Wednesday, 21 September 2011

Chapter 79 A cheap occupation

There were a few hundred people milling about in the Duwar, pushing through stifling heat and crowds of people to get a better look at the stage.

Upon our arrival there were dabke dancers decked out in traditional dress under a massive Palestinian flag. Later that same stage would feature a speech by the governor of Nablus and a Palestinian singer.

Similar events (in some cases demonstrations) were held throughout the West Bank today. Sponsored by the Palestinian Authority, they are meant to be a show of support for the bid for Palestine to become a full member of the United Nations.

Let us ignore for now that the bid has yet to be submitted, and there are rumors that Mahmoud Abbas is holding out for a sweeter smelling invitation back to the negotiation table.

The stage - I didn't realize this until I looked back at the pictures but you can see a PA army dude on top of the building in the background

The flag gate leading off the Duwar and towards the vegetable market

Kids playing with the discarded bottles and plastic

Riding around

To be fair there weren't THAT many pro PA posters considering they organized the event

Nablus's fire engine doesn't make it out all that often

A peanut seller gets in on the action

A group of young men hung out a little ways in the shade of a juice vendor's red and yellow umbrella.

"Of course we're pleased about this! It's an important step."

"Why? How's it going to affect your life?"

"Once we have a state they won't be able to touch us. It's the first step to real independence."
Another said:

"It means a lot to me as a symbolic gesture. As a Palestinian I want to have a real country."

Cut to a few hours later in a taxi; an alternate opinion:

"You want me to be happy? What for? What's this going to do for us? What do I care if half the world acknowledges us? I need Israel to acknowledge us. I want to go to Hawwara (checkpoint) and not see settlers there; not have to deal with IDF soldiers."

He clicks his tongue and smacks his hand on the steering wheel.

"They want to occupy us? Pay our salaries at least! Do something for us. They occupy us and we still have to beg the world for money? I'll tell you something - this is the cheapest occupation I've ever heard of."

As the hubbub goes on and opinions continue to clash, the next few days will show how serious the PA is about the bid as a feasible alternative to the stalled negotiations, or if this is yet another go on the political funride this often feels like.

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