Palestinians Try Less Violent Approach to Peace
April 7, 2010
(ChattahBox) – With both diplomacy and armed struggle having failed, a nonviolent protest movement is being attempted in the West Bank, where the Palestinian Authority and local businesses are turning to popular resistance. The Fatah-dominated Palestinian Authority, joined by the business community are trying to build a virtual state and body politic through acts of popular resistance. Currently, a campaign is under way to boycott settlers’ goods, with Billboards imploring Palestinians with: “Your conscience, your choice”.
It is all about self-empowerment,” said Hasan Abu-Libdeh, the Palestinian economy minister, referring to a campaign to end the purchase of settlers’ goods and the employment of Palestinians by settlers and their industries. “We want ordinary people to feel like stockholders in the process of building a state.”
As part of the campaign, the Palestinian prime minister has entered West Bank areas officially off limits to his authority, to plant trees and declare the land part of a future state. Meanwhile the Palestinian Ministry of Communications has banned the sale of Israeli cell-phone cards because they rely on towers in Israeli settlements; some Palestinians have turned in their VIP cards at checkpoints to express solidarity with the masses. Despite these developments, the NY Times cautions, “Palestinian political analysts say it is too early to assess the prospects of the nonviolent approach. Generally, they say, given the division between Hamas, the rulers of Gaza, and the Fatah-dominated Palestinian Authority here, nothing is likely to change without a political shakeup and unified leadership.”