Australia/Israel & Jewish Affairs Council

The PA should listen to the silence

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If called upon to march on Israel's borders from the West Bank in the event a Palestinian state is unilaterally established on the 1967 borders come September; are Palestinians going to spoil their leaders' party by not providing the numbers?

But what do you do if you hold a rally and the main beneficiaries of the event won't show?

Israeli Arab journalist Khaled Abu Toameh reports that Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas is worried because his own people are currently disinterested in attending anti-settlement protests.

Abbas would like to see more Palestinians joining weekly demonstrations against settlements and the security barrier. So, who then is leading the charge?

[Abbas] and other Palestinians have expressed disappointment over the fact that the number of foreigners and Israeli Jews participating in the protests is higher than the number of Palestinians.

Palestinian Authority representatives would like to see the Palestinian masses march on Israeli military checkpoints and settlements after September, regardless of whether the statehood bid at the UN succeeds or not.

If the UN does vote in favor of the Palestinian state, the Palestinian Authority is hoping that tens of thousands of Palestinians would take to the streets to "celebrate" independence and demand a full Israeli withdrawal to the pre-1967 lines in compliance with the new resolution.

And if the statehood bid fails for any reason, including a possible US veto, the Palestinian Authority still wants Palestinians to take to the streets to protest against the Americans and Israel.

Abu Toameh says that the PA leadership has "recently been talking about the need to escalate popular protests" against Israel.

But, he warns,

"The road from there to the resumption of Palestinian terror attacks is very short. Fatah still has many militiamen who are ready to open fire ‘to defend Palestinians against Israeli aggression.' The Palestinian security forces could also join the fight against Israel once things get out of control."

To make matters worse, Abu Toameh reports, the PA's big plan for September "does not even seem to enjoy the support of many Palestinians for various reasons"... [and] "could plunge the region into a new round of violence and bloodshed. The Palestinian Authority needs to understand that it is taking a big gamble by embarking on this adventure".

Evidence for Abu Toameh's claim that the independence push is enjoying little popular support comes from a recent poll by the Israel Project. This found that only 4 per cent of Palestinians see the effort as a top priority and 40 per cent do not expect it to bring statehood closer.

Meanwhile, pro-Palestinian activists are starting to recognise what many have grumbled about for so long, NGOs are more interested in furthering their own agenda than improving the situation by actually listening to Palestinians, who are tired of incessant political posturing.

ElderofZiyon has an excellent post on his blog from May that features links to two articles written about the issue. They are by journalist Kieron Monks who writes for a website called "This Week in Palestine".

Here is a choice quote from Monks:

Palestine's NGO sector...has become a byword for corruption, incompetence and meaningless job creation. Thousands of NGOs have sprung up, promoting everything from family planning to liberal arts education, bloating the aid industry without delivering long-term benefits.

 

 

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