August 27, 2004
The Guardain

Leaders Call for a Peaceful Intifada

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 Israel.

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 October 2000.

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, "Look again, Gandhi," Al-Ahram Weekly, September 2, 2004]

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