Tuesday, 11 September 2012


Nothing surprises me about Palestinians, but I don't cease to be amazed.

Exitement is in the air as Palestinians march the streets again and the young generation proofs all cassandric prophecies of the citizen apathy of Palestinians wrong. While we hear about shootings between PSF and protesters in Nablus and Hebron, the demonstration of yesterday afternoon in Bethlehem was one of constructive energy. One very pleasurable moment for me and colleague Anja was watching some youngsters and kids from Beit Jala marching up the hill to Bab al-Zaqaq crossing in order to join the crowd in front of the Muchabarat building, cheerfully chanting slogans demanding the PA to ease the economical crisis waving Palestinian flags and drumming along. They returned an hour later, their faces glowing with pride about the accomplished mission. As I passed the roundabout down the hill on my way home they were happily waving, making space for my car letting us roll through.

According to longtime political leader and community acitivist Naji Owdah, there was little turmoil thoughout the whole demonstration. In a meeting the previous evening, young activists had expressed that they saw little sense in the destruction of public property - referring to street lights which had been broken as the result of an erlier protest gathering. Well, said and done they kept their word.
According to Naji there was one tense situation when the demonstrators gathered in front of the door of the presidential building on the Al Quds - Al Khalil (Jerusalem-Hebron) Road. Behind the bars, the police force lined up in combat gear and it took a few strong words of the respected community leader to remind the crowd to keep calm and march on instead of engaging in a row.

While the protests started as an attempt to reverse recently increased prices and demand more economical stability of the PA, now the political connection is made. The background leads to the Paris Protocol which had been signed in 1994 as an Annex to the Oslo Agreements. The Protocol gave Israel sole control over Palestine's external trade and collection of customs duties, allowing the state to serially hold back this revenue as punishment for Palestinian political measures, such as the bid for UN membership.

Now we are waiting what the days to come will bring. May well be that this the time we will witness the fall of the PA and the return of the Palestinian people - at least to the political arena.

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