by Conal Urquhart
The Palestinian leadership has announced a three-point programme of
non-violent resistance in an attempt to wrest the diplomatic initiative from
They hope to push Israel into allowing elections, to lead mass protests
against the separation barrier and the maltreatment of prisoners, and to
challenge Israel in the international courts.
Palestinian militant groups have yet to reach an agreement on stopping
violence, but in effect violence has fallen to its lowest level since
For months Ariel Sharon, the Israeli prime minister, has set the agenda.
Yasser Arafat and his ministers, embroiled in internal disputes, have been
at a loss to resist Israel's moves.
First he announced his plan to withdraw from settlements in the Gaza Strip
and the northern West Bank, and secured a US assurance that the large
settlement blocks would remain in Israeli hands.
It emerged that the US had also approved the expansion of existing
settlements within their boundaries, which had been set to allow substantial
growth. . . .
[The Israeli reactions to such protests however, have on the whole retained
a violent nature, with soldiers responding to the peaceful gatherings of
civilians with excessive force, using tear gas and live ammunition.--"'
Insist on your rights and demand your freedom peacefully'," The
Palestine Monitor, August 28, 2004]
[But what Gandhi and his supporters fail to understand is that . . .
non-violence by Palestinians both in the occupied territories and inside
Israel is rarely reciprocated by the Israeli security forces.--Jonathan Cook,
Gandhi," Al-Ahram Weekly, September 2, 2004]