January 17, 2010
Palestinian people need
David Goodner - Guest Opinion
A fledging nonviolent popular resistance movement in occupied
campaign of repression by Israeli forces and it needs the support of
international solidarity activists if hopes for a just peace are to survive 2010.
I spent the last three weeks of December in occupied
Movement, "a Palestinian-led movement committed to resisting the
Israeli occupation of Palestinian land using nonviolent, direct action
methods and principles ... to support and strengthen the Palestinian
popular resistance by providing ... international protection and a
voice with which to nonviolently resist an overwhelming military occupation force."
During my time in occupied
Israeli soldiers, tear gassed, shot at with rubber-coated steel
bullets and arrested. In just three areas of the country -- the
occupied East Jerusalem neighborhood of Sheikh Jarrah, the
villages of Bil'in and Nil'in, and the cities of
I personally witnessed or later documented:
• More than 75 arbitrary arrests of nonviolent demonstrators.
• The violent dispersal of a cultural celebration that left nine people wounded.
• The forced eviction and displacement of four families of Palestinian
refugees from their homes and the resettlement of the neighborhood by
• The relocation of dangerous chemical factories over the Green Line
• The demolition of a small family business.
• A road blockade that cut off hundreds of farmers from their land.
• A "price-tag" campaign of terror by settler organizations against
• The burning of the Yasuf mosque to the ground.
• Three extrajudicial executions of alleged militants.
• The existence of an Apartheid Wall, settler-only roads and military
checkpoints that prohibit freedom of movement and trade and cut of
Palestinian villages from their traditional land.
A coalition of Palestinians, left-wing Israeli Jews, and international
solidarity activists have organized a nonviolent popular resistance
movement to protest the systematic land confiscations and new
settlement construction that has turned the
cheese of American Indian-style reservations, but the violent
criminalization and systematic disruption of legitimate dissent by the
Israeli Occupation Forces has had a devastating effect on local
Imagine if every week your local community organization had their
offices raided, their computers smashed, their files stolen, the doors
to their homes kicked down at night, their leaders arrested and held
for months without charges, or targeted at protests by snipers with
rubber-coated steel bullets, and you begin to see what life is like
for the Palestinian peace movement in the
prison that is the
The Palestinian popular resistance movement is organized independently
of the established political parties such as Hamas and Fatah. The
movement's goal is to use nonviolent direct action and community
organizing to shift the balance of power in the conflict towards
Palestinian civil society and to stop the Israeli project of land
confiscations, territorial annexations, house demolitions, forcible
evictions, and internal displacements designed to pre-empt final
globally integrated, modern economy and the full diplomatic and
financial support of the
developing nation of people without a state. Without a fundamental
shift in the power dynamics undergirding the conflict, there is little
are necessary to achieve a two-state solution.
That's why the international solidarity and boycott, divestment, and
sanctions movements are the two most effective ways for American civil
society to support and strengthen the Palestinian people.
David Goodner, a Des Moines Catholic Worker, was with the International Solidarity Movement, "a Palestinian-led movement committed to resisting the Israeli occupation of Palestinian land using nonviolent, direct-action methods