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WATCH: Gaza youth dance the dabke in Israeli sniper range

The world continues to ignore their plight so youth in Gaza are trying to find creative, new ways to fight Israel’s siege. Now we can only hope that Israel doesn’t declare dancing a form of terrorism.

Since the above video was published online last Friday, I haven’t been able to get it out of my head: a young Palestinian girl and a handful of boys dancing the traditional dabke along the Gaza-Israel border against a backdrop of plumes of smoke. Perhaps it is because the video manages to encapsulate so much of the story of the occupation and the siege in two-and-a-half minutes: the power dynamics between the occupier and the oppressed, the clenched fist of the former and the determination of the latter.

The video was filmed last Friday during the most recent of the Great Return March protests, which have been taking for three months now. In an interview with Rami Younis a few days before the protests kicked off, organizer Hasan al-Kurd emphasized how the plan was explicitly nonviolent — organizers said they objected to throwing stones and burning tires — and meant to communicate to the world the situation of Gazans living under siege. The organizers also said they wanted to send a message of peace to Israelis.

Indeed, even though Israeli did all it could at the time to paint the protests as violent, terror protests orchestrated by Hamas, and despite the disturbingly high number of protesters the IDF killed and wounded, the demonstrations, with few exceptions, remained nonviolent. As Meron Rapoport wrote last week, in May the Israeli government admitted in court that only 25 out of more than 100,000 protesters had tried to cross or damage Israel’s border fence at the time. No Israeli soldier was wounded during the protests. On the Palestinian side, more than 100 were killed.

And thus Israel proved to the Palestinians yet again that it is deadlier to protest along the border than it is to fire rockets over it. Soon enough, the language of violence once again reclaimed its place as the primary form of communication between Israel and Hamas. Thus, with a lower profile and fewer participants, the weekly demonstrations continue. Gazans are still heading to the border every Friday, risking Israeli sniper fire to remind the world that they are still living under siege in the world’s largest open-air prison.



What other language is there for these youngsters to try and speak to a world that refuses time and again to be moved by their ongoing, worsening tragedy? Perhaps a language that doesn’t rely on words — dance. The spectacular thing about the dabke along the fence is the gap between the circumstances in which it took place and its symbolic power — a dance of defiance, in which Palestinian existence itself cries out with every step.

Look at these youngsters dancing in front of Israeli snipers along the border. Not at the “culture of death” that Israel wants us to see when we look at them, but rather at their determination to live. In a reality in which Palestinians existence has become provocative, these youngsters insist on existing. Only a fool could believe that it is possible to subjugate an entire nation determined to hang on to life, the right to freedom, and independence. All we can do now is hope that the IDF doesn’t rush to declare the dabke “terror dancing” and start sniping at them from the other side of the fence. In the name of security, of course.

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    1. Nicholas Hosken

      Before you go…
      A lot of work goes into creating articles like the one you just read…

      What a load of complete nonsense. The article is utter rubbish and this poor excuse of a journalist obviously has her own left wing agenda.

      The fact is the original palestinians were happy to leave their lands in ’48 because, in return, they were promised the Israeli land by the Arab League once the AL had finished massacring the Israelis. And I say massacring because that was the AL plan. They didn’t want to just annex the lands; they were actively trying to murder every Israeli in the country – women and children included.

      These Palestinians believed Israel was an easy target because the AL (which consisted of 7 countries plus their irregulars and volunteers) cowardly chose to attack Israel on the day it was formed. They chose to help the aggressors and when they lost they thought they could just waltz back into the country and everything would be ok. What a joke.

      Now, 2 generations later, their offspring who have been born other countries (why are they the only people in the world who are born in one country and are somehow considered a refugee of another?) still want to claim the land as theirs? Go jog on!

      They can dance the danke, the mambo or even the Macarena but the land their ancestors left belongs to Israel and Israel has every right to defend it.

      Reply to Comment
      • Bruce Gould

        @Nicholas Hosken: Regardless of the reasons the Palestinians fled in 1948, they were noncombatants because they weren’t there when the fighting happened (duh), and the Geneva Conventions (which were designed with Hitler in mind) forbids the transfer of civilian populations in wartime. (the U.S., Israel’s main benefactor, has signed on to the Geneva Conventions). So basically you’re saying the Palestinians should be punished for having a bad attitude.

        As for the reasons the Palestinians fled, many Israeli historians have clearly stated that terror – Jewish terror – was by far the main factor. You can supply the names of these historians as well as I can.

        Reply to Comment
      • Tom

        Dear Nicholas, How can you be so cynical, and seriously believe than palestinians “was happy to leave their land” ? Whatever are the reasons, it’s never a pleasure to become refugee…

        You wasn’t there during the war, (and I wasn’t here eather), but it’s why we need History, it’s not a propaganda game but a serious matter ! There was atrocity in both side and you can’t look on one side only. I advice you to start reading about it,(start with the Plan Daleth ?) but denying the reality of the Nakba will not make it desappear.

        Reply to Comment
    2. Paul Rogan

      This is a beautiful act of defiance in the face of the barbarity of Israeli capitalism.

      The world is changing. The old imperialist order is crumbling and along with it will go Israeli capitalism, and its murderous oppression of palestinian workers.

      There is no “one-state” or “two-state” solution as long as capitalism continues to exist in the region.

      Only the working-class, arab and jewish, united in a common struggle to overthrow capitalism in Israel and Palestine, can offer a way forward for the people of the middle-east.

      Solidarity from the UK.

      Reply to Comment
    3. Alex

      Beautiful, honestly brought me close to tears. I hope the Palestinians know that the world sees them, and we see the violence and injustice brought upon them by the IDF.

      Reply to Comment
    4. Baladi Akka 1948

      The song is a tradiotinnal Palestinian dabkeh song “ya Zareef al-Tool”, and this is a modern version by Palestinian band 47SOul.

      Reply to Comment
    5. Cynthia Lynn

      @Nicholas Hosken, After you go…
      learn the definition of critical thinking and then practice. When you think you’ve got it down, think again.

      Reply to Comment