“Bilin has become a symbol, a subject of Master’s theses, films, blogs, and articles," says Menachem Klein, a political science professor at Bar-Ilan University near Tel Aviv. "Budrus and Bilin maintain the resistance while the Palestinian elite attend talks and readily accept painful concessions on settlements.”
Yet he calls these weekly events a “ceremony” that may not actually achieve change.
Indeed, even as "Budrus" is embraced by audiences from America to Germany to the West Bank, the momentum generated by Budrus is waning. Only nine villages hold regular demonstrations and they are often met with a harsh Israeli response, Mr. Morrar says. Now, the model of nonviolence appears to be faltering amid lack of a unified leadership and apathy among local Palestinians.
Protest leaders acknowledge that while Morrar achieved tangible success, Palestinians as a whole have not reached their ultimate goal.
“Ayed succeeded in a specific goal, but in general as Palestinians we have not succeeded, because the goal is to remove the wall and end the occupation,” says Bassem Tamimi, who began leading demonstrations a year ago in nearby Nabi Saleh against the expansion of the neighboring Jewish settlement Halamish.
Mr. Tamimi, who met Morrar while the two protested together in the first intifada in the 1980s, said 150 locals have been injured by Israelis at the weekly protests in Nabi Saleh.