If Not With a Stone, Then With What?

Those who attacked Amira Hass for empathizing with Palestinian stone-throwing appear ready to condemn any form of resistance.

Yossi Sarid
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Yossi Sarid

If the stone that is thrown is the stone that kills, I am against it. Amira Hass is also against it. We haven’t been authorized to license harming another person. 

But our work has not been made easy. Every civilized person understands that the right to resist is always reserved for occupied and oppressed peoples, even the Arab Palestinian people. And the Palestinians don’t need Israeli agreement to define the reality of their life as a reality of occupation. Their feelings suffice – all of their life is under alien rule and they are thoroughly determined to dismantle this yoke. The entire world shares the Palestinian position, as do many Israelis.

It isn’t the question of resistance, then, that is under discussion, but rather the means: how to resist. Not with a stray stone, it is agreed; but then with what? The hypocritical pens that have taken aim at Hass do not have any suggestions of their own; thus the pens become hip-slung swords.

Twenty-six years ago, before the first intifada erupted, I wrote here “The guide to the eradication of the Israeli occupation,” and the article stirred up a storm. Even back then, I called on the Palestinian leadership to put an end to its armed struggle: “In order to destroy the Israeli occupation,” I wrote, “It is necessary, first of all, to cease the terror. And secondly – it is necessary to transform the occupation from an asset into a burden. The Israelis have to feel in their pockets what they don’t comprehend with their minds.”

Not by force, and certainly not by blind and barren terror. After all, the occupation and the terror nourish each other. Two and a half decades ago, I proposed to them “non-violent civil disobedience,” and that is what I am proposing now.

Alas, a long time passed before the strategy of the struggle shifted that way; but to this day, it has not changed sufficiently. Though they have abandoned the path of terror, the Palestinians have not fully adopted all the non-violent possibilities of popular resistance: boycotting Israeli goods, not working in the building of settlements, not selling lands, lying down in front of the bulldozers, attacking the fences and the walls, getting arrested at every opportunity, filling the prisons, flooding the international institutions with complaints and lawsuits.

Official Israel is not deterred by terror, it is helped by it. It is afraid of a Mahatma Gandhi or Martin Luther King who will suddenly rise up at its gates. And even with Gandhi, stones sometimes flew and not only lotus blossoms, not to mention Nelson Mandela, the righteous among the nations, around whom the air filled with the smell of gunpowder and not necessarily the fragrance of protea.

So what are the shocked stoners of Amira proposing? Clearly they are negating, like Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas and us, a third intifada that will only pour blood onto the bonfires of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s speeches. They, the stoners, also reject boycotts of Israel in general and of the settlements in particular and of the college in Ariel most particularly of all. That is not the way, in their opinion.

And in the clenched-lip demonstrations in Bil’in – there is no alternative. It is essential to break their cameras and their bones, and anyone who preaches civil disobedience is dangerous and must be imprisoned.

Diplomatic moves are also unthinkable, because they are unilateral and irritants. There must be no applications for recognition to the United Nations and it is absolutely prohibited to pester the International Court of Justice, because that is already a real act of aggression. Israel will not agree to let “diplomatic terror” replace blood terror.

Netanyahu, once and possibly future foreign minister "Yisrael Shelanu" chairman MK Avigdor Lieberman and Defense Minister Moshe Ya’alon will strip Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas and Prime Minister Salam Fayyad of their finery and their fine words and display them to the whole world for what they are: anti-Semites, Holocaust-deniers and clones of Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad in the skin of assassinated Egyptian President Anwar Sadat. Their war on the terrorists is nothing but a continuation of the terror by devious means. This is the view of the very righteous.

No intifada, no boycotts, no civil disobedience, no court of justice and certainly no stones. No, no, no, no and no. We will make peace here in pleasant and gracious ways only. The Palestinians, like the hanged man, will continue to twitch at the end of a short rope, twitch and twitch and twitch until they get accustomed to it. We, after all, are already accustomed to it.

A Palestinian protestor holding stones.Credit: Reuters

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