Indian independence leader Mohandus Gandhi was a believer in nonviolence as the most effective way to bring about social change, but he also believed that violent resistance is better than surrender to oppressive conditions.
Clearly, Israel’s open-air imprisonment of the people of Gaza and the continuing, expanding, illegal, Israeli occupation of major portions of the West Bank are conditions that people will resist, in small ways daily and in bigger ways when conditions ripen for mass resistance, whether nonviolent or violent. That, above all else, is the underlying reason for the war now raging.
It is a good thing that political pressure from most of the world’s nations, the grassroots in the US and from progressive Democrats and independents in Congress is having an impact on Biden, given the historic role of the US as a deep-pockets enabler of Israel’s repressive policies. As this is being written, he is toughening his stance toward Israel’s once-again, death-from-the-skies, disproportionate response to Hamas’ barrage of missiles.
I wonder what a Trump administration would be doing if they were in power now. It’s hard to see them doing anything other than cheering on their fellow right-winger Netanyahu, with potentially huge implications for the entire West Asia region.
It has been a positive thing to see the progressive wing within the Democratic Party stepping forward only a few days into this latest violent war to demand that the Biden Administration support a cease fire, halt the shipment of weapons to the Netanyahu government and act as if it is genuinely concerned about not just Israelis but Palestinians also. From what I’ve seen in the liberal mass media, this position has been presented there as a legitimate one.
In today’s New York Times, for example, in a front page article with a headline, “Gaza Reels From Strikes That Underscore Scope of Deep-Rooted Misery,” they report in the second paragraph that, “Sewage systems inside Gaza have been destroyed. A desalination plant that helped provide fresh water to 250,000 people in the territory is offline. Dozens of schools have been damaged or closed, forcing some 600,000 students to miss classes. Some 72,000 Gazans have been forced to flee their homes. And at least 213 Palestinians have been killed, including dozens of children.”
“Genocidal” is the word that comes to mind for what Israel is now doing.
It is also positive to read in another article in the Times that “hundreds of thousands of Palestinian citizens of Israel stopped work for the day on Tuesday, as did other Palestinians across the occupied West Bank and in Gaza, protesting violence against Arab Israelis, the unfolding Israeli military campaign targeting Hamas militants in Gaza and the looming eviction of several families from their homes in East Jerusalem.”
I hope this successful day of mass nonviolent action is the beginning of a Palestinian mass movement that will continue and grow in its impact, and I hope that growing numbers of non-Palestinian Israelis join with them.
And for those of us in the USA, we need to keep coming out for demonstrations being organized around the country in support of a cease fire and, ultimately, genuine justice, equality and peace in Israel/Palestine for all of its peoples.
Ted Glick is a volunteer organizer with Beyond Extreme Energy and author of Burglar for Peace: Lessons Learned in the Catholic Left’s Resistance to the Vietnam War, published last year. Past writings and other information can be found at https://tedglick.com, and he can be followed on Twitter at https://jtglick.com.