- Despite Palestinian Authority (PA) officials banning
anti-Mubarak demonstrations, hundreds rallied in support. On February 5,
Jerusalem Post writer Khaled Abu Toameh headlined, "100s demonstrate
in Ramallah in support of Egyptians," saying:
- Marching in Ramallah with Egyptian flags, they publicly
supported them "(f)or the first time since the beginning of the(ir(
uprising...." Another Ramallah demonstration followed as well as a
- Toameh's February 2 article was in stark contrast headlined,
"PA launches pro-Mubarak demonstration in Ramallah," denouncing
Mohamed ElBaradei as a "CIA agent."
- On February 4, the Popular Committees Against the Israeli
Occupation issued a press release saying:
- "The Egyptian Arab nation....We salute this great
Arab nation, our brothers. This is the salute of freedom from the people
of Palestine who have been fighting for decades for freedom and independence,
and to retain the honor of Arabs."
- "The Palestinians are watching what is happening
across the Arab world in general and Egypt in particular with great pride....We
hope that the rebelling Arab people make it their priority to demand from
any government or leadership to come to sever their ties with the Israeli
occupation and abandon the Egyptian - Israeli peace treaty....We call on
all free nations in the world, especially Europe and the US, to get out
in massive demonstrations on 2/11/11 to confirm the right of peoples to
live in freedom and dignity - a day of anger" for justice, the "beginning
of the Global Intifada."
- On February 3, Haaretz writer Amira Hass headlined, "Why
isn't the PA supporting the Egypt uprising? saying:
- Instead, it "banned demonstrations in solidarity
with the rebelling peoples. Palestinian television has virtually ignored
the events in Egypt." Demonstrators at Cairo's Ramallah consulate
were monitored by plainclothes security forces.
- "What is the (PA) afraid of....?" It has close
ties with Mubarak like Israel, and "when a regime is insufficiently
democratic, it fears that popular demonstrations might spin out of control."
- On February 7, Hass headlined, "Palestinian security
suppressing West Bank fervor over Egypt protests," saying:
- PA security forces suppressed a Ramallah demonstration.
Adnan Dmeiri, PA security forces spokesman, said "demonstrations could
lead to chaos. The priority for Palestinians was to empower popular resistance
against the occupation and to work for independence."
- In fact, Abbas/Fayyad security forces work cooperatively
with Israel against it, enforcing occupation harshness. They've been well
trained and financed to do it. A previous article explained, accessed through
the following link:
- America's Lt. General Keith Dayton, US security coordinator
(USSC) for Israel and the PA, has been heavily involved in creating, building
and training a 25,000-strong force. In recent years, Washington spent around
$400 million institutionalizing hard-line control, supplementing Israel's
- Dayton's in charge of building and renovating garrisons,
training colleges, Interior Ministry facilities, and security headquarters.
President Mahmoud Abbas and Prime Minister Salam Fayyad head an illegitimate
regime as Israeli/Washington enforcers, solidifying occupation and Israel's
settlement project, including entirely Judaizing Jerusalem.
- Governing as political opportunist traitors, their Mubarak
moment awaits them, perhaps sooner than they imagine for exploiting and
betraying their own people, including attacking peaceful protesters.
- Commenting on Ramallah events, an anonymous demonstrator
- "We had not yet done a thing. A number of policemen
in uniforms began arguing with one of the demonstrators, apparently on
purpose, so as to create a pretext for arresting him. They took his identity
card and then began dragging him in the direction of the police station."
- Human Right Watch (HRW) said PA policemen were joined
by detectives, preventive security force personnel and others from general
intelligence, "all of them plainclothesmen." They beat, kicked
and dragged demonstrators away violently. Numerous arrests were made. Photograph-taking
was prohibited. Cell phones and cameras were confiscated, and PA forces
videotaped events, wanting activists identified for later arrests and detentions.
- Their numbers, however, grew to about 2,000, marching
and chanting the slogan heard in Tunisia and Egypt:
- "The people want the fall of the regime....The people
want the fall of Abbas," and an end to the internal Palestinian "inqisam
(rift)!....Raise your voice, Arab masses! Dignity or death, we need a true
unity!" Two (unnamed) "well-known" Fatah members joined
them in solidarity.
- On February 5, hundreds of Bil'in residents, joined by
international and Israeli supporters, protested in solidarity with Egyptians
and Tunisians. Calling for national unity, Israeli troops attacked them
with tear gas and concussion grenades.
- Gathering in Bil'in center for their weekly Friday demonstration,
they marched toward Israel's Separation Wall, what they call the Annexation
Wall on village land. Their public statement said:
- (1) "We salute the Egyptian and Tunisian people"
in solidarity with their struggle for freedom;
- (2) "We call for national unity and the preservation
of civil peace (to) pass this historic stage successfully;"
- (3) "We hope that rebelling Arab people make it
their priority to demand from any government or leadership to come to sever
their ties with the Israeli occupation and abandon the Egyptian - Israeli
peace treaty" that ignored Palestinian people, leaving them occupied
and repressed under militarized harshness.
- (4) "We call on all free nations in the world"
to rally in solidarity with Arab people struggling to be free.
- From his perspective, Omar Barghouti, a founder and director
of the Palestinian Campaign for the Academic and Cultural Boycott of Israel,
expressed no surprise how PA forces reacted, saying:
- "Unelected, authoritarian regimes tend to stand
together. They are very scared of popular mobilization especially in light
of the Palestine Papers. (They) agree on repression and have no interest
in empowerment of people or mobilization."
- On February 10, Haaretz writer Gideon Levy headlined,
"The Middle East does not need stability," saying:
- When children throw stones at tanks entering neighborhoods
it's called "Disturbing the peace." When they're detained for
resisting occupation, it's called "Restoring order."
- "The occupier oppresses, the occupied people overcome
their instincts and their struggle, and good order is maintained - for
- Egyptians dared "disturb the peace," undermining
Middle East stability. "Indeed, that stability should be undermined"
throughout the region, including in Occupied Palestine. How else can oppressed
people be free. Stability suffocates them. Resistance is liberating if
sustained long enough.
- Egyptians and Tunisians made a good start, but their
struggle has just begun. When will Palestinians begin theirs? When tanks
invade neighborhoods, "stones must be thrown at (them); the infuriating
stability of the Middle East must be wiped out," replaced by liberating
freedom, perhaps contagious enough to spread regionally, but never easily,
quickly or without great risks and costs.
- Egyptian Events Resonating Regionally
- Egypt's outcome has regional implications, including
in Occupied Palestine, especially given Mubarak's cooperative role with
Israel and Washington. As a result, PA officials noticeably distanced themselves
from uprisings in Egypt, Tunisia, Jordan, Yemen and Algeria, fearing soon
one may target them. They've also aggressively cracked down to prevent
it through violence, intimidation and arrests.
- So far, it's worked, but for how long. Egyptians endured
three decades under Mubarak. In 1948, Palestinians lost their homeland,
and for nearly 44 years suffered brutally under militarized occupation,
exacerbated by collaborating PA enforcers.
- Perhaps Egyptian courage will inspire them to summon
theirs for liberating freedom under leaders they choose.
- A Final Comment
- On February, BBC's Jon Donnison headlined, "Gaza
youth vent anger on Facebook," saying:
- "Khaled (a pseudonym) had become something of an
online sensation in Gaza, but is now effectively living in hiding"
for his safety after cooperatively creating the Gaza Youth Manifesto for
Change, "a 450-word tirade against the frustrations" of occupied
life under siege. Posted in December, it has over 19,000 followers under
the name Gaza Youth Breaks Out.
- Everyone is pilloried, including Hamas, Fatah, Israel,
Washington, and the UN, saying:
- "We, the youth of Gaza, are so fed up (with) occupation,
the violations of human rights and the indifference of the international
- "ENOUGH! Enough pain, enough tears, enough suffering,
enough control, limitations, unjust justifications, terror, torture, excuses,
bombings, sleepless nights, dead civilians, black memories, bleak future(s),
heart-aching present, disturbed politics, fanatic politicians."
- "WE SAY STOP! This is not the future we want! We
want to be free. We want to be able to live a normal life. We want peace.
Is that too much to ask?"
- Is Manifesto passion a prelude to mass street protests
throughout Gaza, the West Bank and East Jerusalem, matching breathtaking
Egyptian courage. It's how freedom at times is won, but never easily, quickly
or longstanding without sustained vigilance to retain long-fought, hard-won
gains, easily lost otherwise.
- Numerous previous times, longtime insider Bob Chapman
made impressive calls, often before others noticed. On air February 10
on the Progressive Radio News Hour, he said Washington overplayed its hand
in Egypt. Now it has a tiger by the tail perhaps too hard to control and
will end up losing its regional grip when events finally play out.
- Others agree, including Immanuel Wallerstein in his February
3 article headlined, "The Second Arab Revolt: Winners and Losers,"
- Months will pass before they're known. At this point,
events are fluid, outcomes uncertain. Yet he calls Washington the "great
loser," Iran the biggest winner, then Turkey for supporting the Arab
revolt and confronting Israel.
- Indeed, it's too soon to know, but it may be the right
side of history. If so, it'll defy long odds favoring power over populist
uprisings, an exception perhaps proving the rule if gains hold and aren't
lost because of lack of eternal vigilance.
- Note: Fast-breaking events in Egypt will be discussed
in a forthcoming article. Things aren't always as they seem. Below the
surface maneuvers, manipulation and machinations are far more important
than what's visible on the surface. Major media reports, of course, won't
explain. Real journalism and analysis are essential. Focus on them and
Al Jazeera's online stream for up-to-date news.
- Stephen Lendman lives in Chicago and can be reached at
firstname.lastname@example.org. Also visit his blog site at sjlendman.blogspot.com
and listen to cutting-edge discussions with distinguished guests on the
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