A Powerful Moment for Palestinian Unity

A Powerful Moment for Palestinian Unity

Benjamin Netanyahu’s days as a free man are numbered.

His opponents in the Knesset are conspiring to end his criminal 12-year premiership (the longest in Israel’s history) by forging an unlikely “change” coalition of small-party ultranationalists, centrists, some leftists and even Islamists.

Alarmingly, the coalition is marshalled by Naftali Bennett — chief of the New Right party and “a former settler leader who is even more dedicated to entrenching Israeli dominion over millions of stateless Palestinians than is Netanyahu,” in the words of Peter Beinart.

In Israel, this news made all the front pages. But generally, Palestinians greeted it with a shrug. “When Palestinians in the occupied West Bank unfolded the territory’s highest-circulation broadsheet, Al-Quds,” according to The New York Times, “they found no mention about Mr. Netanyahu’s fate until Page 7.”

Why? Doesn’t this development matter? “If you’re Jewish, yes,” Beinart claims. “If you’re Palestinian, no.”

“For Israeli Jews, Netanyahu’s departure matters because he was undermining the rule of law,” in Beinart’s estimation.

“For Palestinians,” however, “it matters far less. … Most Palestinians who live under Israeli control — those in the West Bank, East Jerusalem, and the Gaza Strip — aren’t Israeli citizens. They are thus already subject to arbitrary and unrestrained state power.”

In the face of that overwhelming power — most recently expressed by a gruesome 11-day bombing campaign that took the lives of over 250 in Gaza, while 13 were killed in Israel — Palestinians are forming a united front.

Led by a bold new generation of young activists, their focus has shifted from soliciting outside aid to sparking change from within. “We are part of the global conversation on rights, justice, freedom,” Hanan Ashrawi told the Times, “and Israel cannot close it down or censor it.”

Between the river and the sea, a new people-led movement is emerging in opposition to Israel’s injustices. With the most revolutionary tool ever invented in the palms of their hands, they’re rising up and coming together to jump over their current crop of inept leaders — and starting to call the shots from below.

Could this be evidence of a Palestinian Third Force in action?!

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