Forget rock-throwing teens. Growing peaceful Palestinian resistance could tip the conflict.
Bethlehem, West Bank
For many, the idea of Palestinian resistance is synonymous with terrorism, conjuring up images of suicide bombings and rockets. This is a distortion shaped by the media and our politicians.
Beyond the headlines, Palestinian resistance has always included nonviolent tactics.
Today, in rural villages from Bilin and Jayyous to Nilin and Beit Ommar, this kind of Palestinian persistence against Israel’s separation barrier and illegal settlements is paying off – and attracting the participation of international supporters and Jewish Israelis.
Palestinians have been using classic nonviolent strategies such as strikes, demonstrations, and civil disobedience since before the modern state of Israel came into being in 1948. But recently, new momentum, fresh media attention, and an increasingly harsh crackdown by Israeli occupation forces have thrust these strategies into the spotlight.
This newfound attention, however, comes with a danger of double standards, and a distortion of the root causes of the conflict.
For example, Western media and politicians cheer the rise of nonviolent Palestinian resistance, but why do they not urge Israel to adopt the same nonviolent standards? Why is it only Israel that is repeatedly granted the “right of self-defense”? The hypocrisy is heightened because it is the Palestinians who are fighting to secure basic rights such as self-determination.
The core of the conflict is not Israel’s “security” but rather decades-old Israeli policies designed to ensure the domination of one group at the expense of another. So it is a critical error to think that by renouncing armed struggle, the Palestinians could change Israel’s fundamental goals.