In an atmosphere of anger and grief, New Years Eve in Ramallah was turned into a massive show of solidarity with the people in Gaza under constant Israeli bombings. The central square was packed with people carrying Palestinian flags and shouting slogans vowing to continue to fight for their rights.
***image2***The first gathering started at around 10:30 pm at the central square, al Manara, with a few dozen people who marched together to the municipal hall in al Bireh. There, the National Committee to Break the Siege on Gaza, which had organized the evening mobilization, had prepared speeches and arranged for a music group to play national songs dedicated to the steadfastness and resistance of the Palestinians in Gaza. The hall quickly filled.
When shortly before midnight the crowd marched back to the center square, hundreds had already gathered at the municipal hall to stand in solidarity with Gaza. The march towards al Manara was joined by people coming from all directions, eventually merging with a crowd that had already gathered on the square.
Finally thousands were standing shoulder to shoulder in the square and blocking the surrounding streets. The people continued to chant slogans and wave Palestinian flags until two oâclock in the morning, vowing their solidarity with Gaza and continued resistance, calling for unity of the Palestinian leadership and accusing Arab regimes of inaction.
For Palestinians in Ramallah, throughout Palestine, and in the Diaspora this year has started with the bitter confirmation that the Occupation is set to escalate its 60 year old policy of ethnic cleansing and massacres. It has as well strengthened their determination not to surrender and instead to continue fighting for their rights and dignity.