DEMISE OF A LEADERSHIP

RAMALLAH, NI’LIN AND KALANDIA, PALESTINE

DURATION: 10 MIN 15 SEC

LANGUAGE: ENGLISH AND ARABIC

SIZE: 2.2 GB (UNCOMPRESSED VERSION, DV-PAL)

SOURCE: SEQUENCE NEWS

RESTRICTIONS: NO SHARE

SHOWS: LIFE IN RAMALLAH, CAFÉ IN RAMALLAH, VIEWS OF RAMALLAH AND THE WEST BANK, CLASHES BETWEEN ISRAELI SOLDIERS AND PALESTINIAN YOUTH, ISRAELI WALL, FAMILY THAT LOST YOUNG SON IN CONFLICT, FRIDAY DEMONSTRATION RAMALLAH, FATAH GUARDS STRIKING DOWN ON DEMONSTRATORS RAMALLAH

SOUNDBITES: YOUNG MEN IN RAMALLAH, YOUNG MAN CLASHING WITH ISRAELI SOLDIERS IN NI’LIN, PALESTINIAN PROFESSOR, SENIOR MEMBER OF FATAH, MOTHER WHO LOST HER SON

00.00 – 00.19 Baghdad café in Palestinian capital Ramallah is getting full as young men gather around the tables. They come here to smoke, drink tea, play cards and of course… to discuss the never ending flow of breaking news coming out of the Middle East. 60 years after the birth of Israel the West Bank is on all levels a politicised society.

00.19 – 00.32 (SOUNDBITE)(Arabic) MUHAMMAD MOSTAFA: “ – Tzipi Livni, Olmert and Barak will be taken to the court. If God is willing. And if God is willing we will sue the people that are here. When we clean the West Bank.”

00.32 – 00.50 (SOUNDBITE)(Arabic) MAHMOUD SBITANY: “– They will sell their country and the whole Arab nation for one schekel. It is like what Dr. George Hebash, the Wise Man of the Revolution, said: Make a revolution and what you will loose is your cuffs and your tent. And what do we have to loose? Palaces? We don’t have anything.”

00.50 – 01.08 (SOUNDBITE)(Arabic) AREF BARAHMA: “– In the war of 2006 Hassan Nasrallah, he who has caused the Israelis their biggest loss, said that if I would have known that the casualties would have been this large for Lebanon I would not have fought this war. And we should think in the same way. It’s true that twelve Israelis were killed, but we have lost one thousand martyrs.”

01.08 – 01.40 Since the war between Fatah and Hamas ended in 2007 the West Bank has been largely spared of Israeli military actions. The focus has been set on Gaza but with nearly 700 checkpoints and 270 000 settlers the Israeli presence is still being felt on the West Bank. The situation is heavily strained and with the war in Gaza the calls for a new uprising are getting louder. But in the cities around the West Bank there is also a growing discontent with the Palestinian leadership, which many view as corrupt and unable to stand up against the Israeli occupation.

01.40 – 02.11 (SOUNDBITE)(English) DR. MAHDI ABDUL HADI: “ – The power today on the Westbank are in the hands of the settlers, the colonizers. 20 percent of the Israelis are Shas movement fundamentalists who are taking the upper hand in governing and controlling their people’s lives in the West Bank. That is why we are witnessing the culture of revenge, the culture of confrontation. On daily basis on the streets, in the neighbourhoods. So you don’t talk about violence in general, you talk about details of daily battle and daily confrontations.”

02.11 – 02.18 02.18 – 02.44 (SOUNDBITE)(Arabic) BOY FROM NI’LIN: “ – In the name of the mighty God we are here in the village of Ni’lin defending our land, the land of resistance. This enemy wants to take our land, and wants to steal our olive trees. We are defending our land and we will defend it until the end. When we die we are martyrs, when they die they go to hell.

02.44 – 03.02 Since the construction of the Israeli wall started Ni’lin has been the site of continuous clashes. The resistance has been fiercest here and several people have been killed as a result of the confrontations. One of them is Yousef. He was on his way to his grandmother’s when he was confronted by a group of Israeli soldiers. His mother says that they shot him in the head.

03.02 – 03.27 (SOUNDBITE)(Arabic) UM YOUSEF: “–It is not easy for me because it was my son but what is happening in Gaza makes it easier for me to understand what happened to him. We feel for them and we feel with all our hearts. They took all our land, they took everything from our land. Last year they wouldn’t let us collect our olives. We went there to collect them and they started to shoot at us.”

03.27 – 03.40 The Israeli wall is planned to cut the farmland surrounding the village in two and Yousefs family will loose large parts of their olive grove. This winter Yousef will be missed when the family gather for harvest, but his mother says they are determined to stay.

03.40 – 04.01 SOUNDBITE)(Arabic) UM YOUSEF: “– May God strengthen our belief. We will resist till the last one. Until we die. This is our country, our land. Even if they kill us we will not leave, we will not surrender.

04.01 – 04.28 During the war in Gaza many Palestinians on the West Bank were outraged with Fatah’s lack of support for the people under attack. And this added to an already widespread discontent with the Fatah leadership. Four years after Yassir Arafat’s death people on the West Bank view the Palestinian Authority and President Mahmoud Abbas as weak, corrupt and all too cooperative with the enemy. And Fatah receiving guns and funding from the US during the war against Hamas made many think about on what side of the conflict the faction really stands.

04.28 – 05.11 (SOUNDBITE)(English) FATAH SECURITY ADVISER, ABDULLAH ABDULLAH: “– What? The people… I don’t think they want the PA to intervene militarily. No rational person would expect the PA to intervene militarily because we don’t have the military capability of intervening. But we are resisting any subjugation, we are resisting any attempt by the Israeli or the Israeli government to subjugate our people, to suppress our movement. We are resisting in Bela’in, we are resisting in Ni’lin, we are resisting in Al Ma’sarah, we are resisting in Qalqilya to express that we don’t accept the state of occupation forced on us.”

05.11 – 05.22 05.22 – 05.51 (SOUNDBITE)(English) DR. MAHDI ABDUL HADI: “ – Definitely the Abu Masen authority today lost its credibility in the eyes of the people and he has no public support what so ever. Fatah today is a very much divided faction. It has been a political tripe under Arafat. Arafat was the glue, was the symbol, was the leader, was the hero. Today they don’t have a leadership, today they have a crisis of a vision, crisis of leadership and crisis of organisation.

05.51 – 06.34 Mahmoud Abbas’ presidential term expired on 9 January leaving Palestine in practice without a legitimate Head of State. But as Abbas has been quick to wave his critics off, saying that by law he could stay in office another year, the widening split inside Fatah is becoming obvious. Imprisoned former faction leader Marwan Barghouti, said from his cell that Fatah should have done much more to stop the Israeli attacks on Gaza. And he is one of several strong voices now challenging the old elite that came to power after the death of Arafat. These voices have gained much support as Palestinians feel the impotence and inability of Fatah are weakening the state. And as a result of that a new chapter of the movement is rising with calls for a shift of leadership and direction.

06.34 – 07.04 (SOUNDBITE)(English) FATAH SECURITY ADVISER, ABDULLAH ABDULLAH: “– Well I tell you there is no split in Fatah. If you see different opinions that is what Fatah is all about. Fatah is a movement. It is not an ideological party where everyone has to speak the same language and everyone has to follow the same line. We are a movement of the people. And we appreciate, we encourage, diversity of opinion. But then, when it comes to national issues there is no difference what so ever between one member and another.”

07.04 – 07.27 But the handling of critical voices against Fatah’s policies have been a matter of disagreement inside the party. Since the war in Gaza the West Bank has been heavily controlled, with Fatah guards striking down on any attempt to publicly raise support for a military uprising. At the same time many Hamas supporters have been detained and that has further added on the feelings that Fatah stands on the wrong side of the conflict.

07.27 – 07.57 (SOUNDBITE)(English) DEMONSTRATOR, MOHAMMED OTHMAN: “– We are one people. No matter the distance between Gaza and the West Bank. And as you can see here the audience is shouting and asking for unity among all Palestinian political parties. To be under one umbrella and under one flag. And the Palestinian Authority also has to take a side. And if they can’t do this they should leave the Palestinian street to mobilise and not stop them from holding demonstrations or bothering people from standing up and demonstrating.”

07.57 – 08.33 (SOUNDBITE)(English) DR. MAHDI ABDUL HADI: “– For the time being the Hamas leadership is not interested in closing the gap between them and the old guards of Fatah. Hamas leadership whether they are in Damascus, or in Gaza or on the West Bank are very much interested in seeing young faces and a young message and a young tone among Fatah people. And they are willing to meet them not only halfway, but to reach them to their own houses. The dialogue is essential and is very much needed but they want to get rid of the old corrupted guards who hijacked the Fatah agenda after Arafat.”

08.33 – 09.04 (SOUNDBITE)(English) FATAH SECURITY ADVISER, ABDULLAH ABDULLAH: “– President Abu Masen invited them to join in on the Palestinian leadership meetings. In order to be a party in any decision taken, to be party in any plan that we have to adopt, to confront this occupation and try to bring it to an end. Hamas didn’t join in. They are still reluctant to join in. And that’s a problem. But this is not the problem of the PA or the problem of Fatah.”

09.04 – 09.28 The two factions made attempts to form a coalition government after Hamas won the general elections in 2006. But since the negotiations broke down and the civil war started the dialogue between Gaza and the West bank has been limited to accusations and threats. So instead of a unified front in the conflict with Israel the resistance on the West Bank continues with clashes where the youth have taken upon themselves to fight the occupation.

09.28 – 10.06 (SOUNDBITE)(English) DR. MAHDI ABDUL HADI: “– It is very grim today and very disappointing and very frustrating. But in terms of the Palestinians I think that we are entering a new chapter. Not the old system of the PLO and the old systems of the factions. There is a new movement among the people. People are willing to take off their political shirts and speak as Palestinians. Palestinian blood, Palestinian skin, Palestinian identity, Palestinian life… And we could not melt into an Israeli system or into any Arab system. And this palestinisation of the conflict is emerging more and more, especially after the war on the Palestinians in Gaza.”

10.06 – 10.15