This Is What Pales­tinian Non-Vi­o­lent Re­sis­tance Looks Like

Forward Magazine - - Opin­ion - Jane Eis­ner Khaled Zakaria, West Bank

This com­pressed, run­down Arab vil­lage with roots that date back thou­sands of years to the bib­li­cal prophet Zachariah, now sur­rounded by a dozen gleam­ing Jewish set­tle­ments, may not ap­pear like an ob­vi­ous place to wit­ness Pales­tinian non­vi­o­lent re­sis­tance.

But it is there, if you look and lis­ten care­fully.

It’s in the low-slung, trail­er­like build­ing that func­tions as a com­mu­nity school, even though it is sti­fling hot in the sum­mer and of­ten drenched with rain in the win­ter. In the com­pact gro­cery store run by a few en­ter­pris­ing women and lit by so­lar pan­els — an in­con­gru­ous sight against the scruffy land­scape. In the tall, cone-shaped tree where vil­lagers have af­fixed a speaker to broad­cast the call to prayer, be­cause the Is­raeli au­thor­i­ties wouldn’t al­low them to com­plete a nearby minaret whose jagged, un­fin­ished ex­te­rior reaches half-heart­edly into the sky.

“There’s noth­ing le­gal here,” ac­knowl­edges Abu Ibrahim, a mem­ber of the vil­lage coun­cil who spoke through a trans­la­tor to a group of Amer­i­can Jewish vis­i­tors. And that’s the point of the Pales­tini­ans’ re­sis­tance: Un­able to get of­fi­cial per­mis­sion to build a school, ex­pand a home or a busi­ness, or erect a proper place for wor­ship, the res­i­dents of Khaled Zakaria went ahead any­way, risk­ing ar­rests and fines to pro­vide a rad­i­cally scaled-down ver­sion of the com­mu­nal ameni­ties en­joyed by the Jewish set­tlers across the road.

This is the face of Pales­tinian re­sis­tance that is too of­ten ig­nored. It is the 2017 Mid­dle East equiv­a­lent of rid­ing the bus or sit­ting at the lunch counter, played out in or­di­nary, ev­ery­day life. And it chal­lenges the nar­ra­tive that Pales­tini­ans re­sist only with stones, knives and bombs, and not also with words, ideas, civil dis­obe­di­ence and civic deeds.

To ac­knowl­edge the breadth and depth of Pales­tinian non­vi­o­lence to­day is not to ig­nore or min­i­mize the deadly rage trained all too of­ten upon Is­raelis, and it does not jus­tify the way that some

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