Posts Tagged ‘15 March Demo’

"peace" talks

When allowed to turn freely, the metaphoric Palestinian compass points in one direction — that of Palestinian struggle. But most of the time, someone is interfering with this compass, rigging it to other directions, as in the case of the continually failing peace process.

Now, with much of the Arab world up in arms against its autocratic rulers, the Palestinian compass is given another nudge, also in the wrong direction. The Palestinian public is seething, and yet Palestine Liberation Organisation (PLO) officials are telling us that the only way forward is through more negotiations. The “peace process,” we’re told, is the only thing worth saving from the current sea of Arab discontent.

It’s all topsy-turvy in the land of discontent. A Day of Dignity has been called to presumably restore unity in Palestinian ranks. Most likely it will lead to further disunity. Allow me to elaborate.

The Day of Dignity, held on 11 February, was not meant to end occupation but to terminate Gaza’s spirit of civil defiance. “Say no to division and occupation and yes to national unity,” is the slogan another group of organisers chose for planned protests on 15 March. On that day, the PLO plans to call for new presidential, legislative, and local elections in the hope of regaining enough credibility to pursue its favourite goal, that of negotiating for peace. The organisers tell us that they want a Palestinian state by next September. How many times have we heard this before?

WAFA, the PLO-run news agency, is trying to give the impression that this is the only path available to the nation. We’re either going to negotiate for peace, or we’ll protest and then negotiate for peace. If there is a point to this argument, I don’t see it.

Does anyone remember why the current split in Palestinian ranks happened? It all started when PLO officials, the endemic believers in peace, refused to honour the outcome of democratic elections held in 2006. So much of current dilemma is due to the simple inability of the PLO to reconcile peace with democracy.

So far, we’ve had a peace process that wasn’t so much about ending the conflict as it was about managing it.

The kind of negotiations we’ve been having, as Rashid Khalidi, the prominent Columbia University professor said, were never about self-determination or about ending the occupation, but about allowing Israel to impose its point of view, with US blessing every step of the way. This has been the case since the Madrid Conference of 1991. The only practical use of the peace process was to allow Israel time to build more settlements, with US approval. A US veto only a few days ago, on 18 February, should put to rest any lingering doubts in this regard.

But American officials are still conducting “quiet” talks with both sides, as Dennis Ross told the 2011 J Street Conference. Abbas thinks this is the only way forward, but some Israelis are not so sure.

Uri Avnery, long-time peace activist and founder of the peace movement Gush Shalom (the Peace Bloc), says that the Palestinians have other options. “What would happen if hundreds of thousands of Palestinians started walking to the Separation Wall and pulled it down? What would happen if a quarter of a million Palestinian refugees in Lebanon gather on our northern borders? What would happen if protesters gathered in numbers at Al-Manara Square in Ramallah and Al-Baladiya Square in Nablus to challenge the occupation?” he asked.

The Israeli peace activist is not saying that this may happen today or tomorrow. But, judging by the way things are going, it cannot be ruled out. This is perhaps why Obama’s chief Middle East advisor Dennis Ross admitted that the current situation was “untenable”.

And yet PLO negotiators are helping the Israelis prolong the situation, by giving the false impression that something will happen when everyone else knows that things are going to stay the same. The PLO seems to be holding out for the day when the US, or the EU, put their foot down and broker a fair peace. It’s not going to happen.

Meanwhile, the PLO continues to suppress the only two forces capable of turning things around: national resistance and a citizen-led Intifada. The PLO is blocking any chance of forward movement while giving everyone the impression that it is doing something for the people. All it is doing is to help the Israelis perpetuate a basically untenable situation.

On 2 March, the newspaper Haaretz reported that Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu was working on a plan for establishing a Palestinian state with temporary borders as part of interim peace arrangements. We’ve heard it all before.

The Netanyahu plan is nothing new. It is a reproduction of earlier plans, all aiming to give the Palestinians a reduced version of the West Bank. Former defence minister, Shaul Mofaz, who is now chairman of the Knesset Foreign Affairs and Defence Committee, came up with a similar idea that would have given the Palestinians back about half of the West Bank.

An earlier version of the Netanyahu strategy was tried by Labour when Ehud Barak was prime minister. Barak, unable to complete a promised three-phase withdrawal from the West Bank, dragged PLO negotiators to a summit in Camp David in 2000 and then made sure that the summit would lead to nothing.

Kadima tried the same thing when Ariel Sharon was prime minister. Arafat snubbed him and was subjected to a cruel siege that ended in his death. Were Abbas to snub Netanyahu, he may face a similar fate. But Abbas doesn’t seem too eager to take a stand.

Arafat stood firm, even when he ran out of options. He told his people the truth. He told them that he cannot give up their rights, froze the PLO’s participation in the talks, and told the Palestinians that they would have to live and die for their rights. “Millions of martyrs will go to Jerusalem,” were his famous last words.

You cannot have a national unity government without having credibility. The most Abbas and Prime Minister Fayyad have so far proposed is a government of technocrats. How can technocrats resolve an issue that is so political at heart? Reconciliation is a political quest, and the concessions it requires are not “technocratic” in nature.

The PLO cannot partner with Hamas before reconciliation is achieved, Fatah Central Committee member Jamal Moheisen told Gulf News on 28 February. This makes a lot of sense, but reconciliation comes at a price. And so far I don’t believe that the PLO is willing to pay that price. The way I see it, the PLO cares more for peace talks than it does for national unity.

You cannot have negotiations without resistance, just as you cannot have democracy without fighting for it. We’ve always known that, and we have the Intifada to prove it. We cannot be united until we’re willing to struggle against occupation together. And we cannot be democratic until we’ve learned how to share. So far, the PLO is neither sharing nor struggling, and its quest for peace is therefore doomed.

The writer is a veteran Arab journalist based in Birzeit in the West Bank of the Israeli-occupied Palestinian Territories. This article was translated from Arabic and published by Al-Ahram Weekly on 10-16 March 2011.

Gaza – PNN – Crowds packed Gaza City’s streets today, chanting “The people want an end to division.” The demonstrators are demanding both Palestinian governments in Gaza and the West Bank end the four year old division and restore national unity.

Although Hamas security forces in Gaza didn’t attempt to break up the protests for most of the day, after night fell they surrounded demonstrators and used force to disperse them, beating some with batons, as many as five were reported injured.

Mahmoud Srour is a university student. He left class today demanding national unity.

“Yes for the unity of the Palestinian people in order to encounter an aggressive occupation that grabs our lands day by day, while each of the dividing parties are just taking care to their own political interests and ignore Palestine’s”

As part of the call for unity, some Palestinians have been on hunger strike and many demonstrators say say they are committed to continue demonstrating until they see results. Rewan Abu Shahla is one of the March 15 organizers in Gaza.

“We are staying here, whatever happens, we are staying because what we are calling for is noble and higher than anything. We are calling for unity for the sake of Palestine and we are raising this flag, the Palestinian flag, so we will never give this up”.

Despite mediation from Arab countries including Egypt, Qatar, Saudi Arabia and Yemen, both Fatah and Hamas have been unable to agree on a path toward reconciliation.

Rami Al Meghari from Gaza contributed to this article.


Posted: 03/14/2011 by editormary in Palestine, People's Movements / Struggles
Tags: , , ,

Unite! by Carlos Latuff

STATEMENT from Falasteenlana

The mass protests planned by Palestinian youth groups for March 15th are gaining momentum and extended media coverage. We, the youth groups organizing and mobilizing for this movement, find it necessary to clarify the following points:

– These protests are being organized under the banner of national unity and reconciliation. However, we emphasize that resolving the predicament of Palestinian disunity must be based on principles and values agreed upon by the Palestinian people regardless of their political affiliation. The first of these principles is the illegitimacy of imprisoning people based on their political beliefs. Consequently, we demand the release of all political prisoners held by the government in Gaza and the Palestinian Authority in the West Bank.

Our demands for change go beyond ending Palestinian disunity and partial tweaks to the status quo. We insist on full democratic representation for Palestinians all over the world. Consequently our movement stipulates:

– Democratic Palestinian National Council (PNC) elections based on a one-person one-vote electoral system that guarantees equal representation for all Palestinians around the world (Gaza Strip, West Bank, 48 territories, refugee camps, and in the Diaspora). This necessitates a complete overhaul of the PNC’s structures and the establishment of new electoral procedures.

Attempts to Co-opt March 15th Mass protests
Palestinian political parties, Hamas’ government in Gaza, Fayyad’s government in the West Bank, and a plethora of nongovernmental organizations are seeking to co-opt this movement to serve their narrow interests. Moreover, they are attempting to legitimize themselves by falsely stating that they are the main organizers behind this event. We open-heartedly welcome the participation of party members and NGO employees, who are an essential and inseparable part of our societal fabric. We do not welcome attempts by their leaders to redirect our efforts.

– We affirm that the March 15th movement is by the people for the people, and is independent of any political party or institutional backing. It is being organized by non-partisan youth groups who dream of a better future for their people.

We invite all Palestinians, and particularly Palestinian youth, to come down to the street on March 15th. We will only carry Palestinian flags, and chant and sing for freedom, unity, and justice. March 15th shall be the day we stand in unity to demand democratic representation for all Palestinians as an affirmative step in our struggle for Freedom from Israeli Apartheid.

May Palestine one day be Free, like the Spirit of her Children

بيان توضيحي عن فعالية الخامس عشر (15) من آذار

بعد أن كثر الحديث في الآونة الأخيرة عن تاريخ الخامس عشر من آذار نوضح نحن المجموعات الشبابية المشاركة في تنظيم وإعداد فعالية الخامس عشر من آذار بعض النقاط:

في حين أن العنوان الأساسي للفعالية يتحدث عن إنهاء الإنقسام، ننوه إلى أن إنهاء الإنقسام يجب أن يستند إلى شروط يحددها الشعب الفلسطيني ونؤكد على ضرورة الإفراج الفوري عن كل المعتقلين السياسيين لدى السلطتين كخطوة اولى. إلا أننا نحن الشباب نطالب بحل جذري لا جزئي للوضع الراهن، يبدأ بمطالبة واضحة بإجراء انتخابات مجلس وطني جديد لمنظمة التحرير الفلسطينية تستند إلى آليات انتخاب جديدة تضمن مشاركة كافة أجزاء الشعب الفلسطيني حول العالم (الضفة الغربية وقطاع غزة، فلسطينيو الداخل، اللاجئين، وفلسطينيو الشتات). تأتي المطالبة بجسم ممثل للشعب الفلسطيني في كافة أماكن تواجده، للتعبير عن طموحات الشعب الفلسطيني، وخاصة أهمية الخروج من المرحلة الإنهزامية الحالية إلى حركة تحرر وطنية توظف كافة السبل لمقاومة الكيان الصهيوني حتى الوصول إلى الحقوق الفلسطينية غير القابلة للتصرف وعلى رأسها حق الشعب الفلسطيني في تقرير المصير، وانهاء الإحتلال والإستعمار، والتمييز
العنصري ضد شعبنا في الداخل الفلسطيني، وحق العودة للديار كما تنص عليه قرارات الشرعية الدولية.

نحذر من محاولات بعض الجهات لتجيير فعاليات الخامس عشر من آذار لمصلحة أهدافها السياسية الفئوية، وخاصة بعض المؤسسات الشبابية و الأحزاب السياسية والحكومات التي تحاول احتواء نشاط الشباب و”شرعنة” نفسها من خلال محاولة اظهار النشاط وكأنه من تنظيمها. نأكد على أن تحرك الخامس عشر من آذار تحرك شعبي غير تابع لأي فصيل أو مؤسسة، وهو ملك الشباب والشابات المتظاهرين.


ندعو جميع فئات الشعب الفلسطيني وخاصة الشباب إلى النزول للشارع يوم الخامس عشر من آذار لرفع العلم الفلسطيني فقط، دون شعارات أو أعلام أو ألوان حزبية للتأكيد على رفض تجيير الفعالية لأهداف أو مطالب حزبية أوغيرها. هذا يومنا للمطالبة وبوضوح بانتخابات مجلس وطني فلسطيني جديد كبداية ترتيب صفناالداخلي وإعادة بناء مشروعنا الوطني الهادف لمقاومة الأضطهاد الإسرائيلي بكافة أشكاله.

عاشت فلسطين حرة كأبنائها

Στο όνομα του Αραβικού Παλαιστινιακού λαού, του αίματος των μαρτύρων, των χηρών και των υστερημένων, των ορφανών και των χιλιάδων φυλακισμένων στις Ισραηλινές φυλακές και όλων των απόδημων Παλαιστινίων, καλούμε όλες τις Παλαιστινιακές παρατάξεις να ενωθούν υπό το λάβαρο της Παλαιστίνης, προκειμένου να μεταρρυθμιστεί το πολιτικό σύστημα στην Παλαιστίνη στη βάση των συμφερόντων και των φιλοδοξιών (οραμάτων) των Παλαιστινίων στην πατρίδα και τη διασπορά.

Η σοβαρότητα της Ισραηλινής αποικιακής εισβολής στην παρούσα φάση, η αρπαγή των εδαφών της ιερής μας Ιερουσαλήμ και η βίαιη πολιορκία εναντίον του λαού της Γάζας, απαιτεί από όλους μας να αντισταθούμε σε αυτή την βάναυση κατοχή.

Έχουμε ακούσει πως ο Παλαιστινιακός λαός ζητά νομοθετικές και προεδρικές εκλογές προκειμένου να λήξει το καθεστώς διάσπασης. Ναι, όλοι θέλουμε να βάλουμε ένα τέλος στη διάσπαση, αλλά θέλουμε επίσης την πλήρη αναδόμηση και μεταρρύθμιση της Οργάνωσης για την Απελευθέρωση της Παλαιστίνης (PLO), ώστε να περιλαμβάνει όλες τις αποχρώσεις του παλαιστινιακού πολιτικού φάσματος, της Hamas συμπεριλαμβανομένης, προκειμένου να παλέψουμε πάλι για την απελευθέρωση της Παλαιστίνης όπως προορίστηκε αρχικά.

Εμείς, οι Παλαιστίνιοι στην πατρίδα και στο εξωτερικό, πάντα ακούγαμε ότι οι ειρηνικές ενέργειες θα επετύγχαναν τη νίκη και θα αποκαθιστούσαν τα εδάφη μας αλλά 20 χρόνια διαπραγματεύσεων δεν έχουν επιτύχει ούτε τις ελάχιστες απαιτήσεις. Οι συνάνθρωποι μας παραμένουν υπό τη βάναυση και καταπιεστική κατοχή που υφαρπάζει τα εδάφη μας, παραβιάζει τους ιερούς τόπους και σκοτώνει τα παιδιά μας, και όλα αυτά ενώ η οικουμένη, που απαιτεί δημοκρατία και σεβασμό των ανθρωπίνων δικαιωμάτων, απλά παρατηρεί και ακούει! Ενώ παράλληλα, η αντίσταση χρονοτριβεί, αφήνοντας περισσότερο από ενάμιση εκατομμύριο Παλαιστίνιους υπό τον ισραηλινό αποκλεισμό που τους πνίγει σε τέτοιο βαθμό που παραπέμπει ακόμα και ασθενείς στο εξωτερικό προκειμένου να τους παραχθεί θεραπεία, την ίδια στιγμή που αυτό είναι πρακτικά αδύνατο να γίνει, ακόμα και για τους ίδιους τους ηγέτες της αντίστασης και των οικογενειών τους, πόσο μάλλον για τον υπόλοιπο Παλεστινιακό λαό.

Πρέπει να συμφωνήσουμε πως είναι απαραίτητο όλοι μας να ενωθούμε για τους απανταχού Παλαιστίνιους, που ακόμη ονειρεύονται την επιστροφή έξι εκατομμύριων Παλαιστίνιων προσφύγων στις κατοικίες τους που καταπατήθηκαν κατά την κατοχή, μια κατοχή που αντιλαμβάνεται μόνο τη γλώσσα της βίας!

Ας γίνουμε δυνατοί, ας είναι η ενότητα η δύναμή μας, και ας συμφωνήσουμε ομόφωνα σε μια ενοποιημένη ηγεσία που θα μας οδηγήσει στην ελευθερία με υπερηφάνεια και αξιοπρέπεια!

Από αυτή τη θέση, καλούμε τις κυβερνήσεις της Δυτικής Όχθης και της Γάζας να ανταποκριθούν στα νόμιμα αιτήματα των ανθρώπων:
1. Την απελευθέρωση όλων των πολιτικών κρατουμένων από τις φυλακές της Παλαιστινιακής Αρχής και της Hamas.
2. Το τέλος της μεταξύ τους δημόσιας αντιπαράθεσης.
3. Την παραίτηση των κυβερνήσεων του Haniyeh και του Fayyad και τον σχηματισμό μίας κυβέρνησης εθνικής ενότητας που θα συμφωνηθεί από όλες τις παλαιστινιακές παρατάξεις και θα είναι αντιπροσωπευτική του Παλαιστινιακού λαού.
4. Την αναδιάρθρωση της Οργάνωσης για την Απελευθέρωση της Παλαιστίνης, που θα περιέχει όλες τις παλαιστινιακές παρατάξεις και την επιστροφή της στον αρχικό στόχο: την Ελευθερία της Παλαιστίνης
5. Την ανακοίνωση περί αναστολής όλων των διαπραγματεύσεων μέχρι την πλήρη συμφωνία ενός πολιτικού προγράμματος από τις διάφορες παλαιστινιακές παρατάξεις
6. Το τέλος κάθε μορφής συντονισμού σε θέματα ασφάλειας με το σιωνιστή εχθρό
7. Την οργάνωση προεδρικών και κοινοβουλευτικών εκλογών ταυτόχρονα, σε χρόνο που θα συμφωνηθεί από όλες τις παρατάξεις

Οι εκδηλώσεις θα ξεκινήσουν την Τρίτη, 15 Μαρτίου 2011, στις 11:30 π.μ. και θα συνεχιστούν μέχρι την επίτευξη όλων των στόχων.
Θα μαζευτούμε στις ακόλουθες τοποθεσίες (αλλαγές είναι πιθανόν να υπάρξουν):
Γάζα: Πλατεία Αγνώστου Στρατιώτη (Gaza: the Unknown Soldier Square)
Ραμάλλα: Πλατεία Manara (Ramallah: Manara Square)
Τουλκάρμ: Κυκλική Πλατεία Gamal Abdel Nasser (Tulkarm: Roundabout Gamal Abdel Nasser)
Τζενίν: στο συγκρότημα των χώρων στάθμευσης κοντά στον παλαιό κινηματογράφο Jenin (Jenin: complex of garages near the old Cinema Jenin)
Χεβρώνα: μπροστά στο κυβερνείο (Hebron: in front of the governor’s office)
Βηθλεέμ: Εκκλησία της πλατείας Nativity (Bethlehem: Church of the Nativity Square)
Nablus: Πλατεία Μαρτύρων (Nablus: Martyrs Square)
Ιορδανία και Λίβανος: η τοποθεσία δεν έχει οριστεί ακόμα
Στον υπόλοιπο κόσμο: μπροστά από τις Παλαιστινιακές πρεσβείες, σε συνεννόηση με τις παλαιστινιακές κοινότητες στο εξωτερικό. ΘΑ ΑΚΟΛΟΥΘΗΣΕΙ ΑΝΑΚΟΙΝΩΣΗ !!!

Παρακαλούμε επισκεφτείτε μας στην σελίδα:

15 marzo, Azione internazionale per l’unità del Popolo Palestinese.
Un solo popolo contro il Sionismo.

In nome del popolo arabo palestinese, per il rispetto del sangue dei martiri, delle vedove, degli orfani e dei loro lutti, per le migliaia di prigionieri nelle carceri israeliane e per tutta la nostra gente della diaspora palestinese, chiediamo a tutte le fazioni di unirsi sotto la bandiera della Palestina per potere riformare e basare il sistema politico in Palestina sugli interessi ed aspirazioni del popolo palestinese, in patria e in esilio.

La gravità dell’attuale fase di incursioni da parte dei coloni israeliani, dell’appropriazione della terra nella nostra Sacra Gerusalemme e della violenza dell’assedio contro il popolo palestinese di Gaza obbliga tutti noi ad unirci saldamente contro quest’occupazione brutale.

Noi abbiamo sentito il popolo palestinese chiedere le elezioni legislative e presidenziali per porre fine alla divisione. Sì, tutti noi vogliamo la fine della divisione, ma vogliamo anche una totale ricostruzione dell’ Organizzazione per la Liberazione della Palestina, che comprenda tutti i colori dello spettro politico palestinese, incluso Hamas, e di riformarla con lo scopo di lottare di nuovo per la liberazione della Palestina, così come era stato inteso dalla sua fondazione.

Noi, il popolo palestinese, in patria ed in esilio, abbiamo sempre sentito che le azioni pacifiche sarebbero bastate per ottenere la vittoria e ci avrebbero restituito la nostra terra, ma 20 anni di negoziati non ci hanno fatto ottenere la benché minima richiesta. La nostra gente vive sotto una brutale ed oppressiva occupazione che saccheggia la nostra terra, viola i nostri luoghi sacri, uccide i nostri figli. Fa tutto questo mentre il mondo dichiara che la democrazia è assicurata e i diritti umani vengono rispettati! D’altro canto la resistenza è in stallo, mentre più di un milione e mezzo di palestinesi restano sotto l’assedio israeliano che strangola fino al punto che i nostri malati, compresi i figli dei leader della resistenza, possono essere curati solo altrove.

Dobbiamo essere d’accordo: è necessario che noi ci uniamo per tutti i palestinesi qui e per i sei milioni di rifugiati palestinesi in ogni parte del mondo che ancora sognano il loro ritorno alle loro case sottratte dall’Occupazione, che comprende soltanto il linguaggio della forza! Dobbiamo essere forti, dobbiamo fare sì che l’unità sia la nostra forza e che siamo unanimemente concordi su una dirigenza che ci potrebbe guidare fino alla libertà, con orgoglio e dignità!

Con questo appello chiediamo a tutti coloro che governano in Cisgiordania e Gaza di rispondere alle richieste legittime del popolo:
1 – il rilascio di tutti i detenuti politici nelle prigioni dell’ Autorità Palestinese e di Hamas
2 – la fine di ogni tipo di campagna stampa contro le altre fazioni
3 – le dimissioni dei governi di Haniyeh e Fayyad per poter ricostruire un governo di unità nazionale che riscuota l’approvazione di ogni fazione palestinese e che avrebbe il compito di rappresentare il popolo palestinese
4 – la ristrutturazione dell’Organizzazione per la Liberazione della Palestinna che includa tutte le fazioni palestinesi e che ritorni al suo scopo originario: la liberazione della Palestina
5 – l’annuncio del congelamento dei negoziati finchè non ci sarà totale compatabilità tra le vari fazioni su un programma politico
6 – la fine di ogni forma di coordinamento con il nemico sionista sulla questione della sicurezza
7 – l’organizzazione di elezioni presidenziali e parlamentari simultanee nei tempi scelti da tutte le fazioni

Gli eventi avranno inizio il martedì, 15/03/2011 alle 11:30 e andranno avanti finchè non saranno accolte tutte le nostre richieste. Ci raduneremo nei seguenti posti (salvo modifiche):
Gaza: Piazza del Milite Ignoto
Ramallah: Piazza Manara
Tulkarm: Piazzale Gamal Abdel Nasser
Jenin: complesso dei garagi vicino al vecchio Cinema Jenin
Hebron: davanti all’ufficio del Governatore (Al Khalil)
Bethlehem: Piazza della Natività
Nablus: Piazza dei Martiri
Giordania e Libano: da definire
Nel mondo: davanti alle sedi diplomatici palestinesi, in coordinamento con le comunità palestinesi in esilio.

Gaza Youth Breaks Out

Translated into Greek by Christina Baseos, translated into Italian by Mary Rizzo