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Ramallah revolts

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Is it finally happening in Ramallah? Is the place which has been long seen as the PA’s safest compound, where the Palestinian authority’s headquarter “Almuqata’a” is located, finally revolting against it?

Sameeha Elwan
2 July 2012

Is it finally happening in Ramallah? Is the place which has been long seen as the PA’s safest compound, where the Palestinian authority’s headquarter “Almuqata’a” is located, finally revolting against it? The frustration with the non-representative PA which has been long vented online has finally left the virtual space and taken to the real streets of Ramallah.

The news of an unjustifiable meeting with the Israeli Prime Minister - which if it happened would be the first official meeting taking place since the last attempt to resume negotiations in 2010 - has caused outrage amongst many Palestinians. Courting a visit from someone Palestinians saw as a war criminal, who led several military operations against us, including ‘Operation Defensive Shield’ which led to the massacre of Jenin in 2002, killing hundreds of Palestinians and destroying hundreds of houses, was seen then as treacherous.  

Protesters took the streets on Saturday holding posters that reject both the next visit and any scheduled meeting, despite news of its postponement until further notice. The protests however were met with unexpected brutality from the PA’s security forces. Another protest was called for on Sunday, this time also protesting against the brutality of the PA.

Through photos circulated around social networks, I’m very familiar with the people who led the protests from seeing their involvement in weekly demonstrations against the occupation in Nabi Saleh and elsewhere. Here they were being verbally assaulted, beaten up and even arrested because they have raised their voices.  One friend of mine who is an activist and a blogger tweeted on the assault:

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This was a disheartening message, and yet, there was still joy in my heart to see these scenes of  revolt in Ramallah streets. People have finally voices their fear and resentment at PA actions supposedly on behalf of the Palestinian people. Abbas’ approach seems to us to concede far too much without expecting any corresponding gesture from the Israeli side. It simply seems to ignore the daily humiliations, practices and policies against Palestinians, the systemized ethnic cleansing taking place on a daily basis in the West Bank, or the ongoing siege of the Gaza Strip. It does not take into consideration popular resistance that has been going on for years against the continuous colonization of land and the increasing of settlers’ activities, to mention only a few of such brutal practices that contradicts any true intention of making peace.

Abbas and the PA’s several attempts in the recent years to resume negotiations on the precondition of freezing settlement building activity was previously vigorously refused by the Israelis. Abbas knows full well that settlement building will continue, despite all the fake talk of peace that never seems to take off.

The people now are beginning to realize this. The PA security forces  - one of the major sectors of the PA’s structure - is being used to crackdown on the protesters in Ramallah. So the PA is not even willing to accept dissent. Does that make it the next Arab tyranny that needs to be toppled? Will the calls for dismantling the PA frequently voiced in the media turn serious?

We might find out sooner than expected.

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