About this Blog

"Ordinary People" is something of an intentional misnomer. I live and work with Palestinians practicing nonviolent resistance to the Israeli occupation. They are doing things that are hardly "ordinary": committing themselves to active nonviolence and to loving their enemies -- following the commands of One who was anything but ordinary. And yet, the Palestinians with whom I work are also very ordinary -- they are not some kind of spiritual superheroes/superheroines who do things most folks can't do. They are simply ordinary people daily committing themselves to living a higher calling -- a calling of love and active nonviolence.

Monday, September 1, 2008

On Politics and Nonviolence

A friend pointed me in the direction of this article a couple days ago. The Israeli newspaper Haaretz reports Israel's Prime Minister Ehud Olmert declared recently that "Greater Israel [from the Jordan River to the Mediterranean Sea] is over. There is no such thing. Anyone who talks that way is deluding themselves." Apparently there's an evacuation-compensation bill being proposed, which would pay compensation (approx. 1.1 million shekels) to Israeli settlers who are willing to leave their settlements in Palestine. (Never mind the Palestinian refugees who had fled their homes, with fear for their lives, who are still waiting for compensation, or the recognition of their right to return.)

I'm not hopeful that this, or any such bill, will be passed or enforced to make any meaningful change in the short term (say, the next five years). For any bill like the one being proposed there is also the problem of the settlers who will not be willing to leave -- and I am certain that the settlers from the Israeli settlement of Ma'on and the illegal settlement outpost Havat Ma'on, outside of At-Tuwani, are among them.

In fact, the longer I am in At-Tuwani and the South Hebron Hills, the more I am convinced that the real power to make change lies in the Palestinian people and their commitment to nonviolent resistance. I have seen "success" and hope in the nonviolent organizing of Palestinians in the South Hebron Hills. As bad as the military occupation is in Palestine, I find it impossible to lose hope in Tuwani, thanks to the villages' commitment to nonviolent organizing.

Yes, the Israeli government needs to commit itself to making justice, and I will be ecstatically happy for that day. In the meantime, my hopes are in the Palestinian nonviolent organizers, embarked on the serious, holy endeavor of living, striving, yearning, working for justice and peace.

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