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The Palestine that we are struggling for PDF Print E-mail
Nov 30, 2007 at 12:00 AM

November 30th, 2007
Palestinian grassroots Anti-Apartheid Wall Campaign — www.stopthewall.org

Last Tuesday’s demonstrations, which brought thousands onto the streets of Ramallah, Hebron, Tulkarem, Nablus and Gaza in defiance of the Palestinian Authority’s attempt to silence the people’s voice, represented a crucial moment for Palestine.

Our demonstration, which was supported by the Popular Committees of the Refugee Camps and over one hundred and fifty civil society organisations and representatives, called for the upholding of the fundamental principles of our struggle: the right of the refugees to return, the right to Jerusalem as the Palestinian capital, and the right to our land. We were refusing the recognition of Israel as a Jewish state, as this would legitimize the Zionist ideology of colonialism, racism and ethnic cleansing, and effectively exonerate Israel from the crimes of the Nakba, waiving the right of return. Such recognition would justify and reinforce the Israeli system of apartheid against Palestinian citizens of Israel.

The Palestine that we are fighting for is one which upholds the fundamental principles of our national rights and equality, and which respects the democratic right of the people to express their views in protest on the streets. The Authority has shown that they do not share this vision. On Tuesday they attempted to prevent the people from asserting their rights, first by banning demonstrations and then by attacking us with tear gas, batons and military jeeps.

The departure of the occupation from our land and the right of the refugees to return is non-negotiable, as is the question of Jerusalem. For the oppressed and occupied, ongoing struggle and resistance using all necessary means is not only our right, it is our obligation in front of all those that have sacrificed before us and the future generation that has the right to live in freedom. It is our only tool to ensure that “negotiations” talk about how to achieve our rights and not how to abandon them step by step. Yet for the first time in the sixty years of our struggle, those who claim to represent us at a national level are no longer talking about resistance to the attacks of the occupiers. Instead, they are disingenuously opening up negotiations relying on the US, the Occupation’s most ardent backer, to act as an “honest broker”.

Tuesday’s actions were important in themselves as an expression of the voices raised against Annapolis, but also because by defying the ban on demonstrations, the popular committees, representatives of civil society and political parties threw down a powerful challenge to the Palestinian leadership: as the pressure for normalisation grows, so the grassroots anti-normalization movement is growing. In the last month, the One Voice initiative, an attempt to coerce Palestinians into denying their own rights while recognising their occupiers, was defeated by grassroots activists. Last week, Ramallah hosted a conference strategizing to beat the Occupation through boycott, divestment and sanctions. Palestinians from within the green line voiced their powerful opposition to recognition of a Jewish state on their lands in a unanimous decision made by the Higher Arab Monitoring Committee, the senior representative body of ’48 Palestinians. The demonstrations on Tuesday were not an isolated protest; they were part of a wide popular movement against concessions on basic principles, and against an apparent acceptance on the part of the Palestinian leadership of the isolation of Palestinians within the Green Line, Palestinians in Gaza and the West Bank and in the diaspora from each other. At the Cyprus conference in October, Palestinians from the ’48 lands called Palestinians from allover their homeland and the diaspora together to build unified strategies and follow up mechanisms, as a powerful counterpoint to Israeli Bantustanization.

In Annapolis, the Authority did not raise the issue of Palestinians within the Green Line, nor the right of return, nor the criminal siege of Gaza. The Wall caging Palestinians in the West Bank into ghettos was not on the agenda. Those appointed to rule the West Bank Bantustans showed that they were not even representing the Palestinians there when they brutally repressed our protests. In this so-called ‘peace process’, only a tiny portion of Palestinians are represented: they are laying the ground for an outcome that the Palestinian people cannot and will not accept.

The so-called ‘peace process’ demands not only that the Authority clamp down on armed resistance: it is also becoming clear that it will require the repression of all of us who reject the abandonment of our rights. The Palestinian people that are confronting the Israeli Occupation day after day have not been consulted or informed about the negotiations: they only are to feel the batons when they disagree and call out for their rights. Tuesday was a testing ground whether the Authority will be able to make the Palestinian people swallow a second Oslo, further compromising our rights.

The gulf between the Authority and the Palestinian people is becoming increasingly obvious. Indeed the whole range of Palestinian political and social forces joined in condemning the repression on Tuesday. The choice for the Authority is clear: either to go along with the dictates of the US and the Occupation; or they must radically alter their course, to return to the people and remember that they are leaders of the Palestinian national struggle. The grassroots movement against normalisation with the occupiers will continue to grow. Resistance will continue as the Palestinian people assert their fundamental rights.

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Facts and Figures about the Current Darkness in the Gaza Strip

January 23rd 2008

Report from the Palestinian Hydrology Group
  1. Gaza Strip today is facing a very harsh siege which is expected to have severely negative humanitarian impact.
  2. The distribution of drinking water and the collection and treatment of wastewater completely rely on electricity and fuel in Gaza Strip.
  3. For several months now Israel has imposed a cruel siege on the Strip preventing people and goods from free movement. This has immobilized the importing of spare parts, pumps, pipes and other necessary accessories for the water and sanitation providing facilities.
  4. According to different sources the water and sanitation services are expected to be completely paralyzed within a matter of hours due to the lack of fuel reserves.
  5. About 133 water wells are being used for domestic purposes in addition to 33 sewage pump stations and three treatment plants; 10 of these groundwater wells function using fuel while the rest rely on electricity. Diesel powered generators are normally used as backup for the whole system but only for a limited time.
    The Coastal Municipalities Water Utility needs at least 100,000 liters of diesel per month to operate the water system. An additional 100,000 liters of diesel per month are needed for the sewage system to prevent wastewater from flooding the streets and residential areas.
  6. Reducing electricity and fuel supplies are potential causes to trigger an environmental crisis especially in the wastewater pump stations and treatment plants. If wastewater is not treated it will have to be pumped directly to the sea. This will for sure have a direct and negative impact on the groundwater aquifer and marine life.
    During winter time sewage pumps need to operate about 24 hours per day due to rainfall. Therefore, interruptions in fuel and electricity supply would be particularly significant.
  7. The sewage treatment plant in Beit Lahiya is also vulnerable to interruptions in electricity supplies. The treatment lagoons must be pumped regularly, or else the 10,000 people living in the area are in danger.  Six months ago, one of the lagoons over flooded and caused the death of five persons. Proper maintenance could have prevented the disaster.
  8. The water supply in Gaza City, with a total of 600,000 residents, in addition to a major part of the central portion of the Strip is expected to be completely cut-off as a result of ceasing the pumping from the municipal groundwater wells. The City also faces the threat of overflowing wastewater since the pumps (especially Al Samer and Aqoola stations) are expected to stop operating within the next 24 hours.
  9. If the current situation should persist the solid wastes generated in the Strip will accumulate in piles on the streets endangering the health of the locals.

The WaSH Monitoring Program calls on the International Community to push Israel to immediately cease all military operations, reopen the borders to allow the movement of people and goods and provide fuel supply and humanitarian aid to the residents of Gaza.

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