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Nationalist Slogans Fade From Palestinian Discourse

Despite the recent attacks on Israeli soldiers in the West Bank, many Palestinians are downplaying their connection to the resistance movement and avoiding nationalist rhetoric.
A Palestinian militant stands guard during an anti-Israeli rally organized by Islamic Jihad movement in Rafah in the southern Gaza Strip October 24, 2013. REUTERS/Suhaib Salem (GAZA - Tags: POLITICS CIVIL UNREST) - RTX14MNO

When news spread on Sept. 22 that an Israeli soldier was killed in Hebron in the West Bank, Al-Monitor spoke by telephone with a leading activist in the city's nonviolent popular resistance movement who wished to remain anonymous. His voice sounded uneasy as he explained that he could not ascertain whether the killer was Palestinian, for, he said, the soldier may have died as the result of friendly fire. While unease from an activist in a peaceful resistance movement can be understandable, it has become noteworthy that a new way of thinking may be developing among the Palestinian populace in general.

Palestinians have long chanted an old traditional slogan that goes, “We die so that Palestine may live.” But this slogan is now being rivaled by a new one: “Long may we and Palestine live,” which was adopted this year at the annual festival of Nazareth, commemorating the Palestinian Nakba. It was a slogan sung by Palestinian youth on New Year’s Eve in 2012, as they also chanted in favor of armed resistance and against negotiations with the Israelis, talks that have gone on for two decades without measurable results. Meanwhile, they repeated the ubiquitous “We sacrifice our souls and blood for you, oh Palestine.”

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