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Winds of Change

2011-02-21

In a symposium entitled "Winds of Change" organized by the Arab Thought Forum on February 20, 2011, participants emphasized that the revolutions taking place in the Arab world that have been successful in Egypt and Tunisia will act as a key in supporting the Palestinian people‘s revolution against the occupation and must be regarded as a powerful incentive to end the internal division and settle differences. The participants said that the Palestinian people could not survive long division. They explained that it is incumbent on the Palestinian people to end the current problems in conjunction with the state of Arabic revolutions, stressing that all efforts to restore national unity, activate the PLO, and solve the problems of citizens living in the West Bank and Gaza Strip should be devoted to the main struggle with the occupation. The participants called upon the Palestinian people to draw from the lessons of Egypt.


It was noted that it is premature to talk about the effects of the Egyptian and Tunisian revolutions on the Palestinian people, despite the historic and the pivotal role played by Egypt over the past decades in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. Participants stressed that these revolutions have a direct impact on the Palestinian issue. The Egyptian revolution is particularly relevant, due to Egypt’s role in negotiations, its influence over the Palestinian reconciliation process, and its control of the Rafah border Crossing.
The speakers stressed that these revolutions are proof that political Islam, led by the Muslim Brotherhood, is a mere instrument that was used by governments to frighten people, and maintain their dictatorships. Hence, Arab revolutions succeeded thus far due to the inability of the current political systems to develop, resulting in a state of political paralysis. The speakers stressed the importance of the media, especially electronic media, in supporting the revolutions and reaching the masses. They demanded, at the same time, the need to draw lessons from what happened in those  countries ravaged by the winds of change are still rocking systems of other authoritarian Arab governments.


The views of the speakers varied on the role of Egypt over the years in serving the Palestinian cause. Some praised Egypt for its historic support of the Palestinian struggle, from its inception to the present day. Others went as far as to say that Egypt did not employ even 1% of its capabilities in the service of the Palestinian cause. On the contrary, they claimed that in the era of Mubarak, Egypt exert pressure on the Palestinian leadership to appease  the United States and negotiate with Israel, while  encouraging Fatah leadership to refuse to accept the Egyptian paper, which aimed at ending the internal division.
The speakers noted that USA initially tried to contain the Egyptian revolution by attempting to change only the head of the regime, rather than the Egyptian regime as a whole.

Participants  in the symposium include: Nabil Amr, Palestine‘s former ambassador to Egypt,  who spoke about the initiative and the emergence of field leadership, motives, and the implication of what happened in Egypt; the political analyst Hani al-Masri spoke on the impact of media; Qais Abdul Karim, Deputy Secretary-General of the Jhbp Democratic, who spoke on the trends of change in the  Arab region; and finally Uthman Abu, Western member of the Central Committee of Fatah spoke on whether Palestine in the storm.


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