Gaza March 15 - HAMAS and FATAH join forces in cracking down on pro-democracy protesters calling for unity
Yesterday Gaza has seen the first joint action of HAMAS and FATAH ever since the division that has politically paralyzed Palestine - the quashing of a powerful rally of the youth for democratisation and national unity.
If the two rival factions of the PA are unable to settle their differences in the face of Israeli incursions, occupation, illegal appropriation of Palestinian land, economic boycott, Israeli state terrorism and unconcealed oppression - they are united in suppressing the voice of the people.
This is a bitter lesson that shall not be forgotten.
What has been demonstrated by this step, apart from their inadequacy and political helplessness, is that the vendetta that has strangled the country, has never been about Palestine but about spheres of influence, control over autocratic fiefdoms and the politics of power. The division, which at this crucial stage in the history of a sorely tried nation, when unity is of the essence, is nothing but suicide out of cynical calculations, has been a mere strategy in the power struggle between two parties, both of which are equally to blame for the current defenselessness of the Palestinian people toward accelerated Israeli aggression.
As long as there exist two camps with opposed agendas, the Zionist regime is free to choose with whom to negotiate and with whom not to - and to impose, as legally binding,
agreements signed by a fraction who does not represent the will of the people as a whole.
And it will inevitably come to that if the division is not firmly, forcefully and articulately opposed.
This is what is happening in Gaza now, and this is what will be happening all over the country. And no measure taken by an undemocratic government indifferent to the suffering and explicitly expressed demands of the people will be able to prevent this from happening, for the people of Palestine are tired of being pawns in a chess game. They have learnt their lesson and are willing and capable of enforcing their demands.
These are the people of a generation that has grown up without illusions. Finding no role models to emulate, they are forced to be their own role model. And in this, they shall not fail.
This is the generation that has grown up between the first intifada and the second, nourished by deprivation alone. This is the strongest generation our age has produced.
Our thoughts are birds, not prisoners. We have grown up with the most painful truth as our teacher. We shall not be blinded. Not by maneuvers. Not by political dogmata. Not by hypocrisy. Not by conventions.
We know that the ultimate intifada is the liberation of the people by themselves.
Todays events are presenting us with a unique chance. The democratic revival of Arab and Middle Eastern unity opens the road to a new definition of the political landscape of the entire Middle East.
It is creating new facts on the ground to which West and East both must react.
Confronted by a united Palestinian national movement and a united Arab nation, together with the rebirth of democratic aspirations worldwide, the Zionist regime, for the first time in history, shall be forced to seek negotiations. For the first time in history they must negotiate on equal terms. And they must accept what they are offered. No one understands that better than them. This is why they are doing everything in their power to prevent such a development.
But their position is not an easy one, because the Zionist state itself is in a deep crisis.
Corruption, economic recession and political scandals are robbing it sore.
Even within that state itself there is, therefore, a growing dissatisfaction with the regime as it is and an increasing demand for democratisation and political new definition. No one can any longer afford ignoring the Palestinian question.
The Israeli leadership, internally, is attempting to counteract this powerful tendency by the promotion of fascist movements recruited predominantly from the ranks of new immigrants, who are at the lowest end of the economic scale. But there is a limit to the effectiveness of this strategy. They may be able to divert attention and capture the public imagination for a moment. But they cannot, in the long run, offer any real improvement, neither economically nor politically, to a nation already sick and tired of the corruption and social impotence of right-wing leaders. The Israeli population will in the end gravitate toward the pro-democracy movements of the Middle East by which they are surrounded. Seeing their success (which is our responsibility) they will with time become less susceptible to indoctrination and to the fallacies of Zionist propaganda- because it does not work.
Externally, their only chance lies therefore in manipulating divisions within the Palestinian camp. Hence, our call is for national unity beyond HAMAS and FATAH. If this is achieved, the last weapon of the oppressor has been knocked from his hand.
Global developments are thus in our favour. We must not fail to take advantage of them.
Whoever undermines Palestinian unity gives this historic chance away. Whoever sticks to political isolationism in the face of this momentous revival of pan-Arabic unity gives this historic chance away.
We must analyse, with great care, the Egyptian revolution, in its strong points as well as in its tactical mistakes. These mistakes, then, must not be repeated in Palestine.
The united revolutionary youth of Palestine must be better prepared for the moment when their first demands have been enforced than their Egyptian counterpart has been.
There must be a clear agenda and line of action for the moment when power has become within reach so as not to endanger 1) unity of action and 2) the ability of the revolution to hold on to, expand and effectively use its newly gained power.
Let us build our political agenda on points which are generally agreed, such as, I believe,
1) the cross-border, anti-sectarian and therefore politically secular character of this revolution
2) the focus on an improvement of the living conditions of the population
3) equal rights, integration and gender equality
4) an end to blockades, occupation and settlements
5) the end of illegal land appropriation by the sate of Israel
6) the annulment of the annexation of Arab Jerusalem
7) the need of a thorough and detailed review of the Oslo agreements and all successive accords (with view to territorial integrity, import-export regulations, legal and political status of Palestine etc.)
8) unconditional recognition of the sovereignty of the Palestinian people as a nation
9) the character of points 4 to 8 as pre-conditions for any negotiations with the state of Israel
10) the constitutional establishment of democratic control of the people as the sovereign supreme over the government and all state institutions
The people of Palestine reject and shall resist any attempt at intimidation. The people of Palestine are asserting their sovereignty and democratic rights. The people of Palestine shall lead their struggle to victory.
The united revolutionary youth of Palestine shall fulfill the legacy acquired by the blood of the martyrs, with love and with firmness, with body and spirit, with heart, with soul, and mind.
Peace and justice to Palestine.
Peace and justice to the world.