Palestinian resistance and nonviolence:
The aim of this monograph is to review certain phases of the Palestinian national struggle through thelens of nonviolent resistance, seeking to identify the extent to which different periods of strugglemanifested a ‘nonviolent’ dimension. The context for this is the belief that there will be anotherPalestinian ‘uprising’ within the very near future, and the conviction that modes of action thatintentionally refrain from using violent means that might physically wound or kill the target will be farmore effective in achieving Palestinian individual and collective rights than armed struggle.Gene Sharp has identified three main categories of nonviolent action: protest and persuasion,noncooperation, and interventions.
In a separate study of resistance in the Second World WarWerner Rings identified four main categories which I find useful for categorising the types of actionsundertaken during the history of the Palestinian national movement.
The following characterisationsare derived from Rings, but developed through the prism of nonviolent resistance.i) Symbolic resistance :
I remain what I was and communicate to others by means of gestures,actions or dress continued allegiance to my cause and its values.
I oppose the occupier by voicing my protest and trying to encourage others of the need to maintain the struggle.
iii) Offensive resistance
: I am
prepared to do all that I can to frustrate and overcome the oppressor by nonviolent means, including strikes, demonstrations and other forms of direct action.
iv) Defensive resistance:
I aid and protect those in danger or on the run, and thereby preserve human beings and human values endangered by the occupying power.
Ring’s typology is based on his study of resistance to the Nazis in occupied Europe during theSecond World War, and he omits to discuss a form of resistance that was championed particularly byGandhi in the Indian freedom struggle – the constructive programme. Consequently a fifth categorysuggests itself:v) Constructive resistance:
I challenge the existing imposed order by seeking to create alternative institutions that embody the values that I hope to see flourish more widely once we are free.
The approach adopted in this report is to identify and review different periods of Palestinianresistance, drawing on the framework above to identify the forms of nonviolent civilian-basedresistance that manifested themselves in each period. The analysis is also informed by research into
See G. Sharp,
Waging nonviolent struggle: 20
century practice and 21
, Boston: PorterSargent, 2005, especially pp. 49-68.
Life with the enemy: Collaboration and resistance in Hitler’s Europe 1939-1945,
Garden City, NY.:Doubleday, 1982