Tuesday, June 5, 2007

Protests Mark Six-Day War’s Anniversary - And the Other

From The New York Times:
In the West Bank city of Ramallah, Mr. Abbas delivered a televised speech on the occasion of the anniversary of the war, which ended in a stunning military victory for Israel and a sobering defeat for the Arab armies. He said that ending the occupation and establishing an independent Palestinian state would erase the memory of the defeat.

But he warned that the Palestinians were “on the verge of civil war,” and that the internecine fighting “is equal to the danger of occupation, or even more.”...

Mr. Abbas’s remarks reflected a sense of growing despair in the Palestinian territories, and particularly in the Gaza Strip, after two weeks of fierce internal clashes in May left about 50 dead. Hamas and Fatah formed a Palestinian unity government in mid-March, in large part to avoid civil war, but their security forces and military wings remain engaged in bitter power struggle.

In early June, MEMRI, the Washington-based Middle East Media Research Institute, published translated excerpts from articles by Palestinian columnists breaking a political taboo by pointing out one positive aspect of Israeli occupation.

One journalist quoted by MEMRI, Majed Azzam, wrote in the Hamas-affiliated weekly Al Risala in Gaza that Palestinians “should have the courage to acknowledge the truth” that the only thing that “prevents the chaos and turmoil in Gaza from spreading to the West Bank is the presence of the Israeli occupation.”

Another Palestinian writer... wrote ... that if there was a referendum in the Gaza Strip on the question of whether people would like the Israeli occupation to return, “half the population would vote ‘yes.’ ”

“But in practice,” Mr. Nabris continued, “I believe that the number of those in favor is at least 70 percent, if not more.”

“If the occupation returns,” he added, “at least there will be no civil war, and the occupier will have a moral and legal obligation to provide the occupied people with employment and food, which they now lack.”

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