Palestinian statehood bid wins broad support in Gaza, West Bank (video)
Everyone from Hamas supporters to shopkeepers in Ramallah have backed the Palestinian statehood bid at the UN, but some warn that failure could lead to a third intifada.
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Even some leftists like Hikmat Massri are behind the move. The young man hasn’t been a fan of Abbas in the past, he says, yet now he speaks of the leader in appreciative tones. “This is a very brave move,” he says. “I trust that he has discussed everything and knows exactly where he’s going.”
Mr. Massri says he will celebrate on the street Friday when Abbas presents his request to the UN, despite a Hamas warning that such public shows of support will not be tolerated. Yet others are more circumspect about the bid.
Mr. Nader is afraid the US and the UN will stop funding after a unilateral Palestinian move, leading to a crisis in a place where as much as 80 percent of the population depends on aid. Others oppose the bid because they say it would forfeit the right of return for refugees who lost their land in the 1948-49 Arab-Israeli war, or because they support a one-state solution. And still others say they simply don’t believe the action at the UN will make a difference on the ground in Gaza.
“At the end the whole resolution will remain words on paper. Nothing will be implemented on the ground,” says Mona Heales, a human rights worker. “If Abu Mazen actually achieves anything, it will be implemented in the West Bank, not in Gaza.”
Rumblings of a third intifada
Many wonder what will happen if the UN bid fails – the US has vowed to block it on the UN Security Council – amid fears that frustration could spill over into violence.
For Anwar Abu Sabu, who these days hobbles around on crutches after taking an Israeli bullet in the back, the choices are simple. He sees little hope in Jenin, where he takes home just 1,300 shekels (approximately $350) a month in disability allowance, a sum that must support his wife and four children.
Mr. Abu Sabu thinks the UN bid is doomed, and suggests a return to armed resistance aimed at the Israeli military in the West Bank, and not Israel, to achieve Palestinian statehood.
“If the UN fails, if Abbas fails and raises his hand saying, ‘I cannot achieve your rights,’ then a new time will start,” he says. “[Abbas] will not declare an armed resistance. It is not his role. Every generation must have its own leader.”
It is a somber assessment, and a view that gains little traction in Ramallah, where many simply feel they have too much to lose from a new cycle of violence and bloodshed.
“We don’t want [a new] intifada. The people want peace,” says Ayman Mondaher, a financial manager. “We just want a normal life, we just want to educate our children.”