PALESTINIAN GANDHI

NOVANEWS

Remember this story when someone mumbles about the Palestinian Gandhi

Public servant Bassem Mohammed al-Tamimi is from al-Nabi Saleh, a small village about 20 kilometers northwest of Ramallah. As coordinator of the local Popular Committee, Tamimi has played a leading role in al-Nabi Saleh’s demonstrations against the nearby illegal Israeli settlement and military base of Halamish. Jody McIntyre interviewed al-Tamimi for The Electronic Intifada.

JM: Do you think that the Israeli army has been particularly violent in al-Nabi Saleh in order to crush the resistance at an early stage?
BT: Of course they want to crush our resistance! I told you that on the day of the very first demonstration, the settlers burnt down 150 of our olive trees, and this was despite the fact that the landowners had gone to the demonstration each carrying a branch from those same olive trees, as a symbol of peace and their willingness for a peaceful resolution. After the settlers had burned down our trees, there were no olive branches left for us to carry.
So it is clear that they are trying to quash the peaceful resistance and this will, of course, ignite armed resistance. Everyone knows the inextricable ties between the Palestinians and their olive trees; it’s [the Palestinian’s] income, so when cut down, his income is cut down … the trees are like his children, and when you cut them down it is like you are killing his children.
I spoke to one of those landowners who had come to the demonstration with an olive branch, and he never came to a demonstration again. He told me that now, if any one of these organizations or groups which carry out armed resistance — as is our right under international law, although not the best way to achieve our rights — and said to him “here is a weapon, join our resistance movement,” then he would be mentally prepared to do so, because he has seen his peaceful approach burned and scorched before his eyes.

The Palestinian Gandhi became a proponent of violent resistance because Israel literally burned the olive branch he tendered it. Can you compress the logic of how Israel responds to resistance into a tighter anecdote? Don’t think so. If the Palestinians resist non-violently, Israel will kill them and cut down their olive trees. If they resist violently, the racist media will ask them, where have all the Gandhis gone, and why are all Palestinians terrorists. Things could barely be more backwards.
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