Israel’s fanatical antipathy to nonviolent Palestinian resistance

by Yaniv Reich on February 19, 2011

The massive, organized, hysterical opposition by Israelis and their lobbyists to the UN Security Council Resolution today, which aimed to condemn settlements (with Hillary Clinton’s own recent language about them) makes the whole game crystal clear.  The real issue Israelis have is not that some Palestinian resistance fighters use violence (and often illegal, terrorizing violence at that).  This is of course what every Israeli repeats incessantly every time one brings up even the weather, despite the fact that each of recent years have been the quietest years ever from Israelis perspective (while the Palestinian continue to suffer extraordinary violence at the hands of Israelis).

Rather, the real problem is that Palestinians dare to struggle for an independent homeland in any capacity at all, even if it takes the form of rather trivial and innocuous diplomatic resolutions, which merely co-exist with already existing resolutions that say the same thing.  There is truly nothing acceptable to Israelis besides total acquiescence to Jews’ bible-motivated nation-building on land stolen from Palestinians.  Daily.  By contrast, look at how much they love corrupt, anti-Christ loving Mike Huckabee, who loves Israel because it does a great job of bringing closer the End of Days.

Two other news items appeared in the last day or two, which reinforce this point dramatically. The first is about IDF preparations to squash militarily pro-democracy protests in the West Bank.  The second is a fabulously entertaining account of the International Solidarity Movement by the Intelligence and Terrorism Information Center (ITIC), an Israeli “think-tank” [sic] with close ties to the Israeli government.

The threat of Palestinian democracy

Consider this excerpt from the Jerusalem Post:

Concerned by the prospect of the Palestinians replicating Egypt-style mass demonstrations with dozens of simultaneous marches and protests in the West Bank, the IDF is beginning to build rapid-response forces and to identify vantage points throughout the territories that could be used to contain such protests.

The IDF’s Central Command assesses that the Palestinians could resort to so-called nonviolent resistance, on a scale previously unknown to Israel, in the absence of peace negotiations.

The IDF Central Command has “concern” that Palestinians might hold “Egypt-style mass demonstrations”, which were of course both extraordinary and widely-recognized as a triumph of peaceful protest over military thuggery.  Yes, because there are no peace negotiations (because Israel insists on colonizing the West Bank, i.e. eating the pizza while “negotiating” over it), Israel thinks the Palestinians might nonviolently demonstrate (in greater numbers than they do every single week), and this is a sufficient threat to prepare militarily, including identifying “strategic hilltops” to be used as “vantage points” for  crowd control, create “rapid-response teams” to repress protests by “arriv[ing] at the scene of a demonstration in its early stages in an attempt to contain it”, conduct covert operations with “reconnaissance and surveillance teams”, and counseling soldiers “mentally” about how to use their military force to stifle democratic protest.  After all, we are told, “the IDF might not know how to effectively respond. . . . which could lead to a high number of casualties.”  If only the IDF knew how to respond to democratic protests, indeed!

Of course, the “concern” is tempered by Israeli faith in their puppets in the Palestinian Authority, who despite getting a little too excited in the UN Security Council, were “more likely”, according to a senior IDF officer, to “prevent this from happening until after elections in September.”  Thankfully for the IDF and their inability to deal with large democratic protests without a “high number of casualities”, they have a set of clients that can be expected to perform dutifully in favor of the occupier’s interests.

The threat of solidarity

This example can be read with a bit more humor, because at least there is not dripping from each word the literal threat of military brutality against masses of innocent demonstrators.  In sum, the ITIC thinks the International Solidarity Movement (ISM) is anti-Israel, pro-Hamas and an “indirect” supporter of terrorism.  The article is filled with so many “pro-Palestinian”, “anti-Israeli”, “pro” this, “anti” that, it could be case study in Bush’s (idiotic, one-dimensional) caricature of political thought.  But let’s put that aside for a minute and consider their arguments:

  • “The ISM’s stated objective is to give international support to the Palestinian cause and to demonstrate solidarity by using non-violent tactics which it refers to as “direct action” (a term taken from the lexicon of extreme leftist revolutionary and human rights movements).”  I think ITIC (and most Israelis) failed to get the memo about Dr Martin Luther King Jr, among many others.  By now, the world kind of likes those guys and considers them heroes, not “extreme leftist revolutionaries”.  Ditto for human rights.  In what reality is “nonviolent tactics” and “human rights” terms of slander against people you feel are on the other side of some artificial pro/anti division?
  • “Their activities included: participating in Palestinian protest demonstrations and rallies, serving as human shields for terrorist operatives wanted by the Israeli security forces, locating themselves near IDF roadblocks throughout Judea and Samaria, providing the Palestinians (including terrorist operatives and their families) with financial, logistic and moral support, hindering the razing and sealing of houses of suicide bombers, holding protests along the security fence from Jenin to Jerusalem, etc.”  Here we go with the scare-mongering and outright lies.  They attended demonstrations?  Holy shit!  They serves as shields for terrorist operatives?  Bullshit, as is clear to anyone who has met an ISMer or knows anything about the organization.  They located at roadblocks?  Oh.  My.  God.  They hindered the razing of houses of suicide bombers?  I challenge ITIC to name even one case of this.  What ISM did do was stand bravely in front of bulldozers, at great risk to themselves, to prevent the demolition of Palestinian homes at the whim of Israeli occupation forces.  And the ITIC should know just as well as anyone that more than 95% of housing demolitions have nothing to do with terrorism or even security more broadly; they occur because Palestinians are unable to get permits to build from the occupation authorities. They held protests at the security barrier?  Now they’ve gone too far!
  • “Two of what they considered their peak activities (according to the movement website) were sending activists to serve as human shields at the entrances to the Church of the Nativity in Bethlehem and to Arafat’s headquarters in Ramallah.” You read that right.  To the Israeli military mind, serving as a human shield at one of the holiest sites in all of Christianity is an act of such great hostility that it ought to be accused of “indirectly supporting terrorism.”  Human shields support terrorism. Obviously, right?  If only the world wasn’t so anti-Semitic, maybe they would see the connection.
  • “The Free Gaza Movement  (and the ISM through it) has been preparing an upgraded flotilla as a new political-propaganda project to challenge Israel.”  How dare they!  Didn’t they learn their lesson after IDF commandos butchered nine of them?
  • “Sending volunteers to protest demonstrations at focal points of Palestinian-Israeli friction, such as Bila’in.” Yes, the ITIC gets really, really fired up about people nonviolently protesting.

From this rubbish the ITIC concludes that ISM is anti-Israel organization, which has “a critical worldview of the United States and its policies, especially regarding the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq after the September 11 attacks” (who doesn’t in this day and age?  Even the majority of these wars’ most vocal proponents have by now turned against them), and which “violates Israeli [occupation] law”.  It’s activists are even taught how to “deceive Israeli authorities” as part of it’s “base of operations”, which move around the West Bank and even go to Gaza!  The horror!

Nonviolence: the scariest thing in the world for the violence-addicted

The common thread between these three examples is the totally transparent contempt for any measure, especially nonviolent ones, that transpire without the stamp of approval by an occupation army whose primary purpose is the control of an occupied, stateless Palestinian population while Jews, under full military and diplomatic protection, steal Palestinian land for Jewish-only apartheid colonies and harass, maim, and kill Palestinian human beings and their livelihoods—with near complete impunity.

Every Israel supporter ought to have a firm discussion with himself or herself and ask: Are Palestinians allowed to do anything besides die quietly or migrate out of the region?

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{ 2 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Clif Brown February 19, 2011 at 4:35 pm

There’s truth in every word of this essay. In other words, you nailed it. Or, as we used to say in the 1960’s, “right on!”. Even more appropriate, write on!

The analogy I would draw to the current situation is that of a frozen river in springtime. You can hear cracking and popping but there is no visible evidence of a change…until suddenly, the ice breaks. The U.S. and Israel are frantically continuing to work the puppet show even as the audience can clearly see the real mechanics going on beneath the stage.

Even the U.S. Justice Department is contributing to the cause by issuing grand jury subpoenas to 23 Americans for such things as going to the occupied territories to find out the situation there for themselves – perhaps in connection with the ISM!!! How dare they attempt to find out things for themselves?

2 Yaniv Reich February 26, 2011 at 12:58 pm

Thanks for your kind comment!

I like the frozen river analogy. I have long believed that a massively improved status quo, i.e. the end of apartheid, is far closer than it looks. My own hunch is that we will see one person-one vote appear suddenly and powerfully in exactly the way you describe the ice breaking.

And I do hope you are right that the audience is seeing the true underlying mechanics. I can see evidence of this in small ways, but spreading the awareness more widely seems to never happen quickly enough.

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