Since the operation in Gaza has began, the West Bank is comparatively quiet. One of the FATAH seniors in Shkhem (Nablus): "The people just want to live after years of Intifada."Ali Waked
In the light of the events in Gaza, the comparative quiet throughout the West Bank (WB) is outstanding. Although 4 were killed during that time in the WB, the ultimate thinking in the Palestinian Authority (PA) is that these are only local incidents and there's no global mobilization in the favor of Gaza citizens and sure no infrastructure for the major uprising or renewed Intifada.
The security staff, loyal to the PA president Abu Mazen (Mahmoud Abbas) where in massive presence everywhere on the major intersections, all the tension spots near the border with Israel, near the mosques, and in every location where the spark could set the fire. The youth that tried to approach Jewish settlements areas were aggressively pushed back by Palestinian police.
FATAH senior in Shkhem told YNET that except local events and permanent rallies in Ramallah, "the WB is turned off. The people here are preoccupied with economic concerns, the nationalist ideas and the occupation are not the main issues anymore. I myself didn't move a finger to participate in any rally, let alone to organize a one."
Not only the inner Palestinian schism is to blame but also "the people's wish to live after 7 or 8 years of Intifada. This is painful, this is an embarrassment to us, but this is the situation."
An independent City Hall member in one of the WB cities, tied to HAMAS, described the anger of a part of Palestinian population towards the PA very well: "The steps the PA has taken were a discouragement to join the wave of protests. They killed any attempt to demonstrate a solidarity with Gaza and to ease a bit the pressure our brothers there are under. That's right, there are hundreds of dead in Gaza and thousands of destroyed buildings, but despite that, I have a full right to say - they're those who are alive but we're the dead. Any sense of solidarity is dead within us, we're zeros, nothing. They are alive in Gaza, they have a respect there, here we're the rubbish."
He goes on. "The propaganda system of the PA, the security forces in the field, everything is sending the message - people, stay at home! The PA had all the rallies, all the protests under very strict control. The schism between the WB and Gaza has deepened, the Israeli Arabs and the Arabs all over the World are involved more seriously than the Palestinians in the WB."
And, indeed, after the Friday prayer there could be seen scattered gatherings in Jerusalem, some hundreds rallied in Kalkilia and Ramallah.
HAMAS attempt to use the was in Gaza to revive the Palestinian streets and to lead it to confrontation with Israel in order to ease the pressure on Gaza and to try to undermine the rule of Abu Mazen - failed.
A political commentator from Ramallah said: "The FATAH supporters fell that HAMAS could make use of them if they march on the street. Most of the arrested last wee, during the rally were FATAH supporters that tried to separate between HAMAS people and the PA police that tried to remove HAMAS flags. In Hebron, the HAMAS media started talking about the PA killing all the rallies. This is clearly is taken as an attempt to gain political capital on the Gaza operation."Original in Hebrew.
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