Ten years on I want answers for my daughter Rachel Corrie


 On March 16, 2003, my daughter Rachel Corrie was crushed to death under a bulldozer driven by an Israel Defense Forces soldier. The bulldozer was manufactured in the United States by Caterpillar, Inc. and paid for by U.S. foreign military financing aid. My tax dollars paid for the machine used to kill my daughter.

In a telephone conversation the next day, Israeli Prime Minister Sharon promised President Bush a “thorough, credible, and transparent” investigation into Rachel’s killing with a report to the U.S. Government. In response, April 24, 2003, our family received a printed PowerPoint presentation circulating in Congress purporting to explain the death of our daughter. This report, created by officers in command of the IDF unit that killed Rachel, concluded, “Ms. Corrie was not run over by a bulldozer, but sustained injuries caused by earth and debris which fell on her during bulldozer operation.”

Not only was this statement not supported by accounts from Rachel’s friends and their photographs, it was subsequently contradicted by Captain R.S., the highest ranking IDF officer on the scene. In Haifa District Court in April 2011, he pointed to the blade marks on the ground in one of the photos, and swore he knew in the first minute that the bulldozer had run over Rachel.

On May 23, 2003, our family was informed by the U.S. Department of State that the Israelis had closed Rachel’s case, that no charges would be brought, and that they declined to release the promised report to our government. Members of the State Department, U.S. embassy, and our family were subsequently permitted to read the report. It remains the U.S. position, restated as recently as August 2012 by U.S. Ambassador Daniel Shapiro, that the Israeli investigation did not meet the standard of “thorough, credible, and transparent.”

Our family has always believed that our government, through diplomatic means, should resolve the matter and hold the Israeli government accountable for a U.S. citizen killed with a U.S.- funded weapon. Indeed, the U.S. has tried. As Ambassador Designate James B. Cunningham noted in his 2008 confirmation, in addition to President Bush “then-Secretary Powell, Ambassador Kurtzer, Deputy Chief of Mission LeBaron, Assistant Secretary William Burns, and Deputy Assistant Secretary David Satterfield, among others, raised this issue with their counterparts and other appropriate authorities in the Israeli Government.”

But in the words of Michelle Bernier-Toth, U.S. Department of State’s Managing Director of Overseas Citizens Services in 2008, “We have consistently requested that the government of Israel conduct a full and transparent investigation into Rachel’s death. Our requests have gone unanswered or ignored.”  This is the response from a government that last year received four billion dollars of aid from American citizens – aid U.S. law prohibits being used in human rights violations!

What then would I ask President Obama to do as he makes his way to Israel and Palestine this month? Assure Prime Minister Netanyahu and President Abbas alike that we will stand with them for the just aspirations of all their citizens, including the equal recognition to their right to be free of threats to their homes, families, farmland, and future. Explain that the U.S. will no longer support financially or diplomatically the apartheid system embodied in the occupation of Palestine and in the treatment of Palestinian citizens of Israel. Remind them that security cannot come at the expense of the other, but only with the participation of both. Rather than giving license to a government’s most violent instincts by repeating endlessly that Israel has a right to defend itself – ignoring that Palestinians also have that right – call instead for the courage of each side to live by the ceasefires negotiated but left unsigned or ignored.

President Obama should refuse to continue U.S. military and diplomatic support until Israel gives truthful answers to our questions, not just for U.S. citizens like Rachel and Furkan Dogan, but for all the civilians killed or maimed using U.S.-funded weapons. Use this trip to a deeply troubled and divided place to remind the world that Americans believe all people “are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.” Then, make this first principle of America’s existence the foundation of his foreign policy for the next four years.

Corrie is the father of human rights activist Rachel Corrie and cofounder of the Rachel Corrie Foundation for Peace and Justice.

(Source / 16.03.2013)

Remembering Rachel Corrie – 10 years on


American activist Rachel Corrie was killed in Gaza ten years ago today.rachel1

The International Solidarity Movement write this message in her memory.

Rachel, a 23 year old woman from Olympia, Washington, was crushed to death by an Israeli army bulldozer on the 16th March 2003, whilst protesting non-violently against the demolition of a Palestinian house by Israeli forces. As an activist she spoke out about the injustices that she saw in Gaza.

“I feel like I’m witnessing the systematic destruction of a people’s ability to survive. It’s horrifying… Sometimes I sit down to dinner with people and I realize there is a massive military machine surrounding us, trying to kill the people I’m having dinner with.”

She is remembered with love still by Palestinians and new generations of ISM volunteers – for many of whom, Rachel’s untimely death was an inspiration to become more involved in the struggle for freedom for Palestine. We honour her memory and what she was standing for, whilst she stood in front of that bulldozer ten years ago today.

The International Solidarity Movement continues to work for justice, peace and freedom for Palestine – where the occupation still strongly resembles Rachel’s words in the video below.

Our thoughts today are with Rachel’s family, and as we’re sure Rachel would have wanted, also with all the Palestinian families who have lost a loved one to the Israeli occupation.


(Source / 16.03.2013)

Farmers attacked by Israeli army and settlers, preventing them from planting olive trees in memory of Rachel Corrie

Olive tree with image of Rachel Corrie being planted in Asira (Photo by ISM)

Olive tree with image of Rachel Corrie being planted in Asira

Farmers peacefully planting olive trees in the land of Asira al Qiblya were today disrupted by Israeli soldiers who halted the planting. The presence of Palestinians on their own land also attracted the attention of illegal settlers from the nearby settlement of Yizhar, leading to them attacking Palestinians farmers and volunteers, throwing and catapulting stones. The army moved immediately to protect the attackers, shooting tear gas and rubber bullets at Palestinians.

The olive trees were being planted in the vicinity of an Israeli military tower, recently built on a hill above Asira al Qiblya. Because of this, soldiers hassled farmers throughout the day, with an escalation of hostility mid-morning, when around 20 soldiers approached and demanded that farmers should stop planting trees and leave the land, despite the fact that the Palestinian owner of the land notified them that he wished to continue farming. The commander advised that the village should contact the Israeli district coordination office (DCO) to request permission – if permission was granted, he intimated, then the farmers would be allowed to access their land unhindered.

However, the villagers of Asira al Qiblya know this not to be the case. Just last week, access was requested and granted for three days through the DCO – despite this, a shepherd grazing his herd on the land during this “permitted time” was ordered to leave the land and was severely beaten by soldiers. It is clear that the outcome for villagers is the same whether permission is granted by Israel or not.

After a long confrontation with soldiers, farmers moved further down the hill to continue planting in an area arbitrarily deemed acceptable by the Israeli commander. At this point, around twenty masked settlers from Yizhar arrived and proceeded to attack the farmers from their vantage point higher up the hill – throwing stones by hand and with slingshots. Yizhar settlement is widely considered one of the most violent settlements in the West Bank, and all villages in its vicinity face regular attacks.

Yizhar settlers attacking farmers (Photo by IWPS)

Yizhar settlers attacking farmers

Palestinian youths moved to fend off the settler attack, but the Israeli army intervened on behalf of the attackers, shooting tear gas and rubber bullets at the villagers of Asira, until both the Palestinian villagers and settlers left the area. No injuries or arrests were reported.

At the end of the day only around ten olive trees had been planted due to interruptions from the army and settlers – farmers were also not optimistic that the young trees would be allowed to remain on their land and suspected that either the army or settlers would destroy them. However, they refuse to relinquish access to their land despite these setbacks and will continue planting trees in the area.

The olive trees planted today were donated by the International Solidarity Movement to replace Palestinian trees destroyed by Israeli forces and settlers during previous years – a common occurrence throughout the year. They were planted in memory of ISM activist Rachel Corrie as the tenth anniversary of her death approaches. She was crushed to death with an Israeli army bulldozer in Gaza in 2003 whilst protesting non-violently in solidarity with the Palestinian people.

(Source / 16.03.2013)

Israel heeft een nieuwe regering, met haviken op de belangrijkste sleutelposten

לא יכהנו כסגניו של נתניהו. בנט ולפיד (צילום: gettyimages)
Lapid (l) en Bennett  

Israel heeft eindelijk een nieuwe regering. Premier Netanyahu zal zaterdagavond aan president Peres officieel bekend maken dat het hem gelukt is een kabinet te vormen van zijn partij, met Tzipi Livni’s Hatnua, Bayit Yehudi van Naftali Bennett en Yesh Atid van Yair Lapid. De nieuwe regering  steunt op 68 leden van de 120 man tellende Knesset.
Aan de vorming van de regering Netanyahu III ging zes weken van heftig onderhandelen vooraf, een ongekend lange tijd voor een Israelische formatie. De orthodoxe partners waar Netanyahu eerder mee regeerde zijn uit de regering verdwenen onder druk van Yair Lapid. Op diens aandringen zijn ook afspraken gemaakt over een nog op te stellen nieuwe wet op de dienstplicht die de vrijstelling van religieuze studenten terugdraait. Ook is het kabinet afgeslankt naar 22 leden (18 ministers en vier staatssecretarissen). Lapid kreeg echter niet het door hem begeerde ministerie van Buitenlandse Zaken. In plaats daarvan wordt hij minister van Financiën en krijgt zijn partij nog vier andere ministeries. .
Netanyahu wist tijdens vaak heftige onderhandelingen de belangrijkste portefeuilles te behouden voor Likud-Beiteinu. Daaronder zijn de ministeries van Defensie, Binnenlandse Zaken en Buitenlandse Zaken. Dit laatste ministerschap wordt waargenomen door Netanyahu totdat Avigdor Liebermans rechtzaak voorbij is en hij weer aan de slag kan. Staatssecretaris van dit departement wordt naar verluidt Ze’ev Elkin, één van de hardste haviken uit de L:ikud-parlementsfractie. Het zeer belangrijke ministerie van Defensie gaat naar de uitgesproken Likud-diehard Moshe Ya’alon, een voormalige stafchef.
Tzipi Livni’s partij krijgt twee ministeries. Ze wordt zelf minister van Justitie en ook wordt ze op haar verzoek speciaal belast met de vredesonderhandelingen met de Palestijnen. Maar deze laatste taak zal vermoedelijk weinig gaan inhouden, want het totale beleid ten aanzien van de Palestijnen zal worden gecoördineerd door een speciaal ministerieel comité, waarvan naast Livni ook Netanyahu, Ya’alon, Bennett, Lapid (en straks ook de minister van Buitenlandse Zaken) gaan uitmaken.
Habayit Yehudi krijgt drie ministeries.Bennett zelf wordt minister van Handel en Economie. Maar zijn partij die voor uitbreiding van de nederzettingen is en minstens een deel van de Westoever wil inlijven bij Israel, krijgt ook het strategisch uiterst belangrijke ministerie van Bouw en Huisvesting. Op deze post komt Uri Ariel,een kolonist en voormalige voorman van de kolonistenorganisatie Yesha. De Israelische krant Haaretz schreef naar aanleiding van deze postenverdeling dat de sleutelministeries voor verdere uitbreiding van de nederzettingen daarmee in handen zijn van belangrijke voorvechters ervan, namelijk de ministers van Defensie, Ya’alon, en van Huisvesting, Ariel. Volgens Haaretz stevent het nieuwe kabinet Netanyahu III met deze ‘bemanning’ af op een duidelijk doel: namelijk het bereiken van het getal van één miljoen kolonisten op de Westoever (nu is dat met de Joodse inwoners van Oost-Jeruzalem erbij gerekend op ruim de helft hiervan).
Voor diegenen die dachten dat door de winst van 19 zetels voor een ‘middenpartij’ als Yesh Atid de volgende regering van Israel minder rechts en nationalistisch zou zijn, is dit wellicht een teleurstelling. Maar zij hadden uit de verkiezingsstrijd kunnen afleiden dat Lapid en zijn Yesh Atid in feite totaal niet in een compromis met de Palestijnen zijn geïnteresseerd, maar veeleer in een verbetering van de financiële positie van de middenklassen. Lapid is zeker geen tegenstander van de nederzettingen (die zijn volgens hem ‘niet het probleem’). Bovendien is hij een uitgesproken tegenstander van een compromis over Jeruzalem. En tenslotte heeft hij tijdens de vaak harde onderhandelingen met Netanyahu een bondgenootschap gesloten (en een warme vriendschap ontwikkeld) met de ultra-rechtse Naftali Bennett van Habayit Yehudi.
Een van de eerste openbare optredens van de nieuwe regering komt tijdens het bezoek van president Obama aan Israel van volgende week. Maar vuurwerk wordt niet verwacht. Obama heeft al aangekondigd dat hij geen nieuwe vredesplannen meebrengt.
(Voor een volledige lijst van ministers, zie Haaretz, klik op de illustratie)  

(Source / 16.03.2013)

Palestinian children rally, calling on Obama to lift Gaza blockade

GAZA, March 16 (Xinhua) — Dozens of Palestinian children demonstrated in the Gaza Strip Saturday, calling on U.S. President Barack Obama to lift Israel’s blockade on the coastal enclave.

The demonstration was held in the southern city of Rafah on the 10th anniversary of the death of U.S. peace activist Rachel Corrie, who was killed by an Israeli army bulldozer in 2003.

The children rose Palestinian flags and posters of Corrie, with banners reading “The Palestinian people love peace,” “We ask Obama to lift the siege” and “the United States should stop its support to Israel.”

Obama will visit Israel and the West Bank next week, and will try to revive the Israeli-Palestinian peace talks which came to a halt over a dispute on Jewish settlement activities in 2010.

In 2005, Israel withdrew its forces and settlers from the Gaza Strip. A year later, Islamic Hamas movement, which does not recognize Israel, won parliamentary elections and kidnapped an Israeli soldier in a cross-border raid, after which Israel imposed economic restrictions on Gaza.

A year later, Hamas took over Gaza by force and then Israel tightened the sanctions into a near-total blockade.

Since 2010, Israel has started gradual relaxation of the closure on Gaza.

(Source / 16.03.2013)

Is This Where the Third Intifada Will Start?


Protesters fleeing from tear gas launched by the Israel Defense Forces. In the background, the Israeli settlement of Halamish.
On the evening of Feb. 10, the living room of Bassem Tamimi’s house in the West Bank village of Nabi Saleh was filled with friends and relatives smoking and sipping coffee, waiting for Bassem to return from prison. His oldest son, Waed, 16, was curled on the couch with his 6-year-old brother, Salam, playing video games on the iPhone that the prime minister of Turkey had given their sister, Ahed. She had been flown to Istanbul to receive an award after photos of her shaking her fist at an armed Israeli soldier won her, at 11, a brief but startling international celebrity. Their brother Abu Yazan, who is 9, was on a tear in the yard, wrestling with an Israeli activist friend of Bassem’s. Nariman, the children’s mother, crouched in a side room, making the final preparations for her husband’s homecoming meal, laughing at the two photographers competing for shots from the narrow doorway as she spread onions onto oiled flatbreads.
On the living-room wall was a “Free Bassem Tamimi” poster, left over from his last imprisonment for helping to organize the village’s weekly protests against the Israeli occupation, which he has done since 2009. He was gone for 13 months that time, then home for 5 before he was arrested again in October. A lot happened during this latest stint: another brief war in Gaza, a vote in the United Nations granting observer statehood to Palestine, the announcement of plans to build 3,400 homes for settlers, an election in Israel. Protests were spreading around the West Bank.

That night, the call came at about 7:30. Twenty people squeezed into three small cars and headed to the village square. More neighbors and cousins arrived on foot. (All of Nabi Saleh’s 550 residents are related by blood or marriage, and nearly all share the surname Tamimi.) Then a dark Ford pulled slowly into the square, and everyone fell silent.

Bassem, who is 45, stepped out of the car, straight-spined, his blue eyes glowing in the lamplight. He seemed a little thinner and grayer than the last time I saw him, in July. He hugged and kissed his eldest son. Ahed was next, then one by one, in silence, Bassem embraced family and friends, Palestinian activists from Ramallah and Jerusalem, Israeli leftists from Tel Aviv. When he had greeted everyone, he walked to the cemetery and stopped in front of the still-unmarked grave of his brother-in-law Rushdie, who was shot by Israeli soldiers in November while Bassem was in prison. He closed his eyes and said a quick prayer before moving on to the tomb of Mustafa Tamimi, who died after being hit in the face by a tear-gas canister in December 2011.

Back at home, Bassem looked dazed. Nariman broke down in his arms and rushed outside to hide her tears. The village was still mourning Rushdie’s death, but the young men couldn’t keep up the solemnity for long. They started with little Hamoudi, the son of Bassem’s cousin, tossing him higher and higher in the air above the yard. They set him down and took turns tossing one another up into the night sky, laughing and shouting as if they never had anything to grieve.

From most south-facing windows in Nabi Saleh, you can see the red roofs of Halamish, the Israeli settlement on the hilltop across the valley. It has been there since 1977, founded by members of the messianic nationalist group Gush Emunim, and growing steadily since on land that once belonged to residents of Nabi Saleh and another Palestinian village. Next to Halamish is an Israeli military base, and in the valley between Nabi Saleh and the settlement, across the highway and up a dirt path, a small freshwater spring, which Palestinians had long called Ein al-Kos, bubbles out of a low stone cliff. In the summer of 2008, although the land surrounding the spring has for generations belonged to the family of Bashir Tamimi, who is 57, the youth of Halamish began building the first of a series of low pools that collect its waters. Later they added a bench and an arbor for shade. (Years after, the settlers retroactively applied for a building permit, which Israeli authorities refused to issue, ruling that “the applicants did not prove their rights to the relevant land.” Recently, several of the structures have been removed.) When Palestinians came to tend to their crops in the fields beside it, the settlers, villagers said, threatened and threw stones at them.

It took the people of Nabi Saleh more than a year to get themselves organized. In December 2009 they held their first march, protesting not just the loss of the spring but also the entire complex system of control — of permits, checkpoints, walls, prisons — through which Israel maintains its hold on the region. Nabi Saleh quickly became the most spirited of the dozen or so West Bank villages that hold weekly demonstrations against the Israeli occupation. Since the demonstrations began, more than 100 people in the village have been jailed. Nariman told me that by her count, as of February, clashes with the army have caused 432 injuries, more than half to minors. The momentum has been hard to maintain — the weeks go by, and nothing changes for the better — but still, despite the arrests, the injuries and the deaths, every Friday after the midday prayer, the villagers, joined at times by equal numbers of journalists and Israeli and foreign activists, try to march from the center of town to the spring, a distance of perhaps half a mile. And every Friday, Israeli soldiers stop them with some combination of tear gas, rubber-coated bullets, water-cannon blasts of a noxious liquid known as “skunk” and occasionally live fire.

Last summer, I spent three weeks in Nabi Saleh, staying in Bassem and Nariman’s home. When I arrived in June, Bassem had just been released from prison. In March 2011, Israeli soldiers raided the house to arrest him. Among lesser charges, he had been accused in a military court of “incitement,” organizing “unauthorized processions” and soliciting the village youth to throw stones. (In 2010, 99.74 percent of the Palestinians tried in military courts were convicted.) The terms of Bassem’s release forbade him to take part in demonstrations, which are all effectively illegal under Israeli military law, so on the first Friday after I arrived, just after the midday call to prayer, he walked with me only as far as the square, where about 50 villagers had gathered in the shade of an old mulberry tree. They were joined by a handful of Palestinian activists from Ramallah and East Jerusalem, mainly young women; perhaps a dozen college-age European and American activists; a half-dozen Israelis, also mainly women — young anarchists in black boots and jeans, variously pierced. Together they headed down the road, clapping and chanting in Arabic and English. Bassem’s son Abu Yazan, licking a Popsicle, marched at the back of the crowd.

Then there were the journalists, scurrying up hillsides in search of better vantage points. In the early days of the protests, the village teemed with reporters from across the globe, there to document the tiny village’s struggle against the occupation. “Sometimes they come and sometimes they don’t,” Mohammad Tamimi, who is 24 and coordinates the village’s social-media campaign, would tell me later. Events in the Middle East — the revolution in Egypt and civil war in Syria — and the unchanging routine of the weekly marches have made it that much harder to hold the world’s attention. That Friday there was just one Palestinian television crew and a few Israeli and European photographers, the regulars among them in steel helmets.

In the protests’ first year, to make sure that the demonstrations — and the fate of Palestinians living under Israeli occupation — didn’t remain hidden behind the walls and fences that surround the West Bank, Mohammad began posting news to a blog and later a Facebook page (now approaching 4,000 followers) under the name Tamimi Press. Soon Tamimi Press morphed into a homegrown media team: Bilal Tamimi shooting video and uploading protest highlights to his YouTube channel; Helme taking photographs; and Mohammad e-mailing news releases to 500-odd reporters and activists. Manal, who is married to Bilal, supplements the effort with a steady outpouring of tweets (@screamingtamimi).

News of the protests moves swiftly around the globe, bouncing among blogs on the left and right. Left-leaning papers like Britain’s Guardian and Israel’s Haaretz still cover major events in the village — deaths and funerals, Bassem’s arrests and releases — but a right-wing Israeli news site has for the last year begun to recycle the same headline week after week: “Arabs, Leftists Riot in Nabi Saleh.” Meanwhile, a pilgrimage to Nabi Saleh has achieved a measure of cachet among young European activists, the way a stint with the Zapatistas did in Mexico in the 1990s. For a time, Nariman regularly prepared a vegan feast for the exhausted outsiders who lingered after the protests. (Among the first things she asked me when I arrived was whether I was a vegan. Her face brightened when I said no.)

Whatever success they have had in the press, the people of Nabi Saleh are intensely conscious of everything they have not achieved. The occupation, of course, persists. When I arrived in June, the demonstrators had not once made it to the spring. Usually they didn’t get much past the main road, where they would turn and find the soldiers waiting around the bend. That week though, they decided to cut straight down the hillside toward the spring. Bashir led the procession, waving a flag. As usual, Israeli Army jeeps were waiting below the spring. The four soldiers standing outside them looked confused — it seemed they hadn’t expected the protesters to make it so far. The villagers marched past them to the spring, where they surprised three settlers eating lunch in the shade, still wet from a dip in one of the pools. One wore only soggy briefs and a rifle slung over his chest.

The kids raced past. The grown-ups filed in, chatting and smoking. More soldiers arrived in body armor, carrying rifles and grenade launchers. Waed and Abu Yazan kicked a soccer ball until a boy spotted a bright orange carp in one of the pools and Abu Yazan and others tried to catch it with their bare hands, splashing until the water went cloudy and the carp disappeared.

Four settlers appeared on the ledge above the spring, young men in sunglasses and jeans, one of them carrying an automatic rifle. Beside me, a sturdy, bald officer from the Israel Defense Forces argued with an Israeli protester. “I let you come,” the officer insisted. “Now you have to go.”

The children piled onto the swing the settlers had built and swung furiously, singing. A young settler argued with the I.D.F. officer, insisting that he clear the protesters away.

“What difference does 10 minutes make?” the officer said.

“Every 10 seconds makes a difference,” the settler answered.

But before their 10 minutes were up, one hour after they arrived, the villagers gathered the children and left as they had come, clapping and chanting, their defiance buoyed by joy. For the first time in two and a half years, they had made it to the spring.

They headed back along the highway, which meant they would have to pass the road leading to Halamish. Ahed, her blond hair in a long braid, clutched a cousin at the front of the procession. As they approached the road, a border-police officer tossed a stun grenade — a device that makes a loud bang and a flash but theoretically, at least, causes no bodily harm — at Ahed’s feet, and then another, and another. Within a few seconds, the marchers were racing up the hill back toward their village, tear-gas grenades streaking through the sky above their heads.

On warm summer evenings, life in Nabi Saleh could feel almost idyllic. Everyone knows everyone. Children run in laughing swarms from house to house. One night, Bassem and Nariman sat outside sharing a water pipe as Nariman read a translated Dan Brown novel and little Salam pranced gleefully about, announcing, “I am Salam, and life is beautiful!”

Bassem is employed by the Palestinian Authority’s Interior Ministry in a department charged with approving entrance visas for Palestinians living abroad. In practice, he said, P.A. officials “have no authority” — the real decisions are made in Israel and passed to the P.A. for rubber-stamping. Among other things, this meant that Bassem rarely had to report to his office in Ramallah, leaving his days free to care for his ailing mother — she died several weeks after I left the village last summer — and strategizing on the phone, meeting international visitors and talking to me over many cups of strong, unsweetened coffee. We would talk in the living room, over the hum of an Al Jazeera newscast. A framed image of Jerusalem’s Al Aqsa Mosque hung above the television (more out of nationalist pride than piety: Bassem’s outlook was thoroughly secular).

Though many people in Nabi Saleh have been jailed, only Bassem was declared a “prisoner of conscience” by Amnesty International. Foreign diplomats attended his court hearings in 2011. Bassem’s charisma surely has something to do with the attention. A strange, radiant calm seemed to hover around him. He rarely smiled, and tended to drop weighty pronouncements (“Our destiny is to resist”) in ordinary speech, but I saw his reserve crumble whenever one of his children climbed into his lap.

When Israeli forces occupied the West Bank in 1967, Bassem was 10 weeks old. His mother hid with him in a cave until the fighting ended. He remembers playing in the abandoned British police outpost that is now the center of the I.D.F. base next to Halamish, and accompanying the older kids who took their sheep to pasture on the hilltop where the settlement now stands. His mother went to the spring for water every day. The settlers arrived when he was 9.

Halamish is now fully established and cozier than most gated communities in the United States. Behind the razor wire and chain-link perimeter fence, past the gate and the armed guard, there are playgrounds, a covered pool, a community center and amphitheater, a clinic, a library, a school and several synagogues. The roads are well paved and lined with flowers, the yards lush with lemon trees. Halamish now functions as a commuter suburb; many of the residents work in white-collar jobs in Tel Aviv or Modi’in. The settlement’s population has grown to more than double that of Nabi Saleh.

I first met Shifra Blass, the spokeswoman for Halamish, in 2010. She talked about how empty the West Bank — she used the biblical name, Judea and Samaria — was when she and her husband emigrated from the U.S. in the early 1970s, intent on establishing a Jewish presence in a land they believed had been promised to them. Relations with the surrounding villages, she told me, had remained cordial, friendly even, until the first intifada. (When I asked people in Nabi Saleh about this, no one remembered it that way.) During the second intifada, three residents of the settlement, Blass said, were killed by gunfire on nearby roads. They weren’t near the village, but attitudes hardened.

When I visited her again last month, she was not eager to talk to me about the conflict over the spring and the lands surrounding it. “We want to live our lives and not spend time on it,” Blass said. She dismissed the weekly demonstrations as the creation of “outside agitators who come here and stir the pot — internationalists, anarchists, whatever.” It was all a show, she said, theater for a gullible news media. “I’ll tell you something: it’s unpleasant.” On Fridays, she said, the wind sometimes carries the tear gas across the valley into the settlement. “We have some grown children who say they cannot come home from university for Shabbat because of the tear gas. They call and say, ‘Tell me how bad it is, because if it’s really bad, I’m not coming.’ ”

When the first intifada broke out in late 1987, Nabi Saleh was, as it is now, a flash point. The road that passes between the village and the settlement connects the central West Bank to Tel Aviv: a simple barricade could halt the flow of Palestinian laborers into Israel. Bassem was one of the main Fatah youth activists for the region, organizing the strikes, boycotts and demonstrations that characterized that uprising. (Nabi Saleh is solidly loyal to Fatah, the secular nationalist party that rules the West Bank; Hamas, the militant Islamist movement that governs Gaza, has its supporters elsewhere in the West Bank but has never had a foothold in the village.) He would be jailed seven times during the intifada and, he says, was never charged with a crime. Before his most recent arrest, I asked him how much time he had spent in prison. He added up the months: “Around four years.”

After one arrest in 1993, Bassem told me, an Israeli interrogator shook him with such force that he fell into a coma for eight days. He has a nickel-size scar on his temple from emergency brain surgery during that time. His sister died while he was in prison. She was struck by a soldier and fell down a flight of courthouse stairs, according to her son Mahmoud, who was with her to attend the trial of his brother. (The I.D.F. did not comment on this allegation.)

Bassem nonetheless speaks of those years, as many Palestinians his age do, with something like nostalgia. The first intifada broke out spontaneously — it started in Gaza with a car accident, when an Israeli tank transporter killed four Palestinian laborers. The uprising was, initially, an experience of solidarity on a national scale. Its primary weapons were the sort that transform weakness into strength: the stone, the barricade, the boycott, the strike. The Israeli response to the revolt — in 1988, Defense Minister Yitzhak Rabin reportedly authorized soldiers to break the limbs of unarmed demonstrators — began tilting international public opinion toward the Palestinian cause for the first time in decades. By the uprising’s third year, however, power had shifted to the P.L.O. hierarchy. The first Bush administration pushed Israel to negotiate, leading eventually to the 1993 Oslo Accord, which created the Palestinian Authority as an interim body pending a “final status” agreement.

But little was resolved in Oslo. A second intifada erupted in 2000, at first mostly following the model set by the earlier uprising. Palestinians blocked roads and threw stones. The I.D.F. took over a house in Nabi Saleh. Children tossed snakes, scorpions and what Bassem euphemistically called “wastewater” through the windows. The soldiers withdrew. Then came the heavy wave of suicide bombings, which Bassem termed “the big mistake.” An overwhelming majority of Israeli casualties during the uprising occurred in about 100 suicide attacks, most against civilians. A bombing at one Tel Aviv disco in 2001 killed 21 teenagers. “Politically, we went backward,” Bassem said. Much of the international good will gained over the previous decade was squandered. Taking up arms wasn’t, for Bassem, a moral error so much as a strategic one. He and everyone else I spoke with in the village insisted they had the right to armed resistance; they just don’t think it works. Bassem could reel off a list of Nabi Saleh’s accomplishments. Of some — Nabi Saleh, he said, had more advanced degrees than any village — he was simply proud. Others — one of the first military actions after Oslo, the first woman to participate in a suicide attack — involved more complicated emotions.

In 1993, Bassem told me, his cousin Said Tamimi killed a settler near Ramallah. Eight years later, another villager, Ahlam Tamimi escorted a bomber to a Sbarro pizzeria in Jerusalem. Fifteen people were killed, eight of them minors. Ahlam, who now lives in exile in Jordan, and Said, who is in prison in Israel, remain much-loved in Nabi Saleh. Though everyone I spoke with in the village appeared keenly aware of the corrosive effects of violence — “This will kill the children,” Manal said, “to think about hatred and revenge” — they resented being asked to forswear bloodshed when it was so routinely visited upon them. Said, Manal told me, “lost his father, uncle, aunt, sister — they were all killed. How can you blame him?”

The losses of the second intifada were enormous. Nearly 5,000 Palestinians and more than 1,000 Israelis died. Israeli assassination campaigns and the I.D.F.’s siege of West Bank cities left the Palestinian leadership decimated and discouraged. By the end of 2005, Yasir Arafat was dead, Israel had pulled its troops and settlers out of Gaza and the Palestinian Authority president, Mahmoud Abbas, had reached a truce with Prime Minister Ariel Sharon. The uprising sputtered out. The economy was ruined, Gaza and the West Bank were more isolated from each other than ever, and Palestinians were divided, defeated and exhausted.

But in 2003, while the intifada was still raging, Bassem and others from Nabi Saleh began attending demonstrations in Budrus, 20 minutes away. Budrus was in danger of being cut off from the rest of the West Bank by Israel’s planned separation barrier, the concrete and chain-link divide that snakes along the border and in many places juts deeply into Palestinian territory. Residents began demonstrating. Foreign and Israeli activists joined the protests. Fatah and Hamas loyalists marched side by side. The Israeli Army responded aggressively: at times with tear gas, beatings and arrests; at times with live ammunition. Palestinians elsewhere were fighting with Kalashnikovs, but the people of Budrus decided, said Ayed Morrar, an old friend of Bassem’s who organized the movement there, that unarmed resistance “would stress the occupation more.”

The strategy appeared to work. After 55 demonstrations, the Israeli government agreed to shift the route of the barrier to the so-called 1967 green line. The tactic spread to other villages: Biddu, Ni’lin, Al Ma’asara and in 2009, Nabi Saleh. Together they formed what is known as the “popular resistance,” a loosely coordinated effort that has maintained what has arguably been the only form of active and organized resistance to the Israeli presence in the West Bank since the end of the second intifada in 2005. Nabi Saleh, Bassem hoped, could model a form of resistance for the rest of the West Bank. The goal was to demonstrate that it was still possible to struggle and to do so without taking up arms, so that when the spark came, if it came, resistance might spread as it had during the first intifada. “If there is a third intifada,” he said, “we want to be the ones who started it.”

Bassem saw three options. “To be silent is to accept the situation,” he said, “and we don’t accept the situation.” Fighting with guns and bombs could only bring catastrophe. Israel was vastly more powerful, he said. “But by popular resistance, we can push its power aside.”

As small as the demonstrations were, they appeared to create considerable anxiety in Israel. Paul Hirschson, a spokesman for the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, told me that while the West Bank demonstrations do not pose an “existential threat” to Israel, they “certainly could be more problematic in the short term” than a conventional armed revolt. Eytan Buchman, a spokesman for the I.D.F., took issue with the idea that the weekly protests were a form of nonviolent resistance. In an e-mail he described the protests as “violent and illegal rioting that take place around Judea and Samaria, and where large rocks, Molotov cocktails, improvised grenades and burning tires are used against security forces. Dubbing these simply demonstrations is an understatement — more than 200 security-force personnel have been injured in recent years at these riots.” (Molotov cocktails are sometimes thrown at protests at the checkpoints of Beitunia and Kalandia but never, Bassem said, in Nabi Saleh.) Buchman said that the I.D.F. “employs an array of tactics as part of an overall strategy intended to curb these riots and the ensuing acts of violence.” He added that “every attempt is made to minimize physical friction and risk of casualties” among both the I.D.F. and the “rioters.”

One senior military commander, who would agree to be interviewed only on the condition that his name not be used, told me: “When the second intifada broke out, it was very difficult, but it was very easy to understand what we had to do. You have the enemy, he shoots at you, you have to kill him.” Facing down demonstrators armed with slings and stones or with nothing at all is less clear-cut. “As an Israeli citizen,” the commander said, “I prefer stones. As a professional military officer, I prefer to meet tanks and troops.”

But armies, by their nature, have one default response to opposition: force. One soldier who served in Nabi Saleh testified to the Israeli veterans’ group Breaking the Silence about preparing for Friday protests. “It’s like some kind of game,” he said. “Everyone wants to arm themselves with as much ammo as possible. . . . You have lots of stun grenades . . . so they’re thrown for the sake of throwing, at people who are not suspected of anything. And in the end, you tell your friend at the Friday-night dinner table: ‘Wow! I fired this much.’ ”

According to a leaked 2010 U.S. State Department memo, Maj. Gen. Avi Mizrahi of Israel “expressed frustration” with the West Bank protests to American diplomats, and “warned that the I.D.F. will start to be more assertive in how it deals with these demonstrations, even demonstrations that appear peaceful.” The memo concluded that “less-violent demonstrations are likely to stymie the I.D.F.,” citing the Israeli Defense Ministry policy chief Amos Gilad’s admission to U.S. officials, “We don’t do Gandhi very well.”

Sagi Tal, a former I.D.F. soldier, who was stationed near the villages of Bil’in and Ni’lin, which also held weekly demonstrations, explained to me that his unit sometimes conducted night raids to gather intelligence or make arrests and sometimes simply so “that they should feel that we are here and we are watching them.”

After dinner one Sunday, Nariman put on a DVD shot both by her and Bilal, the village videographer. (“From the beginning,” Bilal told me at the march on the previous Friday, filming calmly as tear-gas grenades landed all around us, “we decided that the media is the most important thing in the popular resistance.”) We watched a clip shot in the house in which we sat: soldiers banged on the door late at night; they rifled through the boys’ room as Salam and Abu Yazan cowered beneath the covers and Nariman yelled in Arabic: “What manliness this is! What a proud army you’re part of!” The soldiers confiscated a gas mask, two computers, Waed’s camera and two of his schoolbooks — geography and Palestinian history. (In an e-mail, an I.D.F. spokesman described such night raids as “pre-emptive measures, taken in order to assure the security and stability in the area.”)

We watched footage of Nariman being arrested with Bilal’s wife, Manal, early in 2010. Soldiers had fired tear gas into Manal’s house, Nariman explained. Manal ran in to fetch her children, and when she came out, a soldier ordered her back in. She refused, so they arrested her. Nariman tried to intervene, and they arrested her too. They spent 10 days in prisons where, they say, they were beaten repeatedly, strip-searched and held for two days without food before each was dumped at the side of a road. (The I.D.F.’s Buchman said, “No exceptional incidents were recorded during these arrests.” He added that no complaints were filed with military authorities.)

We watched a clip of crying children being passed from a gas-filled room out a second-story window, down a human ladder to the street. Early on, the villagers took all the children to one house during demonstrations, but when the soldiers began firing gas grenades into homes, the villagers decided it was safer to let them join the protests. We watched footage of a soldier dragging a 9-year-old boy in the street, of another soldier striking Manal’s 70-year-old mother. Finally, Nariman shook her head and turned off the disc player. “Glee” was on.

One Friday, shortly after the marchers had barricaded the road with boulders and burning tires in order to keep the army out of the village center, a white truck sped around the bend, a jet of liquid arcing from the water cannon mounted on its cab. Someone yelled, “Skunk!” and everyone bolted. Skunk water smells like many things, but mainly it smells like feces. Nariman wasn’t fast enough. A blast of skunk knocked her off her feet. Moments later, she was standing defiantly, letting the cannon soak her and waving a Palestinian flag at the truck’s grated windshield. An hour or so later, smelling of skunk and shampoo, she was serving tea to a dozen protesters.

Every Friday was a little different. Some demonstrations were short and others almost endless. Some were comic, others not at all. Some days the I.D.F. entered the village, and others they stuck to the hills. Sometimes they made arrests. The basic structure, though, varied little week to week: a few minutes of marching, tear gas fired, then hours of the village youth — the shebab, they’re called — throwing stones while dodging tear-gas canisters and rubber-coated bullets until the sun set and everyone went home. Or failed to make it home.

It was strange, asymmetric combat: a few dozen masked shebab ranging in age from 8 to 38, armed with slings and stones, against 20 or more soldiers in armored vehicles and on foot, dressed in helmets and body armor, toting radios and automatic weapons. Theshebab put a great deal of thought into tactics, trying to flank and surprise the soldiers. But even when their plans were perfectly executed, they could not do much more than irritate their enemies. The soldiers, though, would inevitably respond with more sophisticated weaponry, which would motivate the shebab to gather more stones Friday after Friday despite — and because of — the fact that nothing ever seemed to change, for the better at least.

I asked one of the boys why he threw stones, knowing how futile it was. “I want to help my country and my village, and I can’t,” he said. “I can just throw stones.”

“We see our stones as our message,” Bassem explained. The message they carried, he said, was “We don’t accept you.” While Bassem spoke admiringly of Mahatma Gandhi, he didn’t worry over whether stone-throwing counted as violence. The question annoyed him: Israel uses far greater and more lethal force on a regular basis, he pointed out, without being asked to clarify its attitude toward violence. If the loincloth functioned as the sign of Gandhi’s resistance, of India’s nakedness in front of British colonial might, Bassem said, “Our sign is the stone.” The weekly clashes with the I.D.F. were hence in part symbolic. The stones were not just flinty yellow rocks, but symbols of defiance, of a refusal to submit to occupation, regardless of the odds. The army’s weapons bore messages of their own: of economic and technological power, of international support. More than one resident of Nabi Saleh reminded me that the tear gas used there is made by a company based in Pennsylvania.

One afternoon, I visited the family of Mustafa Tamimi, who was 28 when he died in December 2011 after being shot at close range with a tear-gas canister from the back of an Israeli Army jeep. (An I.D.F. investigation concluded, according to Buchman, that when the soldier fired the canister “his field of vision was obscured.”) The walls were covered with framed photos: an action shot of Mustafa in profile, his face behind a red Spider-Man mask as he slung a stone at soldiers outside the frame.

In the weeks before her son’s death, Ekhlas, his mother, told me that soldiers had twice come to the house looking for him. When she got a call that Friday asking her to bring Mustafa’s ID to the watchtower, she thought he’d been arrested, “like all the other times.” Beside me, Bahaa, a tall young man who was Mustafa’s best friend, scrolled through photos on a laptop, switching back and forth between a shot of Mustafa falling to the ground a few feet behind an I.D.F. jeep, and another, taken moments later, of his crushed and bloody face.

Ekhlas told me about a dream she’d had. Mustafa was standing on the roof, wearing his red mask. There were soldiers in the distance. She called to him: “Mustafa, come down! Everyone thinks you are dead — it’s better that they don’t see you.”

He turned to her, she said, and told her: “No. I’m standing here so that they will see me.”

“This is the worst time for us,” Bassem confided to me last summer. He meant not just that the villagers have less to show for their sacrifices each week, but that things felt grim outside the village too. Everyone I spoke with who was old enough to remember agreed that conditions for Palestinians are far worse now than they were before the first intifada. The checkpoints, the raids, the permit system, add up to more daily humiliation than Palestinians have ever faced. The number of Israeli settlers living in the West Bank has more than tripled since the Oslo Accords. Assaults on Palestinians by settlers are so common that they rarely made the news. The resistance, though, remained limited to a few scattered villages like Nabi Saleh and a small urban youth movement.

I sat down one afternoon in Ramallah with Samir Shehadeh, a former literature professor from Nabi Saleh who was one of the intellectual architects of the first intifada and whom I met several times at Bassem’s house. I reminded him of the car accident that ignited the first uprising and asked what kind of spark it would take to mobilize Palestinians to fight again. “The situation is 1,000 times worse,” he said. “There are thousands of possible sparks,” and still nothing has happened.

In the 1980s, youth organizers like Bassem focused on volunteer work: helping farmers in the fields, educating their children. They built trust and established the social networks that would later allow the resistance to coordinate its actions without waiting for orders from above. Those networks no longer exist. Instead there’s the Palestinian Authority. Immediately after the first Oslo Accord in 1993, the scholar Edward Said predicted that “the P.L.O. will . . . become Israel’s enforcer.” Oslo gave birth to a phantom state, an extensive but largely impotent administrative apparatus, with Israel remaining in effective control of the Palestine Authority’s finances, its borders, its water resources — of every major and many minor aspects of Palestinian life. More gallingly to many, Oslo, in Said’s words, gave “official Palestinian consent to continued occupation,” creating a local elite whose privilege depends on the perpetuation of the status quo.

That elite lives comfortably within the so-called “Ramallah bubble”: the bright and relatively carefree world of cafes, NGO salaries and imported goods that characterize life in the West Bank’s provisional capital. During the day, the clothing shops and fast-food franchises are filled. New high-rises are going up everywhere. “I didn’t lose my sister and my cousin and part of my life,” Bassem said, “for the sons of the ministers” to drive expensive cars.

Worse than any corruption, though, was the apparent normalcy. Settlements are visible on the neighboring hilltops, but there are no checkpoints inside Ramallah. The I.D.F. only occasionally enters the city, and usually only at night. Few Palestinians still work inside Israel, and not many can scrape a living from the fields. For the thousands of waiters, clerks, engineers, warehouse workers, mechanics and bureaucrats who spend their days in the city and return to their villages every evening, Ramallah — which has a full-time population of less than 100,000 — holds out the possibility of forgetting the occupation and pursuing a career, saving up for a car, sending the children to college.

But the checkpoints, the settlements and the soldiers are waiting just outside town, and the illusion of normalcy made Nabi Saleh’s task more difficult. If Palestinians believed they could live better by playing along, who would bother to fight? When Bassem was jailed in decades past, he said, prisoners were impatient to get out and resume their struggles. This time, he ran into old friends who couldn’t understand why he was still fighting instead of making money off the spoils of the occupation. “They said to me: ‘You’re smart — why are you doing this? Don’t you learn?’ ”

At times the Palestinian Authority acts as a more immediate obstacle to resistance. Shortly after the protests began in Nabi Saleh, Bassem was contacted by P.A. security officials. The demonstrations were O.K., he said they told him, as long as they didn’t cross into areas in which the P.A. has jurisdiction — as long, that is, as they did not force the P.A. to take a side, to either directly challenge the Israelis or repress their own people. (A spokesman for the Palestinian security forces, Gen. Adnan Damiri, denied this and said that the Palestinian Authority fully supports all peaceful demonstrations.) In Hebron, P.A. forces have stopped protesters from marching into the Israeli-controlled sector of the city. “This isn’t collaboration,” an I.D.F. spokesman, who would only talk to me on the condition that he not be named, assured me.“Israel has a set of interests, the P.A. has a set of interests and those interests happen to overlap.”

Bassem saw no easy way to break the torpor and ignite a more widespread popular resistance. “They have the power,” he said of the P.A., “more than the Israelis, to stop us.” The Palestinian Authority employs 160,000 Palestinians, which means it controls the livelihoods of about a quarter of West Bank households. One night I asked Bassem and Bilal, who works for the Ministry of Public Health, how many people in Nabi Saleh depend on P.A. salaries. It took them a few minutes to add up the names. “Let’s say two-thirds of the village,” Bilal concluded.

Last summer, my final Friday in Nabi Saleh was supposed to be a short day. One of theshebab was getting engaged to a girl from a neighboring village, and everyone planned to attend the betrothal ceremony. The demonstration would end at 3.

Four armored cars waited at the bend in the road, the skunk truck idling behind them. Manal pointed to the civilian policemen accompanying the soldiers. “There is a new policy that they can arrest internationals,” she explained. Earlier that month, as part of the effort to combat what Israelis call the “internationalization” of the conflict, the defense forces issued an order authorizing Israeli immigration police to arrest foreigners in the West Bank.

About half the marchers headed down the hillside. Soldiers waiting below arrested four Israelis and detained Bashir, the owner of the land around the spring. Everyone cheered as Mohammad raced uphill, outrunning the soldiers. (Three months later they would catch up to him in a night raid on his father’s house. He was imprisoned until late December.) I saw Nariman standing in the road with a Scottish woman. I walked over. Two soldiers grabbed the Scottish protester. Two more took me by the arms, pulled me to a jeep and shoved me in. I showed my press card to the driver. His expression didn’t change. Two frightened young women, both British, were already locked inside. After almost an hour, the soldiers brought a Swede and an Italian who had been hiding in the convenience-store bathroom. More soldiers piled in. I showed one my press card and asked if he understood that I was a journalist. He nodded. Finally, the driver pulled onto the road. As we passed the gas station, the shebab ran after us.

“They were so beautiful a few minutes ago, right?” the soldier beside me said as theshebab’s stones clanged against the jeep. “They were so cute.”

They drove us to the old British police station in the I.D.F. base in Halamish. While I was sitting on a bench, an I.D.F. spokesman called my cellphone to inform me that no journalists with press cards had been detained in Nabi Saleh. I disagreed. (The next day, according to Agence France-Presse, the I.D.F. denied I had been arrested.) A half-hour later, an officer escorted me to the gate.

As I walked back to Nabi Saleh, the road was empty, but the air was still peppery with tear gas. I made it back in time for the engagement party and flew home the next day. The five activists detained with me were deported. Two nights after I left, soldiers raided Bassem’s house. The following week, they raided the village five days in a row.

This past October, the popular resistance movement began to shift tactics, trying to break the routine of weekly demonstrations. They blocked a settler road west of Ramallah, and the following week staged a protest inside an Israeli-owned supermarket in the settlement industrial zone of Shaar Binyamin. Bassem was arrested outside the market — soldiers grabbed at Nariman and dragged Bassem off when he stepped forward to put his arms around her. Less than two weeks later, Waed was arrested at a Friday demonstration. Soldiers beat him, he said, “with their fists and their rifles.” When he appeared in court, Waed was still bruised. The judge threw out the charges. But while he was detained, he was in the same prison as his father and saw him briefly there. “When I said goodbye to him,” Waed told me with obvious pride, “he had tears in his eyes. I was stronger than him.”

On the day of Waed’s arrest, a camera caught Ahed shaking her fist, demanding that soldiers tell her where they were taking her brother. The Internet took over: video of the tiny, bare-armed blond girl facing down a soldier went viral. She and Nariman were invited to Istanbul, where, to their surprise, Nariman said, they were greeted at the airport by dozens of children wearing T-shirts printed with Ahed’s photo. They drove past billboards displaying Ahed’s image. Reporters followed them everywhere. Crowds gathered when they walked in the streets. They were taken to Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan in the southeastern city of Urfa, Nariman said, and flew back with him to Istanbul on his plane.

Not everyone reacted so enthusiastically. One right-wing blogger dubbed Ahed “Shirley Temper.” The Israeli news site Ynet took the images as evidence that “Palestinian protesters use children to needle I.D.F. soldiers in the hope of provoking a violent response.”

In mid-November, Israeli rockets began falling on Gaza. Protests spread throughout the West Bank. “We thought it was the start of the third intifada,” Manal told me. The demonstrations in Nabi Saleh stretched beyond their usual Friday-evening terminus. One Saturday in November, Nariman’s brother Rushdie — who worked as a policeman near Ramallah and was rarely home on Fridays — joined the shebab on the hill. He was standing beside Waed when he was hit by a rubber-coated bullet. Then the soldiers began shooting live ammunition, but Rushdie was hurt and couldn’t run. As he lay on the ground, a soldier shot him in the back from a few meters away. Nariman ran to the hillside with her video camera and found her brother lying wounded. “I wanted to attack the soldier and die with Rushdie right there, but I knew I had to be stronger than that,” Nariman said. “Why is it required of me to be more humane than they are?” Rushdie, who was 31, died two days later. An I.D.F. investigation found that soldiers fired 80 shots of live ammunition and neglected to “control the fire.” The unit’s commander was reportedly relieved of his command.

When the fighting stopped in Gaza, the protests in the West Bank ceased. I went back to Nabi Saleh in January, three weeks before Bassem was expected home. The village seemed listless and depressed, as if everyone were convinced of the futility of continuing. On my first Friday back, the demonstration ended early: the shebab had a soccer match in another village. It rained the next week, and everyone went home after an hour. “We are still living the shock of Rushdie’s killing,” Mohammad told me.

Elsewhere in the West Bank, though, momentum was building. In late November, Netanyahu announced plans to build 3,400 settlement units in an area known as E1, effectively cutting off Jerusalem from the West Bank. Just before I arrived in January, popular-resistance activists tried something new, erecting a tent “village” called Bab al-Shams in E1, symbolically appropriating the methods of land confiscation employed by settlers. “The time has come now to change the rules of the game,” the organizers wrote in a news release, “for us to establish facts on the ground — our own land.” The numbers were relatively small — about 250 people took part, including Nariman and a few others from Nabi Saleh — and, on direct orders from Netanyahu, soldiers evicted everyone two days later, but the movement was once again making headlines around the globe. Copycat encampments went up all over the West Bank — some in areas where the popular resistance had not previously been active.

The day after his release, Bassem told me that even sitting in prison he had felt “a sense of joy” when he learned about Bab al-Shams. The popular resistance was finally spreading beyond the village demonstrations. “We have to create a sense of renewal,” he said, “not only in Nabi Saleh but on a larger scale.” The village’s losses — and his own — he acknowledged, were daunting. “The price is now higher,” he said, but “if we don’t continue, it would mean that the occupation has succeeded.” It would take constant creativity, he said, to hold onto the momentum. He didn’t know what it would look like yet, but just talking about it seemed to add inches to his height.

Within days, thousands of Palestinians would protest around the West Bank, first in solidarity with prisoners on hunger strikes to demand an end to the indefinite detention of Palestinians without trial, later in outrage at the death of a 30-year-old prisoner named Arafat Jaradat. Once again, the words “third intifada” were buzzing through the press. Avi Dichter, the head of Israeli domestic security during the second intifada and the current minister of Home Front Defense, cautioned in a radio interview that an “incorrect response by the security forces” might push the protests into full-out revolt.

When I saw Bassem in February, I asked him whether he was worried that the uprising might finally arrive at Nabi Saleh’s moment of greatest self-doubt, that it might catch the village drowsing. “It doesn’t matter who is resisting,” he said. “What’s important is that they are resisting.”

On the last Friday I was there, the wind was against the demonstrators. Nearly every grenade the soldiers fired, regardless of how far away it landed, blew a cloud of gas up the road right at them. A dozen or so villagers watched the clashes from the relative safety of the hillside. Bassem’s cousin Naji was sitting on a couch cushion. Mahmoud, Bassem’s nephew, poured coffee into clear plastic cups. Bright red poppies dotted the hill between the rocks. The way was clear, but no one tried to walk down to the spring.

When the demonstration seemed over, I trekked back to the village with a young Israeli in a black “Anarchy Is for Lovers” T-shirt. He told me about his childhood on a kibbutz bordering the Gaza Strip. His parents were “right-wing Zionists,” he said, “hard-core.” They didn’t talk to him anymore. A group of soldiers appeared behind us, and we ducked into Nariman’s yard as they tossed a few stun grenades over the wall. Later that evening, at Naji’s house, I watched Bilal’s video of the same soldiers as they strolled down the drive, lobbing tear-gas grenades until they reached their jeeps. They piled in and closed the armored doors. One door opened a crack. A hand emerged. It tossed one last grenade toward the camera. Gas streamed out, the door closed and the jeep sped off down the road.

(Source / 16.03.2013)

Libyan embassy suspends work in Cairo after protest

CAIRO (Reuters) — The Libyan embassy in Cairo on Saturday suspended work for security reasons, days after Egyptians protested in front of the building over the death of an Egyptian Copt in Libya.

Tensions between the North African neighbors have risen after attacks on Egyptian Coptic targets in Libya and the burning of the Libyan flag by protesters in front of the embassy in Cairo this week.

“The embassy suspended all its consular and citizen services because (our) Coptic brothers demonstrated,” embassy media adviser Abdul Hamid al-Safi told Reuters, saying such protests could lead to problems between demonstrators and Libyans. He said the embassy would halt work until the situation calmed.

On Thursday unknown assailants set an Egyptian Coptic church in the eastern Libyan city of Benghazi ablaze, the second attack on the building in weeks. Gunmen had previously attacked it, assaulting two priests.

Residents said the attack appeared to be in reaction to the demonstration at the Libyan embassy, where apart from burning a flag, Egyptian protesters also held aloft a cross, according to police at the scene.

The demonstrators were protesting against the death of an Egyptian Copt in an explosion in front of a church in Libya a month ago.

Libya’s small Christian community has expressed fears over Islamist extremism and the government is struggling to impose its authority over armed groups which have refused to lay down their weapons since the 2011 war that toppled Moammar Gadhafi.

In December, an explosion at a building belonging to a Coptic church in Dafniya, close to the western city of Misrata, killed two Egyptian men and wounded two others.

(Source / 16.03.2013)

Chairman defends magazine after Hamas lawsuit threats

CAIRO (Ma’an) — Chairman of the board at Al-Ahram Al-Arabi magazine Mamdouh Al-Wali said Friday that he does not intervene editorially in what the magazine publishes and had no role in the story linking Hamas to the deaths of Egyptian soldiers.

Al-Wali told the Egyptian newspaper al-Watan that there were now contacts between the magazine’s editor in chief and Hamas leaders in Gaza to resolve the issue and to post a formal reply by the Palestinian side on Al-Ahram magazine.

A day earlier Hamas’ military wing said it would sue the editor-in-chief of the magazine over a report Thursday accusing Hamas leaders of killing Egyptian soldiers in the northern Sinai.

“We will file legal proceedings against the editor-in-chief of Al-Ahram over his false claims,” al-Qassam Brigades spokesman Abu Ubayda told a news conference in Gaza City Thursday.

“Those writers should have prioritized siding with the Palestinian people.”

Abu Ubayda added that the resistance maintained strong relations with both the Egyptian leadership and the people after the revolution. “The Egyptian people know quite well who the al-Qassam Brigades and Gaza resistance are. The people supported resistance and some did not like that.”

The news conference came after Egypt’s attorney general received a notification from a lawyer urging the AG to take into account reports in Al-Ahram Al-Arabi related to an August attack against an Egyptian military base near the border with Gaza in Rafah killing 16 soldiers.

The lawyer, Samir Sabri, wrote that about 32 “terrorists” were involved in the attack, the majority of whom were affiliated to fundamentalist Takfir groups accusing Egypt’s army, police and rulers of apostasy.

Egyptian security services, according to the notification, have revealed the names of the suspects, and three were said to be affiliated with Hamas in Gaza.

Hamas leader Mahmoud Zahhar denied that any of the three Hamas leaders was involved in the attack on Egyptian soldiers in Rafah. Zahhar described the magazine as a “collaborator with Israel.” He added that the three in question never left the Gaza Strip, and that they were wanted by Israel.

Cairo had previously indicated that some of the gunmen who killed 16 Egyptian soldiers near the Gaza border fence in August had crossed into Egypt via tunnels below the border.

Recent efforts to close the tunnels have angered Hamas officials who were expecting better ties with Cairo following the election last year of President Mohamed Mursi, a fellow Islamist.

(Source / 16.03.2013)

Saudi cleric issues rare warning in call for reform

RIYADH (Reuters) — One of Saudi Arabia’s leading clerics has delivered a rare warning to the government that it could face “the spark of violence” if concerns over detainees, poor services and corruption are not addressed.

The conservative Islamic kingdom avoided any major unrest among its Sunni Muslim majority during Arab Spring revolts elsewhere after King Abdullah pledged $110 billion in social spending and the powerful clergy backed a ban on protests.

Any signs of public opposition to the government are closely watched in the world’s top oil exporter and there have been increasingly frequent small demonstrations in recent months by the families of people held as suspected Islamist militants.

Sheikh Salman al-Awdah, a conservative who was imprisoned from 1994-99 for agitating for political change and has 2.4 million followers on Twitter, expressed his concerns in an open letter on the social media site.

He described a mood of stagnation which he said was caused by a lack of housing, unemployment, poverty, corruption, weak health and education systems, the plight of the detainees and the absence of any prospect of political reform.

“If revolutions are suppressed they turn into armed action, and if they are ignored they expand and spread. The solution is in wise decisions and in being timely to avert any spark of violence,” he wrote.

The issue of the detainees has brought some Saudi Islamists and liberals to make common cause against what they see as a punitive approach to state security in Washington’s closest Gulf ally.

A week ago two prominent human rights activists were jailed after years of campaigning about the issue.

The Interior Ministry’s security spokesman had two days earlier warned that activists were using the internet to rouse up street protests by spreading “false information”.

Most demonstrations on the issue of detainees have involved only a few dozen people, but in late February 161 protesters were arrested in Bureidah in the central Qassim Province.

Awdah wrote that Saudis “like people around the world” would not “always be silent about forfeiting all or part” of their rights, before adding “when someone loses hope, you should expect anything from him”.

Saudi authorities tolerate little public dissent and the official Wahhabi school of Islam discourages political involvement.

(Source / 16.03.2013)

‘Nederland moet het voortouw nemen in het weren van producten uit Israëls nederzettingen’

OPINIE Het moet niet blijven bij het labelen van producten uit Israëls nederzettingen, schrijft Jaap Hamburger van Een Ander Joods Geluid. ‘Het volledig weren van nederzettingenproducten van de Nederlandse markt is consequenter en op zijn plaats.’

  • het stelt ons in staat om met een gerust hart Israëlische producten te kopen, in de wetenschap dat het dan tenminste echte en geen ‘spookproducten’ uit Israël zijn

De ChristenUnie en het CIDI reageerden als door een wesp gestoken op het nieuws dat Minister van Buitenlandse Zaken Timmermans het voornemen kenbaar heeft gemaakt om producten uit Israëls nederzettingen in de Palestijnse gebieden als zodanig te etiketteren. ‘Discriminatie’ was het woord dat ChristenUnie-Tweede Kamerlid Joël Voordewind al snel in de mond nam, en zijn partij heeft een handtekeningenactie gelanceerd tegen het voornemen. Ook het CIDI hekelde het besluit door het ‘symboolpolitiek’ te noemen en erop te wijzen dat Israël ‘niet anders behandeld mag worden dan andere landen’.

Het advies om producten uit de Israëlische nederzettingen in de bezette Palestijnse gebieden en de op Syrië bezette Golanhoogte als zodanig te etiketteren sluit aan op eerdere discussie en besluitvorming in EU-verband. De EU is glashelder in haar opstelling tegenover de nederzettingen: die zijn illegaal volgens het internationaal recht en vormen een van de grootste obstakels om tot een einde van de bezetting en het creëren van een onafhankelijke Palestijnse staat te komen.

De nederzettingen zijn, en dat is essentieel, geen onderdeel van Israël, hoe graag de Israëlische regering zelf, en partijen als de ChristenUnie, die indruk willen vestigen. De nederzettingen worden door de internationale gemeenschap ook niet erkend als Israëlisch grondgebied. Het zijn en blijven allesbehalve koosjere misbaksels in de bezette Palestijnse gebieden. Dat alleen al volstaat als argument om het correct labelen van nederzettingenproducten te rechtvaardigen.

Made in Israël
Het bestempelen van deze producten als ‘Made in Israël’s is immers feitelijk gewoon niet juist. Het correct benoemen van de plek van herkomst is het rechtzetten van een misstand die al te lang gedoogd is, en daar is helemaal niets ‘discriminatoirs’ of ‘anti-Israëlisch’ aan. Integendeel, het stelt ons in staat om met een gerust hart Israëlische producten te kopen, in de wetenschap dat het dan tenminste echte en geen ‘spookproducten’ uit Israël zijn.

Daarom zou Nederland ook nog een stap verder mogen gaan. Niet alleen het correct labelen maar het volledig weren van nederzettingenproducten van de Nederlandse markt zou op zijn plaats zijn. Al decennialang zijn Israëli’s en Palestijnen verwikkeld in een conflict en een bezettingspolitiek die de Palestijnen de meest fundamentele burger- en mensenrechten ontzegt, hun collectieve zelfbeschikkingsrecht negeert, de Israëlische maatschappij corrumpeert en de Israëlische democratie schaadt. Elke stap om de bezetting in diskrediet te brengen en een einde te maken aan dit conflict, en de daarmee gepaard gaande mensenrechtenschendingen, is er één. Daar is meer voor nodig dan alleen het beëindigen van de nederzettingenpolitiek – maar de nederzettingen vormen absoluut het grootste obstakel.

Sterkste partij
Hoezeer serieuze vredesonderhandelingen, voor zover mogelijk althans op gelijke voet gevoerd, ook toe te juichen zijn, de realiteit van de afgelopen jaren is dat zij amper hebben plaatsgevonden. Daarentegen lijken opeenvolgende Israëlische regeringen er vanuit te gaan dat door voldoende onomkeerbare feiten – zoals het uitbreiden van de nederzettingen – te realiseren de bezetting geconsolideerd en daarmee ‘gelegaliseerd’ kan worden. De druk op de sterkste partij in het conflict, de partij die de sleutel tot een oplossing in handen heeft – Israël – moet dus via andere wegen worden opgevoerd.

Zolang nederzettingenproducten toegang hebben tot de Nederlandse en de Europese markt, halen de nederzettingen daar financieel profijt uit. Dit verankert de bezetting en draagt ertoe bij dat consumenten die argeloos producten ‘uit Israël’ in hun karretje kieperen, onbedoeld de wrede, overbodige en fnuikende Israëlische bezetting van de Palestijnse gebieden een handje helpen. Het continueren van de bezetting is daarnaast ook voor Israëli’s een heilloze weg. Dat zou criticasters als de ChristenUnie en het CIDI, die er prat op gaan ‘vrienden van Israël’ te zijn, zorgen behoren te baren.

Correcte etikettering van nederzettingenproducten is een goede, eerste stap, conform de Europese afspraken. Duidelijk voor Nederlandse consumenten, rechtvaardig tegenover de Palestijnen en in het belang van Israël. Het is nu aan Nederland om, als vriend van Israël, het voortouw te nemen en, binnen de EU, te ijveren voor het verhinderen van de toegang van nederzettingenproducten tot de Nederlandse en Europese markt. Palestijnen, Israëli’s en Nederlanders hebben daar allen baat bij.

Jaap Hamburger is voorzitter van Een Ander Joods Geluid.

(Source / 16.03.2013)