In the Report below by the PFLP, over 70,000 demonstrators rallied in Gaza for the leftist Palestinian PFLP. Independent observers put the numbers at 50,000 which is still a significant number Of course, like Israeli politics, Palestinian politics do not easily fit into conventional definitions. For the PFLP, socialism often takes the form of being more militarist than Hamas. And historically with its hijackings the PFLP has been the organisation most consistently in favour of the armed struggle. Nonetheless the PFLP is the only significant leftist Palestinian group today and has been the subject of fierce repression by the Israeli state and its PA client as well as Hamas. For that reason alone it should be supported by the Left outside Palestine. The PFLP is not alone among left nationalist groups in its militarism and an example nearer to home was the IRSP/Irish National Liberation Army in Ireland. The Palestinian left have often distinguished themselves by supporting or being supported by different regimes in the Middle East, those which are nominally opposed to the United States, such as Syria and Iran, rather than the openly pro-imperialist states that Fateh has relations with. The PCHR report beneath also makes dismal reading as it is clear that Hamas is determined to suppress and clamp down on any Palestinian cultural event of gathering which doesn’t have its Islamist stamp upon it. Tony Greenstein
Unity and steadfastness: Over 70,000 rally in Gaza for PFLP 42nd anniversary (see photos)
Over 70,000 cadres, members and supporters of the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine, and the people of the Gaza Strip, converged on Palestine Stadium for the 42nd anniversary rally of the PFLP on December 12, 2009, spilling into the surrounding streets and carrying Palestinian flags, PFLP banners and posters of the Front's martyrs and leaders.
From the early morning hours, crowds of young and old, men, women and children traveled from the various provinces of the Strip and all camps and villages to Gaza City to the rally, answering the call of the Front to attend under the slogan of "Unity, Steadfastness and Resistance - Towards Victory!"
Comrade Dr. Rabah Muhanna, member of the Political Bureau of the PFLP and leader of its branch in Gaza, called for maintenance and escalation of resistance in general and armed struggle in particular against the Zionist enemy, calling for a nationally coordinated resistance framework serving the struggle to regain our rights.
Comrade Muhanna emphasized that the path of negotiations, from Oslo to Annapolis, has clearly reached a dead end, and there must be a declaration by all Palestinian forces of the final death of the path of so-called "negotiations" and the immediate end of the so-called "transitional period," including a complete end of all security coordination with the occupier.
He expressed an urgent call for national unity, saying that it is a necessity for victory and that all political detainees in the West Bank and Gaza must be freed, and unity established on the basis of Palestinian national cause and the Palestinian national interest, responding to the sacrifices of thousands of martyrs, wounded and prisoners: ensuring an independent state with Jerusalem as its capital, self-determination, and return.
Comrade Muhanna saluted the Palestinian people in occupied Palestine '48, in the West Bank, throughout Gaza, in the camps, and throughout the world in diaspora and exile, expressing the Front's complete determination to fight for the achievement of full victory over the criminal, fascist, occupation regime.
He outlined the Front's historical experience in confronting Zionism, as an extension of the struggle of the Arab Nationalist Movement. He said that the Front will continue along the path of its history in the revolutionary struggle to achieve victory and the utter defeat of the criminal Zionist enemy and the entire camp behind it that provides it with its power and aggression and weakens our people and prevents their progress, the imperialist camp and its reactionary arms and components, under the savage leadership of U.S. imperialism.
Comrade Muhanna closed his speech with a call for national unity, invoking the colors of the Palestinian flag and the banners of the Palestinian factions: green for Hamas, white for Fateh, black for Islamic Jihad and red for the PFLP, calling for all of our people to be united together under the complete national flag of Palestine.
Almazah Sammouni, who lost her family in the December 2008-January 2009 aggression on Gaza, spoke, saying "I came here today not to cry or to mourn for my family," the Sammouni family, "who suffered under the fires and missiles of the occupation like thousands of martyrs of our people, but I come to express my pride for their sacrifices and commitment." She called upon all Palestinian forces, particularly Fateh and Hamas, to unite under the banner of the blood of the martyrs and the promise of a better future for our people and children, and to fight to prosecute the occupation and its leaders in international courts for their crimes against our Palestinian people.
Comrade Amna Rimawi, the wife of imprisoned Comrade Majdi Rimawi and head of the village council of Beit Rima, one of the heroes of the legendary October 17 operation that struck Zionist extremist tourism minister Rehavam Ze'evi, spoke at the rally, expressing her greetings on behalf of the families of the prisoners, and calling upon the captors of occupation soldier Gilad Shalit and asking them to uphold the standards they have set for the prisoner exchange, because the families and the prisoners know the only means for their release comes through the resistance.
Mohammad Khalidi, an unemployed Palestinian worker, spoke wearing his work uniform, denouncing poverty and unemployment caused by siege and occupation. He said that "We are are to affirm our steadfastness as workers in the face of the Zionist war machine, the unjust siege, and deadly unemployment."
The rally, chaired by Comrade Hani Al-Thawabteh, member of the Central Committee of Gaza Branch, and Comrade Shireen Abu-Oun, also included poetry, artistic presentations, and dozens of congratulatory messages from the PFLP leadership abroad, Hilda Habash, the wife of the founder, Dr. George Habash, and the General Secretary of the Front, imprisoned Comrade Leader Ahmad Sa'adat, and Abla Sa'adat and Sumoud Sa'adat, his wife and daughter.
Hamas Arrests PFLP Leaders in Khan Younis
Gaza - Ma'an - Hamas officials denied PFLP accusations that de facto government forces had arrested dozens of the party's leaders in Khan Younis, throwing a counter-punch and accusing the leftists of inciting violence and threatening the stability of Gaza.
PFLP leader Kayed Al-Ghoul made the accusation on Wednesday, saying de facto government police had raided the party's headquarters and detained two, taking the ID of a third in the wake of a party statement accusing Hamas of unfairly and harshly implementing a series of tax laws.
A statement from Hamas said both the tax accusations and those of arrests were "inciting rumors distributed by the PFLP to hit the state of stability and security in Gaza."
Hamas spokesman Fawzi Barhoum asked why the party was launching attacks on Hamas, when its leaders in the West Bank "are being arrested and summoned on for interrogation by the Fatah security departments, dozens of its affiliates are arrested, prohibited from the right to resistance and carrying out the ceremony of its anniversary."
Barhoum denied accusations that PFLP members had been detained, saying party members along with its leaders are "granted full freedom of speech in Gaza and is carrying all of its activities and organizing its occasions."
He accused the party of "taking advantage of the wide freedoms" they were granted, but use those freedoms to "call for disturbances" in the coastal enclave.
Palestinian faction warns of 'explosion' over Hamas taxes
On 27 April 2010 the PFLP issued a press release condemning the performance of the government and security services in the Gaza Strip. The press release was entitled "Let the Hamas Government Stop Economic and Social Pressures Practiced Against our People". The PFLP consider that the practices of the government in Gaza – the latest of which involved the imposition of taxes on different sector – aim at increasing the pressure and burden on Palestinian civilians under an already strained economic and social situation. In its press release, the PFLP called upon the Hamas movement and government "To stop these measures and alleviate the suffering of civilians."
Later, the police and security services in Gaza detained many PFLP's members in Khan Yunis, Gaza and Jabalya.
According to PCHR' documentation, on Tuesday, 27 April 2010, the police detained 15 members of the PFLP, including 11 from al-Shati' refugee camp and four from Tal el-Hawa. The detainees were transported to al-Shati' and Ansar police stations, where they were interrogated regarding the press release. During interrogation these individuals were subjected to ill-treatment. PCHR was informed that the 11 members from al-Shati' were released yesterday, at 7:30, while the four others remain in detention.
In Jabalya refugee camp, yesterday, at 1:30, the police detained two members of the PFLP: Abdullah Abu Z'eiter, 25, and Tal'at el-Rafati, 34, while they were at the entrance of the market in the camp. They were interrogated regarding the source of the press release. They were released after a few hours, following the intervention of national figures.
On Wednesday morning, 28 April 2010, members of the police and the Internal Security Service tried to break into the PFLP's office located in the center of Khan Yunis. They attacked some members of the PFLP following verbal insults. According to the testimony of Mahmoud Abu Ras, head of PFLP's office in the eastern area of Khan Yunis, policemen and members of the Internal Security Service tried to break into the office and detained a PFLP member, Saleh el-Saiqlai, 24. They had beaten his father, Ibrahim, 45, a leader in the PFLP, when he arrived at the scene. PCHR was informed of releasing el-Saiqali later.
In light of the above, PCHR:
1. Confirms that these measures taken by the security service in the Gaza Strip constitute a violation of the right to freedom of opinion and expression, which is guaranteed under the Palestinian Basic Law and relevant international conventions.
2. Confirms on the right of political opposition to express political opinion, including criticizing the government, and opposing its policy through all forms ensured by the law, including press releases, peaceful demonstrations and all forms of peaceful protest.
3. Calls upon the government in the Gaza Strip to investigate these measures taken against members of PFLP and to prevent their re-occurrence.
GAZA CITY — A leftist Palestinian faction warned on Tuesday of an "explosion" if the Islamist Hamas movement continues collecting a raft of new taxes in its impoverished Gaza enclave.
The rare harsh criticism of the movement that has ruled Gaza since June 2007 came in response to new taxes that the Hamas-run government says are necessary to address a financial "crisis."
"The pressure that Hamas forces are exerting in Gaza undermine the idea of improving the steadfastness of our people, who are already exhausted," the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP) said.
"The increase in pressure and burdens on our citizens in this miserable economic and social reality will give rise to problems and social maladies and will push the youth towards emigration. "It may push society to rebel against these behaviours, but the explosion will be in the face of the perpetrators," it said.
In recent weeks Hamas has started collecting taxes on a wide range of goods and services, including imposing a tax of up to 30 percent on cigarettes.
The territory of 1.5 million people has been sealed off from all but basic goods since Israel and Egypt tightened border closures following Hamas's bloody seizure of power nearly three years ago.
The economy has largely collapsed and most consumer goods are smuggled in through tunnels beneath the border with Egypt.
Local bank branches in Gaza boycott the Hamas-run government because it is considered a terrorist organisation by Israel, the United States and the European Union.
Earlier this month, Hamas MP Jamal Nassar said that, combined with the Egyptian barrier, has caused a financial "crisis" for the government.
The closures had never previously appeared to have much of an effect on Hamas, which has regularly paid the salaries of some 20,000 civil servants and security forces since it seized power.
Hamas has always been tight-lipped about its financial dealings but is believed to receive considerable aid from Islamic charities, Syria and Iran.
PCHR is Deeply Concerned Regarding Measures Taken By Security Services in the Gaza Strip against Members of the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine PDF Print E-mail
Thursday, 29 April 2010 11:30
PCHR is Deeply Concerned Regarding Measures Taken By Security Services in the Gaza Strip against Members of the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine
The Palestinian Center for Human Rights (PCHR) is deeply concerned by measures taken by security services in the Gaza Strip against number of members in the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP); such measures include the detention of individuals and arise consequent to a press release distributed by the PFLP in Gaza, condemning the performance of the government in Gaza. PCHR confirms that the right to freedom of opinion and expression is guaranteed under the Palestinian Basic Law and relevant international conventions.
Hamas Police Break Up Palestinian Cultural Show
Palestinian Centre for Human Rights Press Release
Date: 25 April 2010
Time: 12:00 GMT
PCHR Condemns Police's Prevention of Show in Gaza City
The Palestinian Center for Human Rights (PCHR) condemns the police's intervention yesterday to prevent convening a show in Rashad al-Shawa Cultural Center in Gaza City, where hundreds of people attended.
According to investigations conducted by PCHR, at approximately 17:40 on Saturday 24 April 2010, a force of the Palestinian police broke into Rashad al-Shawa Cultural Center in Gaza, where the show was being carried out and hundreds of people were attending. The show was organized by "B Boy Gaza"; a local band which includes a number of young people. The policemen cancelled the show, expelled the audience, and arrested six of the show's organizers. The detainees were taken to al-Abbas police station in the center of Gaza City. The policemen confiscated the videotapes and cameras that were used in the show. According to the testimony of one of the organizers, the police forced two of the arrested ones to sign a pledge not to organize shows without obtaining permits from the Palestinian police. PCHR was informed that all of the arrested persons were released.
In light of the above, PCHR:
1. Calls for stopping the unjustified intervention of security bodies and the Ministry of Interior in public freedoms, and for respecting the right to organize public and private meetings, which are ensured legally and constitutionally.
2. Confirms that this show and similar shows are organized in closed halls, which are not included in the Public Meetings Law # (12) of 1998. This Law ensures the right to hold public meetings freely after the organizers send a written notice regarding the meeting to the governor or the police chief at least 48 hours prior to the time of the meeting.
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