Over 100 volunteers, citizens, and representatives from the Palestinian security forces packed Jenin’s City Call on January 23 for a OneVoice Palestine public meeting entitled, “The U.N. Bid: Reality and Challenges.”
Jenin’s governor, Major General Talal Dweikat, sponsored the meeting, and OVP’s Jenin chapter organized the discussion. This event is part of OVP’s public meetings program, which seeks to link Palestinian leadership with the masses in order to promote confidence between them in cities in the West Bank and Gaza.
“The public meeting program provides a fantastic opportunity for the people to connect with the decision makers in a transparent and direct way,” said Abdallah Hamarsheh, OVP's youth leadership program director.
Notable speakers included Dr. Mohammed Almasri, director of the Palestinian Center for Research and Strategic Studies, who stressed the importance of the peaceful popular actions to end the Israeli occupation and build the independent Palestinian state. Othman Abu Gharbieh, Fatah movement’s Central Committee member, served as the event’s keynote speaker, and spoke to the Palestinian leadership’s take on citizen safety and security, the upcoming Palestinian elections, and the popular non-violent resistance against the occupation adopted by the leadership in light of political changes.
The focus, however, was how the U.N. bid and current Israeli policies create a challenging environment for Palestinian political aspirations.
Abu Gharbieh demonstrated how the Palestinian leadership capitalized on the support of the international community while at the U.N. and how the worldwide support provided an opportunity for the Palestinians and opened new horizons “we didn’t expect.”
But Gharbieh also stressed the importance to continue the non-violent popular resistance, but not at the expense of international support.
The reality and the future of the illegal settlement expansion in the West Bank were also on the agenda. Gharbieh stressed the importance of the Palestinian struggle under the political changes in the region and the establishment of an independent Palestinian state where sovereignty, dignity, and full independence are national demands in the face of the continued occupation. He used the recent Israeli elections as a frame.
"The numbers in the Israeli elections show a clear confusion, as it represents the political, social, and economic reality in Israel," said Gharbieh. "The State of Israel lives in isolation from the international community caused mainly by the arrogance of the Israeli leadership and their settlement policies."
Abu Gharbieh also took time to talk about the Palestinian reconciliation and the need to recover the “people’s spirit,” as he described it, through national Palestinian elections in Gaza and the West Bank. Abu Gharbieh also pointed that a Palestinian reconciliation must not be built on political quotas and should represent a clear image of a Palestinian international political agenda, avoiding the Palestinians an economic crisis.
When asked if the meeting was a success, Mohammed Asideh, OVP's field coordinator and senior youth leader, said he was pleasantly surprised at the meeting’s level of attendance.
"I didn't expect many to attend, but given the nature of these meetings and the subject at hand, I think the people of Jenin are clearly interested in investing their time to know more about the future of the Palestinian independent state and ending the occupation," Mohammad explained.