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After Egypt uprising, Israel can't afford to ignore nonviolent Palestinian protesters

As protests shake much of the Middle East, Israel should be less concerned with nonviolent Palestinian resistance movements than with what it would mean for them to fail. Israel should engage, not sideline, these groups. The alternatives for such a frustrated people aren't peaceful.

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For the past month here in the Middle East, I’ve been immersed in studying the world of the Palestinian nonviolence and popular resistance movements, whose pulses were racing watching the mass demonstrations that toppled the governments in Egypt and Tunisia.

“We are seeing a democratic revolution in the Middle East. This is only the beginning, not an end, to the uprisings,” I was told last Saturday by Mustafa Barghouti, a former Palestinian presidential candidate and head of the Palestinian Initiative, whose popular resistance coalition garnered 20 percent of the votes in the last elections.

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Even the Palestinian government itself has felt pressure for political reform in the wake of Egypt’s uprising. On Saturday, the Palestinian Authority announced that it would call for elections in September. And President Mahmoud Abbas’s Cabinet resigned Monday under pressure from Prime Minister Salam Fayyad.

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