Abbas calls for a Palestinian Awakening in September

Marc Gopin and Aziz Abu Sarah write:

In his speech to the Central Council of the PLO in Ramallah, Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas announced his strategy to end the occupation. The President stressed in his speech that he will not retreat from seeking recognition of the Palestinian state from the United Nations. Abbas had been under enormous pressure to withdraw the request for recognition of a Palestinian State on borders of June 1967. He announced that 122 nations are already in favor of the draft submitted to the UN. Concerning US opposition, he referred to the fact that this has not been communicated in a formal manner.

President Abbas surprised many of his listeners when he spoke about another element of his strategy. Perhaps for the first time Abbas highlighted clearly his vision of the Palestinian people’s active participation to achieve the dream of a Palestinian state. He called upon the Palestinian people to go out to the streets and demonstrate in an Arab-style revolution.

I insist on popular resistance, and insist it is an unarmed popular resistance so no one misunderstand us. We follow the example demonstrated in the Arab Awakening, which says, ‘Selmiya, Selmiya’, ‘Peaceful, Peaceful.’

The Arab Awakening in Egypt and Tunisia proved that popular masses in the streets, shoulder-to-shoulder in a coherent, peaceful movement, can accomplish anything. What seemed impossible in the past is possible today.

The challenge is that most of the Palestinian demonstrations until now have focused on fighting the Separation Wall, and on resisting the expansion of the settlements at the expense of Palestinian villages. These protests are still limited in the number of participants, and they do not exceed tens of protestors, or hundreds in the best scenarios. This is not enough to create the political change that is necessary now.

President Abbas did not hide his disappointment about the Palestinian popular resistance movement’s inability to grow to a national level.

We talk about the Resistance, but when we see what is happening in these demonstrations, frankly we don’t find anyone talking about it.

Clearly, he wants to see this grow on a national level, and he wants this reality to become an established fact that will impact the global conversation and debate about the future of Palestine.

The success of the Palestinian Popular Resistance movement has apparently become a key factor in the Palestinian strategy for achieving independence. The diplomatic efforts to gain recognition worldwide are going to be fruitless if they are not coupled with a strong nonviolent movement in the Palestinian territories, which will make the march to independence an irresistible and newsworthy drama of unprecedented proportions.

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