While I was at the demonstrations which took place yesterday (Hamas demo and Mar15 youth demo) in Ramallah, I was wondering the whole time the amount of reality in this situation, Palestinian Policemen and security personnel were just standing back, observing the demonstrations and not acting offensively in anyway. Now that is something new, at least not the image I was used to the past few years.
I was really happy that finally this is happening, but it’s really hard to believe such people would change overnight. Those same people who harassed us, arrested us, and beat us for the crime of opinion, protesting injustice or protesting the Israeli Occupation.
I am going to layout some of those events I experienced which I actually find it difficult to remove off my memory.
When I watched those Hamas supporters walking through Ramallah yesterday carrying their green banners, I instantly had a flashback from the time of the 2008 “War on Gaza”. There were weekly mass demonstrations at al-Manara in Ramallah in support of our Gazan brothers and sisters, I remember seeing a lot of Hamas supporters being dragged away, or beaten up by hordes of plain-cloth police thugs for the crime of belonging to Hamas sometimes taking it too far and tear gassing all Hamas supporters in the middle of Ramallah downtown.
But not all oppressing acts by the police in the West Bank were because of Hamas, a lot of times later the reason was the freedom of expression and nothing else.
We, the youth started our solidarity actions with the Arab Spring Uprisings by organizing a solidarity stand with our Tunisian and Egyptian brothers back in January, the official facebook event was censored after PA police threatened the person who created the event. Nevertheless, the solidarity stand took place, and as soon as the police realized some 50 people were gathering to support the Egyption Revolt, 10s of Riot Police vans came rushing to al-Manara square, and everyone there was either beaten, had their camera confiscated, or jailed. everyone eventually was dispersed.
here is one of the few footage which managed to be leaked.
and this took place after the shameful first. Still the same conduct.
It was just last March, on the Palestinian Land Day where a big group of students at the Ramallah Friends School decided to join the demonstration taking place near Bet-Eil Settlement, they were met with lines of Policemen blocking the roads, supported with lines of Riot Police behind them, with (أمن وقائي) jeeps blocking the road all the way behind.
The (Herak) mar15 Youth at the Manara were the target of a lot of harrassment by the police and plain cloth thugs, they had their tent destroyed numerous times but they didn’t give up.
I had a small experience too which actually pissed me off, I was once at an event at Manra, I was using my phone to Tweet. Suddenly I find someone pulling me from behind, I didn’t resist much as I knew it was someone related to the police. he turned out to be Mukhabarat (intelligence), and a bunch of other mukhabart huddled around me interrogating me…it took 20 minutes, but eventually I managed to get out with no harm. I was only tweeting, and they didn’t like that.
two of my close friends had their rough experience too at an (End of Division) rally. One was kidnapped instantly (16 years old) for chanting Pro people of Egypt, and other was beaten up (15 years old) for standing up for his friend being kidnapped. in this Video, you can see Shareef, being beaten up by Plain-Cloth Police.
This doesn’t mean I am pessimistic about the Unity, I am rather too optimistic, and I believe by unity, Israeli-PA collaboration would end, Hamas wild ineffective acts against Israel would end, and a unified strong weapon of resistance (NOT NECESSARILY VIOLENT) would emerge hopefully.
I am really hoping, I am observing an increase in awareness among the Palestinian public, they gotta learn that the Nation comes first, and laaaaaaaaater down the ladder comes political parties. there are priorities, and as I said, I am optimistic that this reconciliation deal will bring good upon the Palestinian people.
PS: I might not be real being that optimistic, but that is sure something I hope for.