24 years and a lot has changed

24 years ago, on the 8th of December 1987, the first intifada started and it spread like fire in dried wood. It was the first episode of what is known these days as the “Arab Spring”. The Palestinians have risen up as a whole body, unified, and from all aspects of life, to say no to oppression, and no to the occupation. It all started with the policies Israel adopted so as to deter the Palestinians from resisting against their occupiers, that included house demolitions, building settlements, and the confiscation of land. The intifada was very much like we see today in the Arab countries – civil movements without heads but with extreme force.

The PLO had already lost it’s glamor, due to their “tactic withdrawal” from Beirut in 1982, and subsequent residence in Tunis, and they were even more furious that such a powerful movement had developed and they had no hand in it. To the heads of the PLO that was unacceptable, and soon enough the PLO presented itself as the leader of this movement. The Intifada in its composition was formed from all parts of the Palestinian society – those in the front-line were the Palestinians in the West Bank, Gaza, and Jerusalem. Nonetheless, ’48’ Palestinians had their share. They were direct supporters with money, food, and clothes. Palestinians from all corners of society participated and were all unified. Men and women, young and old, they stood up courageously against Israel with all its brutality, armed with their rights and the stones of this land.

Israel practiced what was later to be known as the “bone-breaking policy”, which consisted of extreme brutality towards the Palestinians and treating them as subhumans. Those arrested were tortured on the spot with no regard for age, sex, or religion, they were all treated “equally”. At the same time the Palestinians fought a brave battle for 4 years, starting with mass scale riots, to long term strikes. I myself was born during the Intifada and I remember all the stories I heard from my parents and my grandmother about that era, the longest strike was 6 months, during which not a store was opened.

24 years later and everything has changed

24 years later a martyr dies and no one cares, homes are still demolished and yet not a single voice is raised. The PLO managed to ride on the wave of the Intifada and crossed everything that was ever marked as a red line. Settlements have multiplied so much that there’s no word yet to describe it, and us? Well we cheer for less than 20% of historical Palestine, we don’t think the right of return is applicable so we’ll just drop it. We do think that Hamas-Fatah unity is going to change everything and make our lives a little bit better, we have decided to become very peaceful and take tips from our oppressors on how to become better people. We think that people like Abbas or Saeb Erekat are those who should represent us, why? Because they have been doing this so long that they have become good at it! A bid in the UN is the way to solve all our problems, we still believe Yaser Arafat is the best leader we have ever had and refuse to admit that our failure to progress is because of his arrogance, and because he was in fact nothing more than a demagogue.

Maybe we should wake up and try to follow the Arab Spring we’ve started, maybe we should start caring again, maybe it should not be ordinary or routine if a martyr falls, or a house is demolished, or a citizen arrested. Maybe we should start loving each other again, and just hate those who hate us and those who claim to represent us for their own benefits. I hope that we wake up before its too late, I also hope that we free our movement from those who hijacked it. I hope that we free ourselves from these false hopes and poisoned thoughts we filled ourselves with.

During the Intifada a Palestinian in Gaza

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9 Reasons why I oppose the September bid

Corruption at it's best

I thought for a long time how do I feel about this September bid and what’s going to happen afterwards, I reached to the conclusion that I oppose it, and anyone with the minimum amount of patriotism should oppose it. I have many reasons but I decided to write ten main reasons that will explain why I am totally against this bid. Although I dream day and night about a state where I get my full rights, the state the Palestinian Authority is calling for doesn’t represent me as a Palestinian.

What does the bid means?

The bid means that the Palestinian Authority will get a full membership in the United Nations General Assembly and that’s about it, in other words this is one of those “symbolic moves” that are good for nothing. A way for the PA to say we achieved something, when on the ground nothing is going to change.

The Palestinian Authority

One of the reasons I oppose the September bid is due to the fact that PA is involved in it. The Palestinian Authority had a long history in “peace negotiations” that for the past 20 years didn’t achieve anything on the ground, and made the daily lives of the average Palestinian much worse than under the Israeli control. The Palestinian Authority are a bunch of elitist who imposed themselves as the speakers and representatives of the Palestinian people claiming exclusive rights to negotiate and give up everything the Palestinians had ever fought for.

The Israeli Occupation

According to international law Israel is responsible for everything in the West Bank, Gaza, and Jerusalem. From education and healthcare to employment, the September bid as well as the Oslo agreement spares the Israeli government from its responsibilities towards the Palestinian people living under occupation.

The Palestinian State

The Palestinian state which will be composed of the West Bank and Gaza doesn’t have any resources and is totally dependant on foreign aid money which when the state is born will stop flowing, have no means of production and thus can’t be sustained financially. Also the Israelis collect the tax money on behalf of the Palestinian Authority and can cut it at anytime, depending on the political situation which means that no steady financing is available.

The Settlements

The fact that there are more than 500 thousand settlers in the West Bank and Jerusalem makes it impossible to neglect their presence. The settlers or the national religious community that believes it’s their duty to be present in the West Bank and Jerusalem won’t give up easily, they control the Israeli government and they have a very big effect on the Israeli politics and politicians, and the government will try to satisfy them by any means necessary.

The Corruption

The Palestinian Authority had a long history of corruption since it’s foundation, and those affiliated with it (mostly Fatah members) makes it unreliable to lead the peace process or to represent the Palestinian people in the international community, and the fact that all those benefiting from the PA’s presence are all elitists living in mansions with nothing to tie them with the average Palestinian who has to struggle in daily life through checkpoints, and in getting bread for his family.

The Daily Lives of the Palestinians

This will cut the connection between families whether they are inside the green line, or in the West Bank, or in Gaza. One who lives in Nazareth will be required to cross the borders to get to Ramallah to visit relatives or one who is in Bethlehem will have to cross into Israel to visit family members in Gaza. Aside from the negligence of the refugees abroad and their sufferings in the camps.

The Giving Up on the Right of Return

The continuation in following the September bid will make it impossible for the refugees to return to the houses they left back in 1948, and that means the killing of the real Palestinian cause which is the refugees and their right to return.

What’s Going to Happen Afterwards?

So far the Palestinian Authority didn’t involve the Palestinians in the decision making process and is acting according to their needs, and they forgot that they are not selling a house, they are selling everything even things that don’t belong to them. The PA didn’t make it clear for their options after the bid, and what are their next moves. Not to mention that they did not explain to the people how will the process happen, considering it’s the future of a people they’re messing with.

No to the September bid, and no to the Palestinian Authority.