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Three elements of Palestinian national unity

March 1, 2019 at 4:01 pm

A Palestinian holds a Palestinian flag during a protest within the Great March of Return in Gaza on 21 December 2018 [Ramez habboub/Anadolu Agency]

There are three elements around which all Palestinians can rally if we are to have national unity. Without such unity, we are going nowhere in our efforts for freedom.

The first is related to the lives of Palestinian prisoners being held in Israel’s prisons. They are urging all Palestinians to support their legitimate demands and particular causes and issues. The prisoners are fighting an honourable struggle against Israeli oppression. The Palestinian people are responsible for taking care of the prisoners and it is shameful for a nation fighting for freedom to be divided over this issue. The men, women and children behind bars bear the suffering of the nation and are subjected to systematic attacks by the occupation state. Apart from beatings, inadequate medical care and bans on family visits, these include the installation of signal jammers to block TV and radio signals and may well be carcinogenic; they are causing many prisoners to have very serious headaches.

The prisoners have reiterated their rejection of the occupation’s policy of slow murder against them with a national slogan of “If we must die, it is shameful to die a coward”. This defiant statement illustrates the will of the prisoners, but it requires the nation to unite for it to have everyone’s support behind their just demands.

The second element of national unity is related to Jerusalem, against which our enemies continue to plot. They are organising incessant raids of Al-Aqsa Mosque by Israeli officials and settlers, who attack worshippers in the Noble Sanctuary. Jerusalem is not a regular city; it is much more than streets, stones and a geographic area. It is a history of religions and the civilisation of a nation. If the city disappears, the nation will disappear; as long as Jerusalem is there, the nation will be there. The Palestinian people reject Israel’s Judaisation of our city and the efforts to distort its history, importance and demography. Relatively small victories like the re-opening of Al-Rahma Gate Mosque in Al-Aqsa compound encourage the Palestinians to struggle against the occupation and its designs on Jerusalem. Our nation needs to be united in this struggle.

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Finally, we need to look at the so-called deal of the century and what US envoy Jared Kushner put forward regarding the implementation of realistic solutions. We will be expected to abandon Jerusalem; accept that the illegal settlements will remain; and agree to land swaps that aim at the liquidation of the refugee issue within a wider regional solution. This, it is believed by Washington, will allow Israel to integrate into the region.

Nobody seems to be challenging the deal of the century; there have been few condemnations or statements of rejection, and yet this whole issue requires Palestinian unity backed by all of the Arab and Muslim nations. This will not be achieved unless the Palestinians reach a consensus on the national programme to disrupt the facade of peace that we are being sold. There must be a consensus between the Gaza Strip and the West Bank. There must also be a consensus between Hamas, Fatah, Islamic Jihad, the PFLP and all of the other political forces and organisations over a mandatory programme of action that does not include sanctions imposed on one group or another, and does not ignore or overlook anyone.

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It must be a programme for action based on the energy and capabilities of our people to send a message of unity to all those conspiring against the Palestinian cause. Anyone who claims that they can confront the deal of the century on their own is mistaken and quite possibly delusional. The deal will only break when it comes up against the rock of national unity. Otherwise, it will act as a poison filling the cracks within the nation, and we will shatter into millions of pieces.

This article first appeared in Arabic in the Palestinian Information Centre on 1 March 2019

The views expressed in this article belong to the author and do not necessarily reflect the editorial policy of Middle East Monitor.