Palestinians look for their own 'Facebook revolution'

Wednesday, March 02, 2011 |  Ryan Jones

With the success of Internet-driven and organized revolutions in Tunisia and Egypt, the Palestinian Arabs are hoping to use online social media like Facebook to help them achieve greater freedoms and living conditions.

There have already been small demonstrations involving hundreds of Palestinians in the so-called “West Bank” and Gaza. Organizers have scheduled March 15 for massive rallies, and are using Facebook to make sure all Palestinians know to come out and join the event.

But too few know what exactly they are demonstrating against. Will they demand the resignation of Palestinian leader Mahmoud Abbas who, despite his clean-cut look, still presides over a corrupt and repressive regime? Will they take on Hamas rule in Gaza and risk being cut down where they stand? Will they call for renewed unity between Abbas and Hamas? Or will they just turn on Israel and take out their frustration on the “occupation”?

Many in Israel have long argued that the biggest mistake of the peace process was bringing in the PLO under Yasser Arafat (Abbas’ former boss and mentor) as the representative of the Palestinians. That move gave rise to groups like Hamas. But the PLO has too much Western backing to successfully remove - much more backing than Egypt’s Hosni Mubarak had.

Most likely is that even if the demonstrations do not start out as an anti-Israel movement, they will quickly be co-opted by the Palestinian leadership for that purpose. With the wild popularity of Arab street revolutions in the West, there is currently no better propaganda tool to wield against the Jewish state.

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