Jun 11, 2012

#BDS: Palestine: a History of Nonviolence #PalHunger

"The recent hunger strikes of almost 1,600 Palestinian prisoners represent a watershed juncture in nonviolent resistance in Palestine. While Palestinians have long utilized methods of nonviolence—dating back to Mandatory Palestine of the thirties and epitomized by the First Intifada of the eighties—only recently has a truly international effort appeared. In the midst of the Arab uprisings, the international attention on the region provides a moment of focus for civil resistance, and the nascent coalition of actors utilizing these methods is growing. While the groups have different agendas and tactics, their notable successes in recent months show that, regardless of divisions among them, strategic nonviolence is gaining powerful momentum in Palestine.
The present international activity has been a long time coming. In 2001, the deeply controversial United Nations Durban conference convened to address Israeli repression of the Second Intifada. Though it failed to produce a formal resolution or offer recommendations, the NGO forum associated with the conference condemned “Israel as a racist, apartheid state” (Article 162), and spurred many to action. For Omar Barghouti, a prominent Palestinian activist, “Durban confirmed that grassroots support, even in the West, for the justness of the Palestinian cause was still robust.” Academic institutions, trade unions, and religious organizations began to use targeted boycotts and sanctions against Israel. In 2004, the US Presbyterian Church voted for “a process of phased selective divestment in multinational corporations doing business in Israel.”
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