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The case for a unified Palestinian protest movement

The Arab Higher Monitoring Committee is calling for a general strike against recent Israel-U.S. attempts to further repress Palestinians. This is an opportunity to involve a younger generation of activists, and coordinate a joint struggle.

By Rabeea Eid

Activists demonstrate against the Prawer Plan at Herod’s Gate in East Jerusalem, November 30, 2013. The Prawer Plan, if implemented, will displace tens of thousands of Bedouin citizens of Israel. (Photo: Activestills.org)

Activists demonstrate against the Prawer Plan at Herod’s Gate in East Jerusalem, November 30, 2013. The Prawer Plan, if implemented, will displace tens of thousands of Bedouin citizens of Israel. (Photo: Activestills.org)

Palestinians across Israel, the West Bank and Gaza are banding together in a general strike on October 1, in protest of Israel’s Jewish Nation-State Law and President Donald Trump’s “deal of the century.” The strike was announced this week by the Arab Higher Monitoring Committee, an umbrella organization that represents Arab citizens of Israel.

The strike is significant in its ability to bring Palestinian people together in a joint act of protest. There is no doubt that, going forward, the Palestinian struggle must shatter physical and political fragmentation, and unite all Palestinians – in Gaza, the West Bank, Jerusalem, and even refugees in the diaspora. A joint struggle will require shared thinking and strategizing, and will involve cooperation on acts of protest such as strikes, demonstrations, and days of rage.

Israel’s attempt to erase the Palestinian issue has accelerated, now that Trump has set the “deal of the century” in motion, and that the Jewish Nation-State Law was enacted with complete disregard to the historical and just rights of the Palestinian people. These developments have asserted Zionist supremacy and control over the land. They are reflected clearly in America’s recognition of Jerusalem as the capital of Israel and the transfer of its embassy there, the cessation of U.S. funding to the United Nations Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA), unprecedented normalization and intensification of Israeli settlements in the West Bank, the blockade of the Gaza Strip and the brutal suppression of nonviolent marches there, as well as downgrading Palestinians in Israel to last-class citizens and persecuting them politically.

A demonstrator chants slogans against the Prawer Plan during a protest in Ramallah, West Bank on July 15, 2013. (Photo by guest photographer: Nidal Elwan/Activestills.org)

A demonstrator chants slogans against the Prawer Plan during a protest in Ramallah, West Bank on July 15, 2013. (Photo by guest photographer: Nidal Elwan/Activestills.org)

Despite internal criticism directed at Palestinian groups, including the Arab Higher Monitoring Committee, and despite the deteriorating political situation across Palestine, which highlights our failures and divisions, the call for a general strike should not be underestimated or treated as a regular act of protest.

In the summer of 2013, after waves of criticism aimed at Arab leaders and political factions, the Arab Higher Monitoring Committee announced a day of protest on July 15 against the Prawer Plan, a government plan to forcibly relocate tens of thousands of Bedouin citizens in the Negev. At the time, youth movements urged people to cooperate with the Committee’s call for protest, and they organized and mobilized without waiting for top-down instructions.

As a result, July 15 became only the start of a months-long struggle that eventually succeeded in stopping the Israeli plan, especially when the state realized it was facing a strong and unified Palestinian movement. This effort restored hope; it renewed people’s faith in political activism, in taking to the streets and challenging all branches of Israel’s institutions.

Now, as then, there is a desperate need for a protest movement to rise and defeat the sense of despair. The criticism of Palestinian politics is legitimate and necessary, and it must keep on. But criticism should also inspire new initiatives, or else, what is the point? There is a younger generation of Palestinians that has graduated to a level of intellectual maturity and political experience which allows it take initiative – we have seen them do that on more than one occasion.

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Nothing can prevent Palestinian activists everywhere from working together. We may have been leading separate and different efforts on a local scale, but we all believe in and serve the same Palestinian fight for liberation. Gazans, who have been protesting persistently and nonviolently since March, have provided us with an unprecedented model for resistance.

True, the expectations of the general strike in early October are modest. But this could be the beginning of a larger, collective Palestinian protest movement. We need to think of this strike not as a one-time event, but as a long, continuous organized struggle against the colonial, apartheid system in Palestine. It should be the start of weekly actions that utilize contemporary and innovative tools, and provide a new horizon for national liberation. Now in particular, the time has come for every person who believes in a joint, inclusive Palestinian struggle to act.

This article was first published in Arabic on Arab48. A Hebrew translation appears on Local Call.

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    COMMENTS

    1. Lewis from Afula

      What is a “fakestinyan” ?
      Someone who seeks Israel’s destruction and its replacement by an Arab state that NEVER existed & NEVER will.

      Reply to Comment
      • Ben

        What is an Israeli? Someone for whom the Book of Joshua entitles him to (1) a swimming pool in Ariel, and (2) to steal land, establish an apartheid regime, engineer forced population transfer and commit mass murder?

        Reply to Comment
        • Ido

          There’s actually a very specific definition to what is an Israeli: someone with an Israeli citizenship. Can be a Jew, Arab, Maronite, Samaritan, etc. I like the rest of your nonsense, especially the ‘mass murder’ hyperbole. If you want to see actual mass murder of Palestinians, look at what the Syrians are doing to them, especially in Yarmouk. The estimated Palestinians dead since the beginning of the civil war is more than 4,000 with thousands others still unconfirmed but probably dead as well.

          Reply to Comment
        • Sam

          Mass murder?

          Let’s look at Wikipedia for some perspective, now. Or do you ONLY care about the “Palestinians”?

          https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_ongoing_armed_conflicts

          Let’s see what the Arabs are doing to themselves…

          Afghanistan
          Iraq
          Yemen
          Syria
          Etc. etc. etc…

          Reply to Comment
        • Ben

          Looks like neither of you two has been reading what Lewis from Afula has written here over many months or else you one or both of you think that we can’t read.

          Reply to Comment
          • Ido

            Who gives a s@!t what ‘Lewis from Afula’ wrote, I was responding to your nonsense, not his.

            Reply to Comment
          • Ben

            I was responding to Lewis. I guess you didn’t know that.

            Reply to Comment
          • Ido

            And this somehow negate the nonsense you posted ?

            Reply to Comment
          • Ben

            As I said, I was responding to Lewis, and in that context what I write makes perfect sense. And again, you must think we can’t read!

            Reply to Comment
          • Ido

            Again: I was responding to what you posted. Your nonsense doesn’t make sense in any context as it it nonsense. How hard is it to grasp something this simple ?
            Again: explained what is actually an Israeli which has nothing to do with what you posted. Again: showed you what mass murder of Palestinians actually looks like. The nonsense about Apartheid was refuted in length as I’m sure you recall.

            Reply to Comment
          • Ben

            Go back and actually read what Lewis has written here over many months. I should not have to spoon feed it to you. And just so you know…we can read!

            Reply to Comment
          • Ido

            Who gives a s@!t what ‘Lewis from Afula’ wrote, I was responding to your nonsense, not his.

            Reply to Comment
          • Ben

            My rhetorical question to the individual was perfectly justified based on the racist, mass transfer promoting, mass murderous hatred he has spewed here. You really don’t understand much, do you kid?

            Reply to Comment
          • Ido

            Again: I was responding to what you posted. Your nonsense doesn’t make sense in any context as it it nonsense. How hard is it to grasp something this simple ?
            Again: explained what is actually an Israeli which has nothing to do with what you posted. Again: showed you what mass murder of Palestinians actually looks like. The nonsense about Apartheid was refuted in length as I’m sure you recall.
            It’s amazing how you are struggling with this. I don’t mind repeating myself to help the challenged individuals among us.

            Reply to Comment
          • Ben

            All that is on display here is your obstinacy, and either your willful misunderstanding or your genuine severe limitations. Either way it does not look good for you. You really don’t understand this, do you? Wow.

            Reply to Comment
          • Ido

            So you’re saying what you said is a sophisticated allegory mixed with subversive innuendo dipped in enigma and you didn’t address an ignorant post by making a similarly ignorant retort ? or was it your more clueless evil twin brother ?

            Again: I was responding to what you posted. Your nonsense doesn’t make sense in any context as it it nonsense.
            Again: explained what is actually an Israeli which has nothing to do with what you posted. Again: showed you what mass murder of Palestinians actually looks like. The nonsense about Apartheid was refuted in length as I’m sure you recall.

            Reply to Comment
          • Ben

            “So you’re saying what you said is a sophisticated allegory mixed with subversive innuendo dipped in enigma”

            No, I said it was a rhetorical question that makes perfect sense as a response to that particular individual. Anyone who has been a reader here for any length understands this. I sometimes think you’re all bluster and artifice and pose and deliberate misunderstanding but then I get brought up short by this kind of interaction and have to realize that in part you’re just really genuinely that obtuse. Hard to believe, but I have to go with the evidence. Wow.

            Reply to Comment
          • Ido

            “I said it was a rhetorical question” – so this somehow negate that it was nonsense ? do explain.
            “makes perfect sense as a response to that particular individual” – Again: I was responding to what you posted. Your nonsense doesn’t make sense in any context as it it nonsense.
            “deliberate misunderstanding” – did you or did you not post this: “What is an Israeli? Someone for whom the Book of Joshua entitles him to (1) a swimming pool in Ariel, and (2) to steal land, establish an apartheid regime, engineer forced population transfer and commit mass murder?” ?
            for the record this is not rhetorical question, feel free to answer.
            “genuinely that obtuse” – yes, pointing out your ignorance and hyperbolic nonsense makes me ‘obtuse’.
            “have to go with the evidence” -that’s hysterical coming from someone who has been ignoring and in denial about evidence proving him wrong so many times.
            “Wow” – my words exactly.

            Reply to Comment
          • Ben

            It’s very plainly a rhetorical question. You really don’t understand very much, do you? I was trying to give you more credit than you actually deserve, but you can’t even recognize a rhetorical question and its context. In the simplest framework. That makes you remarkably obtuse, so that I have to calibrate what I have heretofore seen as deliberate obnoxiousness, and scale it back, correcting for what I now realize is genuine obtuseness. In other words, you can’t help yourself, and so I have to take that into account.

            Reply to Comment
          • Ido

            “”It’s very plainly a rhetorical question” : did you or did you not post what I quoted you posting ? did you or did you not post hyperbolic nonsense about what is an Israel, mass murder, Apartheid ?
            Did you post this as a joke ? yes or no ? saying it was rhetorical does not cancel out that it’s nonsense, do you understand ? how on earth is this so difficult for you to grasp when I repeat this 7 times ?
            “its context” – Again: your hyperbolic nonsense is still nonsense in every context or did you say that as a joke ?
            “That makes you remarkably obtuse” – pretending not to understand this, because I refuse to believe someone can be this stupid, makes you a joke all by itself.

            Reply to Comment
          • Ben

            I feel like I am dealing with someone here who has basic cognitive limitations that are not my responsibility to address. If you cannot grasp that it was a sensible rhetorical question to Lewis, based on Lewis’ past statements here, then I can’t help you and don’t feel it is my duty to explain something any high school or perhaps even grade school graduate (in regular classes) should be able to grasp. Now please stop applying 1000 mg of nudnik extract oil twice daily to this issue. It needs no “treatment” from you.

            Reply to Comment
          • Ido

            Aaand again you ignore my posts and not answer my questions. Why is that ?
            “that are not my responsibility to address” – I ask again: did you or did you not post what I quoted you posting ? did you or did you not post hyperbolic nonsense about what is an Israeli, mass murder, Apartheid ? Did you post this as a joke ? yes or no ?
            “rhetorical question”: Again: saying it was rhetorical does not cancel out that it’s nonsense. How on earth is this so difficult for you to grasp ?
            “to Lewis, based on Lewis’ past statements here” – Again: Who gives a s@!t what ‘Lewis from Afula’ wrote, I was responding to your nonsense, not his.
            “Now please stop applying” – and stop enjoying your squirming and avoiding answering my questions and ignoring my posts repeatedly ? I find it quite amusing.

            Reply to Comment
          • Ben

            If you really believe what you just wrote and cannot detect its flaws then you are an unfortunate person. A world class nudnik. Such obtuseness it deserves a case report.

            Going on in the present about a fact from the past as if it applied meaningfully in the present—when you yourself admit it is firmly in the past—is a form of prejudicing people in the present. That aside, I perceive you’d like me to tacitly concede that mass population transfer, ethnic cleansing, “mass murder” and “apartheid” are merely Lewis from Afula’s wingnut enthusiasms (which wingnuttery I addressed with a rhetorical question still lost on you, but I can’t work miracles). But what happened in Gaza recently at the hands of IDF military snipers was massive and it was arguably murder. What happens every day in the entity comprising Israel and the territories it occupies is apartheid. What is happening in places like Susiya and Khan al-Ahmar and Umm al-HIran is ethnic cleansing and mass transfer. In fact. Lewis I feel is just more unabashed than most.

            Reply to Comment
          • Ido

            And again you ignore my posts and not answer my questions. Why is that ?
            “detect its flaws then you are an unfortunate person” – did you or did you not say what I quoted you saying ? was it a joke ? you didn’t mean it ? why is this so difficult for you to answer ?
            “Going on in the present about a fact from the past as if it applied meaningfully in the present” – You’re confusing 2 different articles, answered your lying clueless nonsense right here:
            https://972mag.com/what-netanyahus-idea-of-peace-looks-like/137916/

            “when you yourself admit it is firmly in the past” – seriously ? the only thing I admitted is how you didn’t understand what I was saying, I pointed this out very clearly.
            “form of prejudicing people” – no it isn’t, it’s acknowledging reality as I explained again in detail on that page.
            “rhetorical question” – Again, 9th time: saying it was rhetorical does not cancel out how it’s nonsense. How on earth is this so difficult for you to grasp ?
            “in Gaza recently at the hands of IDF military snipers was massive and it was arguably murder” – no it wasn’t, as I explained in detail in the relevant article to you many times. You of course ignored it.
            “is apartheid” – no it isn’t, as I proved to you many times on different articles. You of course ignored it.
            “What is happening in places like Susiya and Khan al-Ahmar and Umm al-HIran is ethnic cleansing” – no it isn’t, I addressed both specifically in detail backed by evidence, you simply chose to ignore it.
            “Lewis I feel is just more” – Again: Who gives a s@!t what ‘Lewis from Afula’ wrote, I was responding to your nonsense, not his.

            Reply to Comment
          • Ben

            “did you or did you not say what I quoted you saying ? was it a joke ? you didn’t mean it ?”

            As I think I told you quite a few times on the other page, I certainly meant what I said, still do mean it, and it was a rhetorical question to Lewis, and it was not “what I quoted you as saying,” because you leave off the question mark I placed on the end of that, and fatuously rip it from context, both of which had made it not a declarative statement but a rhetorical question to a specific notorious person. You really still don’t understand any of this, do you? Wow.

            “saying it was rhetorical does not cancel out how it’s nonsense”

            This is the most peculiar muddleheaded concreteness. You really do not understand the difference between a declarative sentence and a rhetorical question, do you? What DO they teach you in grade school there, Ido? Aside from the cradle to grave propaganda?

            I can only think that your Elmer Fudd hunting wabbits-like determination to turn this into a silly fake prosecution (“Did you or did you not?,,,,”) robs you of all your senses. Like Elmer.

            “Who gives a s@!t what ‘Lewis from Afula’ wrote,”

            Everything depends upon what Lewis wrote. Around this revolves your strikingly persistent ineptitude in understanding meanings and grasping context. It’s elementary. My rhetorical question was an obvious reference to Lewis’ past references to the themes in my rhetorical question. It just amazes me that you keep failing to understand that. Let me ask you–as I just want to see what on earth you can possibly be thinking–if I rewrote my rhetorical question to Lewis to read as follows, making it more concretely spelled out and explicit but not changing the meaning, would that clarify for you why it was a rhetorical question that makes sense? ==>

            What, according to you, Lewis, is an Israeli? Is it, as you have suggested in the past in any number of posts, Lewis, for you someone for whom the Book of Joshua entitles him to (1) a swimming pool in Ariel, and (2) to steal land, establish an apartheid regime, engineer forced population transfer and commit mass murder? Do you think that, Lewis?

            The world waits. Will Elmer F. Geller do it again. Eh, whats up doc?

            Reply to Comment
          • Ido

            (part 1): “meant what I said” – I know. Exactly why I pointed out it is your usual brainwashed pro-Palestinian nonsense.
            “because you leave off the question mark” – how on earth does this change anything about this ? you made a hyperbolic nonsense comment, it wasn’t a joke, I pointed this out. How is this so complicated for you ?
            “not a declarative statement but a rhetorical question” – Again: 10th time: saying it was rhetorical does not cancel out how it’s nonsense. How on earth is this so difficult for you to grasp ?
            “You really still don’t understand any of this” – exactly the opposite as my posts above explain in detail. You actually think saying “but I said that rhetorically!” somehow cancel out how it’s nonsense. Amazing.
            “You really do not understand the difference between a declarative sentence and a rhetorical question” – so you said the words “mass murder” without actually implying something about Israel ? same with Apartheid ? steal land ? etc ?
            Your squirming here is very impressive. Not your best but not too shabby.
            “the cradle to grave propaganda” – that’s an interesting “rephrasing” to me refuting your lying clueless anti-Israel propaganda nonsense in detail across multiple articles.
            “silly fake prosecution” – yes, asking you if you said something which is hyperbolic nonsense is “silly prosecution”.
            “Everything depends upon what Lewis wrote” – I ask again: so you said the words “mass murder” without actually implying something about Israel ? same with Apartheid ? steal land ? etc ? I don’t care about his nonsense, I was simply amused by your hyperbolic nonsense as I pointed out repeatedly.
            “grasping context” – that’s very amusing coming from someone who so spectacularly failed to do so regarding the “dhimmi” bit on a different comments section which I linked above.

            more to follow

            Reply to Comment
          • Ido

            (part 2): “My rhetorical question was an obvious reference to Lewis” – Again: so you said the words “mass murder” without actually implying something about Israel ? same with Apartheid ? steal land ? etc ? nothing to do with Israel ?
            “failing to understand that” – it’s actually exactly the opposite. Your pathetic attempts to deflect this are amusing though.
            “making it more concretely spelled out” – So I ask again, 4th time: did you say the words “mass murder” without actually implying something about Israel ? same with the rest ? simple question.
            “The world waits” – sure, in the meantime the world can read the dozen or so other posts where I explained this above, which you ignored or “rephrased”. Or was it “discounting” ? “artistic license” ? “dispatched” ? hard to keep up with your hilarious pathetic excuses to me refuting your nonsense.

            Reply to Comment
          • Ben

            Thanks for your contribution. Another blam! blam! blam! blam! all around from Elmer’s shotgun. While we sit here drumming our fingers and asking ‘who sent *this* guy?’
            I find it incoherent. As regards the fake prosecution, I explained this above. (Including, “That aside, I perceive you’d like me to tacitly concede….”)
            Bye.

            Reply to Comment
          • Ido

            “Another blam! blam! blam! blam!” – I always enjoy your “rephrasing” to me pointing out repeatedly how you’re wrong. Always amusing. And of course you ignored my questions again, only asked it 4 times in the last 2 posts, maybe you missed it.
            “I find it incoherent” – of course, since I only explained it 15 times like to an infant. Makes sense.
            “As regards the fake prosecution” – um, fake prosecution ? do explain. As I said above (which you ignored of course) you made a mistaken assertion about what I said in a different article, which I linked. Explained there in detail how you were clueless, of course. But this new development intrigues me. What wake persecution ? please do explain.
            “Bye” – how predictably pathetic.

            Reply to Comment
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