Wall Street Journal Notes Hamas-Hezbollah Shift Toward Non-Violent Resistance
Holy S*!t Batman, who’d a thunk the Wall Street Journal would write anything positive about Hamas and Hezbollah?? A report today notes a shift in tactics by Hamas and Hezbollah toward non-violent resistance in recognition of the fact that violence tends to generate sympathy for Israel and non-violence tends to generate violence by Israel–and hence sympathy for the Palestinian cause:
Hamas and Hezbollah, groups that have long battled Israel with violent tactics, have begun to embrace civil disobedience, protest marches, lawsuits and boycotts—tactics they once dismissed.
For decades, Palestinian statehood aspirations seemed to lurch between negotiations and armed resistance against Israel. But a small cadre of Palestinian activists has long argued that nonviolence, in the tradition of the American civil rights movement, would be far more effective.
Officials from Hamas, the militant group that controls the Gaza Strip, point to the recent Israeli raid on a Gaza-bound flotilla, in which Israeli troops killed nine activists, as evidence there is more to gain by getting Israel to draw international condemnation through its own use of force, rather than by attacking the country.
“When we use violence, we help Israel win international support,” said Aziz Dweik, a leading Hamas lawmaker in the West Bank. “The Gaza flotilla has done more for Gaza than 10,000 rockets.”
I think this underlies a tectonic shift in if not public support, at least growing public sympathy for the cause of Palestinian statehood and disenchantment with the Occupation and Israeli policy. Even only a few months ago you simply would not have seen such a report in WSJ. You still won’t likely see it in the NY Times. Certainly, no one can accuse the WSJ of going weak in the knees over the Palestinian cause. Which makes such reporting all the more remarkable.
The WSJ notes in particular the change in Hamas’ thinking and approach:
Hamas’s turnaround has been more striking, said Mustapha Barghouti, a prominent Palestinian advocate for nonviolent resistance. “When we used to call for protests, and marches, and boycotts and anything called nonviolence, Hamas used these sexist insults against us. They described it as women’s struggle,” Mr. Barghouti said. That changed in 2008, he said, after the first aid ship successfully ran the Israeli blockade of Gaza.
“Hamas has started to appreciate just how effective this can be,” Mr. Barghouti said.
Hamas has started organizing its own peaceful marches into the Israeli-controlled buffer zone along the Gaza border and supported lawsuits against Israeli officials in European courts. Hamas says it has ramped up support for a committee dedicated to sponsoring similar protests in Gaza.
…Salah Bardawil, a Hamas lawmaker in Gaza City, says Hamas has come to appreciate the importance of international support for its legitimacy as a representative of the Palestinian people and its fight against Israeli occupation, and has adapted its tactics. Hamas hasn’t claimed responsibility for a suicide bombing in years and now denounces the tactic as counterproductive. Since an Israeli military incursion into the territory in December 2008-January 2009, it has also halted rocket attacks into Israel.
“Hamas used to believe [international support] was just empty words,” said Mr. Bardawil. “Today it is very interested in international delegations … and in bringing Israeli officials to justice through legal proceedings.”
These are almost precisely the same words used to describe the PLO in the period preceding 1988 when it renounced violence and recognized Israel. While I am not claiming that the PLO’s political evolution and Hamas’ will be the same; or that they have similar political agendas–I do think that just as Fatah underwent a political transformation during this period, so Hamas has and will continue to evolve politically. No one in their right mind would predict that Palestinian militants will turn against violence, but we just may be seeing a tipping point that augurs well on that score. Of course, much of this depends on Israel’s actions. Another war could throw all of these gains out the window and we shouldn’t put something like this past Bibi and the gang. But I tend to think that events militate against a return to full-scale armed conflict and terror at least from the Palestinian side.
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- ‘The Gaza flotilla has done more for Gaza than 10,000 rockets’ (warincontext.org)
32 thoughts on “Wall Street Journal Notes Hamas-Hezbollah Shift Toward Non-Violent Resistance – Tikun Olam תיקון עולם إصلاح العالم”
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I guess you seem to have made an error with the link to the wsj-article. Here it is:
While the logic may be effective, the israeli coalition members are no peaceniks. They advocate warfare,military and military style provocation.
This is a police and military minded state. No one in the government cares to think outside that box.
The electorate has been brainwashed for decades by interested parties and at this stage live in a matrix style fantasy where only settlers, IDF and assorted security apparatus can protect us against the invading hordes.
Vapid arrest warrants will always be swatted away, international tort trials are not earth shattering enough to provoke a change.
Too bad they included Mark Regev’s totally disingenuous and moronic comment “People who are provoking violence are using peaceful protest as a cover.” But we know that Israel uses Hamas for political reasons, for justifying the blockade among other things. Mostly, they fear Hamas’ power as a democratically elected representative of the Palestinian people. They cannot manipulate Hamas as they do the PA.
Disingenuous is to believe that a religious party (no matter which religion) can be democratic,
Democracy’s only purpose is to attain power, arms are what keeps them in place and that they make sure of.
So please stop saying that they represent anyone else but themselves – Same goes for any jewish based religious party or any shia based party
Religion and democracy are anathemas to each other,
in as much as there is no democracy in Gaza there is none in Israel either
Western democracies (and Russia and China) have matured ONLY BY DEPOSING RELIGION any other notion is just fallacy
The point is (and I remember this vividly) back when it was fashionable to demonize Arafat (as opposed to now when demonizing Abbas and Fayyad is more limited to the Zionist right) Bush was calling for elections in the Palestinian Authority. When that happened it broke Fateh’s monopoly although Hamas still didn’t attain a majority of seats. And now the Palestinians are punished for voting in Hamas.
Another case of short memory is that Bush and Sharon explicitly called for Arafat to rein in terrorist factions, which means they were looking for the conflict between Hamas and Fateh.
Lord preserve us from those who believe in absolutes. You go to extremes & so do great injustice to reality. The U.S. has not “deposed” religion. It has accepted it as part of society, but as a part that doesn’t intrude on political life. Israel’s problems w democracy are only partly due to religious intrusion in the political sphere.
Well, to reinforce Mr. Silverstein’s points, it’s not like Russia, the Eastern European countries, China and North Korea are all mature, and the populace in all these countries are not religious. Democracy did not flourish in Russia, despite the majority of Russians being athiests.
Nonviolence terrifies the Israeli government, which is why they react so violently against it. The IHH description of Israelis firing first with a lethal round against the flotilla rings true to me. They want to dissuade and intimidate nonviolent protesters; hence the 10 Palestinians killed at protests against the wall and the assaults against internationals like Rachel Corrie, Tristan Anderson, and now Emily Henochowicz.
IHH is a religious extremist group akin to Hamas or Hezbolla.
To equate “their” version of truth is to equate Hamas pacifist intentions.
Do you have any proof of that? Funny, how a “religious extremist group” is mysteriously silent, and peaceful, until one day it decides to send a homicidal flotilla of sticks and kitchen knives to battle the IOF. Give me a break.
This is a mere change in tactics (if even that). Not a sudden realization that “Gandhi and Martin Luther King were right, after all”. Even after the supposed renouncing of violence by the PLO as a result of Oslo, they set up the “Al-Aqsa Martyr’s Brigade” to do the killing for them, giving Arafat the ability to carry out “plausible denial”.
If it works for them, then it will be transformed fr. tactics to strategy. I’m looking for a reduction in killing & violence, not perfection. You will never find that in this conflict esp. given the flaws on both sides.
With one immense exception. Gandhi, MLK were higly educated people who saw life thru another prism than their own megalomaniac tunnel vision.
The Arab/Jews situation is nowhere near that dream
We live as the Star Trek Lazarus creature fighting itself locked in it ship for eternity. No external input is allowed nor trusted and none is coming because the world is just plain fed up with our eternal fighting – vicious circle
Seems like the squaring of the circle
“No external output is allowed nor trusted”
Oh please. Israel has been in cahoots with the US for 62 years.
Your fighting? End the occupation, then the fighting will sop.
Israelis have their catch phrases (“If the Arabs disarm there would be peace…” etc.). I think an accurate catchphrase would be, “If the Palestinians had a Gandhi Israel would arrest and/or kill them.”
Correct Andrew. Sheikh Ahmed Yassin was no Gandhi but fact is that Israel had him assassinated in March 2004, two months after he had offered to end armed resistance in return for the establishment of a Palestinian State, on the West Bank and in Gaza and East Jerusalem.
There is a view that the recent onslaught on Gaza was triggered off by a similar offer mooted by Khaled Mishal.
Norman Finkelstein wrote:
“It is not the first time Israel confronted such a diabolical threat — an Arab League peace initiative, Palestinian support for a two-state settlement and a Palestinian ceasefire — and not the first time it embarked on provocation and war to overcome it.”
and yet, hamas and other militant groups continue to fire rockets and mortars from gaza
and there yet to be a protest on the west bank without rock throwing….most recently documented by max blumenthal, in his attempt to show that the idf are monsters.
and how about the recent reports of hezbollah egging on civilians to attack un forces in lebanon?
still waiting for the “peaceful, non violent” protests
False. Hamas is NOT firing rockets & in fact is seeking to dissuade others fr doing so.
This is inane. After 42 yrs. of Occupation, countless thousands of Palestinian dead & maimed, & being wildly outgunned by the IDF, you carp about a few rocks thrown at soldiers equipped with the latest military weaponry & protective gear??? Rock-throwing, is that the best you can do???
When Gandhi’s nephew applauded the regular non-violent protests in Bi’lin, he said, “The whole world knows of Bi’lin’s activists, and it is a model for modern popular resistance.” Obviously the world doesn’t know of Bil’in’s activists – at least not your corner of the world, Uncle Joe. But the fact that you haven’t come across them doesn’t mean that they don’t exist.
The same goes for all the other non-violent activism that has been happening in Palestine and Israel for years. The first intifada was almost entirely non-violent. It baffles me how you can forget that (and how you seem to think that groups of oppressed and marginalised people armed with rocks constitute a deadly fighting force hell-bent on Israel’s destruction). Hamas didn’t come into existence until 1987 – almost forty years after the first dispossession and twenty years after the beginning of the occupation. The first Palestinian suicide bombing didn’t take place until 1993. Dispossession and occupation were going on merrily before the suicide bombings, before the militancy of the second intifada, before all the violent acts that supporters of Zionism use to justify Israel’s own aggression. It makes no sense to claim that it would all be different if only Hamas had never fired any of those rockets or orchestrated any suicide attacks. The chronology won’t permit it.
Today there are organised non-violent demos in Gaza five days per week, led by Saber al-Zaaneen. (The Israeli military regularly opens fire.) Similar protests have been happening in locations all over the West Bank. And this is just at the grassroots level. Look at all the organisations that are dedicated to a non-violent approach – the Siraj Centre, the Holy Land Trust, AEI-Open Windows, the Palestinian Centre for Rapprochement Between Peoples, the Parents’ Circle, Windows for Peace. All these are charities with no political affiliation. They’ve been doing remarkable work on non-violent resistance for years, with thousands of Palestinians pouring their money and time and effort into these projects. Now it seems as though a greater number of Palestinian politicians from both major parties may be ready to consider a more sophisticated non-violent approach. This is fantastic news. So why are you ‘still waiting’ for something that is already happening?
“‘Israel’s biggest fear is nonviolent resistance,’ you hear in the media a journalist surprised by the power of this new weapon. This is probably true, and I might agree, but I don’t like the tone. I don’t like how it sounds like a game changing revelation. We know that, we’ve known that forever…Yes, these protests are gaining more and more (mainly positive except if you’re the NYT) attention. Yes they are well organized, well supported, and increasingly popular. But no, Palestinians didn’t discover nonviolent resistance yesterday.” – Aws Al-Barghouti.
RE: “A report today notes a shift in tactics by Hamas and Hezbollah toward non-violent resistance…” – R.S.
A MUSICAL TRIBUTE:
They see sharks in the estuary,
They claim the ark is Bartholemew’s;
They say “War is necessary,”
But we say, “War is child abuse!”
[Tim McIlrath/Jonny 5]
We’d rather make our children [We request to negotiate]
martyrs than murderers! [We come to you unarmed]
We’d rather make our children [We desire to communicate]
White Flag Warriors! …
Flobots – White Flag Warrior (featuring Tim McIlrath) (Official Music Video, 03:41) – http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CuElmRp1Vqo
Nessim Dayan wrote:
“So please stop saying that they represent anyone else but themselves – Same goes for any jewish based religious party or any shia based party”
Nessim Dayan you will not be able to remove the following sentence from the relevant Wiki, because the fact is now too widely recognised:
“In the Palestinian legislative election of 2006, Hamas gained the majority of seats in the first fair and democratic elections held in Palestine, defeating the ruling Fatah party.”
Hamas did win the majority of seats (easily) but not the majority of votes cast… sort of like Clinton in 1992 and Bush in 2000. Dayan and Brand are both right. (Fatah ran two candidates for the same seat in many districts — apparently because their candidates were after the comparative wealth that election to office brings… Hamas, in contrast, kept its eyes on the ball.)
Hamas’s victory was generally called a ‘landslide’. It got more votes than any other party and in most democratic countries that is regarded as a mandate.
Dayan is just wrong in categorically asserting that a party based on religion cannot be democratic. In my country of origin (Holland) the political scene was for long years heavily influenced by parties based on religion (catholicism as well as protestantism). The Catholic People’s Party (which ultimately got included in the Christian Democrats) won in my youth more than once more votes than any other party. These religious parties were often an important part of ruling coalitions.
It was never argued that these were undemocratic because of that. Arguments such as Dayan’s are used in Israel to, somehow, delegitimize Hamas.
Most enlightened societies accepted religion as part of the society’s fabric but forbid it to hold sway over the reigns of government. My last experience was in Quebec, where the church was queen until in the late 70’s it bowed out of government meddling because it was out of pace with the current civilization.
Most wars were fought either because of or on account of religion and still do – however if you remove the veil out of religion, the underlying essence is about power, for those “religious” individuals when they reach power, they will skewer religion (any religion) to keep themselves in power
First I despise the word “delegitimize” it’s an aberration invented lately to fancy someone’s lack of grammar.
Second I do not “deligitimize” Hamas but I see it as an organization that uses religion to “legitimize” it’s terror activities. Hamas uses the “veil” of “occupation” to “legitimize” it’s terror activities. Both Islam/occupation are used to ‘DELIGITIMIZE” ISRAEL by HAMAS
“Grammar” is not the proper term to use if you dislike a word. But the word “delegitimze” is a perfectly legitimate English word despite your feelings about it. And I do wish you’d stop presenting yr views as if they were definitive. They’re not & most people here don’t agree. So it would be nice if you could add a dash of nuance or caution when expressing them.
You don’t understand Hamas & you’ve got things ass-backwards. It is Israel which is the blame for the Occupation, not Hamas. Besides, Hamas is not engaged in terror activities currently in resisting Occupation. So you might want to update yr claims about it.
As Arie, I believe, already pointed out to you this is not the case. Many European governments contain parties affiliated with a particular religion. Those parties participate in democratic gov’t.
A gross oversimplification. In the case of the IP conflict, clearly religion is a tertiary factor in the conflict, which is really about land & political power (as you note).
Richard already served you with an adequate response. I merely would like to add that I was intrigued by your term the ‘veil’ of occupation as if, somehow, this was not real and Hamas is only looking for pretexts to harass Israel.
So Hamas is about getting and retaining power. Does that scandalize you? Any political party is.
Recently an armed group vandalized a UN summer camp for children in Gaza.
Don’t think they quite have this ‘non-violence’ thing down pat.
First, the article was talking about non violence against Israel. Second, the article didn’t say every Palestinian had embraced non violence. It said that Hezbollah & Hamas are experimenting with the concept. I haven’t seen anyone claim that Hamas was behind this attack. It’s possible, but I hope it’s not the case.
From Xinhua News Agency:
“Meanwhile, media office of the Hamas police forces in the Gaza Strip said in a press statement that the police reject to use such a style in dealing with the international humanitarian agency.
Ihab al-Ghussein, spokesman for Hamas’ interior ministry said the security agency has started an investigation. He added that the government and the interior ministry reject such actions as vandalizing, and they will never let anyone bring chaos and anarchy back to Gaza.
The interior ministry said last month that the security forces arrested a group of suspects, who were said to be behind the attack on the main UNRWA summer camp on the beach of Gaza City.”
Thanks for confirming my hope that Hamas wasn’t supporting this vandalism.