ISSN (Print) - 0012-9976 | ISSN (Online) - 2349-8846

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Questions for the Palestine Movement

On the Limits of Violence

Morality tells us that the Palestinians are in the right. But the path that leaders of the Palestinians have chosen, of violent resistance to the coloniser and occupier, has not yielded freedom from Israeli control. "Revolutionary" violence, first from Al Fatah and then Hamas, ultimately devolved into rent-seeking by a narrow Palestinian elite with a fi nal settlement indefi nitely deferred as per the design of a brutal, vicious and utterly immoral Israel. When faced with a test of violence it knows it cannot win, a people could simply choose not to play that particular game. If the Palestinians were to foreground non-violent political tactics, it will democratise the question of national strategy by showing everyday people that they too are soldiers of freedom. The Palestinian people now have to reclaim their half-state and refashion it into a real weapon of resistance.

Morality tells us that the Palestinians are in the right. But the path that leaders of the Palestinians have chosen, of violent resistance to the coloniser and occupier, has not yielded freedom from Israeli control. “Revolutionary” violence, first from Al Fatah and then Hamas, ultimately devolved into rent-seeking by a narrow Palestinian elite with a final settlement indefinitely deferred as per the design of a brutal, vicious and utterly immoral Israel. When faced with a test of violence it knows it cannot win, a people could simply choose not to play that particular game. If the Palestinians were to foreground non-violent political tactics, it will democratise the question of national strategy by showing everyday people that they too are soldiers of freedom. The Palestinian people now have to reclaim their half-state and refashion it into a real weapon of resistance.

What can a people do when faced with an implacable enemy, bomb-armed to the teeth, possessed of millenarian ideology and supercharged by the cult of the righteous victim? Such is the plight of the Palestinian nation, completely outmatched on the battlefield by a heartless Goliath that thinks itself a David. What tactics of resistance can such a people deploy?

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