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Why Do They Hate their People?
By: Moatasem Hamadeh
July 2, 2018

We have not been surprised by the repression, by the Palestinian Authority on the eve of Eid al-Fitr, against the popular movement in the West Bank which called for the abolition of collective punishment against the people of Gaza Strip. We also have not been surprised by the absurd and ridiculous justification by some people to defend the repression and the Palestinian leadership's failure to meet its promises and its overturning on the decisions of the National Council in not giving the right back to its owners, of beneficiaries and employees in Gaza Strip.

We have also not been surprised too, by the masquerade crackdown on the popular movement in Gaza City by the Hamas security services, which also called for the abolition of the sanctions. Nor have we been surprised by the vague, fabricated and cinematic explanations that the movement's spokesmen said to defend the policy of repression.

It seems to us that the two parties view the Palestinian popular movement with an exploiting limited vision, they are with it, as long as it supports the policy of each of them, but they do not hesitate to oppose it if it tries to be independent and free and to express its opinions and criticize the mistakes and corruption in the administration and politics.

It is not the first time that the popular movement is being subjected to repression sometimes by the security services here or there, or by the armed militia, which tries to intervene as “part of the popular movement” in the pro-power position. Here on behalf of Fatah, and there on behalf of Hamas movement, as the two parties, are controlling and the most capable to make the decision, therefore the authority (here and there) is responsible for every security event, that the popular movement is exposed to.

But the seriousness of the repression of this time differs in its political context from its predecessors.

As the Palestinian situation is facing a dangerous political project that is being implemented step by step as part of the prelude to its declaration, when the elements of its implementation are ready, at the regional, Palestinian and Israeli levels. Which requires, rather than: tampering with institutions (like the tampering with the Executive Committee by the political kitchen) punishing the people, under the pretext of punishing Hamas, or putting down the popular movement, under the pretext of "providing the calm and safety" during the holidays, or under the pretext of "defending the legitimacy", the responsible leadership was supposed to play the role of assembling the forces and activities and not dividing them and strengthening their influence on the street and the spirit of coalition and national partnership, not provoking the street, or pushing for isolation and exclusiveness. It was also supposed, first and foremost, to adopt the elements of Palestinian force, not ignoring or weakening them, under the pretext of betting on the Arab role and the European promises. We do not know to what extent the Palestinian leadership by its policy of exclusivity, neglecting others and the marginalization of the institution, is convinced that it will be able to confront the American project, or is it working to disperse the ranks, weaken the forces, and push the division toward deeper stations? to justify its subsequent steps based on betting on the remnants of Oslo, as stated in the speech of the President of the PA on February 20, 2018, to the Security Council calling for the resumption of permanent status negotiations, pledging to freeze the decisions of disengagement from the Oslo Accords.

For its part, Hamas must not forget that it is part of the division between itself and the PA, and therefore it is not exempt from the sin of the coup of June 14, 2007. And that it bears a share of responsibility for the deteriorating situation in Gaza Strip. So far, it has not apologized for what it has done, noting that its political reviews in April 2017 declare clearly that the movement has erred, and that correcting the mistake is a virtue.

But correcting the mistake is not to maintain Hamas movement, get it out from its political stalemate, create new opportunities for its new course, and re-introduce it at the Palestinian, Arab and international levels in a more advanced format. All this is required and good, but if it is based on a public critical review that has been so far absent in some aspects.

• As Hamas is still exercising a repressive authoritarian policy at a moment it deems necessary, against the popular movement. This behavior contradicts with the spirit of belonging to a liberation movement, based on the support of the street and its political and social forces for it. What it has resorted to, in the recent repression, confirms that it is still invited to take a considerable course of actual transition, from an authority with repressive authoritarian tendencies to a political resistant force in the Palestinian liberation movement, as this duality damages the Hamas movement widely.

• Hamas also is still responsible, along with the PA in Ramallah, for disrupting the decisions to end the division. In this context, it has made mistakes that have sometimes justified to the PA in Ramallah its obstinate policy. An example is insisting on an immediate solution for about 45,000 employees. Another one is its insistence on singling out the investigation on the assassination attempt against Prime Minister, Rami al-Hamdallah, and its refusal to involve the national forces in the investigation. Which has caused suspicion over the results, which announced by Hamas, then, the issue has been turned into reciprocal accusations and an obstruction for the process of ending the division, which the two parties (Fatah and Hamas) are responsible for it. And its consequences are experienced by the citizen in Gaza because of the sanctions and siege, as well as the citizen in the West Bank due to their corrupt effects on the overall of the national situation, and the opportunities to promote and develop the popular movement.

One of the dangers of what has happened in the West Bank or in Gaza Strip is that the repression would build a distance of “mistrust” between the citizen and the authority, whether the PA or the de facto authority.

The danger of what has happened too might turn the “mistrust” into a kind of mutual hatred, and even mutual hostility. The street sees in the tool of repression what exempts the occupation authority from some of its functions, so that the security services become an “agent”, which may drag their practices to overstep the limits of the international laws, on false pretexts, such as saying that we are under occupation and siege, which makes the occupation and the blockade as a pretext for repression instead of becoming a reason to strengthen the internal unity. So, if the popular movement lacks its confidence in the security services, it means a weakening for the spirit of popular movement and the popular resistance and creating confusion in the street, especially if the positions are based on quick and spontaneous reactions.

If the security services become hostile towards the popular movement, then they move towards concepts and equations that see the popular movement as a form of chaos and sabotage, and thus the security services become a means of repression, like those in countries with autocratic governments, which are firmly based on depriving the people of their will and disrupting their power.

It was expected that the popular movement in Gaza Strip would achieve a qualitative and historical leap through its organization of the return marches and breaking the siege. It was expected too, that the prevailing mentality of the de facto authority in Gaza Strip would replace by the escalation of the popular movement, the high number of martyrs and wounded, and the high readiness of the Strip people to make more sacrifices. But such expectations have been thwarted by the recent crackdown on the pretext that they carried slogans that did not please Hamas.

It was also expected that the rise of the popular movement in Ramallah would be the beginning of a new phase, in which the levels of move between the two areas would be equal, after many questions were raised about why the popular movement in the West Bank has been weakened. But there are those who do not want the street to move, and they want it to remain servile, especially in light of an implicit sense with those on the vulnerability of the position of “legitimacy”. So, the “legitimacy” and the “safeguarding of legitimacy” have become a daily concern for them, so that they suppressed the movement of the West Bank under the pretext of protecting the legitimacy.

The conclusion of this talk brings us back to the first question:

Why do they hate their people, at a time when this people has entered by its sacrifices and greatness to every house and forum in this world?

Notes:Moatasem Hamadeh is a member of the Political Bureau of the Democratic Front for the Liberation of Palestine
Translated by Manal Mansour
Revised by Ibrahim Motlaq

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