Posts Tagged ‘Siedlungsbau’

Israel: Der grosse Bluff

Freitag, September 23rd, 2011

“A diplomatic bid to call Israel’s bluff

By David Gardner in London

The diplomatic crisis at the UN triggered by the Palestinians’ attempt to win recognition as a state may or may not advance their quest for justice and self-determination. But what it has started to do is strip away layer after layer of the cant and duplicity that has enveloped the so-called peace process.

The starting point for any consideration of the Palestinians’ diplomatic gambit is that the negotiations that appeared to promise so much after the 1993-95 Oslo accords have not ended the Israeli occupation of their land. Mahmoud Abbas, successor to the late Yassir Arafat as Palestinian president, has eschewed violence and staked everything on negotiations. He has nothing to show for it except the ruin of his reputation (…).”

Weiterlesen….

 

(Quelle: Financial Times.com)

UN: Leiterin der Nothilfe bekräftigt Rechte der PalästinenserInnen

Dienstag, Mai 17th, 2011

“oPt: ERC Amos calls for violence to end in the West Bank and Gaza

ERC Valerie Amos visited Ramallah, East Jerusalem and Area C of the West Bank on 15 May, a day of violent protest in the occupied Palestinian territory.

In Ramallah, Ms. Amos met with President Mahmoud Abbas and also with Prime Minister Salam Fayyad. The ERC reiterated the determination of the United Nations and the humanitarian community as a whole to continue to assist those in need in the occupied Palestinian territory, particularly in areas where the Palestinian Authority cannot fully operate. She expressed her support for the Palestinian Authority and reaffirmed the United Nations’ commitment to the right of the Palestinian people to self-determination, statehood, sovereignty and freedom from occupation.

Ms. Amos visited a school in Khan Al Ahmar, in the Al Jahalin Bedouin community in Area C. Area C comprises 60% of the West Bank but is still under full Israeli military and civilian control. The Al Jahalin school is scheduled for demolition, because the community have not been able to obtain a building permit due to restrictive and inadequate planning policies. Ms. Amos stressed that there can be no justification for depriving children of an education.

Palestinians are utterly frustrated by the impact of Israeli policies on their lives. They can’t move freely around their territory. They can’t plan their communities. They are evicted from their homes. Their homes are regularly demolished,” said Ms. Amos. “I don’t believe that most people in Israel have any idea of the way planning policies are used to divide and harass communities and families. They would not themselves like to be subjected to such behaviour.”

Also visiting the East Jerusalem neighbourhoods of Sheikh Jarrah and Silwan, she met families evicted from their homes to make way for settler communities and saw first hand the impact of restrictive planning policies and the growing Israeli settler presence in the area. She also heard reports of increasing settler violence. With more than 1,000 Palestinian residents in Silwan currently threatened with displacement, people are living in an atmosphere of constant friction and tension. Silwan has been the centre of violent activities in recent days.

Commenting on Sunday’s events, Ms. Amos said, “I am extremely concerned at the level of violence today, and at the number of deaths and injuries in the region. The situation cannot continue in this way. It is innocent people who are losing their lives.”

More>> OCHA Press ReleaseOCHA oPt webiste – Report: ‘East Jerusalem: Key Humanitarian Concerns’   [EnglishArabicHebrew]”

 

(Quelle: OCHA.)

Israel/Palästina: Hilfsflotte voraus!

Mittwoch, Mai 4th, 2011

Bringing the world's solidarity to Gaza

Kevin Ovenden, a leader of the Viva Palestina effort to break the siege of Gaza, looks at the context for the new solidarity initiatives that will be launched this month

Protesters in Los Angeles march in solidarity with the people of Palestine (David Rapkin | SW)

A SECOND, larger aid flotilla is due to sail towards Gaza at the end of May, around the anniversary of Israel’s murderous attack on the Mavi Marmara on May 31 last year, in which Israeli commandoes shot dead nine Turkish activists.

Freedom Flotilla 2 is set to be more than twice the size of the first mission, which had six ships. It will comprise hundreds of activists from dozens of countries, east and west. It takes place as unprecedented radical change sweeps the Arab region.

The attack on the Mavi Marmara in international waters was a turning point in the movement of solidarity with the Palestinian people. Far from intimidating efforts to end the siege on Gaza and support the Palestinian struggle, Israel’s massacre spurred them on and amplified the calls to isolate apartheid Israel through boycott, divestment and sanctions. Five months after the Mavi Marmara attack, Viva Palestina entered Gaza with a land convoy through the Rafah crossing controlled by Egypt. For the first time, we were able to take in all of our 137 vehicles and aid.

Support for the new flotilla is broader than last year, and the Israeli government of Benjamin Netanyahu is desperate to stop it.

In March, Netanyahu summoned European ambassadors in Tel Aviv and told them that the flotilla had “to be stopped.” The U.S. government and Britain have joined Israel in launching a diplomatic offensive at the UN designed to block the flotilla. Israeli media reports that Mossad and military intelligence have been ordered to spy on left-wing organizations in the West as part of the huge effort to stop the ships. Pro-Israeli propagandists are at full tilt attempting to smear the flotilla as a puppet for al-Qaeda or violent jihadism. Netanyahu has refused to rule out a repeat of last year’s massacre.

But the threats are more a sign of the isolation of Israel than of its strength. Despite closer relations with the government of Greece over the last two years, Israel has so far failed to secure Greek cooperation in halting the flotilla.

Israel’s appeals to the Turkish government, which faces an election on June 12, have also been spurned. The attack on the Mavi Marmara united broad sections of Turkish society against Israel, further undermining what had been a strategically central alliance between the two states under the aegis of the U.S. for decades.

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CRUCIALLY, THIS mission to Gaza takes place in profoundly different regional circumstances than in 2010.

Last year, Israel could look to its borders and see two friendly regimes–in Egypt and in Jordan–which were full partners in the suppression of the Palestinians. In a third state, Lebanon, there was the government of Saad Hariri, pro-American and hostile to the national resistance movement led by Hezbollah, which inflicted a military defeat on Israel when it invaded the country in the summer of 2006. On the fourth border was Syria, whose regime was opposed to Israel, but at least a known quantity.

Now, Hariri is out and the national resistance forces in Lebanon are in a stronger position. The Syrian regime faces a raging uprising, but neither the U.S. nor Israel are sure that what might emerge will be amenable to their interests. The Jordanian monarchy faces demands for far-reaching reform and renewed activism, including from the two-thirds of its population that isn’t Palestinian.

Above all, Israel’s key ally–without whom the siege on the people of Gaza could not have been maintained–Hosni Mubarak has fallen to the most important revolution in the Arab region thus far. There is now mounting pressure in Egypt to change the 34-year policy of collaboration with Israel.

The issue of Palestine was a cornerstone of the decade-long political renaissance that preceded the eruption in Tahrir Square this year. The first political space for many years carved out under the Mubarak dictatorship was 10 years ago when students and young people took to the streets in support of the Al-Aqsa Intifada in Palestine. The sense of national shame that Mubarak closed the Rafah border just as Israel launched Operation Cast Lead on the people of Gaza starting in December 2008 increased the discontent at domestic repression and immiseration.

Thus, even the transitional military regime in Cairo is feeling the pressure to end the siege on Gaza. Egyptian Foreign Minister Nabil Al-Arabi told the BBC early in April, “We have made it very clear from the beginning of this government that has now been in power for about six weeks, that we are turning a new page in our foreign relations. We are reviewing all our major interests in foreign policy.”

There are demands both to open the Rafah crossing fully and to end the sale of natural gas to Israel at heavily subsidized prices. The government and mainstream opposition forces have declared that they will respect the Camp David peace treaty with Israel. But there is considerable room for maneuver for any Egyptian government to respond to pressure to support the Palestinians without formally rescinding Camp David. As Max Rodenbeck, chief Middle East writer for The Economist, says:

Almost anyone, whether it’s a pro-Western liberal, or some sort of Islamist representative of the Muslim Brotherhood, will want to make Egypt more independent and readopt the role of strong regional player. I imagine we will see a little bit of distancing from the U.S., probably more chill in the Egypt-Israel relationship.

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THE YOUTH-led Arab revolutionary wave is also having an impact in Palestine itself–in Gaza, in the West Bank and in pre-1948 Palestine. Tens of thousands of young people have taken to the streets demanding national unity forged in the spirit of the new politics born in the revolutions in Tunisia and Egypt.

Their ire has been particularly focused at the corrupted administration on Mahmoud Abbas, president of the Palestinian Authority. He in turn has felt forced to engage more seriously, with moves towards reconciliation with Hamas, which won Palestinian elections in 2006, but was targeted by Israel and the U.S. with the siege of Gaza.

The dependence of Abbas’ regime on the U.S. and Israel remains acute. But in a further sign of vulnerability, Israel and its propagandists, such as American Israel Political Action Committee, are warning that they can no longer rely on Abbas, rehearsing the line of 10 years ago that “Israel does not have a partner for peace.”

Many questions remain. Certainly, both the U.S. and Israel are attempting to regain the initiative following the blow they suffered with the fall of Mubarak. They want to carve out from the Arab upsurge a process designed to transform it into pro-Western regime change, which will bring to power governments that will normalize relations with Israel.

So Israeli President Shimon Peres recently adopted a different tack from Netanyahu, who cleaved to Mubarak up to the last minute. Peres wrote that he was in favor of the “Arab spring”–Israeli political leaders prefer not to use the word revolution–and of democracy in the Middle East. By democracy, he meant liberal capitalism and states that would accept Israel’s dispossession of the Palestinians.

But pulling that off–through military intervention directly in Libya, by the use of proxy forces against pro-democracy demonstrations in Bahrain and by cohering pro-Western forces across the region–is fraught with difficulties, because the main driving force of the upheaval is in opposition to Western and Israeli interests.

In Egypt, just 14 percent of the population has a positive view of the U.S., and fewer still of Israel. The U.S. dilemma is that its attempts to pose as a friend of the popular Arab movements are hamstrung by its craven support for Israel. The U.S. recently wielded its veto yet again at the UN to block a resolution condemning illegal settlement building.

It is into this mix that the flotilla is sailing. It was already apparent last year that the context for solidarity with the Palestinians was changing. Not only was there a wider base for the movement in the West, as Israel frittered away its ideological and political capital, but there were also signs of growing activism within the Arab region.

Events now have vindicated the strategic view that to be most effective, the Palestinian solidarity movement should connect with wider social and political forces in the Middle East. Support for the flotilla provides a vital opportunity to do just that.

It is not only in North America and Europe that people stand poised to take action to support the flotilla. They are also preparing in Jordan, Egypt and across the Arab region.

Solidarity with the Palestinians now is not only a blow against Israel’s policies. It is in a very direct sense an act of furthering the revolutionary processes in the Middle East that hold out the prospect of liberation.

 

(Quelle: SocialistWorker.org.)

Israel: Freiheit für Abdallah Abu Rahmah! (KAMPAGNE)

Mittwoch, August 25th, 2010

“Earlier today, Abdallah Abu Rahmah, the coordinator of the Bil’in Popular Committee, was convicted of incitement and organizing illegal marches by an Israeli military court. The conviction concluded an eight months long political show trial, during which he was kept behind bars.

Persecuted for his key role in organizing the successful grassroots campaign against the wall and Jewish-only settlement on Bil’in’s land, Abdallah was convicted based only on the forced testimonies of minors who were arrested from their beds at the middle of the night. not a single material evidence was presented during the entire trial.

We are now waiting for Abdallah’s sentence, but he is facing years in jail. Now is the last moment act up on his case, and it is still not too late.

Last year, on the night of International Human Right Day, Thursday December 10th, at 2am, Abdallah Abu Rahmah was arrested from his home in the West Bank city of Ramallah. Seven military jeeps surrounded his house, and Israeli soldiers broke the door, took Abdallah from his bed and, after briefly allowing him to say goodbye to his wife Majida and their three children — seven year-old Luma, five year-old Lian and eight month-old baby Laith — they blindfolded him and took him into custody.

Help us send the message that Abdallah Abu Rahmah and the other prisoners of the popular struggle must be protected.

Abu Rahmah did not find himself behind bars because he is a dangerous man. Abdallah, who is amongst the leaders of the Palestinian village of Bil’in, is viewed as a threat for his work in the five-year unarmed struggle to save the village’s land from Israel’s wall and expanding settlements.

As a member of the Popular Committee and its coordinator since it was formed in 2004, Abdallah has represented the village of Bil’in around the world. In June 2009, he attended the village’s precedent-setting legal case in Montreal against two Canadian companies illegally building settlements on Bil’in’s land; in December of 2008, he participated in a speaking tour in France, and on 10 December 2008, exactly a year before his arrest, Abdallah received the Carl Von Ossietzky Medal for Outstanding Service in the Realization of Basic Human Rights, awarded by the International League for Human Rights in Berlin.

Last summer Abdallah was standing shoulder to shoulder with Nobel Peace laureates and internationally renowned human rights activists, discussing Bil’in’s grassroots campaign for justice when The Elders visited his village. This summer, he may be sent to years in prison, exactly for his involvement in this campaign.

Abdallah’s outrageous conviction today will be followed by a sentence in the coming weeks. The amount of pressure we will be able to generate in this time could influence Abdallah’s sentence, but will also make clear to Israeli authorities that the repression of the popular struggle does have a political price.

Please use the below template letters we have prepared to ask your Minister of Foreign Affairs to send an official inquiry to the Israeli government about Abdallah. Demand that your country apply pressure on Israeli officials to release Abdallah Abu Rahmah and stop targeting popular struggle.”

 

(Quelle: Popular Struggle Coordination Committee.)

Israel: Militär versucht kritische Berichterstattung mundtot zu machen

Samstag, Juli 24th, 2010

“Israel Gets Brutal With Media

By Mel Frykberg


Credit: Mel Frykberg/IPS
Israeli soldiers confronting the media at a protest in the Palestinian village of Nabi Saleh.

NABI SALAH, Occupied West Bank – Palestinian activists are being jailed, Israeli activists are under surveillance, and the Israeli military is increasingly targeting journalists who cover West Bank protests.

The Foreign Press Association (FPA) in Israel issued a statement recently condemning what it sees as a change in Israel Defence Forces (IDF) policy in their treatment of journalists covering the growing number of West Bank protests against Israel’s separation barrier, illegal settlements and land expropriation.

‘We would appreciate it were the authorities to remind the various forces involved, that open, unhindered coverage of news events is a widely acknowledged part of the essence of democracy.

‘Generally speaking this would not include smashing the face of a clearly marked photographer working for a known and accredited news organisation with a stick, or for that matter aiming a stun grenade at the head of a clearly marked news photographer or summarily arresting cameramen, photographers and/or journalists,’ said the FPA.

The release of the statement followed an attack on three journalists as they covered a protest march near an Israeli settlement built illegally on land belonging to the Palestinian village Beir Ummar in the southern West Bank.

Several weeks ago in the village Nabi Salah, north of Ramallah, two Israeli activists were roughed up and arrested after criticising Israeli soldiers for shooting at Palestinian boys throwing stones.

One of the Israelis, Yonatan Shapira, 38, an ex-Israeli Air Force (AIF) pilot and member of Combatants for Peace, (a group comprising former Palestinian and Israeli fighters) earned the wrath of the Israeli authorities when he authored a ‘pilot’s letter’ in 2003 signed by 27 AIF pilots.

The pilots refused to fly over the Palestinian occupied territories and take part in the deliberate targeting of Palestinian civilians, particularly in Gaza.

Shapira was recently interrogated by Israel’s domestic intelligence agency Shin Bet over his participation in anti-occupation protests and his support for the BDS movement.

In what appeared to be a veiled threat the Israeli activist was warned that his presence at anti-wall demonstrations was in defiance of the areas being declared closed military-zones on Fridays.

Shapira believes his phone has been tapped. ‘Nothing we are doing is illegal and I’m not afraid, but I’m uncomfortable about my country turning into a fascist state,’ said Shapira.

‘The Israeli authorities are trying to intimidate Israelis who engage in political dissent. We present no security threat. But the line between political activism and security is becoming increasingly blurred by the authorities who are trying to criminalise dissent,’ Shapira told IPS.

‘Sometimes when we come to demonstrations we have been stopped en route by the IDF who have taken down our details and appear to have prior knowledge of our movements,’ Israeli activist Shy Halatzi, 23, a physics and astronomy student at Tel Aviv University who served in the Israeli military told IPS.

Israel has become alarmed at growing international support for a boycott campaign against the country as its right-wing government increasingly tramples on civil liberties. Hundreds of Israeli college professors signed a petition recently denouncing the threat by Israeli education minister Gideon Saar (a member of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s Likud party) to punish any lecturer or institution which supports a boycott of Israel.

Saar supports Im Tirtzu, a right-wing nationalist movement, which demands that Israeli education professionals be required to prove their commitment to Zionism.

Neve Gordon, professor of politics at Ben Gurion University in Beersheva, received death threats after he wrote an editorial last year in the Los Angeles Times explaining why he supported a boycott on Israel.

Meanwhile, Palestinian grassroots activists involved in non-military popular committees, which organise non-violent activity against the occupation, continue to be arrested and jailed on what they say are trumped-up charges involving forced confessions under duress.

The IDF carries out nightly raids in West Bank villages where demonstrations take place regularly on a Friday and where villagers have been particularly active.

Wael Al-Faqia from Nablus in the northern West Bank was recently sentenced to a year’s prison for ‘belonging to an illegal organization.’ Al-Faqia was arrested with eight other activists in December last year.

Musa Salama, an activist with the Labour Committee of Medical Relief Workers and associate of Al-Faqia, was sentenced last December to a year’s imprisonment on identical charges.

Abdullah Abu Rahme from the head of the Popular Committee Against the Wall in Bili’in village near Ramallah continues to languish in detention following his arrest in December last year.

Some of the allegations against him include incitement for planning the peaceful protests and ‘being in possession of arms.’ The latter referred to his collection of used teargas canisters and spent bullet cartridges, fired by Israeli troops at unarmed protestors, into a peace sign.

‘What we as Israeli activists endure is a fraction of what Palestinians are subjected to. They are subjected to harsher and much more brutal treatment than we are,’ Shapira told IPS.”

 

(Quelle: IPS News.)

Palästina: Der israelischer Widerstand gegen die Besatzung gibt etwas Hoffnung

Samstag, Juli 17th, 2010

“The olive branch in the West Bank

BY HUGH GUSTERSON

Israel’s ambassador to the U.S., Michael Oren, was recently quoted as saying that relations between the U.S. and Israel were undergoing a ‘tectonic rift in which continents are drifting apart.’ If the quote is accurate, which Oren later disputed, it is surely an overstatement. Still, an interesting divergence is developing in the means by which the U.S. and Israeli militaries are dealing with Islamic militants in territories they are occupying.

In the past I have dismissed the U.S. counterinsurgency project in Afghanistan as a fool’s errand, but one has to at least give credit to the U.S. military for trying to wage counterinsurgency thoughtfully. Since Gen. David Petraeus rewrote the book on counterinsurgency, the U.S. has adopted an approach that seeks to isolate the Taliban from the wider population and to win the hearts and minds of that population. The U.S. has backed away from destroying the Afghan opium crop on which many Afghan peasants rely for income, realizing that eradication efforts were doing more damage to U.S. popularity in Helmand Province than to the opium trade. U.S. commanders are instructing foot soldiers, despite complaints that this endangers their lives, to hold their fire rather than risk killing civilians because civilian deaths are a propaganda gift to the Taliban. U.S. officials are experimenting with door-to-door opinion pollsters to try to discern what the ordinary Afghan person on the street wants. And the U.S. is pouring almost $4 billion a year in development aid into Afghanistan to build schools, roads, irrigation projects, and electric power-generating capacity in the hope of winning the affections of the Afghan people.

Contrast this refined counterinsurgency strategy with Israel’s sledgehammer approach. Where the U.S. seeks to win Afghan support with development projects, Israel expropriates Palestinian land for Israeli settlements and puts in place a blockade that is unmaking Gaza’s economy: If the U.S. is using development as a carrot, Israel wields collective impoverishment as a stick. Where the U.S. tries to separate Islamic fighters from the general population whose loyalty it seeks, Israel has made collective punishment its rule: All of Gaza is now blockaded because Hamas won the 2006 elections, and the Israeli military has had a policy of retaliating against individual attackers by blowing up their families’ houses. And if U.S. commanders are telling their soldiers to practice restraint, the Israeli rule of thumb seems to be that Israeli soldiers should always be one or two rungs higher on the ladder of escalation than those they seek to control. Instead of seeking to separate insurgents from the general population, as the Petraeus strategy does, it is as if Israel wanted to turn everyone into a militant.

The counter-productiveness of Israel’s strategy is captured vividly in the fine new documentary film Budrus produced by Ronit Avni and Julia Bacha. Budrus is a Palestinian village of 1,500 in the West Bank. When Israel started building its security wall to keep out Palestinian suicide bombers, rather than building it along the 1967 borders between Israel and the West Bank, Israeli authorities chose a bizarrely circuitous route for the wall that meanders like the creation of a drunken spirographer through Palestinian territory. In what is hard to understand as anything other than an act of petty bureaucratic sadism, Israeli planners chose a route that separates Budrus from much of the rest of the West Bank, cuts the village cemetery in two, and requires the upending of olive groves that have belonged to the villagers for generations and on which they rely for much of their income. Working behind Israeli and Palestinian lines, the film uses riveting cinema verite footage as well as interviews with Palestinian activists and Israeli soldiers to document the ensuing protests.

The action begins when the mayor of Budrus, Ayed Morrar, reaches out to the rival Hamas faction to organize nonviolent protests in defense of the village’s olive groves. At first the protests consist only of men, until Mayor Morrar’s 15 year-old daughter, Iltezam, asks why women and girls are excluded from the protests. Some of the hardest footage to watch in the film shows Israeli soldiers, mostly men, firing rubber bullets at the Palestinian women, tear gassing them, and beating them with nightsticks as they try to stop the bulldozing of their olive trees. It looks like something from Alabama circa 1965. All that’s missing is the dogs.

As one might predict, when the Palestinians’ non-violent protest is met with armed violence, young Palestinian men respond by throwing stones, the weapons of weak but angry teenagers, at the Israeli soldiers. The soldiers respond with live gunfire. By meeting non-violence with violence, the Israelis radicalize their opponents and start to trigger a familiar cycle in which each side’s escalation legitimizes the other.

In this film, and in their relations with Palestinian militants more generally, Israel follows an escalatory strategy of violence that brings to mind the failed policies of McNamara and Kissinger in Vietnam. It is the opposite of the Petraeus strategy. Whatever resistance the Palestinians attempt is treated as a bid that the Israelis must counter. If the resistance is non-violent, the response is tear gas, nightsticks, and rubber bullets. The response to stones is live bullets. Hamas rockets that mostly miss any worthwhile target are met with targeted assassinations and bulldozed homes. The theory seems to be that the exercise of violence is like bidding at an auction and that the Palestinians, once they see they are outbid, will, like a good rational actor, fold their hand–just the way McNamara, equipped with all those algorithms he learned from operations analysis, expected the Viet Cong to call it a day under the bombardment of the B-52s.

But Palestinians–watching bulldozers destroy the family livelihood, or the humiliation of their sisters at checkpoints, or the maiming of teenagers at street protests–are not rational actors calculating the costs and benefits of further violence. They are enraged and humiliated human beings who are embittered by life under collective punishment and determined not to surrender the one thing left to them: the ability to resist. Unless Israel wants an endless emergency, a permanent cycle of violence, their Palestinian strategy is failing miserably.

At this point some readers will argue that I have not put the blame where it truly belongs: with the Palestinian terrorists. To be sure, Palestinian militants have committed terrible crimes: blowing up civilians on buses, and randomly rocketing the homes of innocents. But Budrus dramatizes the no-win situation within which Israel has imprisoned the Palestinians. If the Palestinians resist the occupation with violence, they are condemned as terrorists, they are shot at, imprisoned, blockaded, their homes destroyed–and their land is taken away, bite by bite. If, as in Budrus, they resist with non-violence (as so many American opinion-makers lecture at them that they should), they are tear-gassed, beaten, shot at with rubber bullets–and their land is taken away, bite by bite. Damned if they do, damned if they don’t.

The protests in Budrus take a fascinating and unexpected turn when the poor villagers of Budrus suddenly find themselves joined on the frontlines by a group of young Israeli activists, standing shoulder to shoulder with them in defense of their olive groves. This development, quietly courted by the mayor of Budrus, is disorienting to many others. An Israeli minister suggests on television that the Israeli activists be tried for treason. We see Israeli soldiers, in some of the film’s most revealing footage, instructed by their superior to fire rubber bullets only at the Palestinians, not at the Israeli protesters. As for the Palestinian villagers, most have never met Israelis opposed to the occupation; they have to rethink their assumption that all Israelis are enemies. It is moving to see a group of Palestinian women being beaten for trying to prevent the arrest of an Israeli activist.

After 10 months of protests that left one Palestinian dead, 300 injured, and 36 arrested, Israel gave in and changed the route of the wall. Almost all the olive trees, as well as the integrity of the Budrus cemetery, were saved. Meanwhile, in a development the U.S. media have almost entirely ignored, the joint Palestinian-Israeli protests have continued in other parts of the West Bank.

An Israeli activist tells us in Budrus that ‘nothing scares the army more than nonviolent opposition.’ I hope this is true. The Hamas lawmaker Aziz Dweik was surely right when he told the Wall Street Journal that ‘When we use violence, we help Israel win international support.’ But maybe the deeper comment was made by Mayor Morrar when he said in a subsequent interview that ‘criticism of the occupation by its own people is more powerful than criticism by someone who lives under it, whose opinion is pre-determined. It is very important to find someone amongst your opponents who is willing to side with you.‘ If the film shows us anything, it is that 10 Israeli protesters are worth 100 Palestinians. Their participation in the protests shows that Israelis and Palestinians can work together and, in a context where Israeli soldiers look awfully like Police Commissioner Bull Connor’s men beating up blacks in Birmingham, the appearance of blond-hair under the nightsticks makes it that much harder to dehumanize the protesters, that much harder for soldiers to ignore the quiet questions about the orders they are just following, that much harder for the state to simply crush resistance. So far, 600 Israeli soldiers have refused deployment to the West Bank and Gaza.

The Israeli-Palestinian conflict has always seemed intractable. No strategy of Palestinian resistance seems to work, peace initiatives invariably falter, and meanwhile the machinery of Israeli settlement grinds on, year after year, displacing more Palestinian land into settlers’ hands. But something new and interesting has happened in Budrus. Maybe Israel’s freedom riders bring a glimmer of hope.

Copyright © 2010 Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists. All Rights Reserved.”

 

(Quelle: Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists.)