The Palestinian resistanceis quietly ongoing daily. More dramatic periods of resistance occurred during the first and second intifadas. The first intifada began with Gandhian methods of demonstrations and strikes, brutally suppressed by Israel. The second intifada was angrier, and continued the suicide bombings that had been initiated in response to Israeli violence and accelerated settlement construction in flagrant violation of its agreements at Oslo, but discontinued these in 2005.
The Qassam rockets from Gaza have been the only other violent methods of resistance, primitive devices of limited range and directional control which have killed 15 Israelis in their nine years of use from 2001 to 2010.
Meanwhile, according to the Palestinian Center for Human Rights and the B'Tselem human rights organization in Israel, 6,736 Palestinians including 5,105 civilians and 1,477 children were killed by Israeli high-tech and targeted violence between September 2000 and December 2011. Most of the 1/4 Palestinian deaths not classified as civilians were political assassinations of resistance activists killed by such methods as aerial strikes and death squads.
We want to thank Peter Chabarek, our friend and colleague in defense of human rights, for the images of Palestinian art work on the Apartheid Wall generously provided to us for display on this page. These were photographed by him during a trip to the West Bank in 2010.
Despite this continuing Israeli violence against resistors that has killed and imprisoned thousands for simply opposing the wall, checkpoints, military incursions and land confiscation by nothing more violent than throwing stones, regular protests and demonstrations continue. Another direct form of non-violent resistance is the effort to block Israeli demolition of Palestinian homes.
The Israeli Committee Against House Demolitions (ICAHD), led by Jewish-American/Israeli anthropology professor Jeff Halper, attempts to block the bulldozers and failing that, works with Palestinian organizations to rebuild the houses. Summer programs are offered to American and other international volunteers to help these rebuilding projects.
Another noteworthy participant in this form of resistance is the International Solidarity Movement (www.palsolidarity.org) which provides opportunity for volunteers from around the world to prevent the illegal destruction of Palestinian homes.
Jeff Halper reports that as an Israeli Jew he is predictably safe from death at the hands of the IDF in these activities, but Palestinians are often killed during such resistance and even "internationals" are not entirely safe. Several ISM workers have been killed or critically injured in their non-violent resistance work.
Perhaps the best known victim of this Israeli violence is Rachel Corrie, the 23-year old Evergreen college student from Olympia, WA who was crushed to death by an Israeli bulldozer on March 16, 2003. A four-minute interview clip of Rachel filmed two days before her death can be viewed here. Unable to secure justice through the criminal prosecution process, the Corrie family filed a civil suit against the Israeli government in March 2005, which finally came to trial in the Haifa District Court five years later on March 10, 2010.
Everyday non-violent resistance is represented below by artwork on the segregation wall and Palestinian buildings. The Resistance is guided by three basic principles: Steadfastness, refusal to pretend normalcy, and solidarity.
Steadfastness, the determination to never give up. This is why it has remained difficult for Israel to recruit and maintain Vichey-style collaborators to administer the "Palestinian Authority" which in fact has no real authority, was established to control their fellow Palestinians on behalf of Israel, and consequently lacks credibility and allegiance among Palestinians. This is why Hamas won the 2006 legislative election although most Palestinians do not adhere to fundamentalist Islamic ideas.
Refusal of normalization or any appearance of normalcy in relations with Israel. Israel attempts to gain international credibility by misrepresenting its conflict with the Palestinians as a symmetrical dispute between parties of equivalent claims and equivalent suffering, and to do so promotes images of cooperation, collaboration and "dialogue" with Palestinian "partners" in various activities and "negotiations."
The Resistance demands truth and refuses to collude in concealment that Israel is the occupier, an occupier that crushes Palestinian autonomy, economic viability, and virtually every institution of normal life in Gaza and the West Bank,
The true relationship revealed by an absurd role reversal
refuses equality to its Palestinian citizens within Israel, and refuses to honor the right of return to the refugees in UNRWA camps and the international diaspora created by massively lopsided, largely unilateral Israeli aggression.
Refusal to normalize is represented by the Handala cartoon figure above, shown urinating on the wall. A symbol of Resistance whose popular cartoonist originator, Naji Al-Ali, was assassinated at the beginning of the first intifada, Handala is a refugee child drawn with back turned and hands behind him (except when otherwise in use) to refuse handshake which would imply normalcy between occupier and occupied, bearing silent witness to the occupation, oppression and degradation of his people.
Solidarity, the principle followed in the first intifada, which was based upon Gandhian methods including strikes and demonstrations. It was met with brutal suppression by Israel. But it was sufficiently threatening that Israel has been working ever since to divide the Palestinian population and break their solidarity.
The grafitti reads, "to exist is to resist"
The most notable Israeli divisive effort has been creation of the Palestinian Authority under pretext of self-government to self-police fellow Palestinians, suppress resistance and support the goals of the occupation while Israel continues settlement expansion, bypass roads that exclude non-Jewish travelers, home demolitions, property confiscation, the apartheid wall, hundreds of checkpoints, and fragmentation of West Bank Palestinian culture, family life, community relationships, economy and local geography.
The PA pseudo-government was then engaged in a prolonged series of "peace process" negotiations predictably controlled and manipulated by those in power while continuing the above activities, never negotiating in good faith because the complete power imbalance made it unnecessary for them to do so.
The Palestinian Pieta by illustrator, cartoonist and jewelry designer Katie Miranda (see www.katiemiranda.com)
This first divisive strategy was followed by a second: US and Israeli attack upon the elected Hamas leadership in 2006 by withholding legal revenues and foreign assistance, inciting a civil war that isolated Gaza from the West Bank, then installing an unelected quisling Palestinian leadership in the West Bank and attempting to again "negotiate" an apartheid, bantustan "two-state solution" with these more carefully selected representatives that would exclude Hamas and the Gazans, the Palestinian refugees and external diaspora, and the 20% Palestinian population of Israel who live as 3rd-class citizens under a network of discriminatory laws and policies.
Notwithstanding these draconian measures by Israel, the Resistance stands firm. In an extraordinary expression of both steadfastness and solidarity after 42 years of often brutal occupation, 87% within a March 2009 survey sample of Palestinians in both Gaza and the West Bank (with the most to gain from an end to the occupation), even following the 2008-09 Gaza massacre, asserted that "return of the refugees AND compensation" would be "essential" to any final settlement. One can only conclude that they are an indomitable people.
This spirit of solidarity has not only been preserved by the Palestinians, but is now spreading worldwide to citizens everywhere who support the Palestinian struggle for freedom, justice and equality. A boycott, divestment and sanction movement requested by Palestinian civil society is rapidly growing and evoking nervous defensive reactions by Israel and its foreign lobbies.
The increasingly vigorous and systematic efforts by Israel and its US lobby to fight back against "human rights advocates" identified by Israel's Reut Institute as the principal "delegitimizers" of Israel suggests that the BDS movement is succeeding, as such a movement did in South Africa. The Reut Institute recommends Israeli propaganda strategies, and its original recommendations that the human rights movement opposing Israeli policies be "attacked" and "sabotaged" has been removed from their web site. However softened their prescriptive language, their aggressive "Brand Israel" agenda remains clearly visible including employment of several thousand bloggers to inject Israeli propaganda into online fora.
Cartoon by Latuff
Visiting the Berlin Wall in 1962, John Kennedy delivered the famous words, "Ich bin ein Berliner." Israel's apartheid wall far exceeds the Berlin wall in length and height, and unlike the Berlin Wall, is still standing.
People everywhere who treasure and demand justice, equality and freedom for themselves must proclaim and defend that right for all others as well.
We must all assert, "I am Palestinian."
Inspiration for the Resistance. The Israeli human rights organization B'Tselem recorded 1,446 killings of Palestinian children between Sept 2000 and June 2010, compared with 124 Israeli children killed, largely by suicide bombings that were discontinued in 2005.
Poster photographed on wall. The olive tree with its deep, enduring roots is a symbol among Palestinians of both peace and steadfast determination.
Demand Freedom, Justice and Equality in the Holy Land