Greetings from Nablus in Israeli-occupied Palestine! I am here to
create a course in "fighting peacefully" that would allow all to
engage each other nonviolently and benefit. I share my letter with
our Minciu Sodas working group in Bosnian, hello to all! Andrius,
Mohammed Ghanem, Thank you for your beautiful reply to Eluned Hurn!
And thank you, Eluned, for your inspirational leadership!
Today I met with Dr.Mohammed Sharaqa' and was greatly encouraged.
He's happy with our success engaging the Hawwara checkpoint
We realized that our next step is to approach a local Palestinian
official to get express permission for us to "fight peacefully".
The reason for this is that, understandably, many Palestinians fear
that they might be taken as "collaborators" if they have any contact
with Israeli soldiers, express civility towards them or sympathy for
their positions. We plan to meet with the Nablus city director to
ask for an official declaration of support for Dr.Mohammed Sharaqa's
work to actively advance human rights by "fighting peacefully".
With such a declaration we will be in a strong and safe position to
discuss with Israeli military officers how we might
practice "fighting peacefully" in the most effective and
constructive ways. I emphasize that we are not negotiating but
simply signaling and coordinating our possible actions. That means
that we seek permission from the local leadership on both sides
to "fight peacefully", but that does not constitute any kind of
negotiation between the two sides.
If we do not receive any permission at all, then we can act
regardless, but our first goal is always to be given some sort of
permission and make maximal use of that.
I also met with a class today (I think my sixth lecture so far) and
the students were interested to meet with Jews and debate with
them. I will be in Nablus until December 11th and my hope is that
by then we can position Dr.Mohammed Sharaqa' as an acknowledged
leader for all who wish to practice "fighting peacefully" (if you
would like to practice with us, please let us know!) I am happy
that I am making good progress in writing my course and I hope to
complete a detailed outline or even a small booklet. I am also
happy that, thanks to Awne Anan and his friends, we have a good team
for our MyFoodStory project http://www.myfoodstory.com
collecting stories from farmers and producers about olives, finding
answers and chemistry. I'm very glad that chemist Dr.Nadil Zatar is
providing us direction and inspiration! I would like to create a
questionnaire for the farmers and for the unemployed, translate that
into Arabic, and gather some stories. I would like to visit some
villages. We're meeting tomorrow, Sunday, at 12:15, thank you Awne
for leading us!
Here is my sample letter that the Nablus City Director might write
to Dr.Mohammed Sharaqa':
Our heartfelt thanks to you and the Palestinian Independent
Commission for Citizens' Rights (PICCR) for your devotion to the
human rights of Palestinians and all peoples!
We understand the responsibility of all people to follow their
conscience and their right to discover constructive ways to resist
oppression. We appreciate the bravery of all who take nonviolent
initiative to stand up to aggressors of all kinds from all
directions. We welcome the desire to learn and practice ways of
We ask you and PICCR to coordinate the efforts of such volunteers so
that they might risk no more than is necessary for them to show
their serious, peaceful, loving intent. We understand that the
fundamental principle of fighting peacefully is "look at everything
from their point of view". This principle disarms one's enemy by
having them face and solve their own contradictions. This can be
effective even when engaging officers or soldiers. We confirm that
such fighting, when done openly and honestly, is not collaboration
and should not be considered or labeled as such.
We appreciate the enormous and legitimate frustration of our people
of the Nablus area regarding the checkpoints they must cross. We
permit you to invite and engage all people as might be necessary to
explore peaceful and constructive ways to improve the situation. We
allow you and PICCR to explore, practice and organize peaceful
actions that might be taken, such as:
- Encouraging personal relationships and visits between
Palestinians, Israelis and all peoples.
- Carrying messages and objects of symbolic significance across
checkpoints, such as olive leaves or olive oil soap.
- Organizing the rating of the good or bad behavior of soldiers at
- Wearing symbols and messages in ways that deepen respect for
people's situations, such as the Yellow Star of David.
- Helping people be completely informed by providing a complete
range of information sources, such as through information kiosks.
We understand that you and your volunteers will also need to
practice by addressing simpler issues.
We acknowledge your constructive initiative when you act to:
- Organize and teach volunteers.
- Assist volunteers when they need help and advocate for them when
they wish for it.
- Communicate with officers and soldiers as needed so that your
actions are understood as peaceful and constructive.
We allow volunteers to carry and share this letter. We ask them to
act thoughtfully and to coordinate their actions with you when they
can. Please, do not hesitate to ask for our clarification if you
have any questions.
Thank you for your work for our human rights!
Nablus City Director
That is my suggested letter they might provide.
What do we think? Thank you for writing!
--- In firstname.lastname@example.org, <ms@...> wrote:
> Hi, I just came back from the Hawwara Checkpoint south of Nablus.
I was able
> to speak with the commander about nonviolence. I am happy that
> went very well.
> I took a taxi to the checkpoint. I didn't see where I should go
> with a soldier. I didn't want to go through the checkpoint and
> lines down. A soldier came and opened up a new line that went
> usual lines. So after all his people went through I was able to
give him my
> letter to give to his commander. I stayed a while to see if I
might get any
> response. The soldier came back and had me come through. He
> to the checkpoint commander, a thoughtful twenty-one year old who
> The commander expressed his appreciation that in my letter I was
> think from their point of view. He did have some time to talk.
> introduced me to Miha Ifra, who is the checkpoint's officer for
> between the military and the people who come through Nablus. He
is in the
> military, but not in the Israeli Defense Forces. Miha was also
very kind and
> supportive. He explained how he always tried to think from the
point of view
> of the eighteen or nineteen year old Palestinian. As we talked I
was able to
> speak more frankly about nonviolent resistance. I would seek
> what form of resistance was acceptable. We discussed four ideas
that I had:
> - Smuggling olive leaves. People would write on the back of olive
> their names, phone numbers or emails. They would "smuggle" these
> checkpoints, pass them to each other, so that they ended up in
> people would give them to Israelis or leave them in cafes or other
> where they might be found. The people who find them would
hopefully call or
> write and start person-to-person dialogue.
> - Rating system. A person would stand at either end of the check
> They would hand out cards for rating the soldiers' behavior and
> special comments. They would turn them in to the person at the
> The scores would be tabulated and placed on the web and given to
> commander for possible feedback. As this feedback loop started to
> leaders of the resistance could make additional requests, such
as "today your
> soldiers will say "Happy holidays"" etc. This is a way for people
to feel in
> - Yellow star of David. People going through could wear the
yellow star of
> David. This is a way to provoke the thought that elements of the
> occupation (ethnic cleansing, apartheid, ghettos, detentions,
> checkpoints, collective punishments, disproportionate punishments,
> destruction of private enterprises and public infrastructure) are
> the Holocaust and not justifiable as such. A "Holocaust sister
> program could build on this, pairing Palestinian cities with
> where Jews taken from and killed. I was told by them, "That would
> - Information kiosks. A kiosk could be placed appropriately so
> get the latest instructions and information on nonviolent
> army could also provide its own literature.
> I was told that they were not sure what good such actions would do
in the big
> picture, but I said we could try.
> I understood that these might all be reasonable and the person to
> further with would be Tal Korengold at the army base just outside
> is the army liaison for foreigners. Miha provided me with contact
> information. I said that my next steps would be:
> - Meeting with Tal Korengold.
> - Introducing Dr.Mohammed Sharaqa' of the Palestinian Independent
> for Citizens' Rights
> - Discussing "rules of engagement" for nonviolence so that
> participants receive clear instruction as to what is acceptable
> As we make progress I hope that I and/or Dr.Mohammed Sharaqa'
> these issues on the university students' radio.
> - Exploring how we might have Israelis come to the Nablus area to
> - Learning about the chain of command, what issues are relevant
> Other steps I am thinking about:
> - Learning how Israeli soldiers might be provided with email
> amazing that they don't have it!
> We also talked about having Israelis visit the area to speak with
> and, for example, practice debate. I have been told in Nablus
that it is not
> safe for such guests within Nablus, it is not possible to organize
> protection, and furthermore that such organizers would be looked
> collaborators. (I believe this real "fear of collaboration" is
> problem in the conflict!) However, it could be possible to meet on
> southern side of the Hawwara checkpoint as the Israeli military is
> there. Also, I could ask a local Muslim religious leader to serve
> and provide symbolic protection.
> I have heard much from students and teachers about the soldiers'
> times sadistic. I am greatly encouraged by their supportiveness
> humanity which they showed me. I believe that they will do
> imaginable so that we are successful in fighting peacefully. I
ask us to
> first think of what we might ask of them. And second, I encourage
> think about it from their point of view!
> Meanwhile, outside the window there is a lot of excitement as the
> full of students are waiting for the results of the university
> elections. All the taxi drivers are talking about them. I have
> such an active democratic process in all my life. And it's a
> civil one.
> They just reported the results: Hamas got 70 seats, Fatah got 69.
> hear the chanting?
> Andrius Kulikauskas
> Minciu Sodas
> +370 (699) 30003
> Nablus, Israeli-occupied Palestine
> Data , "ms@..." <ms@...> Raðyta:
> >I will try to deliver this letter today. Do we know of any check
> >commanders who we might approach? Andrius, http://www.ms.lt
> >Dear Hawwara Checkpoint Commander,
> >I ask for your advice.
> >What kind of nonviolent actions do you think would be most
> >I am visiting the Faculty of Law at An-Najah National University
> >course on "nonviolent engagement". I believe that we all benefit
> >how to engage the violent.
> >You are working at the front lines to secure peace for Israel,
> >our world. Your soldiers' work is dangerous, stressful,
> >checkpoints have become the focal points in Palestinians' wish
> >You wish to have the complete range of options. I believe
> >engagement" is an option that you and your soldiers want to excel
> >also the option that you might prefer from others when they
> >I would share with you my work on engaging the violent. I have
> >principles effective in Chicago, where I engaged violent gangs.
> >seen them work in Soviet-occupied Lithuania where nonviolence was
> > The fundamental principle is:
> >- Look at everything from their point of view.
> >In practice, this means:
> >- Be straightforward, let them know who you are
> >- Be thorough, don't skip steps, let there be a clear progression
> >- Be vulnerable, so they take you seriously
> >- Let them win, wish for them to be winners
> >- Seek clarification if confused, let them teach you
> >- Stick to your principles, know what you would live and die for
> >- Have something to share, do something positive for them
> >People are asking me, can these principles work? Can they be
> >checkpoints? I believe they can. I also think that it is
> >practice these principles in small ways. For example, I am
> >Palestinian colleagues how we can engage children so that they
> >rocks or throw them. As we improve in our skills, it is natural
> >will want to apply them at the check points so that they are very
> >and even become unnecessary.
> >My first step is to write to you. I would be happy to:
> >- Speak with you at your convenience by phone or in person.
> >- Understand how I and others might be most supportive of you and
> >difficult work.
> >- Organize for you training of your soldiers in nonviolent
> >think most helpful.
> >- Review with you the nonviolent approaches that I might suggest
> >Palestinians as the most friendly ways to engage Israelis.
> >I understand that you may need to seek approval from your
> >perhaps you know of a checkpoint commander who may be the best
> >to work with. I look forward to your recommendations. Please
write to me
> >ms@... or call me at +370 (699) 30003.
> >What is my interest here? I lead the Minciu Sodas laboratory
> >http://www.ms.lt for serving and organizing independent thinkers
> >world. I am a dual citizen of Lithuania and of the United States
> > I came to Jerusalem to look for Islamic independent thinkers as
> >are key to peace in our world. I am excited to learn that there
> >in nonviolence. Perhaps you are excited, too. This is why I
have come to
> >Another project that our lab is working on is "My Food Story". I
> >to learn of Lt. Col. Fuad Halhal's work to protect the olive
> >would be wonderful to meet with him. How might I do that?
> >I share my letter with our laboratory's working group Fighting
> >http://groups.yahoo.com/group/fightingpeacefully/ I invite you
to join us,
> >please let me know.
> >Thank you for considering my request.
> >Success in your difficult work!
> >Andrius Kulikauskas, Ph.D.
> >Minciu Sodas
> >+370 (699) 30003
> >Vilnius, Lithuania
> >(Currently at An-Najah National University in Nablus until