The Popular Struggle Coordination Committee is reporting that William Hague, the British Foreign Secretary, met with leading Palestinian grassroots activists in Ramallah. The meeting serves as a subtle show of support as Israel continues to crack down on the spreading nonviolent resistance to the Wall. From the Committee’s website:
In line with the European Union and Britain‘s denouncements of the recent conviction and sentencing of Bil’in protest leader, Abdallah Abu Rahmah, the British Foreign Secretary, William Hague, met with Palestinian grassroots organizers. Hague held the Ramallah talks with activists from the villages of al-Ma’asara and Ni’ilin, whose residents hold regular protests against Israel’s separation barrier and settlements, and with a representative of the Holy Land Trust, a Bethlehem organization that promotes the use of non-violent strategies by Palestinians.
The meeting comes in the midst of an ongoing wave of repression against the Palestinian civil resistance movement by Israel. In the past two years, faced by the steady growth of the movement and its growing importance in Palestinian political discourse, Israeli forces have killed at least ten unarmed demonstrators, six of them in anti-wall protests. The Israeli military has also detained and imprisoned hundreds and hundreds of people for their part in protesting the construction of Separation Barrier, mostly apprehending them from their homes in nighttime raids – especially targeting the villages of Bil’in, Ni’ilin, Budrus and Jayyous.
During the meeting Hague voiced his and Britain’s support to Palestinian nonviolence, saying that it is this kind of resistance that can gain Palestinians the insistent support of the international community.
This meeting raises the question – when will the US show a similar sign of support?
Representatives from four US-based human rights organizations met with the State Department two weeks ago to ask them to take such a stand. Adalah-NY, CODEPINK, Jewish Voice for Peace and the US Campaign to End the Israeli Occupation delivered a letter for Secretary of State Clinton signed by over 35 organizations and 5,000 people asking the US to demand that Israel free Abdallah Abu Rahmah.
Rob Mosrie, Executive Director of the US Campaign to End the Israeli Occupation, pointed to the hypocrisy of US policy in a press release about the meeting, “Israel’s arrest of non-violent activists like Abdallah Abu Rahmah mocks President Obama’s call in his Cairo speech for Palestinians to use only nonviolent means to gain their freedom. What kind of message does it send to a community when their nonviolent leadership is jailed?”