigners coming from most African states was imposed on Friday.
Al Jazeera’s Harry Fawcett, reporting from West Jerusalem, called the new measures “extremely stringent” and said they marked a major reversal of a policy that allowed in foreign tourists at the beginning of November.
“They are the result of a late night emergency meeting of the coronavirus cabinet, which took place on Saturday evening after a brief announcement from Naftali Bennett that Israel needed to act very quickly in the midst of all this uncertainty and not risk the progress already gained against the coronavirus.”
The new measures will also require all Israelis entering the country, including those who are vaccinated, to quarantine.
Fawcett said Israelis who are vaccinated will have to quarantine for a minimum of three days, while those who are unvaccinated will have to quarantine for seven days.
He added, “And if coming back from one of the newly red-listed African countries, they will have to go into a government quarantine hotel, until they test negative.”
Separately, Bennett, the Israeli prime minister, said that the Shin Bet counterterrorism agency’s phone-tracking technology will be used to locate carriers of the new variant to curb its transmission to others.
Used on and off since March 2020, the surveillance technology matched virus carriers’ locations against other mobile phones nearby to determine with whom they had come into contact.
Israel’s Supreme Court this year limited the scope of its use after civil rights groups mounted challenges over privacy concerns.
The variant, which has also been detected in Belgium, Botswana, Hong Kong, Italy, Germany and the United Kingdom, has sparked global concern and a wave of travel curbs, although epidemiologists say such restrictions may be too late to stop Omicron from circulating globally.
Israel has so far confirmed one case of Omicron, with seven suspected cases.
The Health Ministry has not said whether the person in the confirmed case was vaccinated. Three of the seven people in the suspected cases were fully vaccinated, the ministry said on Saturday, and three had not returned from travel abroad recently.
About 57 percent of Israel’s 9.4 million population is fully vaccinated, according to the health ministry, which means they have either received a third shot of the Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine or it has not yet been five months since they received their second dose.
Israel has recorded 1.3 million confirmed cases of COVID-19 and more than 8,000 fatalities since the pandemic began.