[Marxism] billionaires urge Palestinians follow Gandhi

Les Schaffer schaffer at optonline.net
Mon Sep 14 09:58:17 MDT 2009

[reformatted for Andy Pollack]

(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

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 wall:

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

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 killed.

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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