Hebron, Occupied West Bank: In a disturbing live broadcast on TikTok, Eyad Banat, a 35-year-old Palestinian and cousin of the deceased activist Nizar Banat, was violently assaulted by Israeli soldiers in his Hebron home.
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This incident, which was extensively shared on social media, depicts a distressing scene where soldiers can be seen stepping on Banat, kicking him, and using their rifles aggressively as his children’s cries echo in the background.
Banat’s 10-year-old daughter Sandy, in an interview with Al Jazeera, recounts the harrowing ordeal, expressing her fear for her father’s safety rather than the soldiers themselves. She vividly describes how the soldiers used excessive force, including a crowbar, against her father.
The raid, occurring in the early hours of a Tuesday morning, led to the arrest of five Banat family members, including Eyad, and nine laborers from Gaza who were staying with them in the West Bank.
Eyad Banat, who was later released, reflects on the similarities between his experience and that of his late cousin Nizar, who was killed by Palestinian Authority forces in June 2021. Eyad’s account suggests a brutal method of assault, part of which was captured on the live video.
Banat, who regularly streams on TikTok to raise funds for children in besieged Gaza, was live during the raid. His broadcasts have been a part of a campaign to provide humanitarian aid amidst a severe crisis in Gaza, which has suffered from intense military actions leading to significant civilian casualties and infrastructural damage.
This incident in Hebron is part of a broader pattern of increased Israeli military operations across the West Bank and East Jerusalem, resulting in numerous arrests and reported human rights violations. Eyad Banat’s experience, particularly in the presence of his children, highlights the ongoing tension and the impact of these raids on Palestinian families.
Despite the trauma, Banat remains committed to supporting Gaza, emphasizing its symbolic significance for Palestinian solidarity and resistance.