This website has first-hand, up-to-the-minute accounts of the fighting in the West Bank, and it told me something the major media hadn’t told me: that there are free-lance international observers right there in the middle of everything. Apparently they are providing information to the outside world, and to a certain extent using their presence as a shield for the inhabitants of the region. Apparently they have been there at least since December, when IIRC there was an international solidarity march in Bethlehem that got broken up by the cops.
This reminds me of what the Witnesses for Peace tried to do in Central America. If these international observers talk to a lot of Palestinian young men, and sponsor more non-violent protests, what could be the results?
Also, I have heard of Israeli medical personnel who have violated roadblocks and gone into Palestinian areas to treat the wounded. Sometimes they get beaten down by Israeli soldiers at the checkpoints. I have also heard that there are now 1,000 Israeli reservists refusing to serve in the Occupied Territories, and twelve of them are in military jails. Sometimes there are demonstrations of up to 500 Israelis at these jails, which go uncovered by even the Israeli media. All of this seems to suggest that there is an increase in non-violent tactics and cross-cultural solidarity.
(A lot of this information comes from two e-mail listservs in L.A., “actionla” and “peacecenter”, so I don’t know if I can provide any links.)
Michael Moore in his book Stupid White Men advised Arafat to “just sit your ass down” (have a mass sit-in and block all the roads). The day this advice is listened to, the occupation’s days are numbered.
Of course, even if non-violent resistance does become more popular in Palestine, that may not stop all the suicide bombers, just as the presence of Martin Luther King did not stop urban riots. The Israeli military cannot stop suicide bombers. Even Arafat and the PA can’t stop suicide bombers. (Especially since they’re constantly being bombed.) I don’t think anything could stop the suicide bombers except more hope for the future and less despair on the part of the young.
If past experience is any guide, I bet this thread will attract a lot of posts saying, “Nah, never happen, there’s no solution, things will never get better.” I am tired of such unconstructive nihilism. This is a situation that clearly and urgently cries out for a humane and just solution.
There may also be some racist posts that say things like,“Nah, never happen, Palestinians are only capable of understanding violence.” They’re not. Like any other people, Palestinians need to be convinced that non-violence is a viable tactic before they adopt it.