IN OCCUPIED Ramallah the Palestinian youth group ‘Palestinians For Dignity’ has called to reject US President Obama’s visit to the occupied Palestinian territory expected between 20-22 March, and to demonstrate against the possible return to negotiations.
‘President Obama’s visit to the occupied Palestinian territory comes at a time when our prisoners are waging a hunger strike battle in the face of Israeli government obstinacy, and in the face of US silence over the slow murder these heroes are being subjected to.
‘Most recently, Palestinian prisoner Arafat Jaradat died during interrogation inside the Israeli prison of Megiddo.
‘Moreover, the visit comes in light of the continued international isolation of Israel and the ever-increasing boycott campaigns against it.
‘On one hand, it is simply naive to presume that US policy toward Israel has changed since Obama took office.
‘A March 2012 report by the US Congress discussed a $3.1 billion in military aid just for the year 2013, including financing the Iron Dome system, and increasing US bilateral support to Israel to $115 billion since 1949.
‘In addition, the US is committed to maintaining Israel’s security at the expense of the lives, land and livelihoods of Palestinians; whether by justifying the massacres against Palestinians in Gaza, or through its silence concerning settlement expansion, destruction of homes, forcible transfer and other Israeli policies.
‘On the other hand, it is hypocritical and disingenuous of the Palestinian Liberation Organisation (PLO) to disregard the role of the Obama administration in blocking its UN membership request in 2011 at the Security Council, and its vote against the resolution at the UN General Assembly in 2012. Furthermore, the US Congress has imposed financial sanctions on international institutions which recognise Palestine.
‘And to add insult to injury, while the PLO/PA assure Palestinians they consider Jerusalem the Palestinian capital, yet they receive the US President in the Ramallah enclave.
‘Despite the attempts of the Palestinian “leadership” to ease the atmosphere, with statements about Obama pressurising the Israeli government on the issue of Palestinian political prisoners, or promises of petty US aid, however, the ultimate objectives of the visit are clear.
‘The visit aims to achieve three goals; first, to relieve the pressure on the Israeli government, which is suffering increased international isolation (albeit with words more than actions).
‘Second, to restrain the frustration of the Palestinian street simmering in solidarity with Palestinian prisoners and finally, to prolong the expected lifetime of the PA, which, after 20 years, is becoming more and more disconnected from its people.
‘The Palestinian people will not accept to play a role in achieving these interests, and will not succumb to these pressures.
‘What is required of us as Palestinians is to pursue a complete boycott of our occupier on all fronts: security, economic, political, cultural and academic, and to rebuild a representative entity for Palestinians everywhere, and not to aid relieving the pressure on the Israeli government by engaging in a futile process, and allowing it to complete its expansionit policies and annexation through uprooting Palestinians from their land and homes.
‘Accordingly, we call on the masses of the Palestinian people to change this path and demonstrate against receiving he who considers Israel “the closest ally in the region”, and to refuse the return to futile negotiations.
‘We call for entrenching the sacrifices of the martyrs and prisoners by refusing to surrender and to work with Palestinians everywhere to establish a strategic programme of resistance, where political, economic, military, popular and various other forms of resistance and duties are shared each according to their ability.
‘We invite you to take to the street on the expected day of the visit between 20-23 of March, close to the commemoration day of the Al-Karamah (dignity) battle, to restore part of our dignity and reject Western hegemony, and Zionist colonialism and internal consent.’
Palestinians for Dignity stress that ‘The exact day of the visit will be confirmed, together with the time and venue for demonstrating, and details about the activities and accompanying events.’
In an earlier statement on the ‘Return to Negotiations’ made on 12 January, 2011 Palestinians for Dignity had said: ‘On the first anniversary of the ongoing Arab revolutions for justice, freedom and democracy, and the second anniversary of the Zionist Israeli aggression on the besieged Gaza Strip, Palestinian negotiators have again mistakenly returned to the negotiating table on January 3rd and 10th of this year.
‘Counting on the same fruitless and failing process of the past two decades, the negotiations contradict past PLO statements that have explicitly rejected negotiations until settlement expansion is frozen, borders are clearly referenced and defined, and the fulfilment of the release of all political prisoners.
‘With dangerous disregard for the will and voice of the Palestinian people who have repeatedly protested these futile negotiations, the failed Palestinian leadership is holding semi-clandestine meetings in Jordan.
‘By way of diversion, they have articulated that these meetings are merely “exploratory talks” when in fact they are negotiations to return to negotiations.
‘Not only does this reflect the state of confusion and capriciousness on the part of the Palestinian leadership, but it also echoes its political weakness and lack of strategic vision.
‘While suffering daily at the hands of violent settlers, we continuously have more land swallowed by illegal colonies and an accelerated rate of the Judaisation of Jerusalem.
‘Such negotiations have paved the way for 20 years of political subjugation and loss when their time should be spent on achieving unity and strengthening the people’s steadfastness to change the balance of power in favour of the Palestinian cause.
‘Therefore, we are calling on everyone to join us this Saturday, January 14th at 1.00pm for a silent demonstration at the entrance of the Moqata (Irsal Street, Ramallah), to express our unequivocal rejection of these talks.
‘We will stand in silent protest to demand that these decision-makers adhere to the people’s will, withdraw immediately from these “exploratory talks” and replace the current strategy with a strategy of resistance.
‘We demand a strategy that is supported by a political, economic, academic and cultural boycott of the Zionist entity, the strengthening of the steadfastness of the people, and preparation for direct elections to the Palestinian National Council (PNC) representative of Palestinians across the world.
‘Palestinians for Dignity’