A letter from the Palestinian Nonviolence Resistance
un articulo por Elias Deis
[slightly abridged from the original which is online at Wordpress.com]
In Palestine, we were taught how to be nice to people and how to respect human beings. I was taught every thing is possible and that we can make the impossible, possible. While I was a child I heard of people talking about peace and coexistence with Israel. Many groups of people tried to achieve it, but I am convinced that Israel is the reason peace has not been accomplished. Israel has not acted like a willing partner in this struggle for peace.
Holy Land Trust organizes weekly nonviolent demonstrations against the Israeli Occupation and building of the apartheid wall over Palestinian land and farms. Since January 2007, Holy Land Trust has organized this event, but I can’t remember, even for one time, that Israel used a nonviolent way to stop us! The armed soldiers, it seems, are always ready to shoot, or use wooden sticks and tear gas.
I have participated in the nonviolence resistance since I started working with Holy Land Trust in March of 2007. I am very happy to see my People (the Palestinians), with the help of some internationals and Israeli peacemakers, to join the nonviolent resistance against the occupation. The number of the participants are increasing, and the idea of resistance against the occupier in a nonviolent way is becoming steadily popular among the society. But the question still lurks: How are the Israeli soldiers supporting these actions? What is their opinion toward the Palestinian nonviolent resistance?
To answer this question I need to begin in 1948, when Israel occupied Palestine. Israel used military tactics to defeat all kinds of Palestinian action against the occupation. Since Palestine is not a armed country and does not have equal power with Israeli, Palestinians had very few ways to defeat the Israeli occupation and gain back their rights and lands. Personally, I have experienced the Israeli violence against Palestinians in the first Intifada when the Palestinians threw stones at Israeli soldiers. Many people were killed in this period, but now we live in a new period. In this new period Palestine is trying a new resistance against Israel, the nonviolent resistance.
Even non-violence does not stop Israel from using violent measures against our peaceful resistance. On Friday, January 25, 2007, I joined the weekly demonstration in Al-Khader village, on the western side of Bethlehem. Demonstrators called to end the Siege of Gaza and to create one land living in Peace. The event proceeded when the Muslim population had their Friday prayer. After, we walked towards the Israeli segregation wall, calling, "End the Siege of Gaza" and "Free Palestine". The Israeli soldiers prevented us to cross to the main road to protest, so we had to start moving back to leave. As we were leaving the tear gas started going off. one of the bombs landed right in front of me. I couldn't breathe and I was running away while my eyes were shut due to the tear gas. I sat on the sidewalk, eyes bloodshot, for 15 minutes trying to breathe fresh air, I felt like I was dying.
Typically, this is the method Israel uses to stop us. Our calls for peace is something dangerous for Israel. I am going insane because I don’t understand what we should do to end the Israeli Palestinian Conflict. I feel defeated by them. While reflecting on the previous methods of resistance by Palestinians, I conclude; throwing stones did not work and suicide bombs definitely did not work. In this new time period we must use the nonviolence method, but even that seems aggressive to the Israeli occupiers. I feel they don’t want us to be peaceful, but I believe that if peace is going to prevail, nonviolence is the only way we can solve our problems.
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The following commentary was first published in Newsday magazine on July 1, 2007. The original is available on the Internet at Newsday.
Israelis, Palestinians must promote peace culture
BY MOHAMMED ABU-NIMER
With shame, hopelessness and helplessness, many Palestinians see their dream for an independent state being dismantled by their own so-called national leaders.
This evolving reality is hard to comprehend, and it has caused the majority of Palestinians, according to a recent survey from the Ramallah-based Palestinian Center for Policy and Survey Research, to blame both Hamas and Fatah leaders for what has happened to them under the Israeli occupation.
Hamas claims to have "liberated Gaza," and in response Fatah leaders declared they are "managers" of the West Bank. As a result, there is no discussion of two-state solution of Israel and Palestine. Instead, Hamas and Fatah seem to support a two-mini-cantons solution in which each leadership can continue to protect its narrow self-interest in cooperation with its patrons (Israel, the United States, Syria, Iran).
Again, the Palestinian leadership has failed its people. The competition between Hamas and Fatah, with each taking control of a portion of the bread crumbs that the Israeli government left when it pulled out of Gaza and agreed to elections in the West Bank, entails disastrous results for anyone interested in securing a free and democratic Middle East.
The Palestinians have been set back several decades, to the time when they were fighting over who should represent them. Now there are too many leaders, voiceless people, and an internal culture of violence that has been nurtured by the Israeli occupation system and the creation and growth over time of various Palestinian paramilitary militias. Both Israelis and Palestinians paved the way by tolerating the corrupt leadership of the Palestinian Authority, thus giving it public legitimacy to operate.
The illusion among certain Israeli and American political forces is that the two mini-cantons eventually will end the Palestinians' demand for a viable and independent state and will bring security or stability to the region.
However, as the history of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict and many other colonial and post-colonial struggles has taught us, a cantonization of the Palestinian national identity will not end people's yearning for their own single country and likely will bring on only higher levels of violence. . ... continuación.