Tens of thousands rally in Gaza and West Bank for a united Palestine
Tunisia-inspired youth-led uprisings spiked today in Palestine. National Public Radio reports that 4,000 people demonstrated in the West Bank, and tens of thousands gathered in the Gaza Strip. WMNF’s reporter in Gaza, Pam Bailey, tells us, the protesters want a unified Palestinian government and an end to quarrels between Fatah and Hamas. We spoke with her several hours ago – she was on a mobile phone at one of the demonstrations.
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"They are rallying because they want unity. They want the two factions that divide the settlements, Fatah and Hamas, to come together. The people believe that they will never be able to effectively fight the occupation by Israel if their own people are divided.
"So, what you see today, really, probably I would guess, is the largest demonstration in Gaza history. True in masses of people, and these are families, little children and women. People of all ages who have come out to the streets and said 'We want unity in our government. We want the two parties to come together and put aside the media wars and putting each other in prison. We want that all to stop. We want one government that represents the people.'
"Earlier in the day they pretty much shut down every street in Gaza City, in the central downtown of the city, masses of people. My only concern, as an observer, if I compare this to what was going on in Egypt, in Cairo for instance, the people in Egypt, the people in Tunisia had very pure simple demand. They wanted their leader, the top leader, Mubarak in Egypt to just step down. 'we will not leave until he left'. What you have here ... they don't really have simple demands. They haven't really thought that through.
"Everybody is saying we want unity, to end the division. But they're not articulating what that means. What actions they want the people, what actions they want the government to take for relief. And that's not clear. They're just saying they want the two parties to calm ... I know that's what they want but they're not being very clear about what exactly, what kind of action did they have in mind right now. My concern is that this will be a great demonstration to express the desires of the people but won't result in any specific action at this time."