heroic news from last month’s the economist:
Mr Awad is a former fighter from a Palestinian refugee camp in Lebanon, not a lily-livered pacifist. But he questions the utility of battling militarily against the Israelis when the results hurt Palestinians more than the enemy. He is one of the founders of a proclaimed “popular campaign for security in the buffer zone” that seeks to crack Israel’s siege wall by means of peaceful protest.
Week after week his followers march into the 300-metre-wide perimeter zone which Israel declared off-limits after last year’s assault on Gaza. From their nine-metre-high turrets on the surrounding walls, Israeli snipers chase off the protesters with gunfire. Though several of them have been wounded, week after week they march back and plant Palestinian flags as close as they can to the walls before Israeli soldiers open fire.
Could such civil resistance catch on? Unlike the Islamist movements that stage rallies from the relative safety of Gaza City, the unarmed protesters have won local plaudits for their courage in marching to the front-line to advocate non-violence. The campaigners dream of a mass march through Gaza’s crossings to break free of the suffocating siege and of replanting the farmland that has been turned into a wasteland. Most Gazan campaigners from the established political movements say that non-violence is pointless and has never worked. But the new movement’s numbers, though still small, seems to be growing, boosted by the farmers who have lost some of their best land.
still awaiting the arabs’ gandhi.