Monday, April 14, 2014

God chose what is weak in the world to shame the strong;
God chose what is low and despised in the world,
Things that are not
To reduce to nothing things that are. 1 Cor 1.27-28

Non-violent resistance has proven to be an effective tool for the weak—no expensive tanks or weapons are needed. And when the world sees helmeted, M-16-toting soldiers in combat boots piling out of tanks to attack unarmed marchers carrying protest banners, we are all ashamed. It worked for Gandhi and for the Civil Rights Movement.

Palestinians study Gandhi and Martin Luther King and Nelson Mandela—some do this in prison, where the older prisoners teach the younger ones.

The non-violent movement is strong in Palestinian towns and villages in the West Bank. In November, our group of Interfaith Peacebuilders visited with leaders of the weekly Bi’lin and Nabi Saleh demonstrations. We saw the wall where it is built on their olive groves and farmland. And we saw the towering apartment blocks built on their land, which the wall supposedly protects.

I like to check with local news sources to find out what is happening in Palestine. The Middle East Media Center works to present news from the point of view of Palestinians. Their report for last week:

Welcome to this Week in Palestine, a service of the International Middle East Media Center,, for April 5th to the 11th, 2014. While Israeli attacks targeting the West Bank and Gaza leave four injure this week, the Palestinian President formally signed up to the Geneva Conventions this week. These stories and more, coming up, stay tuned.

The Nonviolence Report

Let’s begin our weekly report as usual with the nonviolent activities organized in the West Bank. Three civilians were injured and seven were kidnapped on Friday, as Israeli soldiers attacked the non-violent protests organized in West Bank villages. IMEMC’s Anna Ferensowicz has more:

Protests were organized on Friday in the village of Kufer Qadoum in the northern West Bank, the villages of al Nabi Saleh, Bil’in, Nil’in, both in the central West Bank, and Al Ma’ssara village in southern west Bank.
Two civilians were kidnapped and many others suffered effects of tear gas inhalation when troops attacked the weekly anti-wall and anti-settlements protest at the village of Kufer Qadoum.

Local residents said that troops attacked protesters before leaving the village and fired tear gas into nearby residents’ homes causing damage.

In the central West Bank, Israeli troops used tear gas and sound bombs as well as chemical water to attack the weekly anti-wall and anti-settlements protests at villages of Bil’in and Ni’lin, and the nearby village of al Nabi Saleh.

In Bil’in and Ni’lin, Israeli soldiers attacked the protesters as soon as they reached the gate of the wall that separates local farmers from their lands. Many protesters were treated for the effects of tear gas inhalation at both locations. Meanwhile seven residents were kidnapped and one international supporter was injured at the village of Al Nabi Saleh. Troops attacked the unarmed protesters before even leaving the village. Later soldiers stormed the village and fired tear gas into residents’ homes causing damage. Meanwhile Israeli troops attacked the villagers of al Ma’ssara and their supporters at the village entrance. The soldiers then forced them back using rifle butts and batons. No injuries were reported.
—For IMEMC News this is Anna Ferensowicz.

Read more of the report:

Israeli occupation authorities hindered a Palm Sunday procession, on Sunday, led by Palestinian Christians from the West Bank and Gaza Strip, in Jerusalem, by failing to give all the necessary permits, depriving permit owners of full access, and knowingly distributing permits in such an order as to cause participants to miss the event.

Gracious God, in this holiest of weeks, we are reminded that you have stood firmly with the weak and with those who suffer. Help us to use our strength to stand with the weak, to end violence and bring peace, in the Middle East and wherever we find ourselves. Amen.

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