Friday, July 25, 2014
Will there be a 3rd intifada in the West Bank? – evaluating last night Qalandia events.
Last night a mass demonstration took place in Qalandia check point north of Jerusalem that was aiming at breaking through the checkpoint into Jerusalem. Our Fatah sources in Ramallah alerted us that the real aim was to trigger the 3rd intifada in the West Bank that will be led by Fatah.
In their meeting earlier this week the Fatah leadership in a session led by the PLO leader, Abu Mazen, decided to get tuned with Hamas and support their fast standing in Gaza and trigger the "Popular Intifada" in the West Bank led by Fatah. According to Fatah leader in Gaza, Zakariya al-Agha, the coordination between Fatah, Hamas and Islamic Jihad began in the meeting between Abu Mazen and Abu Marzuq and Islamic Jihad representative in Cairo a week earlier. The hardline statement given by Abu Mazen in the Fatah leadership's session was immediately welcomed by Hamas.
The name was symbolic: "The 48 Thousand March" that implied to the right of return. 1948 is the year of the war that caused the refugees problem. Another symbol was religious – directing the march towards Jerusalem—al-Aqsa mosque to be precise – in a holy day- the Qadar Night that is a peak in Ramadhan fasting month.
Fatah was preparing such an event for long time as essential element of the Popular Intifada as we can see in this graffiti we took in Ramallah near the separation wall.
This graffiti is a commercial to Wataniya cellular company.
Breaking the wall notion is a continuation of the failed campaign to break into Israel from the borders with Syria and Lebanon on the eve of the all Arab upheaval.
Although Fatah led last the night march – all other PLO factions participated plus Hamas. They decided to express unity by raising one flag only- the Palestinian flag but one could watch that they expressed their uniqueness by the color of the shirt- Hamas green shirts and the leftist faction – red shirts. Only the yellow color of Fatah was missing- they decided to lead a national march and not partisan. Despite this agreement – Hamas together with Mustafa Barguti set a separate event in Nablus.
Will this indeed lead to the break out of a new intifada? The Fatah game is very dangerous and may well ignite violence in the West Bank but not necessarily in the pattern of "popular intifada" that's to say with no weapons used, but rather "civil marches".
Firstly- Fatah is playing into the hands of Moslem Brothers and Hamas in their long campaign to turn Jerusalem to become the icon of the "Arab Strom". They want to resume their leading role across the region – and agitate Europe as well – by stirring sentiments of the kind "liberate or rescue al-Aqsa". The setback of Hamas in Gaza sharpened the need to open to Israel another front. It was apparent in Khaled Mash'al press conference in Qatar in which he called Fatah to "enter the same ditch" with Hamas by starting an Intifada in the West Bank and Jerusalem. It was also a clear message in an earlier address of Hamas' Prime Minister, Ismail Haniyya.
Another big problem to Fatah is Qalandia refugee camp itself. The local Fatah wing there is rogue group of Aqsa Martyrs that – like many other refugee camps especially in Jenin – do not obey Ramallah and reject the notion of popular intifada and preach for military struggle and terror. And indeed – what spoiled the "civil character" of yesterday event was a shooting by Qalandia Fatah guys at IDF personnel that ended in 2 fatalities, but not as planned — of "peaceful" demonstrators, but as exchange of fire – provoking Abu Mazen 's clear doctrine of no-violence struggle.
It is clear to Fatah that continuing the pressure in Qalandia will widen the scope of military confrontation. Even moving the pressure to Jenin's Jalame checkpoint is no answer as the local Fatah there is no less rogue than Qalandia's.
We expect that after the burning down of one of the inspection towers in Qalandia checkpoint Israel will shut it down and the vital opening from Ramallah to Jerusalem and to Bethlehem and further to Hebron will be cut off and the entire checkpoints system that crippled the West Bank economy will return. So, we expect that the Muqata'a will have deep thinking on the matter, and indeed in this morning Palestine TV programs I did not notice an attempt to push last night events further. Still we have to remember that today we have the prayers of the last Friday of Ramadhan that is very sensitive day.
Sum up- Fatah triggered last night event and according to our sources in Fatah – they want to trigger an intifada in the West Bank. This is tuned with Hamas – and Moslem Brothers – camping to turn al-Aqsa to the icon of the Arab Storm. It is very dangerous adventure for Fatah because very soon Hamas may overtake the West Bank and the local branch of Aqsa Brigades in Qalandia may impose their military struggle notion over Abu Mazen's non-violence approach.