Israel’s Message to the Palestinians: Do not use Nonviolence!

by Nayed Hashlamon

As has become a tradition, every Friday we join what sometimes are tens and other times are hundreds of Palestinians, internationals and Israeli nonviolent activists demonstrating against the Apartheid wall that is being build around Palestinian villages in the Southern part of Bethlehem. Once completed, the wall will eat up more than 70% of the agricultural land in this area alone and ultimately destroy villages that have existed for hundreds of years.

This week also included a special occasion; it is the week Palestinians remember those who are imprisoned in Israeli jails.  Our call this Friday was not only to release Palestinian political prisoners from Israeli jails but to also stop the building of the big open-aired prisons that the rest of us are being locked in.

The organizing of the direct action for this week’s event was not different than previous events. The commitment was not to engage in any form of violence against the Israeli army or any act that might be interpreted as violence and give the Israeli soldiers the usual “justification” as to why they attack demonstrators –if they wanted to suppress us then let them do it because we engaged in nonviolence.

The nonviolent demonstration began with a march that started in the village of Wadi Nees and ended on the private properties of farmers whose lands are being confiscated for the building of the Wall in the village of Jorat El-Sham’a. In remembering the thousands of Palestinian political prisoners we chained our hands, raised the Palestinian flags and called for their (and our) release. Once we reached the location some of the participants chained themselves to cement slabs being used for the construction of the wall, others symbolically destroyed a section of the wall, and others burned the wood used to build this ugly structure.   As the Israeli army approached we gathered in the middle of the road, sat on the ground and declared to the soldiers our commitment to nonviolence.

What happened then was truly a sign of absolute despair and powerlessness by the Israeli army. Every attempt to provoke us to use violence against them failed (pointing their machine guns at us, threatening to use shock grenades, and using foul language and threatening remarks), every attempt to scare us failed; our commitment was to send a message to them and to the world that the power of Understanding how empowered we had become, realizing that their weapons and threats had become futile, and wanting to destroy what we had achieved and scare us from continuing our future protests, the Israeli soldiers were ordered by their commanders to physically attack, beat, and arrest us. Many were physically hurt and one was arrested, but even in that, we never showed any sign of violence. We only shouted “peace and nonviolence.”   

The soldiers were not ordered to remove us from the site or to dismantle the protest, as is usually the case, the orders were to “teach you a lesson” as one soldier remarked to one of the protestors. The only lesson that can be taught to a group of nonviolent protestors is to never engage in nonviolence again. Nonviolence exposes injustice, nonviolence exposes discrimination, nonviolence threatens established structures, and most of all nonviolence empowers others to move.   

Yes, there was brutal and even barbaric force used by the Israeli army against us in order to discourage and even scare us from protesting nonviolently against the construction of the Wall, but at the end of the day only one statement was made by the activists…“We will be back again and the more force Israeli soldiers use, the more powerful our commitment to nonviolence will be.”  

                              Nonviolent Demonstration on Friday the 13th of April 2007 in Southern Bethlehem PalestineNonviolent Demonstration on Friday the 13th of April 2007 in Southern Bethlehem

                              Nonviolent Demonstration on Friday the 13th of April 2007 in Southern Bethlehem Palestine Sami Awad Nonviolent Demonstration on Friday the 13th of April 2007 in Southern Bethlehem 

                                                Nonviolent Demonstration on Friday the 13th of April 2007 in Southern Bethlehem 

Pictures Credit: Muhamad Zboun- PNN

21 thoughts on “Israel’s Message to the Palestinians: Do not use Nonviolence!

  1. Thanks for this article Sami, good luck in what you are doing and hopefully it will be an efficient strategy, but i wonder how long will it take the Israelis to start killing ?

  2. ESM

    Many of us around the world are with the Nonviolent Palestinian people.

    Nonviolence makes explicit the often hidden aggression and hate within the oppressor.

    This video shows us, yet again, that the authority knows not how to react to Nonviolence.

    Thank you for this news, the struggle, and your hope.

  3. Josef Wick

    Sami & Co :
    please do not stop your attitude and your decision
    to contribute step by step
    for a new world.
    Against any kind of violence, oppression, non-respect
    of human beings and their rights to live in justice and peace.
    In Israel and in Palestine.
    Which will influence also other parts of our world
    and help us to really build a new future.

    God be with you and give you strength and patience.
    I pray for and with you.

    Josef Wick, priest in Switzerland
    , ,

  4. Yes, non violence is the way to go.

    ITBACH AL YAHUD!- Slaughter the Jew!, broadcast in the media, taught in schools and preached from the pulpit is indeed a civilized form of political and religious expression.

    As a Syrian friend once bitterly noted, ‘The real Naqbah isn’t Israel- it is video and audio tape. We can no longer hide who we are and what we have become, from the world and from ourselves.’

    No amount of dancing can change that truth.

  5. Michael

    Gandhi said, “First they ignore you, then they attack you, then you win”. As long as cameras are present and the world can see what is happening, nonviolence is far more successful in the long term than violence, resulting in far less bloodshed.

    I applaud the courage of the protesters who keep a commitment to nonviolence and work for a free Palestine and a more democratic and peace-loving Israel. Nonviolence in Palestine gives Israeli peace activists a way to tell the story without enabling Israeli anti-peace groups to portray Palestinians as terrorists.


  6. Might I suggest or

    Then again, you probably find that kind of thing perfectly acceptable.

    Do you really- really- want to engage in the comparison game?

  7. SC&A, don’t presume to know what I find acceptable. Understanding violence and its causes is not the same as condoning it.

    As for selective Memri, been to that topic many many times before. Do you think Memri and Memri’s agenda is not already known? It has long been discredited as a propaganda arm of the Likudniks. Each time one goes to the site it only showcases the most horrendous, sensationalist, incriminating and awful examples of intolerance in the Middle East — as if that were all that existed in toto. Which is of course what the founder of Memri, formerly of Israeli intelligence, wants to believe. It only seems to confirm his and their ‘othering’, belligerent worldview.

    So its not taken seriously. It attempts to present itself as an objective news service but many of my readers and students and those in the industry do not recognize it as such.

    As for comparisons, a ratio of 1:4 deaths in the I-P conflict sums it up. No amount of chest-beating inflated charges of anti-semitism will alter that, or Israel’s crimes.

  8. Michael Schuck

    Amazing video! inspiring and encourageing, with hearts on fire we will remake ourselves and the world!

    Burn baby burn
    with love

  9. Tareq Tamimi

    Thanks Sami, Its the truth the Israelis never want Palestinians to have a non-violence resistance which can help us in the international community solidarity with us.

    Thanks again and keep on the good work.

  10. Because Israel built on violence to exsist, so they could not behave if countering peace, they are not trained well to do so, I do agree non violence will push Israelis to the corner this is why they do like it, our call for you both Palestainians and Israelis go to gother and call for peace also do not listen to your government.
    Best wishes
    AWMC Director
    Mahasen Al emam

  11. Richard J. Bono

    I support the non-violent effort of Palestinians to resist ill-treatment and to offer true witness to the events of 1948. Gandhi’s “truth force”, satyagraha, depends upon the reliance upon decency of your “opponent”, who, in fact, is not your enemy, but yet another misguided human being. To confront without violence, and the willingness to suffer blows, for both your opponent’s and one’s own best interest, is among the highest expressions of love for humanity. Though we shall not know the ultimate result of such an approach, one can have reason to hope that the middle-east will yet become a lesson to the world.

  12. Joyce F. Guinn

    Great work! I’ve been to Palestine 3 times since 2005 and am working hard here to change our government(US) policy. We will begin standing with you in busy places in Milwaukee every Friday with signs and handouts saying: “The World says NO to Israeli Occupation”. Nonviolence is the strongest tool we have–you can see how they fear it. Thanks for all you do. We ae with you!

  13. Steve Scholle

    Richard Bono’s statement from Gandhi is wonderful, “the reliance upon the decency of your “opponent”, who, in fact, is not your enemy, but yet another misguided human being.”
    Let us remember that force is the outcome of trauma, not of evil.

  14. Ziyad/Seattle

    Sami and Volunteers,

    God bless you, your volunteers and every Palestinian living under the brutal occupation of the Israelis.
    May God reward the caller of peace and justice for all. The unfortunate massacre in Virginia Tech yesterday, reminded with the daily massacre perpetrated by Israel with the American government blessing.
    Keep up the great work, if you stop, countless people stand to lose.

  15. Pingback: Articles February til November 2007 « PEACE BY TRUTH

  16. Pingback: July 30. til April 1. 2007 « PEACE BY TRUTH

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