Abbas and PA PM promoted protests at Khan Al-Ahmar
Official PA TV program Free Arena, on Khan Al-Ahmar, a site where Bedouins have constructed illegal structures on Israeli state land (see note below), interview with Committee to Resist Settlements and the Wall member Qassem Awad, and PA Minister in charge of The Committee to Resist Settlements and the Wall Walid Assaf
Committee to Resist Settlements and the Wall member Qassem Awad: “What we have noticed most, in light of the four months we have been through – even though approximately 100,000 citizens have passed through the village in the last four months – but we have noticed something: That the faces repeat. Many official delegations have come here, but the sit-in strike here was temporary, and at its height, when danger threatened the village, the number was always limited.”
Official PA TV host: “How many are we talking about when we say a limited number?”
Qassem Awad: “We are talking about how the greatest number during the regular days of support and the sit-in strike was 300-400 who show solidarity. On Fridays, during the Friday prayers it sometimes reached 2,000 – 3,000, but on regular days there were 300-400 or 200 who show solidarity. This number is not enough to stand against the occupation’s decision to destroy the village.”
Host: “What do you mean by not enough? Do I understand from your words that there is not a lot of solidarity? A state of solidarity with the village? ...There are instructions from the leadership.” ...
Qassem Awad: “In practice regarding Khan Al-Ahmar, [PA] President [Mahmoud Abbas] gave his instructions to all of the popular sectors and to the general public to begin to act and support, and to resist the Israeli decision. [PA] Prime Minister [Rami Hamdallah] helped and gave instructions to all of the Palestinian National Authority government ministries to support the village and strengthen the state of the resolve, and likewise regarding the ministers and commanders of the [PA] Security Forces; there was no obstacle from any one of them regarding support for Khan [Al-Ahmar], but we found few members of our people themselves. The popular situation was a sit-in strike of the elite.” ...
Host: “How do you view the solidarity, the amount of solidarity, in all honesty?”
PA Minister in charge of The Committee to Resist Settlements and the Wall Walid Assaf: “Look, truthfully, more than 100,000 Palestinians have passed through this tent over the last four months. I consider that to be a very significant accomplishment. Having more than 100,000 Palestinians come to this distant place is a huge expression of solidarity. I tell you, there were days when we suffered from the extent of the support, there were waves and waves that came, but those who slept here were hundreds. On the best nights 400-500 people slept here, and this number guaranteed that we will succeed in standing before Israel’s bulldozers in the case of an attack, and it was possible in actuality that it will push Israel to commit a war crime that would cause the ousting of its leaders and their being sent to the International Criminal Court, and that is what we planned. We said that perhaps we will not be able to prevent the destruction of Khan Al-Ahmar, but we can prevent the emigration from being willing. The expulsion needs to be a war crime.”