How the Israeli Soldiers can stop the Palestinian Non-violence Resistance ?

Hard question to answer…. actually it is harder question to ask!!
Israel has made three ideas fundamentaly difficult to achieve: Use of Nonviolence, Peace and Coexistence.
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 child I heared 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 agaisnt 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 proceded when the Muslim population had their Friday prayer. After, we walked towards the Israeli segragation 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.
Typicaly, 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 defiently 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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hi yigal, i agree with the intent of your statement. two things. i think that for the benefit of everyone on this site the hebrew words should be translated in your definition of zionism. "Zion will be redeemed through justice, and those who return there (will come back?) only with righteousness". It is a biblical quote, and an interesting interpretation of zionism. secondly, after a lifetime working with israeli Jews and palestinians, and not being either but an american jew, i feel that words like terrorism and even 'human rights' can sometimes get in the way in that they are abstract and rather accusatory. they dont build relationships which is what is completely broken between groups that kill each other's children. i am focusing these days on the need for absolute equality in the Jewish Palestinian relationship. I am also focusing on lessons from the Dalai Lama on the perpetual, daily/hourly discipline of kindness and patience as a central element in peacebuilding in Israel and Palestine.
As a BuJu, I'd love to hear more about your "focusing on lessons from the Dalai Lama".
gosh, too much to talk about, but i am very taken with many of his insights on inter-connectedness, the shirivasta symbol (that is parallel to tsror ha-hayyim (bundle of life) in the Torah) as enlightenment leading to compassion. but i am also interested in how to have suffering pass through you rather than destroy you, the Tonglen meditations, and his recent request to meditate on interconnectedness, patience and kindness, as a way of becoming forgiving of self, others and enemies. i need this after the failure of Oslo. and of course all his writings on gratitude to his enemies as teachers is astounding, and especially for Jewish consciousness. I have seen rabbinic sources that are similar but they have been buried in this century by the mythic creation of the violent, new, post-Holocaust Jew. Anyone who knows Talmud well knows this violent man is not an accurate read of Talmudic approaches to history, suffering. Admittedly, though, there are few historical jewish voices like the dalai lama's. though clearly Hillel and Yohanan ben Zakai had much in common with him. that is just a grossly inadequate response but a start.
Is this mostly from reading?
been studying religions my whole life.
so many thoughtful responses. I think what is being asked of Palestinians, or of any group in which the police on the opposing side have not been ordered to restrain themselves in any way, is a great deal. the fact that some African Americans and Indians managed to do this at a certain place and time does not make it easy or obvious to do for everyone. there are many things in this conflict that make it very hard to suffer the humiliation of police abuse, to expect it, and to "fill the jails". We have all fantasized for years that IF Palestinian resistance were completely nonviolent that tens of thousands of Jews would join and the conflict would have to turn completely constructive and nonviolent. this is not going to happen anytime soon. there are many forces at work that do not want this to happen, unlike in India or the American South. I also believe that there is one crucial element that Gene Sharp and others do not insist upon at all in nonviolent resistance movements, but that i think is critical. my greatest successes have been through love of my enemies, even as i resist what they are doing as bad. i know that this is a lot to ask, but it does seem to work. Gandhi and King and the Dalai Lama manifested this, and it showed. We need this love coming from both sides, even as we take "aggressive" action like protest, or going to jail, to end the occupation. again, a great deal to ask, but i don't know how powerful enemies ever really disarm unless they are deeply moved to do so. but no one has the right to insist that palestinians do so. this is too arrogant, and not compassionate enough, in my humble opinion.
Hi Marc,
Asking the Palestinians to be non-violent is not necessarily asking them to surrender their weapons.
It's asking them not to use them.
If they would not use their weapons, there would also be no reprisals against them (I believe that firmly),
and a whole lot fewer people would be hurt.
To me, that's compassions for the would-be victims on both sides.
And there are only two ways I see to get the Pals to be organizationally non-violent.
1) Defeat their paramilitary organizations so decisively that they cannot fight any longer; or
2) Teach them to defend Human Rights principles, not only as applied to them but also as applied to Israelis/Jews.
If you see another way, please let me know.
Hi yigal, well, this is a tough one. several points: I would not ask or expect any group to be unilaterally nonviolent without expecting this from the enemy group as well. 2. self-defense is a human right, equally for Jews as it is for Palestinians. Nonviolence is a choice, a very brave one. 3. I have never seen a group beaten into giving up their paramilitaries and choosing nonviolence. the beatings are what generate the paramilitaries. 4. Stealing is violence. So if you are asking the Israeli Jews to give up stealing land, as has been stolen since the 40's, and if you are asking the IDF to choose nonviolence then I think that is a reasonable request. but keep in mind, stealing land is violence, it does not matter if it is wrapped in legalistic language of national security or state ownership, or JNF games. If someone steals my house i have a right to try to take it back. 5. I do not share your firm belief that reprisals will stop from the Israeli side. I have lived through too many periods of so called quiet, when the Israeli leadership chose a moment to provoke the cycle again, either through provoking a radical group to act, or by stealing land. In fact, Hamas was cynically allowed to grow in the shadow of extreme pressure on mainstream Palestinian groups, including pacifists (!), in order to radicalize and de-legitimate Palestinian national aspirations. this was a clear Sharon strategy that worked because he was a brilliant warrior. I remember this. In other words, we have a long road ahead to get to Israeli culture and Palestinian culture choosing violence as a last resort. Violence is a Jewish problem in Israeli culture every bit as much as it is a problem in Palestinian culture; it is just covered more in legalisms. that is what i have seen at least.
Then I really don't believe you've seen the big picture.

I only have time for one point. Beatings may help "generate the paramilitaries," but beatings
are not the ONLY thing that generates paramilitaries.
The factor that truly generates paramilitaries is the ideology pursuant to which it was generated.
No "beating" or "occupation" in Darfur generate the Janjaweed, rather, the Janjaweed generated the beatings. And there are many connections betwen the Darfur thing and this. More on that another time.

Well we disagree about your #5. I maintain that if the attacks stop, so will the resprisals.
If they really stop for a while, so will the checkpoints.

What amazes me is that at the same time as you doubt that Israel would stop exposing its soldiers to extreme risk even if attacks against it stopped,
you can say "if you are asking the IDF to choose nonviolence then I think that is a reasonable request;"
which assumes that if the IDF went away tomorrow that all Palestinians would stop all organized attacks (let's even leave common crime out of it) on Israelis and their Arab "collaborators."
Because if not, it would be a most unreasonable request.
And Hamas did NOT keep the peace, not when rockets kept falling,
only being blamed on some other sub-group.

And you want to talk culture of violence? Find out, for the sake of the truth,
what are the rates of honor killings in Gaza and the WB?
How many prosecutions by PA/Gaza authorities?
How could a non-free press report the truth on such a subject?
And aren't intimidating and kidnapping journalists, and killing
the only Christian bookseller, and converting a Christian professor
to Islam at gunpoint, and knocking down everything standing in the
evacuated Jewish towns in Gaza, even the things the Gazans
could have used, evidence of a violent culture? It comes out of an
ideology with little in common with that of the IDF.

Do you think Israel is being 'racist' by prosecuting sister-murderers?
Do you take it as culturally insensitive to charge someone with such a heinous crime,
not a borderline case, because he feels his religion or tribe permits him to commit it?
Do you think it oppresses the Palestinian people, and denies their legitimate national
aspirations, to convict someone for murdering their daughter?

With each part of this all, let's keep focus on how do we get to where we want the situation to be.
Peaceful coexistence - which requires that the rights of each individual be guaranteed.
I don't see the benefit TO the Palestinian people that would result from the creation of a
pretty much openly Muslim Supremacist regime above them.
In fact, I'd really like to hear about that from the Palestinians here.

I wish I had time to elaborate more, but I don't.
I'll try to get back to you after shabbat here on the West coast.

Shabbat shalom,

Dear Yigal, I hope you had a nice shabbat. I am sorry I got you so angry. Clearly the discussion elicited alot of frustration. I agree with many of the wrongs you pointed out in Arab culture in such great detail. I know all the Palestinians I have worked with feel the same way in terms of trying to eliminate the crimes and abuses you describe. But the beginning of all peace and positive change is self-examination not rebuke of others. So while you responded to some things in what i said, you had nothing to say about a culture of violence in Israel and among Jews. Rebuke of others, which you did so well, is considered in judaism a very risky mitsvah, because almost no one can do it without alienating an d shaming others. But confession, self-examination, repentance, remorse, all things that are called for every day in every prayer. If we all did this more when it comes not to stupid, minor sins, but the big ones, theft, murder, the political choices involving property and life, then I think the Jewish people would be doing alot better right now. As would any people that is more self-examined. And with that I bid you a good day.
Marc -
I find your responses very lucid and well said. I appreciate the courage that "self-examination" takes . I do believe that reconciliation begins when each can look inward and admit that their actions have caused pain. I apply this belief to both "sides", though I also believe that greater power = greater responsibility.



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