‘If You Are against Negotiations Honk Your Car’s Horn’, read many of the placards waved by young protesters in Ramallah last Saturday. The people honked and the negotiations continue.
It has been reported that some 200 Palestinian young men and women marched in silence towards the Palestinian Presidential Residence in Ramallah. They urged decision makers to obey the will of the Palestinian people and to boycott Israel politically, economically, academically and culturally and to prepare for PLO elections. Protestor’s placards also urged;
‘No To Resuming Negotiations, Yes To Returning Refugees’
‘No Negotiations With Settlements’
‘The People Aren’t Idiots’
‘Negotiations Mean More Settlements, Prisoners, Confiscations’.
And the one that really caught my eye;
They also urged the PLO to stick to prior announcements that negotiations will not continue until Israel agrees to a full freeze of settlement activity in the Occupied Territories. Not only is there no freeze, 2011 saw a 20% increase in settlement building and expansion and more are being planned. Another stark and telling statistic about the success of the occupation in 2011 is that 722,000 Israelis now live beyond the Green Line, including settlements in East Jerusalem. A 5% increase over 2010. That means that one in every seven Israelis live outside of 1967 borders and explains why the country is rapidly becoming a unitary state from the Mediterranean to the Jordan. Settlers are over-joyed with this development as it means they can continue building their Apartheid Jewish state unhindered.
Yet the PA continues to negotiate. And may I say here that the negotiations are exclusively the PA’s. Hamas is not included, nor do they approve. Some members of the Palestinian National Council and Fatah higher command disapprove. Still Abu Mazen continues. Furthermore, some other Palestinian factions who wanted to take part were not even granted permits to come to Jordan and be part of the negotiations. Do I see the old adage ‘Divide and Rule’ come into play?
Despite Abu Mazen saying on Thursday that the so-called new negotiations had nothing new to offer he continues to travel to London, Berlin and Moscow for more discussions. How I wish that Abu Mazen, instead of wasting time with the architects of our demise, would call on Palestinians who live in London, Berlin and Moscow and listen to what we have to say.
No matter how long and how hard you go on hitting your head against a brick wall the wall will not give in and you will sustain bruising and injuries. The wall I am referring to is not the Apartheid separation wall that Israel has erected on stolen Palestinian land, the wall that separates families and cuts villages and farms in half, the wall that sends a loud and clear message to the Palestinians that you are ours to do with as we wish. No, the wall I mean in this instance is the psychological wall that the PA and Hamas are unable to breach. It is the wall of partisan interest and hanging onto power at any cost. And my compatriots, that cost is the division, fragmentation and destruction of the historic land of Palestine.
Though the Palestinian nation is aware of what has been going on and what continues to transpire we are not blameless in that we are muted too. Yes, there are so many organizations in exile like Alawda, Free Palestine, Palestinian Solidarity Campaign, Al-Muqama and many others that are active in spreading awareness and trying to make a difference. For example, Alawda recently started a petition to collect a million signatures to say exactly what the silent marchers in Ramallah were trying to say. No to negotiations. I was a signatory to this petition. Will it achieve its goal? Is the PA going to listen to a million saying ‘NO’. As I said, they will not listen; they will not heed the call unless ALL Palestinians say NO in unison.
It has been incumbent upon us, the Palestinians to help build and develop other lands and other nations for the last 60 + years. Do you think it is time for us to join hands and try to build our own?
Some of you who may have become accustomed to my cries for unity and a referendum amongst all us Palestinians might say, ‘enough already. You’ve said it too many times. Tedium is setting in.’ To you I will say, ‘I have said it far too many times and I will continue to say it time and time and time again until it ignites the spark that will lead us out of this darkness.
We are, at the moment, experiencing a full frontal assault on our legitimate rights from all quarters. It is the year of the elections in America and politicians of all persuasions are trying to outdo themselves to appeal to the Jewish vote and money. From the oddly named Mr. Newt Gingrich saying we are an ‘invented people’ to the equally strangely named Mr. Rick Santorum saying that there is nothing called The West Bank; it is Israeli land and belongs to the Israeli people. Let us not also forget Mr. Netanyahu saying that the Israelis are not occupiers but returnees. The new rules, passed by the Knesset in the past weeks have legalized the outposts and support the belligerent settlers, demonizing and subjugating the Palestinians who live in Israel by threatening to withdraw their rights of citizenship.
Have you heard the latest from Jaffa? The Israeli occupying authorities have just issued an order to demolish an old Jaffa Mosque. Why? Because the Latvian mother of the former nightclub bouncer, Mr. Liebermann finds the call for the prayers annoying! If this is not a wake-up call to us Palestinians that we should stand up and be counted and work in unison then I don’t know what is.
Many of us pinned our hopes on the Arab Spring and those of us who actually follow events all over the Arab world, not emotionally but in a pragmatic way, can see very clearly how the Arab nation is divided, infiltrated and muted. Only this weekend the ‘enlightened’ Emir of Qatar, Sheik Hamad bin Khalifa Al-Thani, called for an Arab army to invade Syria “to stop the killing”. Haven’t we learned from Iraq, Afghanistan and Libya that invading armies, Arab or otherwise, do not achieve the desired results? Your Royal Highness, instead of gathering your forces to invade Damascus. Your armies are needed somewhere else. It is called Damascus Gate.
In the meantime, Saudi forces are being used to quell legitimate protesters in Bahrain. All the Gulf States and Saudi Arabia are urging the United States and Israel to invade Iran. The British Prime Minister, Mr. Cameron, has just concluded a visit to Saudi Arabia to sell them yet more obsolete arms that are going to be muted. What I am trying to say in my own clumsy manner is, my brothers and sisters in Palestine and all over the world, no one is coming to our rescue. They are all muted.
To you, my brothers and sisters, silently marching in Ramallah, I hear you loud and clear. May your muted voices rise to a whisper, then a call, then become a full-blooded song of liberation.
Jafar M Ramini
Views expressed in articles are the author’s and do not represent Comment Middle East