12/18/2009, 00.00
PALESTINE
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Palestinians “disgusted” and “disappointed” by bickering between Hamas and Fatah

For journalist Samir Qumsieh, “no one knows where we are going” and “every day many things happen but nothing changes.” We seem to be “in a blind alley.” The Christian community suffers the most from this paralysis.
Bethlehem (AsiaNews) – “People are tired and disgusted by this ridiculous if not tragic situation,” said Samir Qumsieh, the Catholic editor and director of private broadcaster Al-Mahed Nativity TV, as he described to AsiaNews the state of mind of most Palestinians today. Qumsieh refers to the situation as one of “paralysis” that “will not end any time soon.”

On the one hand, there is the confrontation between Hamas and Fatah, postponed elections, the extension of Mahmud Abbas’ presidency. On the other, talks with Israel are at a standstill whilst Jewish settlements in East Jerusalem and the West Bank continue and talks over the release of captured Israeli soldier Gilad Shalit in exchange of Palestinian prisoners are at a standstill.

“It is clear that Israel has an interest in seeing Palestinians tear at each other to justify its opposition to a two-state solution,” the director of Al-Mahed Nativity TV said, “but the same is true for Hamas for whom avoiding reconciliation with Fatah means doing whatever it wants in Gaza.”

For Qumsieh, extending Abbas’ presidency is the “only way possible to avoid a power vacuum, but it does not offer any prospects for the future. Every day many things happen but nothing changes,” he said. “There is too much bickering and the future looks bleak.”

Christmas is coming and New Year celebrations are just around the corner, but most people in the Territories feel “disgusted” and “resigned”.

“We have so many needs and the same problems continue, with more being added. The wall, joblessness, restricted movement are even heavier burdens to carry in a situation of uncertainty.” People are suffering “because no one knows where we are going. We are in a blind alley,” he lamented.

The Christian community is suffering the most from this “situation of paralysis.” Indeed, according to Qumsieh, recent anti-Christian graffiti in Jerusalem (see “"Death to Christians": Hebrew graffiti next to Upper Room in Jerusalem,” in AsiaNews 12 December 2009) are but the latest example of something that is almost a daily occurrence.

“Let us not forget that for the Israelis we are Arabs, and that for the Arabs we are Christians,” the journalist explained. “We are always something else and are caught between the two main groups, exposed to their most extremist fringes.”

If obscene Hebrew graffiti are written in Jerusalem against Jesus and Christians, he said, in Gaza the community is getting smaller and smaller “and not only because of Israel’s embargo against the Strip.”

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