What we talk about when we talk about violent resistance–a funeral in Hebron and the 21-gun salute

Israel/Palestine
on 55 Comments
entr hebron
Masked gunmen with al-Aqsa Brigades prepare for a 21-gun salute at the funeral of Palestinian prisoner Maysara Abu Hamdiyeh in Hebron on Thursday, April 4, 2013. (Photo: Allison Deger/Mondoweiss)

Without broadcasting defeat, Palestinian armed resistance in the West Bank ended as a tactic a decade ago, but as an aesthetic it is in overdrive. It is used by virtually all Palestinian political parties, including Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas’s Fatah that has renounced and outright suppressed stone-throwing against the Israeli authorities. The contradiction between the presentation of force and a policy against it was no clearer than last week at the Hebron funeral of Maysara Abu Hamdiyeh, a Palestinian prisoner who died of esophageal cancer while in Israeli detention. While one reading of the gunshots fired that day suggest a warning to the Israelis, the intended audience was more likely another faction of the same political party.

Abu Hamdiyeh’s funeral procession was stamped closed by a 21-gun salute from al-Aqsa Brigades, Fatah’s armed wing. Even more, a dozen unmasked Palestinian Authority (PA) police (also aligned with Fatah) gave a separate weaponized hail to the late prisoner.

truck
Procession for Maysara Abu Hamdiyeh, Hebron.
holding hebron
Palestinian Authority police transport Maysara Abu Hamdiyeh to Hebron’s Martyr’s Cemetary.
body
Maysara Abu Hamdiyeh.
brigades
Al-Aqsa Brigades during Maysara Abu Hamdiyeh’s funeral procession, Hebron.

Abu Hamdiyeh was rumored to have been a fighter in the second Intifada, a legacy that was fought over by attendees. At the funeral a group of Hamas supporters wearing green baseball caps for the party chanted that the shaheed, or martyr, was one of their own. But shortly after the cheering started others gathered and scolded them in Arabic. The second group said that Abu Hamdiyeh is a “Palestinian martyr, not a Hamas martyr.” The tension over defining Abu Hamdiyeh’s legacy was palpable throughout the day. Perhaps it is because when violent resistance is reduced to a symbol, owning that symbol is a sort of status—like firing a gun into the air and pausing for journalists’ cameras.

clash use
Clashes before the funeral of Maysara Abu Hamdiyeh, downtown Hebron.

A short 15-minute walk from the burial site, clashes between Palestinian youth and Israeli soldiers went on for hours. In the end the gunmen never supported the stone-throwing youth. And no one, including the handful of Israeli border police who faced off with the youth, seemed to expect them to join. In fact the clashes appeared to almost be a separate event, reflecting the constant tension in Hebron rather than the community seeking revenge for Abu Hamdiyeh’s death.

Today in the West Bank guns are more often than not ornamentation, and violent resistance has been mildly replaced by popular resistance. The ammunition is merely things that are found on the ground. Still the image of a man with a gun is not forgotten.

Drawing even deeper into the aesthetics of resistance while not engaging in it, in January Fatah celebrated its 48th anniversary in Ramallah by decorating the event stage with images of violent resistance. A slide show of fighters and an armed Yasser Arafat looped in the background as musicians performed national songs. At that time even the acrimonious relationship between Fatah and Hamas eased. That same month the PA allowed a Hamas anniversary celebration to take place in the West Bank and a Fatah anniversary was scheduled for the Gaza Strip.

end hebron
Clashes following Maysara Abu Hamdiyeh’s funeral, downtown Hebron.

Yet it is unlikely that a call to arms will come from those who most revere arms–at least certainly not from the current political leadership. Months ago Abbas publicly stated that his party will no longer be engaging in violent resistance, only diplomatic measures. And in the past few years Fatah has done just that—lobbying the United Nations for recognition and using force to push back Palestinian stone-throwers from getting close enough to actually have one of those rocks hit a soldier.

So while violent resistance proves to still be the cannon for displaying power, it is more or less a show for rival political parties rather than the Israelis. It is but a mainstream symbol for who is on top, and Abu Hamdiyeh’s funeral conveyed that while the PA’s brand of Fatah may have won over the international community, al-Aqsa Brigades has an arsenal of support.

All photographs are by the author.

55 Responses

  1. gamal
    April 10, 2013, 4:02 pm

    I dont really get the point of this article, or what you are trying to convey, would a 21 stone salute be better?

    “and violent resistance has been mildly replaced by popular resistance.” do you really think that mild is the right word here, when any resistance is often met with extreme violence by the state, wouldn’t the adverb heroically, be more appropriate? why there is almost a hint of contempt in the way you phrase this which i am sure is unintentional.

    I doubt small arms cause much consternation to Israeli’s who have some guns too, i think, which they tend to use in confronting situations of “mild” resistance, as well as other more destructive materiel.

    perhaps a 21 suicide vest salute would be the thing.

    “In fact the clashes appeared to almost be a separate event, reflecting the constant tension in Hebron rather than the community seeking revenge for Abu Hamdiyeh’s death.”
    You really think the purpose of the stone throwing youths could have been to “seek revenge”, even though of course you dont but while we are on the subject “revenge” is worth mentioning, for Hamdiyeh, Hamd is a lovely word, it could have been to honour him or as you say its a bit tense in Al-Khalil these days.

    “Drawing even deeper into the aesthetics of resistance while not engaging in it,”

    “lobbying the United Nations for recognition” and a few other things so ably recorded by your commenter Hostage, these are not resistance? are you sure you have not been seduced by the romance of the Gun, that now even mild institutional resistance doesn’t register with you? and that you are not here one “who most revere(s) arms”, do people who are regularly shot down “revere” arms?

    “in January Fatah celebrated its 48th anniversary in Ramallah by decorating the event stage with images of violent resistance. A slide show of fighters and an armed Yasser Arafat looped in the background as musicians performed national songs.”
    Its their history
    “So while violent resistance proves to still be the cannon for displaying power”
    again its their history and a record of heroic resistance against enormous odds. A display of power? really.

    ah but like the simple Amerindians or hubristic savages everywhere its all power, revenge, mutual chest thumping and er “mildness”, i know they are so, well, disappointing

    i think we should send in the Gurkhas under a Havildar Major,
    should sort this thing out. Wait are those drums i can hear, “Yes Bwana, they say, You should spend less time wondering about stereotypical irrelevancies”

    “Right Ahmadu, break out the Enfields”

    • Sumud
      April 10, 2013, 6:36 pm

      perhaps a 21 suicide vest salute would be the thing.

      Crass.

      • gamal
        April 10, 2013, 10:54 pm

        “crass” thanks for noticing your point?

        while the great hope of the future Morsi keeps the stranglehold on a border that should have been blown wide open by now i think crassness is in order or perhaps you could explain why while torrents of blood run all over the ME Palestinians arms are still a fetish, everywhere is war and Palestinians are gunned down daily i dont see any contradictions between soldiers, armed soldiers, honouring a dead hero in the traditional fashion while the people and parties pursue a popular non-violent struggle, what is remarkable or even of note, i dont get it?

        oh of course there is always the phony Ghandi, who was no pacifist, but is continually sited and everyone waits for the inevitable irruption as if it is emerging from some Palestinian pathology, sure crass, so?

        • Sumud
          April 12, 2013, 10:25 am

          i don’t think Allison is fetishising violence or even commenting on the best way to pay tribute to the dead prisoner.

          I said “crass” because it is 5 years since a suicide bombing has occurred in Israel or Palestine and 7 years since Hamas abandoned the tactic. To suggest 21 Palestinians should suicide bomb a Palestinian funeral to pay tribute to a dead Palestinian is just that: crass. Perhaps it was meant to be funny?

          As to what Allison meant to say, I read it as an observation that the symbols of violent resistance are all over the West Bank, various factions toting weapons in person and celebrations of past violent resistance – but a distinct lack of actual violent resistance to the occupation. Instead, the weapons and force are directed and used by one Palestinian faction against the other eg. Fatah/PA security forces acting as Israel’s junior partner in enforcing the occupation, rather than resisting the occupation in any meaningful way.

          Divide and conquer is the strategy, and Israel has succeeded, and is succeeding, I’m sure beyond their wildest dreams.

          (Of course IDF violence is everywhere and Israeli violence and the constant threat of violence underpins the whole occupation.)

      • Inanna
        April 11, 2013, 7:17 am

        I think that was snark.

        • gamal
          April 12, 2013, 4:40 am

          “I think that was snark.” sure Madam, and we are all laughing now.

          white privileged folk when looking at the despised of the globe,with their hauteur and foolish speculation about the screamingly obvious is tiring. does anything in the article above rise above this:

          “This concept ties heavily into post #7 Diversity and post #19 Travelling, but is important that you fully understand how white people view authenticity and experience.

          In most situations, white people are very comforted by seeing their own kind. However, when they are eating at a new ethnic restaurant or traveling to a foreign nation, nothing spoils their fun more than seeing another white person.

          Many white people will look into the window of an ethnic restaurant to see if there are other white people in there. It is determined to be an acceptable restaurant if the white people in there are accompanied by ethnic friends. But if there is a table occupied entirely by white people, it is deemed unacceptable.

          The arrival of the “other white people” to either restaurants or vacation spots instantly means that lines will grow, authenticity will be lost, and the euphoria of being a cultural pioneer will be over.

          Being aware of this can be extremely valuable in your efforts to gain the trust of white friends and co-workers. If you bring a white person to an ethnic restaurant and another white person (or group of white people) shows up, you can lose all respect and trust that you have worked so hard to acquire. Do your best to find a table with a divider, or ask the waiter to put future white people out of sight.

          Note: This does not apply to night clubs.”

          link to stuffwhitepeoplelike.com

        • Inanna
          April 12, 2013, 10:43 pm

          @ gamal – why was this comment directed at me? I completely agree with you about the white gaze. I was just pointing out to Sumud the spirit in which your comment was intended (by my interpretation). Snark is not necessarily for comic effect.

        • Sumud
          April 14, 2013, 7:59 am

          I also misread it, possibly to do with comments being moderate out of chronological order. I see now it was snark…

    • sardelapasti
      April 11, 2013, 2:38 pm

      Let’s not be ridiculous.
      This paper by Deger makes it exceedingly clear that the PA is a bunch of Israelians, and that nothing will ever be accomplished before they dangle on a rope. Their ostentation of weapons probably given them by the Zionist entity with American money at the funeral of a member of the Resistance is worse than any shameless shenanigans that may have been imagined by the Pétain troops, but then obviously the Zionists are way more efficient than the Nazis. As also demonstrated by the way they bought the PLO for cash in 93.
      So what exactly do you mean by your nauseating suicide vest allusion? That there is no need for the resistance to rearm independently? That you consider the PA as somehow different from the Zionist entity? That boycotting will bring the whole shebang crashing down?

  2. Citizen
    April 10, 2013, 5:38 pm

    As a symbolic metaphor of strong protest, wouldn’t it be more effective for the Palestinians to ditch the AK rifles, shave the beards, drop the towels, and stand with slingshots drawn and aimed?

    • Accentitude
      April 11, 2013, 6:08 am

      “shave the beards, drop the towels”
      Could you be anymore racist if you tried? If someone told you that Orthodox Jews should cut off those silly sideburns, wear pink instead of black, and eat Capt’n Crunch out of those cereal bowls instead of wearing them on their heads, you’d be the first to shout “anti-semitism” but since its Arabs we’re talking about, I guess its perfectly OK to continue with the bearded “towelhead” stereotype in 2013?

    • mcohen
      April 11, 2013, 7:39 am

      Citizen says:
      April 10, 2013 at 5:38 pm

      “drop the towels, and stand with slingshots drawn and aimed?”

      sounds more like a cockfight than a riot

  3. DICKERSON3870
    April 10, 2013, 5:52 pm

    RE: “Without broadcasting defeat, Palestinian armed resistance in the West Bank ended as a tactic a decade ago, but as an aesthetic it is in overdrive.” ~ Allison Deger

    MY COMMENT: Flobots’ concept of the “white flag warrior” is a much better aesthetic.

    AN EARLY SPRING EVENING’S MUSICAL INTERLUDE, proudly brought to you by the makers of the new Über-Xtreme Ziocaine Ultra SR (Sustained Release) Transdermal Patch®: Let The Good Times Roll!™

    [Jonny 5]
    . . . They see sharks in the estuary,
    They claim the ark is Bartholemew’s;
    They say “War is necessary,”
    But we say, “War is child abuse!” . . .

    [Jonny 5]
    . . . They shell dwellings to quell the shellings,
    They lift taboos to seduce the cowards;
    They say we’re too yellow-bellied,
    But we say “we’re the new superpower!”

    [Tim McIlrath/Jonny 5]
    We’d rather make our children [We request to negotiate]
    martyrs than murderers! [We come to you unarmed]
    We’d rather make our children [We desire to communicate]
    White Flag Warriors! . . .

    [Tim McIlrath]
    . . . This is love; this is not treason.
    This is love; this is not treason.
    This is love; this is not treason.
    This is love; this is not treason.
    This is love . . .

    ● Flobots: “White Flag Warrior” featuring Tim McIlrath [VIDEO, 03:41] – link to youtube.com

    • DICKERSON3870
      April 10, 2013, 6:14 pm

      P.S. PART TWO OF AN EARLY SPRING EVENING’S MUSICAL INTERLUDE, proudly brought to you by the makers of the new Über-Xtreme Ziocaine Ultra SR (Sustained Release) Transdermal Patch®: Let The Good Times Roll!™

      ● Flobots: “Rise” [VIDEO, 04:08] – link to youtube.com

      • DICKERSON3870
        April 10, 2013, 6:58 pm

        P.P.S.
        • From: Rev. Yoshii, Jean, & Kira
        • Sent: Tuesday, April 09, 2013 12:40 PM
        • To: dickerson
        • Subject: Urge Lantos Human Rights Commission to Protect Palestinian Village

        I am writing you today to ask for your help to save a small Palestinian village called Wadi Foquin.
        In the photo above, Yusef Manasra, an elder in this West Bank Palestinian village, overlooks the historic dwelling place of his family. Directly across the village on the southwest hillside is the settlement of Betar Illiit. The illegal Israeli settlement now boasts a population of more than 40,000 and is built mostly on land stolen from Wadi Foquin and surrounding villages.
        In addition to continued land confiscation for the expansion of the settlement, raw sewage and limestone runoff from settlement construction has badly damaged the rich agricultural produce and natural water springs in the village, threatening to make the village uninhabitable.
        The Israeli government has already taken 94% of the village’s land, and residents continue to receive more land confiscation orders for the construction of the apartheid wall on the northwest side of the village. The planned route of the wall will cross the green line and take even more land from the village. In addition flying checkpoints restrict freedom of movement in and out of the village and make it very difficult for the residents to travel for work or school or to visit family.
        The Friends of Wadi Foquin is a partnership formed with the village in August 2009, and we have been invited by the Lantos Human Rights Commission (LHRC) staff to submit a proposal to schedule a briefing on the human rights abuses in Wadi Foquin. Your Member of Congress can influence what issues appear before the LHRC, and they need to hear from you about the intolerable situation for the villagers in Wadi Foquin.
        John, please email your Member of Congress and call the Co-Chairs of the Lantos Human Rights Commission and urge them to schedule a briefing to address Israel’s human rights abuses in Wadi Foquin.
        The Friends of Wadi Foquin has been supporting programs and activities for community empowerment and survival. But because of the accelerated expansion of the settlement and planned construction of the wall — and the clear sense that the clock is ticking on the village’s future — we have been asked to raise awareness in our communities regarding the urgency of the situation.
        Our advocacy campaign calls on the Lantos Human Rights Commission (LHRC) to schedule a public briefing to address the human rights violations taking place in the village, including land rights, water rights, food production, transportation and freedom of movement.
        The Co-Chairs of the LHRC are Rep. James McGovern (D-MA) and Rep. Frank Wolf (R-VA), and it is important that they hear from people across the country who are concerned about this issue.
        Please email your Members of Congress and call the Co-Chairs of the Commission and urge them to hold a briefing about the devastating impact of Israeli settlement activity on Palestinians in Wadi Foquin.

        Sincerely,

        Rev. Michael Yoshii – Chair, Friends of Wadi Foquin
        Jean Hart – Advocacy Chair, Friends of Wadi Foquin
        Kira Azzam – Staff Coordinator, Friends of Wadi Foquin

        P.S. — Watch this powerful video [03:25] about the devastating impact that illegal Israeli settlements are having on Wadi Foquin. – link to youtube.com

  4. MK_Ultra
    April 10, 2013, 8:15 pm

    It is used by virtually all Palestinian political parties, including Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas’s Fatah that has renounced and outright suppressed stone-throwing against the Israeli authorities.

    What a tragic, tragic indictment. The Palestinians renounce the violence of throwing rocks while the ISrealites continue to bomb them, fire at them with tanks, drop depleted uranium and white phosphorus on them. There’s a lot to be said here about peaceful resistance and brutish force. That is, of course, depending on which side is doing what as we are constantly told what a menace and a threat to jewish sovereignty those damn Palestinian kids and their rocks of mass destruction are.

  5. Taxi
    April 11, 2013, 12:00 am

    I’m a survivor of israel’s operation ‘Grapes of Wrath’. Until then, I did not believe in violent resistance and ever since then, I most certainly do.

    • miriam6
      April 12, 2013, 12:38 am

      Yes, Taxi.
      You are determined to fight on till the very last drop of ( other people’s ! ) Lebanese and Palestinian blood!
      How brave of you!
      (NOT).
      It isn’t your fight.
      I suppose putting injustice and inequality in your own country first as a cause worth fighting for isn’t quite enervating enough, not enough ego stroking kudos involved.
      Not the same kicks to be had as jumping on the Israel bashing bandwagon provides.

      • K Renner
        April 12, 2013, 5:22 pm

        Well as the Israeli jews have no intention of ending the blockade of Gaza/ stopping the “judaization” of the West Bank/ treating Palestinians like human beings, I guess the fight in Palestine is the fight of other people who do actually care about Palestinians and see them as humans.

      • Taxi
        April 12, 2013, 5:32 pm

        That’s rich coming from a racist colonialist settler.

        Pack yer bags and go back home if you so care about “other people’s blood”.

        And yes deary, it is my fight cuz I SAY SO! I choose MY “fight” – I, me, I choose for ME, never you, NEVER! And there’s sweet eff ay you can do about it.

        Pathetic, pompous, irrational, Apartheider.

        • thankgodimatheist
          April 13, 2013, 12:26 am

          Miriam, I’m sure you’ve noticed, Taxi, is of the old school of ‘Hey, nothing to see here, look over there’. In every comment she wants us to turn a blind eye to her folk’s crimes and start gazing at some other crime somewhere else. I wonder why (not really).

        • seafoid
          April 13, 2013, 1:40 am

          Ya Taxi

          “And yes deary, it is my fight cuz I SAY SO! I choose MY “fight” – I, me, I choose for ME, never you, NEVER! And there’s sweet eff ay you can do about it.”

          Louise Glück has this wonderful poem that is perfect for hasbara today.

          link to tumblr.com
          “I cannot go on
          restricting myself to images

          Because you think it is your right
          to dispute my meaning

          I am prepared now to force
          clarity on you ”

          Sah kalamha wa sah kalam ummha !

        • miriam6
          April 13, 2013, 2:16 am

          Taxi, you are always good for a laugh but I am not an Israeli citizen.

          You chose to be in Lebanon in 1996, the Lebanese didn’t.

          They had nowhere else to go but Lebanon, unlike you.

          YOU didn’t survive the 1996 war- the Lebanese people did.

          By the way, you may care to reflect on this quote from Hezbollah leader Nasr Allah in the wake of the 2006 Israel-Hezbollah war :

          “In a TV interview aired on Lebanon’s New TV station on 27 August 2006, Nasr Allah said that he would not have ordered the capture of two Israeli soldiers if he had known it would lead to such a war: “We do not think, even one percent, that the capture led to a war at this time and of this magnitude. I’m convinced and sure that this war was planned and that the capture of these hostages was just their excuse to start their pre-planned war, but if I had known on July 11 … that the operation would lead to such a war, would I do it? I say no, absolutely not.”[19][20]”

          Of course Nasrallah fudges the issue , but it’s still a helluva admission.

          Naturally you will throw a temper tantrum about it, but the fact remains..

          You are determined to fight on till the very last drop of ( other people’s ! ) Lebanese and Palestinian blood!
          How brave of you!
          (NOT).
          It isn’t your fight.

        • Taxi
          April 14, 2013, 5:00 pm

          Miss Miriam,
          (Lordy lord here we go again!) Like I said: it IS my fight and there’s eff all YOU can EVER do about it. Such delusions of grandeur you suffer from – who the heck are you to decide for others what passions to possess?!

          And by goddamdarngosh it’s sooo touching how you so fervently care about “Lebanese and Palestinian blood”. So tearjerkingly kind how in your cozy Apartheid utopia, Lebanese and Palestinians would be a happier and more prosperous people to have NO RESISTANCE SPIRIT in them to challenge the zionist brute boot with. Because YOU say so, outsiders ARE ABSOLUTELY FORBIDDEN to step in to help an occupied people. How nice and mindbendingly Gestapoesque of you.

          It’s actually YOUR racist, colonialist MINDSET that is the very reason why bloodshed continues to be spilled in Palestine and in the Lebanon – blood is not being spilled because some anonymous blogger in cyberspace in writing about it. Get frigging real and stop being so out there!

          I’m not even going to bother with your Nasrallahs quote. Cuz I simply don’t care what you or your pet-hate Nasrallah say.

          Me? I’m blogging right now from the south of Lebanon – been doing that for 20 months – one of few long visits to this country and the region I’ve made over four decades, including several visits to that “shitty little country”. And you are blogging from where miss braveheart? Planet “good for a laugh”, no doubt.

          You really are ridiculous with your line of argument – I mean, would you have chided non-jews for helping German jews in 1939? Would you have dared scream at them: “It isn’t your fight, it isn’t your fight!”

          Your answer to both questions, I’m a 100% sure, would be a solid ‘no’.

          See waddamean?

          Miserable. Hypocrite!

        • miriam6
          April 14, 2013, 6:40 pm

          “You really are ridiculous with your line of argument – I mean, would you have chided non-jews for helping German jews in 1939? Would you have dared scream at them: “It isn’t your fight, it isn’t your fight!””

          Taxi, I always take it as a sign of desperation on your part ( and so many others on this website) when you are forced to resort to dragging Nazi Germany and the Jews into matters in order to create the fake morality you require to prop up your shaky, blustering arguments .

          It’s a pretty sordid way to argue though.

          The conflict between Israel and Lebanon is a REGIONAL dispute, a localised conflict of a sort sadly all too commonplace throughout the world.

          The Holocaust took place in the context of a WORLD WAR! by contrast NOT a very commonplace event. ( only two of them , dearie)

          Attempting to make equivalence between a regional conflict like Israel/Lebanon and events that take place in the context of a World War is to trivialise BOTH.

          Can’t you tell the difference?

          It is also deeply ironic that you use this line of argument.

          If combatting anti-Semitism had been a priority in the pre-war years, if the European Left had actually taken the matter SERIOUSLY in the first place or had developed the means to combat anti – Semitism -history might have been different.

          The fate of Europe’s Jews might have been different, and the Palestinians might not have had to pay the price for the European
          attempt to murder it’s entire Jewish population.

          Unfortunately, there was no such movement offering , or with the means or inclination to combat or eradicate Anti-Semitism.

          Had there been such a progressive Left movement back then, Zionism probably would not have survived.

        • miriam6
          April 14, 2013, 11:04 pm

          Taxi, by any chance are you related to Julie Burchill?!

          You seem to share a similarly splenetic style…

          Or are you imitating the over – the – top style favoured by a certain fictitious, parody of a female hackette named ” Glenda Slagg ” which appears in the Private Eye satirical magazine?

          You did say you lived in the U.K for a while.

          What’s your Lebanese blog called?

        • Taxi
          April 15, 2013, 6:50 am

          Miriam,
          Give me one good reason why I should indulge a “hypocrite Apartheider” in an extended debate about humanitarianism and the right to resist – especially if they be a pitifully masochistic one?

          Therefore, talk to the hand. Or shout at the shoe. It’s all I got on offer. Your choice.

      • Taxi
        April 13, 2013, 6:39 am

        Miriam6 is Guilty Feat – remember her?

        • Ellen
          April 15, 2013, 4:27 am

          Predictable Hasbaristic tactic: Miriam6 (or Guilty Feat) exposed for inanity and unhumane hipocricy. So pull out ridicule and taunts of the other who has successfuly exposed you.

          But Miriam6 is degrading herself (himself) and her cause.

          Keep digging that hole deeper.

  6. Inanna
    April 11, 2013, 12:13 am

    Allison, I think you need to question why you would even think to write an article like this. All countries have a military and all of them have traditions that include weaponry of some sort to honor their dead. Look at the ceremonies that involve American servicepersons when they come home, for example. Official funerals in many countries include salutes of cannons or weaponry – I’m sure you’ll see all stuff out in force when Queen Elizabeth passes away. So why do you choose to make an issue of Palestinians honoring their dead like any other country would? Do Palestinians have a different standard of military nationalist chic that you wish to hold them to? See this article for the origin and usage of the 21 gun salute:

    link to usmilitary.about.com

    which indicates that it is the highest honor that a country can bestow.

    This article is a great example of Orientalism. I suggest you go read the book. If you cannot comprehend the traditions with which a nation honors its dead, perhaps you shouldn’t be reporting from there. This reminds me of the recent problems that the NYT’s Jerusalem bureau chief had when she commented on how death was ‘ho-hum’ to Gazans. I’m shocked to be reading this at Mondoweiss.

    • sardelapasti
      April 12, 2013, 1:46 am

      Inannna – “you need to question why you would even think to write an article like this. All countries have a military and all of them have traditions that include weaponry of some sort to honor their dead.”

      The need for the article seems to arise from the fact that the “military” (yarright, they are just the first-instance Zionist police for the occupied) are collaborator militia posing as big bullies, as if their job were somehow different from serving the occupier.

      • Inanna
        April 12, 2013, 10:45 pm

        There are lots of things to criticise the PA for including being quislings. The way they choose to honor their dead, which is the same as many other countries choose to do is not.

    • sardelapasti
      April 12, 2013, 1:49 am

      Inanna – “the traditions with which a nation honors its dead”

      The PA collaborator militia, in charge of the repression of the Resistance with US money and Zionist weapons is now a nation?

    • Sumud
      April 12, 2013, 10:35 am

      You should read the article again. Where does Allison criticise the use of a gun salute at the funeral?

      She doesn’t that I can see, and is more commenting on the fact that while the symbols of violent resistance are everywhere no-one is actually engaging in it against the occupation. The PA’s security forces victims are other Palestinians, not Israelis. What a pleasant occupation the Israelis are having! They hardly do anything, the PA does all the grunt work.

      As I wrote above, the strategy is divide and conquer, and it’s going swimmingly for Israel.

      • gamal
        April 12, 2013, 12:25 pm

        well thats not how i read it, we will have to agree to differ, the PA and other groups are in a tough spot, yes sure like Arafat they have to satisfy the powers to some ( a great) extent ( as a result of the demands of their fellow Arab regimes), and yes they are preventing some of their people from directly confronting the IDF and settlers, but i dont think there is any easy way for them to confront American power and the proud compradors of Egypt, Jordan, Saudi Arabia and the Gulf ( which latter have been consuming Israeli products for years, in the 70′s and 80′s labelled as produce of Cyprus), the PA and other official arms of the Palestinians are operating in an environment that has conceded all power to America and Israel, do you think that they should turn those small arms on the Israeli’s, with what prospects of success? yes they operate as an arm of the occupation, how else could any Palestinian Authority survive? Like Khadaffi in Libya sometimes you need to play the Devils game? Or do you think a Palestinian armed assault on Israel is the answer?

        • Sumud
          April 14, 2013, 8:19 am

          gamal ~ i agree to agree to disagree :-)

          I also agree the PA are in a very very tight spot. I think their complicity with Israeli will continue until there is a mass uprising for one-person/one-vote. Possibly when that happens it will be demanded the PA be dissolved altogether, and Israel will once again have to bear the ENTIRE burden of the occupation.

          I don’t think an armed response to IDF is the way forward. Palestinians have never been so well regarded in the world, and Israelis so poorly, since non-violence became the norm. There are other relevant factors (social media explosion, rise of alternate news & blogs) but using non-violence is definitely a major factor.

          See how the IDF are so provocative? They always try to provoke a violent response because Israel knows how to spin that. They don’t know how to deal with non-violence:

          MW: IDF policy director on West Bank demos: ‘we don’t do Gandhi very well’

      • Inanna
        April 12, 2013, 10:48 pm

        I disagree with your interpretation. If she wished to critique the shortcomings of the PA or Palestinian leaders, there’s ample scope to do so without using as an example how Palestinians chose to bury Maysara. I would prefer that criticism of the PA not be couched in this type of Orientalist perspective. It’s not too much to ask.

        • Sumud
          April 14, 2013, 7:54 am

          I disagree with your interpretation.

          Fine.

          But why is it Orientalist? Because a ritual is being represented? Because if you view the photos without reading the articles and captions you have Arabs With Guns – potentially reinforcing a common negative stereotype?

          I don’t get it. First you criticise Allison for writing an article critical of how Palestinians bury their dead, then when I point out I see no criticism of this and the article is about something else you turn around and say it’s Orientalism – but don’t say why, just that you don’t like it.

          I see no evidence of the judgement and superiority you detect in Allison’s writing. With regards to what Elisabeth wrote below, I agree, that is Orientalism or about an Orientalist reaction. But at least she owns it.

          This is not about burial traditions, it is about resistance and collaboration, and representation vs reality. The funeral is the departure point or the pivot, not the content, as per the first paragraph [my emphasis]:

          Without broadcasting defeat, Palestinian armed resistance in the West Bank ended as a tactic a decade ago, but as an aesthetic it is in overdrive. It is used by virtually all Palestinian political parties, including Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas’s Fatah that has renounced and outright suppressed stone-throwing against the Israeli authorities. The contradiction between the presentation of force and a policy against it was no clearer than last week at the Hebron funeral of Maysara Abu Hamdiyeh, a Palestinian prisoner who died of esophageal cancer while in Israeli detention.

          And we go from there – the jostling among faction to claim the legacy of the deceased, the relaxed attitude of the IDF despite dozens of Palestinians close by with machine guns, and the youth on the street with their courage and their stones, facing down the occupiers.

          If you think of Orientalism as a battle between image and content (or reality), isn’t this the whole point of the article?

          I am interested in your reply.

          And to go back up a little to gamal’s comment about the 21 suicide vests, I guess we all have our hot button topics right? I hate how zionists continue to talk about suicide bombings as though they still occur and in spite of the IDF killing many more Palestinians than suicide bombers ever did. Though he didn’t mean it that way, gamal’s remark reminded me of hasbara a little too much…

  7. K Renner
    April 11, 2013, 1:37 am

    It’s interesting in the sense that if the jews were on the receiving end of state violence and with a totally apathetic population of non-jews at the least passively condoning state violence, no one in the west would criticize any action the jews undertook to defend themselves or to retaliate.

  8. Accentitude
    April 11, 2013, 6:10 am

    Does anyone else find it ironic that a member of the Al Aqsa Martyr’s Brigade is proudly carrying an Uzi…which is the definition of Israeli military aggression since the fist intifada?

    Btw, Abu Hamdiyeh was a member of the Mukhabarat (Preventive Security) which are Fatah affiliated. However there’s a nice article over at Electronic Intifada in which Abu Hamdiyeh’s son completely wipes the floor with Fatah, the PA and the PLO. See here –> link to electronicintifada.net

    • gamal
      April 12, 2013, 12:37 pm

      do you think it ironic that some of the Hunkpapa at Little Big Horn used Colts and Winchester rifles, i dont know, what arms did they and what arms do Palestinians produce. And anyway these arms, i know, are used mainly to suppress Palestinians, at which they are quite effective, having been tested by the Israeli’s in this capacity.
      i have recently discovered that people i have been training with train the Yamam “anti-terrorist” unit and are associated with one Avi Nardia, well thats me done, and they are the only people i know on this continent so now i know no one.

      the exigencies of statehood are taxing, i am one alone so can tell them to go to hell, not so easy for the PA, you would do what? rely on our Arab brothers? good luck with that one.

  9. NickJOCW
    April 11, 2013, 6:35 am

    A ceremonial presence, surely? Somewhat like the military presence at any national funeral, there to pay honor to the dead.

  10. Elisabeth
    April 11, 2013, 9:15 am

    This will sound crude but Palestinian funerals are a public relations disaster. At South African funerals during Apartheid you saw motherly women bursting into many-voiced hymns. Such scenes were on television all the time and I am certain that they were important in getting the sympathy of the world. At Palestinians funerals women are absent. Grief is less visible because it is kept private and most of the time all you see is agry men jostling with a corpse. Frankly, it usually looks scary.
    I have often thought that this difference plays a role in the lack of attention and sympathy for Palestinian victims.

    • Inanna
      April 11, 2013, 11:50 pm

      Oh really.

      Not only does it sound crude, it sounds judgemental and entitled. I’m so happy for you as an opponent of apartheid that the way South Africans mourned their dead was more in line with what you thought of as acceptable, or ‘good public relations’. I’ll pass this along to all the Arabs and know and tell them that we must change our funeral traditions so that our western friends will feel more comfortable and more able to sympathise with us. I’ll explain to them that the way we mourn is ‘wrong’ and we should do it in a way that will garner us more sympathy. The implication being that we are unsympathetic to begin with. Would you like to add that we are violent and scary as well? I see you do. I suggest you back off the concern trolling and examine your extremely problematic views before you start passing judgement and giving advice on people that you have just objectified as an Other.

      • RoHa
        April 12, 2013, 1:07 am

        “Not only does it sound crude, it sounds judgemental and entitled.”

        Clearly a judgement about PR, but I don’t understand the “entitled” bit. Who is entitled to what?

        “The implication being [,sic] that we are unsympathetic to begin with.”

        The implication is that Westerners find it hard to sympathise with the Palestinians. If this is true, would it not be a good idea to recognise it?

        • Inanna
          April 12, 2013, 10:54 pm

          Entitled meaning Elisabeth sees herself as somehow able to pass this judgement on others. Great example of the white gaze.

          As for your last paragraph, that’s enough to make me feel quite murderous. We all have our own traditions and if other cultures think it’s ok for them to look at us, pass judgement on us and feel superior about it, then they belong with Bernard Lewis and all the other idiots who for centuries have been looking at Arabs and the East through the Orientalist gaze. Does noone in this thread understand the incredible contribution that Edward Said made on this topic?

        • RoHa
          April 14, 2013, 11:47 pm

          “Entitled meaning Elisabeth sees herself as somehow able to pass this judgement on others.”

          Elisabeth is a human being, and so is entitled to pass judgements on the actions of other human beings.

          This specific judgement was that the Palestinian funerals we see are bad PR in the West. (No claim of superiority.) Now there are several reasonable responses to that, such as:
          (a) No, they are not bad PR .
          (b) Unfortunate, but not much can be done about it.
          (c) Don’t care – we’re not going to change.
          (d) Oh deary me – we must adjust them.

          But claiming that we can’t pass judgements on the cultures of other groups isn’t reasonable. (And not what Said was going on about.)

          If educated Palestinians say that Australians are a bunch of beer-swilling yobbos with no culture at all, then, as far as I am concerned, they may. And if I am offended by it, tough. That’s my problem. The worthwhile issue is, are the educated Palestinians right?

      • Elisabeth
        April 13, 2013, 8:13 am

        Please look up some of my comments over the years before concluding that I am a concern troll. You may not like what I said about the impact that these very different images of funerals have, but I think my comments are valid.

        • K Renner
          April 14, 2013, 9:33 pm

          Thankfully not everyone viewing from the west are social liberal flower children. I find the footage of Palestinian funerals much more inspiring- in the sense that one wants to tell others about what’s been happening in Palestine- than if it was just a bunch of weeping and wailing and people turning their teary eyes to the screen like in South Africa.

          Anger is a potent weapon for the Palestinians and ought to be held on to as long as the current situation prevails

    • seafoid
      April 13, 2013, 10:27 am

      Haram!

      You know what is really demeaning to women? Those flourescent Spandex tops you see in Eilat.

  11. mcohen
    April 12, 2013, 9:13 am

    Inanna

    The whole thing is off .totally inanne.i wonder if they have them in syria.probably not.why waste bullets when the war is not over.
    Allison has missed the point.she needs to dig deeger and find out what has changed.because i have a feeling that the palestinians are hoping that the sunni cavalary have finally come to their aid.

    • seafoid
      April 13, 2013, 10:26 am

      What would the bots do without Syria? They would point to some other war. They never look at their own ideology of death. And we are supposed to believe that 2 millenia of Jews prayed for a state run by the IDF.

      Sorry, I don’t buy it.

  12. gamal
    April 12, 2013, 8:22 pm

    should just like to say while nothing is black and white i think i am more wrong and Ms. Deger and Sumud, Accetentitude etc are more right, sorry no excuses, i am an idiot sometimes.

    • Sumud
      April 14, 2013, 8:24 am

      hmm – don’t say that gamal!

      I wrote above in another comment to Inanna that the comment about the suicide bombers irked me because of the way zionists continue to harp on about suicide bombers like they are still occurring, and I’ve read from them in the past comments or “jokes”, designed to smear Palestinians in the most vicious of ways. It reminded me of that, though you didn’t mean it that way of course…

  13. gamal
    April 13, 2013, 8:12 pm

    i dont think this is an argument worth having anymore, so i happily concede, but its strange, while many kind of sort of support Palestinian Liberation, any actual manifestations of resistance are highly questionable, is the above article a call to arms, is it expressly supporting the non-collaborationist positions of Hamas?
    Perhaps it is the tone rather than the content, are not the PA following the demands of the “International Community”, so its clear that no arm of the actually Palestinian resistance is free of some pathology or other.

    I concede this argument because i have come to feel that there is something profoundly sick within the Jewish community Israeli and diasporic, Inaana touched upon this Orientalist hauteur, Weiss can watch as people are shot on the West Bank and opine that no one is really supposed to get hurt, and everyone imagines the perfect Palestinian resistance and PR,
    but any actual Palestinian resistance is examined with a faux naive disapproval. MJR can assert that the Holocaust occurred during “no war” and that its “uniquesness” means something by implication, never stated apparently unwilling to “own” his chauvinism.

    Something in Deger’s piece really got to me, so if we do not support Hamas and we do not support the PA, what do we support or is it acceptable to be a mere observer, and to note that the condition of the colonized is a highly conflicted one full of contradictions, frankly whatever the rights and wrongs, i think it is you, in the Jewish community who have a problem rather than them.
    Perhaps there needs to be a “Jewish” conversation to which folk like me have nothing to contribute, but i wonder what are the terms of that discussion? The perennial absurdities of the nations?

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