It is obvious to me that nonviolence works. However, we have to convince the oppressed around the world of its value.
May 15, 2012
Palestinian Prisoner Deal Shows Non-Violence Works
The deal under which some 1,600 Palestinian prisoners agreed on Monday to end a month-long fast against Israel's prison policy was struck on the eve of Nakba (catastrophe) Day that marks Israel's founding in a 1948 war when hundreds of thousands of Palestinians fled or were driven out of their homes.
Youths clashed with Israeli police and soldiers in several parts of the occupied West Bank on Tuesday, but there was no repeat of last year's violence, when Israeli soldiers killed up to 13 protesters on the borders with
To some, the hunger strike proved the value of "popular resistance" as favored by President Mahmoud Abbas and his Fatah group. But his rivals in the Islamist Hamas movement in
Two of the Palestinian prisoners had not eaten for 77 days, raising fears of a backlash if they had died. Under a deal brokered by
It also agreed to free those held without trial for six months at a time under so-called "administrative detention" -- unless they are brought to court before their terms end.
"It is our hope that this gesture by
Some Palestinians said
"The prime lesson here is that resistance, unity and solidarity can bear fruit for the political movement," said
LESSON FOR POLITICIANS
Gaza Strip political analyst Hani Habib called it "a success for the prisoners and an example that should be copied by the politicians," alluding to continued deep divisions between Hamas and Fatah that have split the Palestinian people.
"We should reshape the relationship with
Despite the suspension of formal peace negotiations 18 months ago, Abbas cooperates closely with
Top-level contacts "every hour, every moment" helped to resolve the impasse, said Palestinian negotiator Saeb Erekat.
"We spared no means and no effort ... and (Abbas) managed to get everyone to intervene including the American administration whom we had contacted," Erekat said.
Anat Litvin of the activist group Physicians for Human Rights-Israel said: "The Palestinian inmates proved that a non-violent and just struggle can bring important achievements and raise international awareness."
The hunger strikers included militants from Hamas and Islamic Jihad, which reject peace with
Hamas claimed credit for the Israeli concessions, suggesting its commitment to violent methods was the decisive factor.
A Hamas statement said
(Additional reporting by Nidal al-Mughrabi in
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"The master class has always declared the wars; the subject class has always fought the battles. The master class has had all to gain and nothing to lose, while the subject class has had nothing to gain and everything to lose--especially their lives." Eugene Victor Debs