Israel seems to fear non-violent resistance even more than rockets – it gives the lie to its accusation that all Palestinians are terrorists, shaming it in front of the world. So the village of Bil’in, still demonstrating every week after more than five years against the illegal theft of its land, and joined by a handful of Isralies and internationals, is subject to increasing harassment and physical violence.
Regular demonstrator Roy Wagner reports for +972 magazine
The importance of the PLO has dwindled in the last 25 years except for the members who are involved in the PA. Made up of many different groups, its dominant group, Fatah, has had a long enmity with Hamas, which is not in the PLO. Now PLO-Hamas talks and the success of non-violent actions might bring results, suggests Daoud Kuttab, reviving the PLO and the notion of one voice for the Palestinian people.
Stop the Wall is an organization that promotes non-violent resistance to the Wall and defends its resisters (1). In the early hours of last Tuesday, the IDF raided their Ramallah offices (with or without PA connivance? – 4) and removed valuable computer equipment and records (2). While most see this is as an attack on civil resistance, the IDF says the raid was to prevent ‘terror’ activity (3).
Mustafa Barghouti, a medical doctor and co-founder of the Palestinian National Initiative, talks to Elsa Rassbach about the potential and advantages of non-violent resistance to the violent Israeli occupation. He is trying to expand the political space between the colluding PA and the sectarian and violent Hamas leaderships to allow a popular non-violent movement to come through.
Hard on the heels of Julian Mer-Khamis’s murder in Jenin we have the equally tragic killing of Vittorio Arrigoni, an Italian Peace Activist in Gaza. Richard Silverstein rages and weeps at this latest development.
And Jared Malsin remembers.
Two writers and activists from the new Israeli left tell the story of its emergence in the joint struggle Of Palestinians with Israelis against the wall at Budrus, Bil’in, Nil’in – and now with Solidarity Sheikh Jarrar, against the expulsion of Palestinians from their homes in East Jerusalem, and against the expulsion of Bedouin from their villages in the Negev.
“We are going to places where the occupation and expulsion actually take place, and we do it together with the local community,” says Avner Inbar, an activist with Solidarity Sheikh Jarrah. “We are not that interested in large rallies in Tel Aviv, where Jews stand on their own and declare that the occupation is wrong. We want to confront racism and discrimination where they happen. This joint effort, together with the local Palestinian communities, is something new for everyone involved in it, and for many people it becomes a transformative experience.”.
Events are taking place too quickly and in too many countries for anyone to have a comprehensive, informed overview of developments. We’ve put together a few links to what we hope are useful articles dealing with Libya, Bahrain, Egypt, Jordan…
If you read just one thing let it be As’ad AbuKhalil’s 300-word contribution.
Updated Sat 26 Feb 10.4am
Larry Derfner predicts the end of the occupation. He writes that no good way of ending it was presenting itself: “And then came Tunisia. And Egypt. And Iran, and Yemen, and Bahrain, and Libya, and no one knows where this is going to stop.
And it became pretty clear to me that this is how Israeli rule in the West Bank is going to end – through Palestinian people power. Masses of Palestinians, tens of thousands, hundreds of thousands, marching to IDF checkpoints and outposts, marching to Israeli-only roads, to settlements, to the security fence – to the nearest Israeli presence and screaming, “Out! Out!””
JfJfP signatory, Lynda Renham-Cook, speaks with the Amireh family who have fought against the construction of the Ni’lin wall – and been imprisoned and shot because of it.
On Saturday night Israel’s most-watched news program on Channel 2, aired a 10-minute “Special Report” on the weekly demonstrations in the Palestinian village of Bil’in. Haggai Matar of Anarchists Against the Wall was there. Despite his best efforts, Palestinian protestors were written out of the story!
The IDF has excelled itself this time – it is now on its fourth explanation for Jawaher Abu Rahmah’s death. She died after inhaling CS (tear) gas in Bil’in, but the army first claimed she wasn’t there, then that she had cancer and died; now it appears her doctors killed her with atropine, according to a new IDF “investigation published in Israeli media outlets. But the official IDF spokesman’s office denies it! The investigation, it says, is ongoing… The author if the earlier briefings was the commander of the Central Command, Major-General Avi Mizrahi. He seems to operate quite independently of the IDF Spokesman’s office, telling lies and sewing doubts and confusions which the Israeli hasbarista bloggers seize on with relish.
JfJfP has sent its congratulations to Dr. Eyad El-Sarraj, founder of the Gaza Community Mental Health Programme in 1990 and in the forefront of efforts to promote national reconciliation between rival Palestinian political groups, who has just won the Olof Palme Prize
Jonathan Pollak was sentenced to three months in gaol for protesting about the siege on Gaza: “Your Honor, once found guilty, it is then customary for the accused to ask the court for leniency, and express remorse for having committed the offense. However, I find myself unable to do so. From its very beginning, this trial contained practically no disagreements over the facts. As the indictment states, I indeed rode my bicycle, alongside others, through the streets of Tel Aviv, to protest the siege on Gaza… The subject of my alleged offense, as well as the motivation behind it were political. This is something that cannot be sidestepped. The State of Israel maintains an illegitimate, inhuman and illegal siege on the Gaza Strip, which still is occupied territory according to international law. This siege, carried out in my name and in yours as well, sir, in fact in all of our names, is a cruel collective punishment inflicted on ordinary citizens, residents of the Gaza strip, subjects-without-rights under Israeli occupation…”
Your web-poster was away as the Abu Rahmeh story unfolded. He returned to a great gefaffel. The IDF, refusing to entertain the possibility that Abu Rahmeh had died from tear gas, threw in everything including the kitchen-sink, to divert attention from its possible complicity in this death. In this short posting Jeremiah Haber unravels what we know and what we don’t know of the event. As he shows, there is no “conflict of narratives” since there is no Israeli counter-narrative, merely a story the IDF doesn’t like…
We also carry some earlier postings on the story by Jeremiah Haber and others, and Robert Mackey’s overview of Israeli bloggers’ responses.
Last month, Abdallah Abu Rahmah’s year-long prison sentence for nonviolent civil disobedience in the West Bank, came to an end. But an Israeli military court refused to release him, on the grounds that he would resume his activities if freed. Michelle Goldberg reports. Plus a recent letter from prison from Abdallah Abu Rahmah…
The government has promised Israel that the law on universal jurisdiction will be modified, to make it possible for Israelis suspected of war crimes to be able to visit Britain with relative impunity. But it all seems to slow for Israel: last week, while Foreign Secretary William Hague was on an official visit to Israel, it was announced that the latter was suspending “strategic dialogue” with Britain. The next day (no connection at all) William Hague met with Palestinian anti-Wall activists and is reported to have said that: “When negotiations seem like an eternally unfulfilled promise due to Israel’s unwillingness to reach a fair solution, popular resistance to the Occupation is the sole remaining possible alternative for the Palestinians to achieve their rights and avoid armed struggle.” Mazel tov!
Breaking the Silence (BTS) has been nominated for the annual prize by the Greens and European United Left groups. The winner will be announced later this month.
Budrus is an award-winning feature documentary film about a Palestinian community organizer, Ayed Morrar, who unites local Fatah and Hamas members along with Israeli supporters in an unarmed movement to save his village of Budrus from destruction by Israel’s Separation Barrier. It has just been released in the UK and the US. See it at all costs…
The non-violent resistance against the wall and confiscation of their lands by the Palestinians of Bil’in has been one of the most inspiring struggles of recent years. Here Iyad Burnat of the Bil’in Popular Committee tells the story, a powerful complement to that of Budrus (see posting above)…
Silwan, a neighborhood of Arab East Jersualem, is on the front lines of Israel’s settlement project. Militant settlers are moving in under cover of archaeological digs and claims that Silwan is the site of the biblical City of David. Israeli protesters are mounting a challenge to the settlers and the state’s complicity with them, in actions coordinated with local Palestinians that mirror the campaigns against the wall in the West Bank.
Joel Beinin reports on the new protest generation…