Jüdisches Leben in EuropaMit der Hilfe des Himmels

Promises - endlich auf Video!


Resisting the Tool of Control

An Interview with Ghassan Andoni

Falls Sie Lust haben diesen Artikel fuer haGalil onLine (ehrenamtlich) zu uebersetzen, melden Sie sich bitte hier.

bitterlemons: You recently said at a lecture that "you can't build a mass movement with the current level of violence." What did you mean by that and do you think that it still holds true?

Andoni: I think that it is extremely difficult to accommodate civilian mass resistance with a high level of military clashes and violence because it affects dramatically the level of risk people are required to take by just stepping into the streets into a massive civil-based movement. But people who want to engage in the struggle against the occupation cannot just wait for things to be suitable for them and by the book.

bitterlemons: Would you call yourself a supporter of non-violent resistance and why?

Andoni: From the start of this crisis, we have been organizing campaigns including Palestinians and internationals in which we tried to remove roadblocks, defy checkpoints, demonstrate in occupied areas and reach families there. We have been engaged in front of tanks to prevent them from moving. We have been doing protection work by providing human shields for people who are threatened and constantly bombarded. We have people who are now living in homes that are scheduled for demolition by the Israeli army. We try to protect the homes and prevent punishment for the families and try to go with farmers to their fields when it is really risky and dangerous to do so.

bitterlemons: Why do you feel that these kinds of activities are important?

Andoni: We need to find a way for the Palestinian masses to join in, in an active way -- not only in remaining steadfast throughout the hardship. We think that having internationals with us will provide a better platform to defy the occupation and to report the truth of what is happening here and to urge the international community to think more about the need to protect Palestinians when brutal war is being waged against them.

We also believe that civil-based resistance can indeed be effective in terms of cracking down on the tools of occupation, mainly the tool of control. We believe that if we grow more massive we can really affect this huge network of roadblocks and checkpoints and force the occupation to rethink its policies in the Palestinian occupied territories.

bitterlemons: Does that mean that you do not think that armed resistance is valid?

Andoni: No, we state clearly that Palestinians have the full right to resist the occupation with means that they think are suitable. We as the Palestinian Solidarity Movement have decided, however, that our tool for resisting the occupation is non-violence.

bitterlemons: How might Israel practice non-violence?

Andoni: Occupation alone is a violent action that touches the lives of everybody who is under the control of the occupier. Recently, I think that the occupation has taken on a new form and now includes direct killing of people, creating war zones and bombarding Palestinian areas. There is no question, however, that the occupation is violent in using all its of its force to crack down on the will of Palestinians to be free and independent.

bitterlemons: What was your impression of the Common Ground poll that questions Israelis and Palestinians on their approaches to non-violent action?

Andoni: On the Palestinian side, I think that Palestinians stated clearly that we are willing to do whatever it takes to get out of this mess. There is a large majority that supports non-violence, but that same majority supports violence as well. That is my interpretation of the results.

On the Israeli side, I think that most of the questions asked were irrelevant. In my understanding, if we are to arrive at peace in this area, we must have an active Palestinian resistance and an active Israeli anti-war and anti-occupation movement. This is the shortest way to conclude this conflict in a peaceful solution.

Therefore, on the Israeli side, I did not see questions such as, "Do you support Palestinian non-violent resistance?" as relevant. The relevant question is, "Would you be engaged in non-violent direct action against your government's atrocities and violence in the occupied territories?" That is what I want to see the poll results for.

bitterlemons: You sometimes stage joint demonstrations with Israeli left-wing groups. How would you evaluate that experience?

Andoni: I am interested in trying to attract as many Israelis as possible to join in efforts towards ending the Israeli occupation of the Palestinian territories. I consider this important and it has been important in all of the different historic examples where people were fighting against an occupier to liberate themselves on their land.

Secondly, in principle, we are willing to work with Israeli groups who are willing to join active civil-based resistance against the Israeli occupation. In particular, the invitation to the Israeli groups must come from the Palestinian community in which the activity is happening. By doing things this way, we give priority to Palestinian unity over Israeli participation.

Now, this is sometimes problematic because some Israeli groups feel that they are not adequately included in the planning period. But we think our policy in this regard is right.
bitterlemons: How has the Israeli army responded to your joint activities?

Andoni: Evidently, the presence of Israelis and internationals can defuse the ability of the Israeli army to use greater force against protestors and make soldiers think twice before starting to shoot or use force.

But this is not always the case. We have instances where Palestinians and internationals and sometimes Israelis have been shot at or injured and treated brutally by the Israeli army. Soon, we will start a campaign of olive picking, in which Palestinians and internationals and maybe some Israeli groups will join villagers as they work on olive groves that are close to settlements and in dangerous areas. In encounters with settlers, we will have to see how much "protection" internationals and Israelis can provide.

Ghassan Andoni is one of the founders of the International Solidarity Movement. Source: www.bitterlemons.org, October 7, 2002
Distributed by Common Ground News Service
Copyright permission has been obtained for publication.

hagalil.com 17-10-2002



Refusenik Watch,
Gush Shalom
New Profile
Shalom achshav

[Hevenu Schalom

Radio Hebrew:
[Kesher israeli]

Copyright: hagalil.com / 1995...

haGalil onLine