[Marxism] billionaires urge Palestinians follow Gandhi

Andrew Pollack acpollack2 at gmail.com
Mon Sep 14 09:47:17 MDT 2009

(I sent the below to a local antiwar list. After sending it I noticed
that Branson was joined on the trip by fellow billionaire Jeff Skoll
of Ebay.)
I read the article by Mohammed Khatib in The Nation [forwarded to the
antiwar list], and it's a good portrayal of
the heroic struggle in Bi'lin, including the heroic contributions of its author.
So I was all the more disappointed to read the pathetic quotes from
Khatib in a story
today at Electronic Intifada about a visit by "The Elders" to Palestine (http://
electronicintifada.net/v2/article10770.shtml; Khatib's quotes below).
These "Elders" are a group of business and government figures lecturing
Palestinians about the need to use nonviolence. It's no accident that
billionaire Richard
Branson -- an investor in Israeli corporations -- went with the
Elders. People like
Branson want a "two-state" solution in which puppets like Fayyad (see photo of
him with the Elders in the EI article) operate a bantustan state while
continuing to turn
Palestine's land and labor over to Israel and the US for exploitation.
So in this context Khatib's advocacy of nonviolence is particularly
grating. It's not a
question of morality (although anyone encouraging nonviolence after
seeing outrages like
the photo in today's Times of a young Zionist pig throwing wine at an
older Palestinian
woman should have their head examined). Nor is it a question of either
nonviolence or
violence as strategy -- both are needed. It's a question of rejecting
nonviolence when
it's clearly being urged to encourage a "solution" which falls short of
complete liberation.
Andy Pollack

Excerpt from the EI article:
"Khatib explained the origins of Bilin's popular nonviolent struggle
against the

    A few years ago, the Israeli army set up a checkpoint at the
entrance of Bilin, which
you had to pass through on foot. The soldiers had stretched a thin
line of tape [over the
entrance], one meter from the ground -- anyone could cut it, of
course, but because of
the soldiers you didn't dare. So, instead, we had to crawl under the
tape as if we were
praying. This was done deliberately to humiliate us.

    But there was one young man from the Abu Salim family, someone we
knew, who refused
to crawl under it. He cut the tape and they shot him in the leg. He
sat there bleeding,
in front of our eyes, for two hours, and no one was allowed to help or give him
treatment. We called an ambulance but the soldiers stopped it. There
is nothing more
painful than being powerless in this kind of situation.

    The Israeli media reported that the soldier had shot the
Palestinian in self-defense.
That was a lie, of course, but it was published as factual.

    When the story about Abu Salim got out, the al-Aqsa [Martyrs'
Brigade] decided to
carry out a response operation. We later heard seven soldiers at the
checkpoint were

    Our first reaction in Bilin was "good for al-Aqsa." But later we realized
that these were not the same soldiers who had killed our friend two
weeks before. A new
unit had taken over the checkpoint, so these soldiers had taken the
punishment for what
the old soldiers had done. It made us wonder -- this cycle of death,
of action and
reaction, how can we break it?"

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