Palestinian non-violence

melanie sjoberg m_sjoberg at
Tue Oct 24 14:58:43 PDT 2000

The discussion about Palestine on this list seems to be diverting into a rather abstract debate on whether or not the Palestinians are participating in non-violent action.

Micheal Pollack appears to have tackled the nub of that question which is that from a Palestinian point of view throwing rocks against the Isreali military machine is certainly non violent.

More generally spending the last 7 years since Oslo tied up in a peace process with the expectation that it will deliver justice for Palestine has been the pinacle of non-violence. People have patiently waited for a return of their land, their families in refugee camps, hoped for self-determinination and the declaration of a state that has a connection with their Jerusalem.

During this time (and especially since 67) the Palestinian people have endured ever greater incursions onto their land by Isreal. In 1967 there were only 3 settlements across the West Bank and Gaza, by mid 99 there were 195 - this has been a massive extension of the occupation - and at the same time more than 6000 Palestinian homes have been demolished. Palestinians are not allowed to build on 60% of the West Bank and 40% of the Gaza Strip (their land?). In East Jerusalem 15 settlements have been erected for Isrealis while 2500 Palestinian homes have been demolished.

The Palestinian people have in vain expected that UN resolutions, international condemnation and finally the Oslo peace process would halt the march of Isreal. THIS IS NON VIOLENCE.

Meanwhile, they have suffered house demolitions, had ID cards confiscated, been denied access to water, subjected to closures, lack of access to roads and brutal repression.

Palestinians have every right to defend their homeland and express their personal and political frustration with the time and lives wasted by the talking heads. What we should be asking is how can we defend and support that struggle for justice?

South Africa and East Timor were cited in contributions on the list. These took more than a bit of non-violent resistance and especially from where most of us sit the critical question is the international connection.

The struggle against apartheid was greatly boosted by the international campaign of boycotts and mass pressure on governments. The genocide of the East Timorese after the referendum was halted with the assistance of a massive explosion of sentiment across the imperialist countries expressed through huge rallies demanding that it be stopped. In Australia, especially, people sent a clear message to its government that forced them to send in troops to stop the killings.

The US government funds the Isreali government and military, not to mention its solid political endorsement expressed by the refusal of US representatives in the UN to ever condemn Isreal. The Australian government panders to the Isreali government.

The future is certainly not hopeful for the Palestinians but they continue to fight by whatever means they have available. There certainly can be no solution without the active campaigning by those of us concerned about justice to condemn the violence petpetrated by Isreal, demand our own governments end their support for Isreal and demand the withdrawal from the West Bank and Gaza.

Melanie Sjoberg _________________________________________________________________________ Get Your Private, Free E-mail from MSN Hotmail at

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