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Peace Under Fire: Israel, Palestine, and the International Solidarity Movement Paperback – July 17, 2004
The Amazon Book Review
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“What Rachel Corrie’s work in Gaza recognized was the gravity and the density of the Palestinian people as a national community, and not merely as a collection of deprived refugees. That is what she was in solidarity with. And we need to remember that that kind of of solidarity is no longer confined to a small number of intrepid souls here and there, but is recognized the world over.”—Edward W. Said
About the Author
Edward W. Said (1935–2003) was University Professor of English and Comparative Literature at Columbia. A member of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, the Royal Society of Literature and of Kings College Cambridge, his celebrated works include Orientalism, The End of the Peace Process, Power, Politics and Culture, and the memoir Out of Place. He is also the editor, with Christopher Hitchens, of Blaming the Victims, published by Verso. New Left Review published <a href="http://www.newleftreview.org/?view=2481">an obituary</a> in Nov–Dec 2003.
Top customer reviews
I wrote one of the articles in that book. It's the truth as I saw it, on the ground. I didn't make any political comments... I just wrote down what I saw in front of my eyes. I also know personally one of the editors of that book, and she stood by me when Israeli soldiers were pointing guns at me, and I trust her absolutely. Regarding the rest of the authors, I have no idea whether it's the truth or not, but let's face it... everybody knows that the Palestinian people are being oppressed, that Israel is breaking International Law, and that Israel kills many more civilians than the Palestinian terrorists kill Israeli civilians. None of the authors of that book have to tell any falsehood, because the truth speaks against Israel.
Regarding Rachel Corrie, I talked to her on the phone about a week before she was murdered... she was unbelievably dynamic and lively at that time. Anybody who saw the photographs of her death, and who has an iota of humanity or justice in their hearts, would never pretend that her murder was anything but a crime. I'm truly sickened by those who weep at the death of their own, and yet try to paper over the murder of others.
I can't speak for anybody else, but I am strongly against the murder of Israeli civilians. However, as I said, the murder of Palestinian civilians is far more prevalent, so I decided to go out there to do something. I met with the most senior members of ISM, and I never heard a single person within that organization encourage violence in any way. On the contrary, ISM volunteers continued to practise peaceful activism in the face of Israeli tear gas, bullets, and beatings. You can talk all you want to talk, but I've been there, and I'm telling you something: Truth will prevail. It's just a matter of time. :)
Dr M Qureshi
Some of the activities that ISM volunteers regularly participate includes: Monitoring and documenting human rights abuses at some of the many dozens of military checkpoints;
Participate in the removal of roadblocks that restrict Palestinian movement;
Participate in nonviolent marches, demonstrations, etc.; Media work - informing international media of what is occurring in the Occupied territories and put them in touch with those who may speak to them; Participate in the annual Olive harvest with Palestinian farmers who are at high risk of injury due to violent attacks by Israeli settlers; And work with communities that are being affected by the building of the so-called "security wall" and are seeking creative ways to bring attention to and to resist the stealing of their land and means of livelihood. Moreover, ISM volunteers get involved with numerous other emergency situations from accompanying children through checkpoints to school in an effort to prevent them from being tear gassed for defying orders to return to their homes; to accompanying and making sure that ambulances are able to get through check points, to bringing food and supplies to families whose houses have been taken over by soldiers for military purposes and in which they are unable to leave; to the very important monitoring and documenting the unreported late night military invasions and the destruction such caused.
First, the ISM has been extremely influential in organizing and supporting various forms of non-violent resistance in Palestine. While Palestinians have a history of nonviolent resistance, the Israeli government considers all forms of resistance as dangerous and illegal. Thus it is not surprising that it is common to have Palestinians involved in actions that, say in the united states would be protected - like demonstrations - is met with incredible violence and arrests. ISM volunteers have come to participate in such nonviolent forms of resistance and as such, hopes that they will less dangerous for Palestinians to engage in and thus keeping such a form viable.
These non-violent forms of protest clearly do not receive anywhere the amount of attention by the media or others, as do violent forms of resistance, such as suicide bombings. Thus, left undiscussed is the structural and implicit violence that shapes everyday life for ordinarily Palestinians; this violence is not of a "spectacular" nature but, rather, hinges on repeated and routine forms of harassment (such as road checks, curfews over entire regions for many weeks, house searches, arrests without charges, verification and seizure of identification papers, obstacles to travel, and school and work closures) carried out by Israeli soldiers and settlers in the name of state security. However, nonviolent practices, besides the fact that they are the preferred method by ordinary Palestinians, they also exercise an important counter-effect to the relentless neo-Zionist position that all Arab others are "by nature" unruly, disorderly, and violent. It is through such rhetoric that Israel repeatedly casts itself as the civilized "first world" to the unruly "third world" -- even when that so-called and self identified "first world" is in the one who is in the process of barbarically colonizing the territory of that of the barbaric third world. This is one of the most fundamental problems in the media representation and popular understandings of the Arab-Israeli conflict. Perceiving that Israel - exercising a rote, disciplined, and routine form of violence is a "civilized" state, precisely because its use of violence in its everyday forms is so routine. Counter to that is the perception that the Arabs are fundamentally uncivilized because they use "barbaric" and sporadic methods of violence and intimidation. The problem with this perception is that it leaves unquestioned the Israeli state's use of everyday and ritualistic violence. Non-violent forms of protest trump both of the above options and, since these forms of protest come from the Palestinian side, they very importantly undermine the prevailing ideology concerning "unruly" Palestinians from which the Israeli state has gained so much mileage.
Second, the presence of ISM activists in the occupied territories brings a level of understanding to the conflict that would be completely impossible otherwise. Were it not for the information that activists bring to the outside world - through their writing, formal, and informal talks, the only news sources would be the media and strictly partisan viewpoints. It is the sustained and daily presence of activists in the daily life of Palestinians which allows participants to bring perspective and an in-depth knowledge of the ritual forms of harassment which these people must endure - everything from the constant crossing of borders and barricades, to the displacement of people due to the building of the "security wall", to the shooting of rubber bullets at children who maybe ignoring orders to return home just in order to go to school, or the effects of twenty-four hour curfews. Given the tendency of the American media at least to present a picture of the conflict that favors Israeli interests, it is absolutely indispensable to have a perspective which provides some balance to common representations. This is an important, though less obvious, form of resistance as well in the sense that it disrupts the continual flow of ideologically driven and one-sided representations.
Perhaps even more importantly and in a direct and tangible way, ISM activists can continue to counter the repeated acts of violence, harassment, and human rights violations which are such an ingrained aspect of daily life for Palestinians in the Occupied territories. These are state-generated techniques of violence and intimidation, which can only be countered by non-state generated and NGO supported forms of non-violent resistance.
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