Imagine if the Palestinian resistance movement were taking place in Iran!
Dashing Mohammad Othman now rotting in detention would be a global cause. The middle-of-the-night arrest of Abdallah Abu Rahmah would be on the Nightly News. The New York Times would tell the stories of international freedom riders, the Gaza Freedom March, and the role of Twitter in the resistance.
The video of Abu Rahme’s murder during a peaceful protest of the unending landgrab would be viral. The all-night protests of the East Jerusalem evictions that are being carried out a racial basis– ethnic cleansing!– would fire the conscience of kings and counselors. Columnists would go on TV and decry the crushing of a popular resistance movement. College students would sing out the words, Sheikh Jarrah! and talk about 8000 political prisoners and a Foreign Minister whose foreign policy is directed at the Arabs inside his own country…
The Council on Foreign Relations would talk about the regime’s possession of nukes, and how that affects the outcome of the popular movement.
Politico would righteously expose the tax-deductible U.S. sponsors of the landgrab and ask, Where is the Israeli FW de Klerk???
Wake up now: it’s not happening in Iran. It’s happening in Israel and Palestine, the sovereign territory of the Israel lobby. So our politicians are silent, our media are ball-gagged and duct-taped, Jewish leadership talks about the Holocaust and the existential threat to the Jewish people, the most important political website is a bed of Israel supporters (from Josh Gerstein to Josh Kraushaar), and the left has its tail coiled tightly between its legs.
Here is brave Israeli Neve Gordon, who has called for BDS against Israel, telling the same story in the Guardian that Amira Hass told in Haaretz: Israel is terrified of nonviolent resistance. So it needs to break it by military means.
It is often forgotten that even the second intifada, which turned out to be extremely violent, began as a popular nonviolent uprising. Haaretz journalist Akiva Eldar revealed several years later that the top Israeli security echelons had decided to "fan the flames" during the uprising’s first weeks. He cites Amos Malka, the military general in charge of intelligence at the time, saying that during the second intifada’s first month, when it was still mostly characterised by nonviolent popular protests, the military fired 1.3m bullets in the West Bank and Gaza. The idea was to intensify the levels of violence, thinking that this would lead to a swift and decisive military victory and the successful suppression of the rebellion. And indeed the uprising and its suppression turned out to be extremely violent.
But over the past five years, Palestinians from scores of villages and towns such as Bil’in and Jayyous have developed new forms of pro-peace resistance that have attracted the attention of the international community. Even Palestinian Authority prime minister Salam Fayyad recently called on his constituents to adopt similar strategies. Israel, in turn, decided to find a way to end the protests once and for all and has begun a well-orchestrated campaign that targets the local leaders of such resistance.
One such leader is Abdallah Abu Rahmah, a high school teacher and the co-ordinator of Bil’in’s Popular Committee Against the Wall, is one of many Palestinians who was on the military’s wanted list. At 2am on 10 December (international Human Rights Day), nine military vehicles surrounded his home. Israeli soldiers broke the door down, and after allowing him to say goodbye to his wife Majida and three young children, blindfolded him and took him into custody. He is being charged with throwing stones, the possession of arms (namely gas canisters in the Bil’in museum) and inciting fellow Palestinians, which, translated, means organising demonstrations against the occupation.