The single demand that can unite the Palestinian people

Karma Nabulsi writes:

After another week of breathtaking demonstrations from Jordan to Yemen heralding dramatic revolutionary change, in occupied Palestine things appear much the same. The repetitions of bombing, air attacks on civilians, muted international protests, and dubious gestures towards a bankrupted peace process: all lend an air of futility and hopelessness to the trajectory of Palestinian freedom. Palestinians urgently need their voice to be represented at this historical moment in which unrepresentative rulers are being toppled by popular movements, and citizens are reclaiming their public squares and political institutions on the age-old principle of popular sovereignty.

Since January Palestinians in the refugee camps and under military occupation have all been asking the same question: is this not our moment too? Yet how are we to overcome the entrenched system of external colonial control and co-optation, the repression, the internal divisions and the geographical fragmentation that have until now kept us divided and unable to unify? The situation appears a thousand times more complex than Bahrain, or Egypt, or Libya, or Syria.

The solution to this fierce dilemma lies in a single claim now uniting all Palestinians: the quest for national unity. Although the main parties might remain irreconciled, the Palestinian people most certainly are not. Their division is not political but geographic: the majority are refugees outside Palestine, while the rest inside it are forcibly separated into three distinct locations. The demand is the same universal claim to democratic representation that citizens across the Arab world are calling for with such force and beauty: each Palestinian voice counts.

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