Facing the project of annexation, the challenge of the palestinian Authority to mobilize the street

Face au projet d'annexion, le défi de l'Autorité palestinienne à mobiliser la rue

Ramallah | June 8, in Ramallah, the pa system was ready, the flags folded and the officials released to be able to manifest. But only 200 people responded to the call of the palestinian Authority, evidence of his struggles to mobilize against the israeli project of annexation in the west bank.

As they approach the key deadline of 1 July, the date from which the government of israel must decide on its project of annexation, the palestinian leadership will multiply the declarations to assert their opposition and calling on the international community and the population to reject it vigorously.

Many foreign officials have raised their voice against the project. But in the west bank, where all of them have in mind the two Intifadas (uprisings palestinians: 1987-1993 and 2000-2005), the mobilization remains low, unlike the Gaza strip, whose inhabitants appear more regularly under the leadership of the islamist movement Hamas which controls the enclave.

In the west bank, it had been on June 22, a large gathering at Jericho, the “capital” of the Jordan valley, fertile plain that Israel aims to annex.

“No power”

But for that to happen, the Organization for the liberation of Palestine (PLO) and Fatah, the organizers of the event, have chartered bus, printed by the dozens of signs crossed slogans “Palestine is not for sale” and “the plan, Trump will never pass”, and even mobilized the scouts.

And again, about the thousands of people massed in front of the grandstand at the beginning of the speech, a large part of which was a party before the end of the event.

In addition to Jericho, how do you explain this weak response, knowing that if Israel annex the palestinian leaders have warned that it buried their dream of a viable palestinian State?

“There is a feeling of weariness”, believes analyst Nour Odeh. “Manifest in the middle of Ramallah, wait until the cameras come to show how much one is angry, and finally realize that it’s talking to itself.”

“The palestinian leadership had promised to bring peace through negotiations, and did not come’, creating frustration, she explains to AFP.

Palestinians and Israelis have signed in 1993 the Oslo agreements laying the groundwork for a settlement of the conflict, but who, a quarter of a century later, is still waiting for: the west bank is occupied by Israel since 1967, the settlements expand and it is now a question of annexation.

In the Jordan valley, a farmer bawls: “the palestinian Authority (…) has no power!” and in this case, why go to a protest, if he asked.

For the analyst Ghassan Khatib, the low mobilization is especially revealing of the “gap” that is installed between the street and palestinian leaders.

“The absence of elections, explains in part this phenomenon”, he explains, while there is no legislative vote or presidential, has taken place for years due to disagreements between the palestinian Authority and Hamas.

Lack of confidence

Other reason: “the age of leaders who do not reflect that of the company, rather young”, decrypts there. Many politicians of the palestinians are, in fact, septuagenarians, and even octogenarians such as president Mahmoud Abbas (85 years old).

According to a survey published this week by the Jerusalem media and communications center (JMCC) and the German foundation Friedrich-Ebert-Stiftung, 83 % of the Palestinians believe that it is important to be organised a presidential election and 79% of the legislative.

According to the same survey, 76.3 percent believe that the palestinian Authority is corrupt. And the open-ended question “in whom do you trust more?”, 13,3 % meet Mahmoud Abbas and 43.2% do not have confidence in a person.

In addition, the project of annexation is taking place in a difficult context for Palestinians, says Mr. Khatib.

The economic situation, already difficult, deteriorated with the crisis of the novel coronavirus, at the time where, furthermore, the palestinian Authority evokes a second wave of contaminations.

“People have too much problems in mind at the moment”, he noted. “And some consider finally the annexation as a measure of Israel to consolidate its occupation in the west bank, as it already does every week and every month by expanding its settlements.” Therefore weariness.

But Nour Odeh, the low mobilisation should not be the only “barometer” of the discontent of the Palestinians and they don’t necessarily need their leaders to get off the street. And remember: “nobody predicted the first Intifada”.

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