Instead of rage, Palestinians planning ´day of unity´ (JERUSALEM POST) By MICHAEL OMER-MAN 03/07/11)
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Drawing on the leftover momentum of bottom-up people´s revolutionary
movements in Egypt and Tunisia, Palestinian youth are preparing for
their own opportunity to be heard by their leaders.
Palestinians are organizing online for their own January 25 movement,
on March 15. Unlike in Egypt, Tunisia and other Arab countries,
however, the Palestinian call to take to the streets is not for the
government to step down, but rather for it to unite.
Already with more that 20,000 supporters on Facebook, several online
groups were calling for "all the Palestinian factions to unite" in
order to "reform the political system in Palestine, based on the
interests and aspirations of the Palestinian people."
The movement, called "End the division," claimed to be based in both
the West Bank and Gaza Strip. In its manifesto, the group called on
the governments of both Palestinian territories to respond to "the
legitimate demands of the people," defining those demands in seven
Topping its list of postulations, the thus-far-online group called
for the release of political prisoners held by both the Palestinian
Authority in the West Bank and Hamas in the Gaza Strip. Other demands
include ending hostile media campaigns by the two Palestinian
governments against each other, the dissolution of the PA and Hamas
governments "to rebuild a government of national unity," and the
restructuring of the PLO "to contain all the Palestinian factions."
Other demands addressed Palestinian authorities´ relations and
contacts with Israel. The group´s remaining demands call for an end
to "all forms of security coordination with the Zionist enemy" and a
complete freeze of peace negotiations until a Palestinian unity
government is formed.
Most of the points listed by the Facebook group directly mirrored
demands made by a group of 81 Palestinian NGOs last month, who called
on Palestinian factions to "take practical steps toward ending the
Reflecting a frustration with the lack of progress made by either of
the Palestinian governments, the manifesto posted on Facebook
lamented that "20 years of negotiations have not achieved" our
demands. Yet the call to action also noted that "the resistance," a
reference Hamas rule in Gaza, "has left more than a million and a
half Palestinians under Israeli blockade."
However, more than a frustration with the current face of Palestinian
leadership or its policies, the motivation for the movement seemed to
be more about a disenchantment with the divisions among its political
"We are not aiming for revolution," one of the movement´s Gaza-based
organizers told The Guardian. "In Egypt they wanted to end the
regime. Here we want to bring the regime back to life, united in the
In addition to planned rallies in Gaza City, Ramallah and major
cities throughout the territories, organizers were calling for
satellite rallies to be held in Palestinian refugee population
centers in Lebanon and Jordan, as well as in front of Palestinian
Since the beginning of the year, several demonstrations calling for
Palestinian unity have been held West Bank and Gaza Strip cities but
were dispersed by PA and Hamas security forces, respectively.
Optimistically acknowledging the difficulties faced by the still-
unborn movement, the Gaza based organizer told The Guardian, "It´s
going to happen. We are spreading the word. The first day will be
hard, the next day will be better. It will grow."
With peace talks stalled and calls for democracy rising throughout
the Middle East, Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas said
last month he would hold overdue general elections in the West Bank
But Hamas, which controls the Gaza Strip, has said it would boycott
the vote unless there is reconciliation first. Hamas won a
parliamentary election in 2006, and a year later violently routed
Abbas´ forces and seized full control of Gaza. (© 1995 - 2011 The
Jerusalem Post. 03/07/11)
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