Tuesday, February 26, 2008

Ghandi comes to Palestine

Today 40,000 Palestinians formed a human chain on their northern border with Israel to protest against the latter's continued economic blockade. Israel's response?

Some areas on the Israeli side of the border were declared closed military zones and foreign journalists were prohibited from entering Gaza as 5,000 police backed up troops amid reports that the Israeli military had stationed an artillery battery and snipers close to the border fence.
In other words, prepare for a massacre. Fortunately it did not come to that, despite the doom-laden ravings from the Israeli right, but its indicitive of their attitude to the Palestinians that that would be their response to a peaceful protest.

As for whether these new tactics will work, I doubt it. Ghandi understood that nonviolent resistance requires that your enemy have enough shame to be reluctant to simply massacre people. And given Israel's longstanding inability to draw any distinction between combatants and civilians and its prediliction for collective punishment, I'm not sure that that can really be relied upon. OTOH, it's worth a try, and is a lot, lot better than killing people.