OVER the past two days, Palestine National Authority security forces have been using force to try to prevent peaceful demonstrations of Palestinian youth opposing the meeting of President Abbas with the Israeli minister Shaul Mofaz, who is considered to be a war criminal by the Palestinian masses.
Members of the Palestinian security forces, including plain clothes auxiliaries, attacked and beat up demonstrators on Saturday and Sunday, targeted journalists and confiscated their equipment, and detained a number of protesters before later releasing them.
Female demonstrators were not spared from the attacks.
The objective of the first demonstration, which took place on Saturday, was to protest against the invitation of war criminal Mofaz to a meeting in Ramallah, and to demand that such a meeting be cancelled and not simply postponed or relocated. Moreover, the protest conveyed clear demands to the Palestinian leadership.
The demands of the youth were to: ‘Cancel any meetings and negotiations with representatives of the Israeli apartheid regime; Halt all security coordination with the Israeli security forces and release all political prisoners in Palestinian jails; Develop a strategy of mass resistance capable of achieving the aspirations of our people for freedom and independence.’
The Palestinians for Dignity Movement said: ‘We remind the Palestinian Authority that we still toil under the yoke of Israeli occupation, and that it is unacceptable under any circumstance to brutally repress the rights of people at a time when we are facing Israeli aggression all around us. . .
‘We reject such efforts to tarnish the image of Palestinian youth – the same youth who amplified the voice of Palestinian prisoners and who daily resist and confront the Israeli apartheid wall.’
It added: ‘We are looking for the Palestinian leadership to adopt a position that represents the will of the people, which includes an unequivocal announcement to abandon negotiations with the Israeli apartheid regime. We should not have to accept a leadership that instead of this bare minimum, violently suppresses the call for a unified front to confront the tremendous challenges facing our Palestinian people. . . We also draw attention to and stand with the brave Palestinian prisoners still on hunger strike in the occupier’s prisons. Finally, we state clearly and decisively that the pain of beatings disappears with time, but shame does not; with each blow their clubs become weaker and our determination stronger.’
Hanan Ashrawi, a member of the Executive Committee of the Palestine Liberation Organisation, has also condemned the suppression of the peaceful protests by young activists, during the demonstrations which took place on Saturday and Sunday in the city of Ramallah.
Ashrawi said: ‘The Palestinian youth are the leaders of our future, and it is our responsibility to engage them in public life, to listen to them, and to take the message of their protest very seriously.’
On Monday, 3rd July, Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas decided to form an independent committee to investigate the recent incidents that happened in Ramallah, between the Palestinian security forces and Palestinian protesters.
Imprisoned leader Marwan Al-Barghouthi has called for a complete official and popular boycott of Israeli products and goods,’ and for ‘Popular resistance and a rejection of all “normalisation” with the occupation.’
This is the road of mass struggle and resistance that will establish the Palestinian state with Jerusalem as its capital, with no settlements and with refugees having the right to return.
This is the road that the Palestinian leadership must be made to support, and to which the worldwide trade union movement must give its full and unconditional support.