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Everywhere you go in Gaza, you see people wounded in the Return March

Hasan al-Kurd, one of the organizers of last year’s Great March of Return in Gaza, says the protests gave people in Gaza a reason to live. In a frank interview, he talks about the shocking number of casualties, how Hamas took over the nonviolent initiative, and what he would do differently today.

Hasan al-Kurd (Courtesy)

Hasan al-Kurd (Courtesy)

“This is kind of like our anniversary,” I say to Hasan al-Kurd, one of the organizers of the Great March of Return in Gaza. “It is,” al-Kurd chuckles, “I never expected that we’d still be going for a full year.”

The first time Hasan and I spoke was on the eve of the Great March of Return,. Al-Kurd had wanted to send a message of peace to Israelis. A year later, despite admitting that things turned violent far quicker the organizers expected, he says he still believes in nonviolence.

The optimism that came through the phone line in that first interview was replaced this time by a sense of depression. According to figures released by the United Nations this week, since the protests began last March 30th, Israeli forces have shot and killed 195 participants, including 41 children. More than 29,000 protesters were injured or wounded, more than half of them by Israeli gunfire. Some estimate even higher numbers.

Al-Kurd says he didn’t think it the casualty figures would get so high.

“I thought we would hold the march for a month or two. That they’re still going is nothing short of astonishing,” he says. “It only goes to prove that we can continue this struggle forever, and I say that despite the fact that one of our only accomplishments is that we gave people in Gaza a reason to live.”

On Saturday, March 30, when Palestinians mark Land Day and a year since the protestsbegan, demonstrators are expected to come back in large numbers. Al-Kurd and the other original organizers openly admit that Hamas is calling the shots today. That bothers them.

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Over the course of our interview, al-Kurd expresses his concerns about high numbers of Palestinian casualties. On the opening day of the protests last year, Israeli troops killed 14 Palestinians. A month and a half later, on May 14, Israeli snipers killed 68 protesters. According to the original plan, the Great March of Return was supposed to be a family friendly series of events, nonviolent, and staying hundreds of meters away from the fortified fence.

“You see the injured everywhere in Gaza,” al-Kurd says.

“My family is among the wounded,” he continues. “I can’t walk down the street anymore without people blaming or complaining to me. It’s not the wounded people who complain, those whose lives were destroyed — it’s those around them who are the saddest and most frustrated.”

Young Palestinian men who lost their legs after being shot by Israeli snipers in the Great Return March attend an Iftar dinner organized by a charity in Khan Younis, Gaza Strip, June 11, 2018. (Abed Rahim Khatib/Flash90)

Young Palestinian men who lost their legs after being shot by Israeli snipers in the Great Return March attend an Iftar dinner organized by a charity in Khan Younis, Gaza Strip, June 11, 2018. (Abed Rahim Khatib/Flash90)

“We understand them and we know it’s not personal,” al-Kurd says of himself and the other original organizers. “For every martyr, you see hundreds of wounded, and the wounded don’t fully recover because of the type of weapons Israel used against us.”

“I told you a year ago that we don’t have a reason to live in Gaza, and aside from the return march, most people here still don’t have a reason to live,” he adds. “On the other hand, people are very supportive — they understand that the occupation is a crime.”

Do you feel like Gazans still support your original idea?

“You tell me. A year later, despite the war crimes Israel committed, people still want to protest. That’s the level of despair we’ve reached in Gaza. The return march is the most talked-about thing in Gaza.”

Despite the fact that Hamas took over?

“It’s not that Hamas took over — Hamas controls everything in Gaza. What they want to happen happens, and what they don’t want to happen doesn’t happen. The tents, the buses, the infrastructure to stage the protests, and the financial support comes from them because we, as independent activists, weren’t able to do it alone. But the protesters weren’t necessarily Hamas supporters.”

“That Hamas is leading the protests is disturbing but it also makes things easier. It’s disturbing because we lost control over our original idea. On the other hand, even in our original idea it was reasonable to assume that the occupation would massacre us, perhaps with fewer casualties, but they still would have struck us. At least this way you know that there’s a large organization that is taking care of the wounded and the families of those killed, and which takes responsibility. But despite that, the fact that Hamas is the face of this protest weakens the message that we’re trying to send to the world.”

Do you see a connection between the protests along the fence, against Israel and the blockade, and the protests against Hamas that took place last week?

“Yes. A pack of cigarettes costs 20 shekels here. For you that’s nothing but for some of us that’s a day’s wages — and that’s if you even have a job. Fatah tried to exploit a legitimate protest against Hamas and  take the reins, which gave Hamas an excuse to escalate its campaign against those protesting against it. As I said, the protesters at the fence aren’t necessarily Hamas supporters. These despondent people took the idea of the protests that we started and they turned it against Hamas. The return march didn’t achieve anything tangible and people understand that Hamas wrested control of them. So what happened? People turned their anger toward Hamas.”

“I’ll tell you something else. There’s a connection between the protests against Hamas and the rockets that fell in Tel Aviv. I say that with absolute certainty. I told my friends after I saw the protests against Hamas and after I saw how Hamas suppressed them, that they’re going to redirect the crisis toward the occupation. Resisting the occupation has always been a unifying factor among Palestinian factions. I remember it from my days in the PFLP — if there was a problem with Fatah we would resolve it by acting together against the occupation. Indeed, [the occupation] is the main reason for our problems and that’s also true for Gaza.”

I steer our conversation back to the protests last year and ask al-Kurd whether in retrospect he would do anything differently.

“My original plan was to protest a kilometer and a half from the fence and to approach it very slowly. We really wanted to throw a carnival for the whole family,” he says, recalling a conversation we had at the time. “Some of that actually happened toward the beginning. But the other Palestinian factions, including Hamas, ridiculed us — and me personally — and thought that we needed to approach the fence from the beginning. And look at what happened. In retrospect, I should have insisted on that point. If we had done what we wanted, we could have gotten headlines not only about the blockade but also the return of refugees. [What happened] isn’t what we wanted.”

Thousands of Palestinians march toward the the Gaza-Israel fence during a Great Return March demonstration east of Gaza City, May 14, 2018. (Mohammad Zaanoun)

Thousands of Palestinians march toward the the Gaza-Israel fence during a Great Return March demonstration east of Gaza City, May 14, 2018. (Mohammad Zaanoun)

Al-Kurd’s frankness is heartbreaking. The march’s original organizers were a group of around 20 activists, most of whom were leftists. Only two of the group were affiliated with Hamas, and even they weren’t involved in the armed struggle; they were just political supporters of the movement. Al-Kurd, a school teacher who lives in central Gaza with his wife and six children, had a tough year.

“My whole life is about the march these days,” he says. “It impacts my whole family.”

I mention to al-Kurd that Palestinians in the West Bank didn’t really throw their support behind the protests in Gaza. Last June, the Palestinian Authority violently suppressed protests in Ramallah against Mahmoud Abbas’ sanctions on Gaza. Activists in the West Bank say they are scared to express support for Gaza, and that’s why they didn’t take to the streets again. The fear created by the PA had a silencing effect, and Palestinians in Gaza feel alone in their fight.

“I really don’t know why they didn’t protest to support us,” he says. “You should ask them. I still call on every Palestinian to take up nonviolent popular struggle and support us on March 30. We in Gaza don’t have anywhere to escape the marches because they are here to stay.”

The Israeli media publishes photos of ‘flaming balloons’ and paints you all as ‘terrorists.’

“A year and a half ago I spoke with some Israeli journalist and she asked me what I think about a farmer who waits for his crops to grow for an entire year and then we, the Gazans, set it his fields on fire. I told her: ‘Imagine how you’d feel if you raised a child for 20 years and then he’s killed or wounded.’ Their imperviousness is simply unbelievable. And what about the fact that what she describes as scorched earth is actually our land?”

“My friends and I who initiated this still believe in a nonviolent struggle and we don’t want to harm any Israeli. So stop attacking us. I don’t support flaming balloons because I want a nonviolent struggle, but I also don’t condemn them because I understand where they’re coming from — anger and frustration and despair that even you, Rami, as a Palestinian, cannot understand. And I hope that Israelis never feel what we feel.”

It’s noble of you to say that, but here we disagree. How can you believe that people living just a few kilometers from you care about the horrors that their army reaps on you. While their army was massacring you, just an hour’s drive away in Tel Aviv, they were in the streets celebrating the Eurovision win.

“Don’t get me wrong, it’s not that I wish them peace while we are being shot in the head and in our legs. But I don’t want them to be harmed. On the other hand, I can’t be apathetic to what they call a ‘crisis.’ I remember how, a year ago, when we started speaking, you told me that ‘maybe 200 Israelis will come out in solidarity and that’s it.’ What can I say — you were right. Israelis have only moved to the right. It seems that only pressure from us can change anything.”

Jewish Israelis protest along the Gaza border in solidarity with the Great Return March, October 5, 2018. (Oren Ziv/Activestills.org)

Jewish Israelis protest along the Gaza border in solidarity with the Great Return March, October 5, 2018. (Oren Ziv/Activestills.org)

And what do you have to say to Palestinians living in the 1948 territories (inside what is Israel today), like me?

“You said something earlier that really hurt me. It really bothers me that nothing happened in the West Bank. I know that your situation is also difficult and that those who occupy and kill us live among you. But nevertheless, if you hold solidarity protests on March 30, you have no idea how much strength that will give us and how much it will motivate us to continue the struggle. Even if you just stand at highway junctions and hold signs, do what you can — together with left-wing Israelis — and it will really give us strength.”

This article was first published in Hebrew on Local Call. Read it here

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    COMMENTS

    1. Lewis from Afula

      If you live in Gaza and don’t want to be wounded by the Israeli army, don’t try to invade the Israeli border.
      Its all very simple really.

      Reply to Comment
      • Ben

        It is in the first place of course a dishonest characterization: “invade the Israeli border.” But, anyway, you feel free to invade their borders and their lives and their houses and their land all over the place the time. Of course you do. That’s just how (judeo)fascists are. What’s the problem, right? I mean, we’re Jews! Next question?

        Reply to Comment
        • JB DiGriz

          The Gaza-Israel border is recognized by the international community, so there is nothing dishonest about it. Hamas sends Gazans to violate the border, an illegal act under international law. But then again, Ben, you really don’t care about international laws being universally applied, so you’re happy to say that Palestinians are immune from international law and have the right to kill Israelis. That’s the way (BDS)fascists are, but the truth is, Palestinians do not have the right to break through the border, nor do they have the right to shoot rockets at Israeli civilians because doing so is a war crime – and Amnesty Intl said so, not me. Next question?

          Reply to Comment
        • Lewis from Afula

          If they stopped storming the border, releasing incendiary balloons, sending kites carrying explosives and firing rockets, then there would be no need for Israel to invade their lives either.

          But I realize this concept is probably too complex for deluded Leftist self-haters to grasp.

          Reply to Comment
          • Lewis from Afula

            Bruce:
            According to the Geneva Convention, Israel is NOT required to provide hospital treatment to the residents of an enemy nation-state.

            Reply to Comment
          • Ben

            Israel like any occupying power is required to provide care to protected persons under occupation. By well-established criteria of customary international law, Gaza is occupied. (This point has been proved so many times here it gets tiresome to have to repeat it. A person named “Yeah, Right’ has repeatedly provided especially convincing and authoritative arguments showing that the territories are occupied and that Gaza remains occupied. No one has refuted him.) So Israel is committing the same war crimes in Gaza as it always has committed in the West Bank. The difference is that Israel gets a pass on these crimes the West gives nobody else.

            Reply to Comment
          • Lewis from Afula

            Ben – your rationalization is why Israel MUST NEVER give up an inch of land.

            Lets say Israel did return to its pre-1967 lines and dismantled ALL its settlements, checkpoints and withdrew all its soldiers. The Bens of this World would say Israel’s still in occupation of those territories. They would cite new, silly UN resolutions and other assorted Israel-bashers saying the occupation is still there but in a “more clever, indirect form”.

            That is why I support the wholesale repatriation of the GAZANS & JORDANIANS back to the Arab World. The Leftist & Arab accusations are impossible to satisfy anyway. Thus, its best to take the whole Land of Israel and let the barking dogs bark.

            Reply to Comment
          • Ben

            This is simply confused. The Bens of this World would say that only if Israel continued to hold the West Bank in the same occupation chokehold it holds Gaza in today, even though it withdrew settlers and troops to the East of the Gaza fence. This is very simple and obvious.

            Reply to Comment
          • Lewis from Afula

            Something tells me the Bens of this World will say Israel is continuing the occupation, but in a “more sophisticated form”

            That is a totally wild, far out guess on my part
            Hah ah !

            Reply to Comment
          • Ben

            The occupation is already a highly sophisticated, seamless, intricate machinery composed of military troops, police, secret police, mistaravim, disinformation specialists, settlers, foreign and domestic funding, corrupt revenue streams, Israeli university researchers, weapons manufacturers, non-weapons profit centers, lawyers, courts, judges an Israeli “Justice” Minister, and somebody called (you can’t make this up) “ the Minister of Public Security, Strategic Affairs and Minister of Information.” It has attained high levels of sinister sophistication. (The East Germans and the National Socialist Germans before them did it very well too, so we can’t claim some kind of Jewish genius here or Jewish predilection. Any modern state that incessantly devotes great amounts of its human and material resources to such a project will achieve this sophistication.) I have never said that the occupation of Gaza is more sophisticated; it is a much less sophisticated operation, a cruder version of the occupation and apartheid in the West Bank.

            Reply to Comment
          • Ray

            So Israel can obey or ignore the Geneva Convention based on convenience. Very neat.

            Reply to Comment
          • Lewis from Afula

            Where does it say in the Geneva Convention that Arabs have the right to kill Israelis forever ??
            Because the ONLY REAL alternative to this state of affairs is to move the Jordanians / South Syrians / fakestinyans or whatever they call themselves this week back to the Arab World. That world starts just 20 -30 miles down the road.

            Reply to Comment
        • Frank

          “Return march”means the are marching to return to there homes in the historical Palestine that were stolen them by the khazarian Europeans claiming to be their historical home,so they are not crossing any one borders ,it’s their own borders,and these khazarian Zionsts will go back home to europe eventually ,after 100s,200..300 years ,they will go back,same like the south south African whites.history is very clear.good luck.😂😂😂

          Reply to Comment
      • Frank

        “Return march”means the are marching to return to there homes in the historical Palestine that were stolen them by the khazarian Europeans claiming to be their historical home,so they are not crossing any one borders ,it’s their own borders,and these khazarian Zionsts will go back home to europe eventually ,after 100s,200..300 years ,they will go back,same like the south south African whites.history is very clear.good luck.😂😂😂

        Reply to Comment
        • itshak Gordine

          You forget a little fast the millennial attachment of the Jewish people to its national and religious historical heritage. The myth of the Khazars was launched decades ago by the writer Arthur Koestler and taken over by the forger Schlomo Sand recently. For your information more than half of Israelis are of Eastern origin, their families having been driven out of Arab countries. As for the myth of the “Palestinian people”, it was invented in the 60s.

          Reply to Comment
          • Frank

            International law?😂😂😂😂.international law says the Palestinian refugees should go back to their homes with compensation,international law says Golan heights is a Syrian territory,west bank is Palestinian territory. millennial attachment of the Jewish people?go read the real history,there was never israel state or anything like that in that area ,it always was part of larger middle eastern empires like Assyria,Persia,egypt ..etc.the Palestinian people are part of the middle eastern people ,so naturally they will be living there for 1000s of years,most of the modern middle east historians were liars trying to prove their bible ,the real history is diffirent ,no one even have a copy of the origional Hebrew bible that was written in the ancient middle eastern languages,no one even knows were it was written or if the translations of the places names are right,some say in yemen..etc.religious believe doesn’t give any one right to any one home,so then the Filipino Catholics should take italy? Indonesian Muslims should take Saudi Arabia?
            Middle eastern jews are middle eastern people from iraq,egypt..etc,they lived there in peace for 1000s until the Zionists organisations showed up and payed currept leaders and did some killing to force them to leave,every one knows why the west helped to establish israel,to disturb the area and to enhance mythical Jesus return according to the crazy evangelicals.

            Reply to Comment
          • Lewis from Afula

            Re: “international law says the Palestinian refugees should go back to their homes with compensation”

            There are several big problems with this UN resolution.
            1. The resolution was advisory NOT compulsory.
            2. The resolution talked about ALL REFUGEES – including Jewish refugees which you conveniently FORGET to mention.
            3. At the time of the original resolution (1949), the Arab League voted against it because the resolution tacitly accepted Israel’s right to exist. The Arab League only supported it some 20 years later, after they started and lost the 6 day war.

            Reply to Comment
          • Ben

            None of these are “big problems.” They are either contentious nuances or irrelevancies.

            Reply to Comment
          • Lewis from Afula

            The biggest problem here is that Ben has the intellectual capacity of an Autistic Penguin.

            Reply to Comment
          • Ben

            Of course. You would say that, wouldn’t you, ‘Lewis’? Your standard answer to all problems is to crudely dehumanize the other side. I’ve never seen you do anything else.

            Reply to Comment
    2. itshak Gordine

      Did you read the name of the guy who organizes the “walk”? Al-Kurd, which means Kurdish. Do you really think that it is a “Palestinian” name? This proves once again that there is no “Palestinian people”.
      When the people of Gaza behave like civilized people, when they stop sending missiles, incendiary balloons and kites on Israeli civilians, and stop attacking the Israeli border, their lives will become more enjoyable.

      Reply to Comment
      • Ben

        Ridiculous. Have you heard of Miliekowsky, Smilansky and Gruen? This proves there is no Jewish Land of Israel people? All the Israeli Hebrew sounding names are invented.

        Listen up all of you.

        The right wingers on this page, all of them, from ‘Lewis’ from Afula to ‘Ishak Gordine’ Halevy, to JB DiGriz do one of two things or both: Arbitrarily arrogate to themselves privileges of peoplehood they deny non-Jews (from which follows all their other by now judeofascist, racist arrogations–it is no exaggeration to call them fascist) or they invent a false account of what the vast majority of Gazans did at the border, inventing propaganda myths with words like “storming” and erasing the crimes that the Israeli military snipers on the other side of the fence actually committed.

        The right wing Israeli public is truly one of the most brainwashed populations on Earth, and the emanations of the right wing visitors to these pages is proof. It is a truly Orwellian phenomenon playing out. One should hear testimony from the horse’s mouth, Daniella Weiss, about brainwashing:
        https://www.haaretz.com/israel-news/israeli-palestinian-conflict-solutions/.premium-on-a-clear-day-in-the-west-bank-you-can-see-the-israel-you-lost-forever-1.7044362

        Reply to Comment
        • Lewis from Afula

          Re: Names like Miliekowsky, Smilansky and Gruen.
          Ben’s IQ is too low to realise these types of European names were FORCIBLY ALLOTTED to Jews in the 18th or 19th Centuries by German or Slavic Kings.
          Whereas the original Al-Kurd CHOSE his own name, as reflecting his own location, geography and nationality.

          Reply to Comment
          • Ben

            No, Al-Kurd did not CHOOSE his name anymore than a Levy or a Cohen CHOSE their names. (Levy and Cohen being two of the very few genuine Hebrew surnames, derived from tribal ancestry, just as al-Kurd is derived from tribal ancestry.) All that happened here is that Ashkenazim (who never had surnames at all prior to the 17th century–and the process was more complex than you let on–look up Joseph II’s Edict of Tolerance) who immigrated to Palestine CHOSE to Hebraicize their European surnames or adopted new Hebrew-sounding ones outright. When al-Kurd’s family arrived in Palestine (who knows when but likely long before any Ashkenazi families did or you did) they did not CHOOSE to change their surname. Which means nothing. If I followed your logic then the descendants of Baruch Spinoza who arrived in Palestine don’t really deserve to be here because Spinoza’s family name harkens back to his family’s origins in either Espinosa de los Monteros or Espinosa de Cerrato. And members of the Batsri family, who came from the Iraqi city of Batsra, don’t belong in Palestine either. By your “logic.”

            As Peace Now has stated, there is ample historical documentation showing that a separate local identity among Arabs living in Palestine started forming in the 16th and 17th century, and that a national Palestinian consciousness began crystallizing early in the 20th century, as anti-colonial movements took root around the world. This national consciousness transformed into a national movement and later into a national liberation movement, in large part as a result of the friction between the Palestinians and Zionism, the Jewish national self-determination movement.

            Obfuscation by dumbing down is your main contribution here, Lewis.

            Reply to Comment
          • Lewis from Afula

            Yes, the original Ben-Gurion would have been called something alomg the lines of “Aaron Ben Moshe” OR “Yosef Ben Avraham” or whatever BUT these names were GENUINELY HEBREW. This person was FORCED TO CHANGE HIS NAME to something German in the 18th Century and ended up being called “Mr Gruen”.

            Whereas the original Mr Al-Kurd chose to be called “the Kurd” because that is what he was.

            Reply to Comment
          • Ben

            This is all beside the point for the reasons I just outlined (as per Peace Now) and your idée fixe on this does not delegitimize the Palestinians one bit. You don’t have an exclusive right to delegitimize non-Hebrews while decrying delegitimization of Hebrews. BTW Mr. Gruen’s family technically had their European surname added to their names, “Gruen” was not something that was a change from a previous (non-existent) surname. Stop beating a dead horse.

            Reply to Comment
          • Ray

            Loads of Arabs have ancestors who emigrated from Persia or Turkey (both of which have been ruling parts of Kurdistan for a long time now), both of which (for those of you who went to school on the “special” bus) have been part of vast empires.

            This may come as a surprise to any professed nationalist, but “Arabs,” covering everyone from the Gulf to North Africa, are both culturally and racially heterogenous, thanks in no small part to the melting pot that was past Islamic empires.

            Do you even history, bro?

            Reply to Comment
    3. Frank

      “One highly tenuous theory, is by Professor Kamal Salibi’s of American University in Beirut. In his 1985 book Bible Came from Arabia, he compares place names in the Bible with names in Arabia today, and concludes that Palestine had absolutely no historical Hebrew presence, and rather South West Arabia is what the Bible refers to as Israel! Moreover, Moses and Pharaoh were not in Egypt, but rather in Yemen! Egypt in the Bible is not today’s Egypt, …etc’
      was the land god gave to Abraham and his israelite descendants in Arabia? according to recent linguistic and geographical research, the kingdom of Solomon and david, and the site of the first temple, lie not in Palestine at all but in a fertile coastal strip south of mecca. professor salibi fully expects to be met with virulent opposition in the academic world. if he is correct , centuries of biblical scholarship will collapse, throwing into disarray Israel statehood in the middle east based on the claims to the old testament kingdom”
      https://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/tg/detail/-/0224028308/qid=/sr=/ref=cm_lm_asin/002-4534322-1731234?v=glance

      Reply to Comment
    4. Firentis

      1) The organizer of the march freely admits that the marches have been taken over and are orchestrated by Hamas

      2) The organizer of the march freely admits that the Palestinians are trying to breach the border despite the original intent of the organizers to not do so. Had they stuck to their original intent no one would be harmed.

      3) The organizer freely admits that Hamas is responsible for the casualties that the Palestinians have incurred.

      4) The organizer, like most ‘non-violent’ Palestinians, accept the legitimacy of targeting Israeli civilians.

      If the Palestinians want to avoid casualties all they have to do is to stop trying to breach the Israeli border.

      Reply to Comment
      • Ben

        The Israeli army routinely maims and kills non-Jewish protesters to the East in Gaza and to the West in the West Bank. If it does not kill them it ruthlessly and immediately suppresses peaceful protest with every brutal, violent means possible, covert and non-covert, and routinely locks up without any due process people simply for protesting. Israel does not allow any protest, whatsoever, including non-violent protest, and then complains crocodile tears when it produces the violence that it secretly cherishes.
        https://972mag.com/when-non-violence-is-criminal-palestinian-women-stand-trial-for-west-bank-protest/75350/

        Reply to Comment
        • Firentis

          The Israeli army consistently fires upon people approaching the border between Gaza and Israel.

          The Palestinians are entirely free to protest inside of Gaza itself. Or whenever/wherever Hamas allows them since Hamas controls everything.

          Reply to Comment
          • Ben

            An evasive non-answer. That’s ok. I expect nothing less.

            Reply to Comment
    5. Hyman Rosen

      The IDF, who holds a force monopoly, says that if Palestinians approach the Gaza border, they will be shot. When Palestinians approach the Gaza border, they are shot.

      It does not matter to the Israelis how much Palestinians believe that they should not be shot for approaching the border, nor that they believe that there is no border, nor that they believe they should be allowed to live in Israel, nor that they believe that Israel is illegitimate, nor that they believe that talking trees will help them kill Jews. It is the people with the force monopoly who decide who gets shot.

      The point of non-violent, non-border-approaching protest is not that Palestinians believe in non-violence (if peace ever does come, it will nevertheless be generations before Israel trusts Palestinians to be peaceful), but that Israel would likely not have used its force monopoly to stop it.

      Reply to Comment
      • Ben

        You are certainly correct that Palestinian human life does not matter to the Israelis.

        What you elide amidst your showing this off is that:

        (1) Quite a few Palestinians DO believe in non-violence (you might actually read +972 Magazine on this) but Palestinians believing in non-violence is the very last thing Israel actually wants, and Israel works day and night to discourage any Palestinians from believing in non-violence.

        (2) It won’t take “generations” for either side to usefully trust the other side in ways that matter, but it will take a good faith practical agreement that actually motivates both sides to be non-violent. Israelis typically expect something for nothing.

        (3) It is not that Israelis in power and those who vote them into power believe in non-violence—contrary to your implicit narrative, they do not. If peace ever does come, it will be because Israelis ultimately coldly calculated that the cost of their routine, non-stop, daily and nightly violence against the Palestinians is too high for Israelis.

        Yet again, in the narrative of the conflict that you are sneaking in here the callous Israeli point of view dominates. Again, this is how the Palestinians are always made to look like violent lawbreakers, while Israel seeks “calm” and “peace.” It’s phony. But very standard Israeli hasbara.

        Violence was never gone, so it cannot ‘return’
        https://972mag.com/violence-was-never

        Reply to Comment
        • Hyman Rosen

          You are imputing things to me that I did not say. I suppose if you enjoy making up statements that you can argue against, I can’t stop you, but it doesn’t seem useful.

          I am not ”correct that Palestinian human life does not matter to the Israelis” since I did not say such a thing. If that were the case, Israel would not be bombing empty buildings in Gaza. It is true that Israel values Palestinian human life less than it values other things, such as the security of its citizens and its borders.

          You say ”Violence was never gone, so it cannot ‘return’” with scare quotes around ”return”. Be that as it may, I did not say anything about violence being gone or returning.

          Non-violence can be used as a tool even if one would prefer to be violent. If Palestinians believe that Israel would prefer them to be violent rather than non-violent, they should consider not doing Israel’s bidding. Israelis do not have to believe in non-violence since they are not the ones protesting. But the Israeli self-image is of a good people beset by terrorists (even if you find that ludicrous, you don’t get to control what they think), and therefore non-violent protest has a reasonable chance of accomplishing something. (Note that non-violence does not mean throwing stones instead of Molotov cocktails.)

          The Palestinians in the occupied territories are never going to be permitted to live in Israel and become voting citizens.

          Reply to Comment
          • Ben

            Correct. I am imputing to you things you did not say directly and literally, but my imputation is, I think, reasonable and supported by the totality of things you say in context. You have a strange way of supporting the case that Palestinian human life does matter to Israelis by stating that “It does not matter to the Israelis how much Palestinians believe that they should not be shot for approaching the border,” and in supporting all the other quite brutal things army troops routinely do to non-violent Palestinians. You would never ever, not in a million years, support the shooting of Jewish persons in similar circumstances. “The security of its citizens and its borders” has been used for a long time now, obviously, to cover for a much less morally elevated real estate grab and the practices that necessarily go into military control of an entire people for fifty years running. It does not convince; it has been used way too many times and in way too many places to convince. Israel is bombing empty buildings in Gaza because Netanyahu does not want an escalation prior to the election and it cares about how it plays in the international arena. Not because it cares about Palestinian life. It had no trouble bombing non-empty buildings when it could get away with it.

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          • Ben

            Sheizaf did not put “scare quotes” around ”return”. He put quotation marks around the word because it is the word Israelis use about “violence” and his article is about why that usage of “return” is false. That was the point of the article linked to. (But I guess you could always add “scare quote terror” to “diplomatic terror” and “Palestinian house construction terror” in the unique Israeli lexicon.)

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          • Ben

            “If Palestinians believe that Israel would prefer them to be violent rather than non-violent, they should consider not doing Israel’s bidding.” 

            The fact is that Israel clamps down on non-violent protest as swiftly and completely, and violently, as it does violent protest. Or more so. It uses mista’aravim or just plain non-covert violence, to provoke violence and egg on and convert non-violent protests to violent ones, which it is much more comfortable with. Israeli army and police never want to be left unable to recite their slogan, “we will know what to do,” and if they can convert it to violence, they know what to do. The Israeli army routinely maims and kills non-Jewish protesters to the East in Gaza and to the West in the West Bank. If it does not kill them it ruthlessly and immediately suppresses peaceful protest with every brutal, violent means possible, covert and non-covert, and routinely locks people up indefinitely and without any due process simply for protesting or god forbid showing an ounce of leadership or organizing capacity—those especially will be locked up and disappeared. Any number of articles in these pages, and in the pages of Haaretz document this thoroughly. You cannot seriously deny it. (Now, I know that the vast majority of Israelis don’t want to spring for a subscription to their only serious mainstream paper and complain when I link to it, when they can always pick up that objective freebie, Israel Hayom, and read about “the return of violence by those lawless, violent Arabs” but I won’t apologize for subscribing to it and reading it.) 
            Bottom line, Israel does not allow any protest, whatsoever, including non-violent protest, and then publicly sheds crocodile tears when it produces the violence that it secretly cherishes. Gilad Erdan, Minister of (you cannot make this up) “Public Security,” “Strategic Affairs,” and “Information,” knows all about that. 

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          • Ben

            “The Israeli self-image is of a good people beset by terrorists”

            I know very well how Israelis see themselves. And that I can’t control what they think, nor would “controlling” what anyone thinks be my cup of tea, though it certainly is right wing Israel’s and Ayalet Shaked’s cup of tea. (And they certainly do try to control what Americans think, but I digress.) I think that is the whole point of publications like Local Call and +972, is it not? Local Call/+972 has made a thorough and persuasive case that the Israeli self-image of a good people beset by terrorists is false, is deceptive, self-serving, serving an inhumane and unjust agenda. 

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          • Ben

            “The Palestinians in the occupied territories are never going to be permitted to live in Israel and become voting citizens.”

            But meanwhile creeping annexation of their territory, their homes, their land, their farms proceeds apace, apartheid being the logical outcome of “never going to be permitted to live in Israel and become voting citizens.”
            And also meanwhile, the Arab citizens of Israel exercising the vote are characterized by the Prime Minister as a threat, “coming to the polls in droves.” Should we add “voting terror” to the lexicon of “the only democracy in the Middle East”?

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