It’s often been suggested in the American press that if Palestinians would stop engaging in terrorist violence and adopt non-violent protest that they’d make more headway in their quest for a nation. Putting that idea to the test, earlier this week a group of Palestinian protestors attempted to cross through the Qalandia Checkpoint in the West Bank that separates Ramallah from Jerusalem.
Joseph Dana has video of the results:
According to Dana the protestors did not manage to fully adhere to the standard of non-violence and there was some stone-throwing:
The demonstration started off peacefully and then the army attacked the nonviolent demonstration with tear gas and stun grenades. Some Palestinians began throwing stones. As the army attacked the unarmed demonstrators with tear gas, I took photos on my Blackberry and uploaded them to Twitter. As Palestinians threw stones, I confirmed reports in the mainstream media that Palestinians were throwing stones. I reported what I could confirm with my own two eyes, with a little personal commentary during quiet periods of the demonstration.
Still, in the scheme of things you see a basically un-armed protest movement versus an occupying army. Certainly it’s a huge step forward from terrorist violence and attacks on civilians. And the core point here is that Israel is much less threatened by alleged military indefensibility of the 1949 Armistice Lines than it is by a lack of internationally recognized borders. If the Qalandia checkpoint represented a real border, between an independent Republic of Palestine and the State of Israel then a little tear gas in defense of the boundary would be no great shakes. But the checkpoint is inside the West Bank, dividing a major Palestinian population center that the Israeli government has no particular desire to administer, from parts of Jerusalem that the Israeli government has decided it wants to grab. That desire is, in turn, creating a security problem that it will be extremely difficult for Israel to deal with over the long term in the face of non-violent resistance.