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Peaceful Palestinian Resistance Paying Off

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  • Dan Clore
    News & Views for Anarchists & Activists: http://groups.yahoo.com/group/smygo http://tinyurl.com/ye3t3zl Peaceful Palestinian resistance is paying off Forget
    Message 1 of 1 , Feb 12, 2010
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      News & Views for Anarchists & Activists:

      Peaceful Palestinian resistance is paying off
      Forget rock-throwing teens. Growing peaceful Palestinian resistance
      could tip the conflict.
      By Ben White
      posted February 11, 2010 at 9:18 am EST

      Bethlehem, West Bank —

      For many, the idea of Palestinian resistance is synonymous with
      terrorism, conjuring up images of suicide bombings and rockets. This is
      a distortion shaped by the media and our politicians.

      Beyond the headlines, Palestinian resistance has always included
      nonviolent tactics.

      Today, in rural villages from Bilin and Jayyous to Nilin and Beit Ommar,
      this kind of Palestinian persistence against Israel’s separation barrier
      and illegal settlements is paying off – and attracting the participation
      of international supporters and Jewish Israelis.

      Palestinians have been using classic nonviolent strategies such as
      strikes, demonstrations, and civil disobedience since before the modern
      state of Israel came into being in 1948. But recently, new momentum,
      fresh media attention, and an increasingly harsh crackdown by Israeli
      occupation forces have thrust these strategies into the spotlight.

      This newfound attention, however, comes with a danger of double
      standards, and a distortion of the root causes of the conflict.

      For example, Western media and politicians cheer the rise of nonviolent
      Palestinian resistance, but why do they not urge Israel to adopt the
      same nonviolent standards? Why is it only Israel that is repeatedly
      granted the “right of self-defense”? The hypocrisy is heightened because
      it is the Palestinians who are fighting to secure basic rights such as

      The core of the conflict is not Israel’s “security” but rather
      decades-old Israeli policies designed to ensure the domination of one
      group at the expense of another. So it is a critical error to think that
      by renouncing armed struggle, the Palestinians could change Israel’s
      fundamental goals.

      But that’s not stopping the protesters from challenging the occupation.
      Israel’s escalating crackdown suggests that the movement is not only
      already considered a threat to Israel’s apartheid-style rule, but also
      has the potential to develop into something more important. In recent
      months, Israel has targeted leaders such as Jamal Juma, Mohammed Khatib,
      Mohammad Othman, and Abdullah Abu Rahme with detention without trial and
      trumped-up charges.

      Mr. Othman, who was snatched by Israeli troops and kept in prison for
      106 days without charges, says that the strength of the popular
      resistance – “an initiative from every farmer, every Palestinian who
      can’t access their land, and not belonging to any political party” – has
      shaken the Israeli military into launching this wave of raids and

      Israel, which markets itself as the region’s only democracy, has also
      snatched dozens of villagers in night raids over the past 18 months.
      Since 2005, 18 Palestinians have been killed and more than 1,500 have
      been injured in antiwall protests.

      These popular protests have also begun to draw attention from senior
      Fatah and Palestinian Authority (PA) figures. Some of these leaders
      speak highly of peaceful resistance but have directed only limited funds
      to support it. Indeed, during Israel’s criminal attack on Gaza last
      year, PA forces suppressed demonstrations.

      It is important that this resistance avoid being co-opted for political
      purposes, especially since it’s the antithesis of the PA: non-elitist,
      democratically accountable, and challenging the occupation’s control –
      as opposed to be being part of it.

      Perhaps the main challenge of this movement, however, is in becoming
      genuinely popular. Weekly demonstrations by committed activists are one
      thing; the need is for organized, mass actions involving Palestinians
      from diverse backgrounds.

      The need for “collective political action on a sustained level” was
      highlighted recently by Palestine Solidarity Project co-founders Mousa
      Abu Maria and Bekah Wolf on the popular Mondoweiss website. They pointed
      out the lack of “spadework” in getting “people from all social classes
      and walks of Palestinian life” involved.

      Sami Awad, head of the Bethlehem-based Holy Land Trust, says that
      nonviolent resistance needs to be understood as being more than just
      marches. “It’s about practical noncompliance with the occupation,” he says.

      While Israel does its best to quash the struggle against its
      antidemocratic regime, the movement’s potential hinges on key choices
      and strategies from Palestinians themselves – as well as the
      international response to a 21st-century anti-colonial fight for
      equality and basic rights against a thus-far unaccountable international

      • Ben White, a freelance journalist, is the author of "Israeli
      Apartheid: A Beginner's Guide."

      Dan Clore

      New book: _Weird Words: A Lovecraftian Lexicon_:
      My collected fiction: _The Unspeakable and Others_
      Lord Weÿrdgliffe & Necronomicon Page:
      News & Views for Anarchists & Activists:

      Skipper: Professor, will you tell these people who is
      in charge on this island?
      Professor: Why, no one.
      Skipper: No one?
      Thurston Howell III: No one? Good heavens, this is anarchy!
      -- _Gilligan's Island_, episode #6, "President Gilligan"
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