TEL AVIV — Only 200 Palestinians showed up for what was supposed to be a massive demonstration in Ramallah against Israel’s plans to annex parts of the West Bank, AFP reported Monday.
The Palestinian Authority invested a lot of resources into the success of the rally – including giving the day off for civil servants – but all its efforts were in vain as the crowds failed to gather.
“[On the Palestinian street, mobilization against looming Israeli actions has been muted,” the report said.
“There is fatigue,” Palestinian analyst Nour Odeh told AFP.
“Fatigue from the usual — to stand in Ramallah and wait for the cameras to show how angry we are,” she added.
“You’re talking to yourself, and then what?”
The report noted there was a substantially larger rally in the West Bank city of Jericho last week, “where crowds sang in unison and hoisted banners declaring ‘Palestine is not for sale,’ in condemnation of the Trump plan.”
Several thousands were bussed in by PA President Mahmoud Abbas’s Fatah party, which organized the demonstration, but many left even before the speeches began.
Last week, Breitbart interviewed a slew of Palestinians in the West Bank who said they did not oppose the annexation plan, and would even prefer living under Israeli sovereignty than the PA.
When asked to explain how thousands came to protest the annexation, one man answered people came because they had nothing better to do that day.
“So what? They told us to close the markets, to close the mosques because of corona but they had a huge protest so people came. It makes no sense,” he said.
According to Odeh, Palestinians are frustrated by their leaders who “promised to deliver peace through negotiation, (but) they failed.”
“The PA is so weak! It has no power,” AFP cited a farmer in the Jordan Valley as saying.
Ghassan Khatib, an academic and former PA official, told the news wire that the apathy surrounding the prospect of annexation demonstrates a widening “gap” between the Palestinian people and their leaders.
Part of the problem is “the absence of elections,” he said. Abbas has never called elections despite finishing his term more than a decade ago.
The report cited a poll by the Jerusalem Media and Communications Center (JMCC) and the German Friedrich-Ebert-Stiftung foundation which found 83 percent of Palestinians believe in the importance of elections.
Only 13 percent answered they trusted Abbas and 76 percent responded that the PA is corrupt.
“People have too many problems over their heads in this period” to fight the annexation, Khatib told AFP, and they believe it wont “have a dramatic impact on their day-to-day life.”
I.M., from a village in the northern West Bank, told Breitbart News that he thinks it will be “better to live under Israel[i law]. Anything is better than the Palestinian Authority which just steals our money.”
M. from Hebron said, “Ask me or any of my friends. We all prefer to be under Israel. Maybe we will have better jobs, more pay, anything is better than this.”
According to A, also from the northern West Bank, “the whole world is against the plan” for Israeli sovereignty. “The Jordanians, the other Arabs, the Europeans. But no one has asked the Palestinians what they want.”
Breitbart was compelled to scrub identifying details from the report, which had originally included full names and places of residence, after it emerged that the Palestinian Authority security services had arrested several people who spoke to Israeli media in support of annexation, on the basis of treason.