Tens of thousands rally in Gaza and West Bank for a united Palestine

03/15/11 Seán Kinane
WMNF Drive-Time News Tuesday | Listen to this entire show:


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.

"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."

Previous WMNF news coverage of Gaza

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Art Appreciation - 101

Ms. Bailey shouldn’t worry about the actual demands or about the outcome at this time… as long as the activity is peaceful!!! The protests going on in the southern Mediterranean is still a beautiful art form… unlike the protests in America and Europe which have been developed into a hard science!!! Hang in there sis… you’re in the Smithsonian of pure philosophical debate… pay attention… take some notes and photos… and start a scrapbook!!!

Unity and Democracy in the Arab-Muslim countries

What is there not to like about the words unity and democracy? However one needs to understand the meaning of these words in said cultures. Today Hamas police, dressed in civilian clothes attacked protesters, severely beat them, causing 50 injuries, including cases of suffocation. Superficial unity between Hamas and Fatah has always come when the European Union and USA are handing out foreign aid for their own self-indulgence of helping the victim from the sole evil doer in the Middle East, Israel. Arab grievances continue axiomatically with their bravado and their unwillingness to concede any concessions toward the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. History in the Arab-Muslim countries has also shown very little unity among themselves, except when their common enemy is Israel. Fourteen hundred years of unity between shias and sunnis, I think not, now secular and Islamic unification in Gaza and the West Bank is only a pipe dream from the 60's show. Also attempting to bring democracy or Havard law to the jungle of tribal and clan mentality is futile. The definition of democracy in the Arab-Muslim countries has been one man, one vote, one time.

You lost me...

Simon... I'm not sure what you mean by this... "Arab grievances continue axiomatically with their bravado and their unwillingness to concede any concessions toward the Israeli-Palestinian conflict." Will you explain please???

Democracy in the Middle East why stop now.

The West is struggling with the predominant paradigm of a honor-shame culture in the Arab-Muslim world. Concessions are a sign of weakness and recognition of the other party in negogiations. The duality of spoken tongues of names and grievances in Arabic versus English plays against the West's consciences of guilt and it's admiration for the victim, defined not by civil rights for all but by who has military power. That lens changed by the self-proclaimed progressive humanists with their interpretation of history in the pre and post 1967 Israeli-Arab War.

Caught back up...

Thanks Simon... I knew there would be an easy explanation!!!

One of the working poor

The Jews say never again, the Arab-Muslims say never enough.


Simon seems to prefer to ignore the unique events which have been taking place throughout the Middle East, preferring to minimize the impact that the regions democratic iniatives have had on the longstanding conflict in Gaza. His prejudice would rather emphasize a historical context which is filtered through a Zionist agenda while it appears that a significant portion of the Gaza residents would rather put aside the past and attempt to take new steps forward. Peace loving supporters of Israel should be applauding these demonstrations, and probably are, but the news waves are continually dominated by the war mongering ideologues who make up the controlling interests in Israeli politics.

Palestinian movement>Zionist movement

The garlic comes out against the Zionist agenda. What historical context of the national Zionist movement would you find subordinate to the national movement of the so called Palestinians? What Democratic intiatives are you speaking of? The governing power in Egypt is at present a military coup. The seminal thrust for revolution in Egypt was with activist like Wael Ghonim who was prevented from speaking at Tahrir square by the MB. Democracy you ask for, instead the Egyptian people received their dose of Yousef Qawadari and Muslim Brotherhood ideology. What significant portion of the Gaza population are you referring to that is protesting to change the Hamas charter?The charter explicitly calls for the destruction of the State of Israel. You don`t make peace with your enemy, you make peace with your former enemy.