Israel braces for September protests

September will probably bring the Israeli-Palestinian conflict to center stage yet again as the Palestinian Authority intends to declare statehood and obtain recognition from the UN. A lot of countries have reportedly said that they will recognize Palestine. According to center-left Israeli paper Haaretz, Israel is preparing for unrest in the West Bank, and two officers say that they simply won’t be able to deal with big nonviolent protests:

“A non-violent protest of 4,000 people or more, even if they only march to a checkpoint or a settlement, and especially if the Palestinian police does not deter them, will be unstoppable,” one IDF officer claims. “Such a great number of determined people cannot be stopped by tear gas and rubber bullets.”

Another high ranking IDF official serving in the territories claimed that “if we are to face protests similar to those in Egypt or Tunisia, we will not be able to do a thing.”

I posted about Palestinian nonviolence here, and Kevin and I are discussing it in the comments.

Hat tip: Sojourners’ God’s Politics blog (I used to like Sojourners more than I do now. I just still get the weekly e-mails.)

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3 thoughts on “Israel braces for September protests

  1. “At the end of the day, the decision is in the hands of the political echelon,” claims another commander, “it is fairly obvious that if there will be no progress on peace talks, the Palestinian police with whom we work very closely to prevent infiltrations will lose their patience.”

    That seems like a significant statement, but what does that mean?

    Even though it is invasion, I wonder what would happen if Israel let them cross? Would they just sit down? Disperse? Return home? Have a picnic?

    The problem, as I think you note elsewhere, is that not all of them are non-violent, and their violence renders the non-violence irrelevant. Indeed, the typical Palestinian strategy is to have the non-violent innocents protect the violent perpetrators. Tacit use for terrorism. But there can be no rocks thrown or fireworks or bombs or assault or property destroyed and still have the protest be considered non-violent, though many portray it otherwise.

    Non-violence requires great cohesion and commitment to pacifism which Palestinians historically lack. Nevertheless, I’d like to see it. 🙂

  2. I’d like to see it, too.

    Could you give some examples of the the first sentence and clarify the second sentence in this quote”

    “Indeed, the typical Palestinian strategy is to have the non-violent innocents protect the violent perpetrators. Tacit use for terrorism. But there can be no rocks thrown or fireworks or bombs or assault or property destroyed and still have the protest be considered non-violent, though many portray it otherwise.”

  3. Google has examples of Palestinian terrorists using civilians as human shields both for themselves and their caches of weapons (in civilian homes, schools, mosques). The problem is how to classify and deal with people who are not themselves violent but who willfully protect those who are. It is somewhat akin to being an accessory to a crime or harboring a fugitive. If only they’d wear a sign saying whether they are innocent or not.

    My last sentence that you quote points to the characterization of the protests as non-violent but from other reports it sounds like they are not uniformly non-violent. If pacifists are intermingled with stone throwers, it’s not non-violent. Likewise, if some protests are contaminated with opportunists who plant bombs and destroy property, how can Israel trust the other protests? Uniformity in pacifism is essential to its effectiveness.

    The flotillas into Gaza also seems like an example of using pacifism with ulterior motives.

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