As a Palestinian I observed the Israeli protest in Tel Aviv. With more than 300,000 people marching last Saturday for social justice, decent living and cheaper housing, the protest grows faster than the Israeli government had ever expected. The movement got a huge support among the Israeli public; the latest poll shows that 90% of the Israeli public stand by the protesters. Yet I can’t help but seeing the whole #J14 (the name used to refer to the protest movement on twitter) fail from Palestinian perspective.
I am going to keep my list short, find below my 3 major reasons why the movement is likely to fail in Palestinian eyes
1- Israel is a democracy that has an elected government; unlike the regimes in Syria and Egypt, the Israeli people chose their parliament, their prime minister, and their local representatives. In other words, the government represents the people, and so whatever the government believes in or the ideologies it holds, it reflects the people who elected it.(do I need to explain more!?) So, as long as those protesters will keep going to the street pointing their fingers to the government with no attempts to make ideological and social reforms among the people themselves, they will probably end up on the streets again in 5 years after a similar government has been elected.
2- The Demands are very general, one of them being ‘social justice’. But social justice for whom? The protesters call for social justice for the people of Israel, better health care, free education starting from the age of 3…etc. Yet, the protesters tend to ignore the demands of the Arab population of Israel. I doubt anyone demanded a better democratic system, more services to the Arab towns and cities. So if you live in Jaffa, Led, Or Arakeeb, don’t even think about getting a building permit, you are not Israeli enough. Read more about the demands here.
3- No Politics; not addressing the occupation nor the Settlements; This is the core issue that worries me as a Palestinian. The protest organizers decided to plot a “Revolution”, “to overthrow the Government” without talking “Politics”. And no this is not a joke. Because obviously to keep the movement popular among the Israelis, the occupation will not be addressed(so what does this tell you about the Israeli Jews?). In other words, the Israeli government approves the building of 900 housing units in Jerusalem in the settlement of HarHoma, while I am writing this post.
Those are my main three reasons why I think The Israeli #J14 movement is going to fail. And maybe someone will comment on this post asking me ‘why does this #J14 concerns the Arab?”. Well, dear, they occupy me, so I have a right to be concerned about it.
Finally, as long as this movement is not addressing the critical issues, they will end up as a major failure. And remember the Egyptian didn’t start in 2011, they started protesting in 2004 demanding Mubarak to step down, 7 years later he is in a cage. It’s no shame if you demanded 100% of your rights with 20% of the people supporting you, but it’s a great shame if you brought 90% of the people’s support, while demanding only 20% of the people’s rights.
I wish I am wrong, but I don’t think I am. But this could be the beginning for more social reforms in the Future, until then good luck. And see you at the checkpoints! .