Tuesday, December 29, 2009

The Real Road Map: Violent Reactions to the Struggle for Equal Rights

*Abdullah Abu Rahmah (center) flanked by mourners, following the death of his relative Bessam Abu Rahmah, who was killed by an Israeli gas canister shot into his chest

*Abdallah Abu Rahmah (right) with Ela Bhatt, Desmond Tutu, Jimmy Carter, Fernando H Cardoso, Mary Robinson and Gro Brundtland of the Elders during their visit to Bil'in

yet find yourself delegitimized in the international arena, unable to impose control over either your perceived enemies, or your internal settler-anarchist “brothers”. You are desperately arresting nonviolent leaders that resist your military occupation while also fearing for the travel plans of your leaders implicated in war crimes.
A hint was provided Saturday morning when a joint Israel Defense Forces (IDF) Shin Bet raid killed three alleged members of the Al-Aqsa Martyrs’ Brigade
According to the Israeli human rights organization B’Tselem, two of the three shooting deaths by the IDF were carried out like executions

This act was widely regarded as a “grave escalation”
Mahmoud Abbas and Salam Fayyad, whose security organizations had recently done so much of the IDF’s bidding, having arrested over 120 Palestinians in the wake of the attack on the settler

Why would Israel act to escalate the violence in the West Bank after enjoying two of the quietest years since 2000?
The answer is written in the events of the first weeks of the second intifada
a massive Palestinian uprising had exploded in the wake of Ariel Sharon’s provocative visit to the Al-Aqsa compound
Top Israeli security officials
argued that Israel deliberately fanned the flames of Palestinian discontent and violence
We needed to move—during the war itself—from retreat and delay to attack
Today Israel faces a similar ‘broad context’characterized by forces it does not know how to control
Many factors
unsettles Israel’s leaders
war crimes and possible crimes against humanity in Gaza one year ago
the ongoing, illegal siege of Gaza’s imprisoned population

ethnic cleansing of Palestine, including East Jerusalem, in front of the world’s cameras
the rabid response to universal jurisdiction for war crimes and arrest warrants against its increasingly fearful leaders
the waking giant that is the boycott, divestment and sanctions movement (including Israel’s hysterical call to boycott UK products in response to the UK’s efforts to simply label West Bank produce as being produced by Jews or Palestinians
More important
the manner in which Palestinian nonviolence is crystallizing and growing in exposure by tapping into the international credibility provided by these events, merging with them, expanding, and thereby revolutionizing the nature of the conflict.
does not know what to do with the power of nonviolence to silence its weapons, to open new spaces of debate about apartheid
continuous ethnic cleansing
42 years of occupation with no end in sight
different thing to confront Bil’in’s Santa Claus-clad demonstrators
simply calling for Israel

to comply with the International Court of Justice’s decision to not steal Palestinian land for the segregation wall

Israel’s fear is palpable, proved by its recent assault on a nonviolent protest by Palestinians, Jews, and internationals. For two consecutive weeks Israeli forces have beaten and arrested dozens of Jewish and international activists who were non-violently demonstrating against the ethnic cleansing of Jerusalem.
Israel has now arrested 31 members of Bil’in’s Popular Struggle Coordination Committee
one in particular provides all the evidence required for the case of Israel’s desperation.

Abdallah Abu Rahmah, a high school teacher and coordinator of the Popular Struggle Coordination Committee, was arrested on December 10th, 2009
he was finally charged with arms possession for collecting the spent tear gas canisters that were used to stifle his — and Bil’in’s — increasingly successful demonstrations

Ten days ago, the imprisoned Palestinian leader Marwan Barghouti

wrote the following in an op-ed in The New York Times and The International Herald Tribune:

A new generation of Palestinian leaders is attempting to speak to the world in the language of a nonviolent campaign of boycott, divestment and sanctions, precisely as Martin Luther King Jr. and thousands of African-Americans did with the Montgomery bus boycott in the mid-1950s.
Barghouti’s statement is a watershed
Israel can only attack militants, not rights
We are now on a one-way street to justice to Israel/Palestine
There are too many television cameras, too much awareness of the settlers’ colonization project, too much disapproval of the segregation wall, too much disgust at recent Israeli massacres of Gazan and Lebanese civilians.
defenders of the status quo of apartheid,
ethnic cleansing and religious fundamentalism will struggle vehemently against all progressive movemen
to prevent the language of equal rights from reframing the debate
expanded violence against nonviolent resistance

to recast the discussion into the frame
military action against military resistance
it needs to spark a new round of violence which will be instigated along the model provided by the recent attacks on the Al-Aqsa Martyrs Brigades, from the pattern of escalation in the first and second intifadas, and from the military raids into Gaza on November 4, 2008 which killed six Hamas people and effectively ended the successful ceasefire that Hamas had been enforcing in the strip.
the resumption of widespread terrorist activity, against which Israel could respond with its typical, mighty force of warplanes, tanks, and fluent English-speakers from the Foreign Ministry on the airwaves of every mainstream media outlet.
new attempt by Israel to fan the flames of violence
the real road map suggests new violence in the imminent future

The most potent action available to shorten the length of that arc is to expand the exemplary efforts of the Bil’in and Ni’lin villagers to regain access to the land that was stolen from them, coupled with the most effective tool available to the nonviolent strategist: a comprehensive boycott, divestment, and sanctions (BDS) campaign until Palestinians know — and live with — the same rights as the Jews in Israel/Palestine.

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