After reading the recent post here about the New York Times coverage of protests by Palestinians, termed a "West Bank Spectacle," I posted a comment to the blog of reporter/videographer Jaron Gilinsky. He responded, and a dialogue quickly developed. Below are excerpts…
“My personal opinion is that the Palestinians should adopt a truly non-violent, truly inventive method of protest, which may or may not help their cause, but at least won’t send mixed signals to the world about who the victims are.”
I truly believe, and im not the only one, that Palestinian violence plays into the hands of Israel in continuing the occupation, and that a truly non-violent struggle is the best way to free the Palestinians.
Finally, you are incorrect in stating that this doesn’t get much coverage in the mainstream media. The NYT, for example, has covered Bilin several times since the protests began in 2004.”
Joseph Glatzer said…
Bi’lin, Ni’lin and the like are non-violent marches to the Wall, where they (along with Israelis and various internationals like American Tristan Anderson) are shot at, tear gassed, and killed. I do commend you for interviewing the Israeli activist.
The International Court of Justice ruled the entire Wall was illegal in a landmark ruling. Even the Israeli Supreme Court deemed the Bi’lin section of the Wall illegal and to be rerouted. The decision has never been implemented. Palestinians are protesting Israel using a giant concrete wall to separate them from their land they used to earn a living from.
I agree that the army is often too aggressive and violent with the protesters. So I want to ask you and others a question. It will require you to put politics aside for a moment, which I know can be difficult. Often the point of these demos is to violate Israeli law or damage infrastructure in some way through civil disobedience.
Without passing judgment on the morality of the laws of the occupation and the morality of its detractors, if you were general of the IDF, what rules of engagement would you adopt to simultaneously protect the protesters and Israeli law?
Assuming rules of engagement are actually followed, are tear gas grenades shot into the air appropriate? Rubber bullets in the legs? Beating people ever so gently with a night stick? What would you do differently?
Joseph Glatzer said…
Jaron: It’s unfortunate you didn’t engage the relevant questions I raised, instead only responding with a narrowly defined question of how I would effectively quell the occupied if I were the occupier.
The premise of your question is actually wrong. The Palestinians aren’t even engaged in "civil disobedience" against unjust laws: they are simply trying to end ISRAEL’s disobedience; in ignoring their own Supreme Court ruling saying the Bi’lin section of the Wall is illegal and must be rerouted.
This isn’t some campaign to "violate Israeli law" or "damage infrastructure". This is a fact, not opinion: Israel is in violation of its own law for over 2 years by ignoring their own ruling.
"Without passing judgment on the morality of Jim Crow laws of the white South and the morality of its detractors, if you were Bull Connor or George Wallace, what rules of engagement would you adopt to simultaneously protect the civil rights marchers and Jim Crow law? Assuming rules of engagement are actually followed, is tear gas shot in the air appropriate? Police dogs biting demonstrators in the legs? Beating people ever so gently with a night stick? What would you do differently?"
How does your question look when it’s juxtaposed into the Civil Rights movement? What I would do differently is end the racist policy, not try to end an effective way of defending it.
The premise of my question is not logically wrong. I simply asked what an appropriate response would be to these protests. It doesn’t logically presuppose anything.
If you mean that it was wrong on a moral level, well, I can’t argue with that. I do sometimes ask ridiculous questions because I think it makes a point about the absurdity of the entire situation. Anyone who knows me is aware that I believe in human rights for all people, and do genuinely hope that Palestinians can one day live in freedom. I simply question how non-violent their tactics truly are. I also find Israel’s response to this non-non-violence to be way too harsh on occasion, which is why I asked the question in the first place.
You wrongly implied that my question tacitly gave a moral standing to the legitimacy of the occupation. That is a false assumption on your part, since my question was posed merely as a hypothetical question based on the hundred year history of mistakes made by both sides which has led to the monumentally shitty situation we find ourselves in today. Essentially, these are just the latest tactics in a fight for freedom.
Joseph Glatzer said…
Your closing comment really says it all doesn’t it?