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All rise for the Palestinian anthem

A parody of a nationalistic Palestinian song ridicules the intractable dispute between Hamas and Fatah leaders.

Palestinians take part in a Fatah rally in support of President Mahmoud Abbas in the West Bank city of Ramallah, Oct. 8, 2009. (Fadi Arouri/Reuters)

RAMALLAH, West Bank — Last week, Hamas and Fatah were on the verge of an agreement to end more than two years of civil strife. Then Hamas tore it up, and both sides went back to tearing apart Palestinian politics.

The two main political factions, which respectively rule the Gaza Strip and the West Bank, have tortured and even killed each other’s members. Their dispute has also held up peace talks with Israel. That, you might think is nothing to sing about.

Unless you’re preparing a YouTube parody of a nationalistic Palestinian anthem with the intention of skewering leaders of the two sides as undemocratic schemers.

The parody, which was aired this week on the Arab satellite news channel Al Jazeera, bridged the otherwise intractable differences between Hamas and Fatah, uniting them in upright self-righteousness.

The clip takes the 75-year-old song “Mawteni” (My Homeland) and reworks some of the lines.

The first verse ought to go like this:

“My homeland, My homeland

Glory and beauty, Sublimity and splendor

Are in your hills, Are in your hills

Life and deliverance, Pleasure and hope

Are in your air, Are in your Air

Will I see you? Will I see you?”

Nothing there beyond the idealized boosterism of the average national anthem, as heard all over the world.

But here’s the Youtube/Al Jazeera version:

“My homeland, My homeland

Curse and perversity, Plague and hypocrisy

Are in your hills, Are in your hills

Tyrants and oppressors, Cunning not fidelity

Are in your sanctuary, Are in your sanctuary”

Against a backdrop of images of Fatah and Hamas leaders, the spoof goes on to state that political chiefs “want/to live like slaves/which is certain shame for us.”

The clip, which has been posted in two versions on YouTube, has been viewed by more than 120,000 people online in the last month. Al Jazeera aired it in the middle of a talk show debate between a Fatah leader and a Hamas official.

Both men responded with shock.