Bell Curve The Law Talking Guy Raised by Republicans U.S. West
Well, he's kind of had it in for me ever since I accidentally ran over his dog. Actually, replace "accidentally" with "repeatedly," and replace "dog" with "son."

Saturday, May 15, 2010

Palestinian Nonviolent Resistance?

News item from this morning's Washington Post: "We are definitely committed to a path of nonviolent resistance and defiance in the face of the settlement enterprise, and we are defiantly expressing our right to boycott those products and I believe it is working," said Palestinian Prime Minister Salam Fayyad.

What this refers to is the movement by Palestinians to boycott settler-produced and settler-sold goods. According to various sources, it is having a severe economic impact on the right-wing Jewish settlers who had helped support their communities by selling to the very Palestinians they were trying to displace. What the Palestinian authority is also seeing, for the first time, is a lack of international resistance to one of their strategies, even tepid support. Are Palestinians finally realizing that non-violent resistance is far more effective than terrorism or dressing in masks, waving AK-47s, and shouting slogans of hate for Jews?

What a massive change this could bring about in a very short time. There are two big reasons why there has been no Israeli-Palestinian settlement. One is the desire for a "Greater Israel" by right-wing religious Israelis that results in settlement provocations. The other is the continued acts of terrorism by Palestinians that convince the secular Israeli majority that Palestinians are just too dangerous to deal with. Nonviolent methods can totally change the equation.

A turn to nonviolence may be too much to hope for, but it could happen. I think it is possible to take the notion of "submission" (the meaning of the word Islam) and "jihad" (meaning struggle for faith rather than specifically armed conflict) to encompass nonviolent resistance, and it may turn out to be an easier change than anyone expects. The willingness to engage in suicide bombing suggests a cultural capacity for self-sacrifice that could be converted to more successful nonviolent tactics. We can only hope. As far as it goes, this boycott is good news. Nothing succeeds like success.


Raised By Republicans said...

A truly non-violent Palestinian movement would be most welcome!

However, I fear that there are significant elements of the Palestinian elite with an enormous investment in terrorism as a way of life and as a basis for their organizations. Even if some portion of the Palestinian population moved to non-violent resistance, they would be overshadowed if not outright exploited by the violent establishment.

The Law Talking Guy said...

I'm not sure whether Fatah is really a 'violent establishment' or not these days. I think they're more interested in running a kleptocracy. Hamas, granted, is totally invested right now in violence. But don't underestimate the ability of money, power, and success to change things.

Raised By Republicans said...

Hamas is at least as influential as Fatah now (doesn't Hamas currently have the majority in the Palestinian Authority?). That's who I was thinking of.

Fatah is split on the violence issue but it's not a completely non-violent group.