Adonis Diaries

Posts Tagged ‘Martin Luther King-style

Fairer view on the Palestinian rights and cause: The Economist butts in

On May 17th, The Economist published the article “Here comes your non-violent resistance“. I will repost it with a few editing, and add a few comments.

“For many years, we’ve heard American commentators bemoan the violence of the Palestinian national movement.  They would say “If only Palestinians had learned the lessons of Gandhi and Martin Luther King, they’d have had their recognized State long ago”.

Or the American commentators would say: “Surely, no Israeli government would have violently suppressed a non-violent Palestinian national liberation movement, seeking only the universally recognised right of self-determination”.

Palestinian commentators and organizers, including Fadi Elsalameen and Moustafa Barghouthi, have spent the last couple of years pointing out that these complaints resolutely ignore the actual and growing Palestinian non-violent resistance movement.

The first intifada, which broke out in 1987, was initially as close to non-violent as could be reasonably expected. For the most part, it consisted of general strikes and protest marches. In addition, there was a fair amount of kids throwing rocks, and a few continuing threat of low-level terrorism, mainly from organisations based abroad. the Israelis conflated the autochthonous protest movement with “terrorism” and responded brutally.  The first intifada quickly lost its non-violent character.

It is not that different from what has happened over the past couple of months in Libya: It shows that it’s very hard to keep a non-violent movement going non-violent, as the government you’re demonstrating against, subjects you to gunfire for a sustained period of time.

In any case, if you’re among those who have made the argument that Israelis would give Palestinians a State if only the Palestinians would learn to employ Gandhi tactics of non-violent protest, it appears your moment of truth has arrived.  What happened on Nakba Day (the day Israel chased out the Palestinians from their villages and homes to seek refuge in the neighboring States) was Israel’s “nightmare scenario”:  Masses of Palestinians marching (from all the bordering States to Israel), unarmed, towards the borders of the Jewish State, demanding the redress of their decades-old national grievance.”

Peter Beinart writes that this represents “Israel’s Palestinian Arab Spring”: the tactics of mass non-violent protests that brought down the governments of Tunisia and Egypt.  The same mass uprising that are threatening to bring down the regimes in Libya, Yemen and Syria, are now being used in the Palestinian cause.

We have an opportunity to see how Americans will react. “We’ve asked the Palestinians to lay down their arms. We’ve told them their lack of a State is their own fault; if only they would embrace non-violence, a reasonable and unprejudiced world would see the merit of their claims”. Over the weekend, tens of thousands of them did just that, and it seems likely to continue.

If crowds of tens of thousands of non-violent Palestinian protestors continue to march, and if Israel continues to shoot at them, what will we do? Will we make good on our rhetoric, and press Israel to give the Palestinians their State? Or will it turn out that our paeans to non-violence were just cynical tactics in an amoral international power contest, staged by militaristic Israeli and American right-wing groups whose elective affinities lead them to shape a common narrative of the alien Arab/Muslim threat? Will we even bother to acknowledge that the Palestinians are protesting non-violently? Or will we soldier on with the same empty decades-old rhetoric, now drained of any truth or meaning, because it protects established relationships of power?

What will it take to make Americans recognise that the real Martin Luther King-style non-violent Palestinian protestors have arrived, and that Israeli soldiers are shooting them with real bullets?”

A few comments:  The first non-violent Intifada pressured Itzhak Rabin to signing an agreement with Arafat, who was residing in Tunisia at the time.  The second Intifada was crushed in blood by Ariel Sharon in 2002.  Actually, Sharon entered the camp of Jenine and the Israeli tanks run over live Palestinian civilians and children.  Sharon finished the job by poisoning Yasser Arafat and imposing a total curfew on Ramallah that lasted 6 months.

On May 15, 2011, Israeli snipers shot to kill in the head and chest Palestinian marchers on the borders.  Over 20 civilian Palestinians were killed, point-blank with real bullets and over 300 were seriously injured on the borders with Lebanon, Syria (the Golan Heights), West Bank, and Gaza.

Palestine was partitioned into a Jewish and a Palestinian/Arab States in 1947.  Is not partitioning a recognition of a State?  Why the Palestinians had to wait till 2011 for the UN to vote in September for a Palestinian State?  Israel occupied more Palestinian lands in 1948, before the UN recognized the State of Israel.  Should people use brute force to occupy lands and demand the UN to recognize new lands captured by force?  What Israel and the UN call the 1967 borders, lands occupied after the 1967 war, are actually forgetting that Israel had occupied lands in surplus of what Palestine had been partitioned initially.

The US, the UN, Israel may wish that the borders of 1967 will satisfy the Palestinians.  Tough luck:  The UN declaration #194 demands the right of Palestinians to return to their lands, all the lands, before 1947.  The Palestinians have the right to return to their original homes, towns, villages, and get remunerated for lost gains and suffering.


adonis49

adonis49

adonis49

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