RAMALLAH, Feb 12 (JMCC) - Egyptian and Palestinian flags entwined in Manara Square in Ramallah
Friday evening where Palestinians celebrated the resignation of Egyptian president Hosni Mubarak with confetti and blow horns.
Mubarak, Egypt's third and longest-serving president, resigned following 18 days of mass protests in Egypt against his 30 years of rule one day after he appeared on state television refusing to resign.
We are so happy for the Egyptian people and all of the Arab world, said one female demonstrator who refused to give her name. This gives us great hope that the people have power and their voices matter.
Another Palestinian said he was more circumspect. This does give us hope, but at the same time, I feel like it might be false hope. Just because he stepped down, it doesn't mean there is a guarantee for real democracy. I don't want to be pessimistic, but history has shown us disappointment only.
Palestinian government spokesman Ghassan Khatib
told the German Press Agency dpa that we hope and expect that the change will be to the better of the Egyptians and Arabs in general.
While the public's celebration was a reverberation of Egypt’s successful protest movement, references to the Palestinian struggle were apparent.
We have hope for us too now, said one man.
Within Egypt-inspired chants were direct messages to Palestinian leaders: “Abbas and Haniyeh,” the crowd roared, referring to the leaders of the two main but rival factions, Mahmoud Abbas
and Ismail Haniyeh
, “Respect the opinion of your people.”
The euphoria had an air of confidence that was lacking just a week ago when protesters took to the same streets in support of Egyptians and chanted cautiously, without any direct reference to the Palestinian Authority
or the Palestinian president Mahmoud Abbas.
The first attempted Egyptian solidarity protest in the West Bank
was broken up violently by security forces, drawing criticism by human rights groups. The following protest, which took place three days later and received a permit, was met peacefully by the authorities but ultimately disrupted by Abbas and Fateh loyalists.
“There is a pattern that is beginning to form,” said Rami Odeh, a Nazareth-native who works in Ramallah and attended the celebration.
“It’s still too early to tell to know for sure, of course, but just in two weeks, we have seen a higher tolerance level in how our government is responding to these protests. And from that, we can speculate that the government is listening more carefully to the people.”