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Quiet Resistance in Palestine

March 2006

[Editor’s note: Nikhil Aziz and Jennifer Lemire have been in Palestine for the last week. We are very excited to bring you their reports from the Occupied Territories.]

For Palestinians living under Israeli Occupation, each day is an act of resistance. Each day that Palestinian men, women and children stand in line at the Qalandia Checkpoint waiting for Israeli permission to pass, each day that Wafa has to remind her daughter to conserve water because there might not be enough to last the week, each day that Ya’cub passes buildings in Jerusalem that before 1948 used to belong to his family, each day that Khaled works with farmers in Hebron to build cisterns to collect precious rainwater, each day that Jamal meets with families struggling to stay on their land in Salfit as the Separation Wall casts shadows on their homes, each day that Hasan helps organize Palestinian laborers working in the informal sector of the economy, each day that Samia walks to the fields just outsider her village to harvest zataar and lettuce from her garden. Each of these small acts is one of quiet resistance.

Unfortunately, it is primarily the loud, violent resistance of Palestinians that captures the attention of the international community. Only when foreigners are kidnapped in Gaza does Gaza make the headlines. What we don’t hear about is the Israelis closing Karni Crossing, the primary commercial passageway for goods in and out of Gaza, often for weeks at a time while Palestinian produce rots in the sun. We don’t hear about the daily humiliation that Palestinians face at checkpoints and we don’t hear about the struggles of families stuck living between the Separation Wall and the Green Line. We don’t hear about the pervasiveness of the Occupation and how it touches every single aspect of Palestinian lives.

It is difficult to feel hopeful about the situation here…without respect for human rights there can be no justice and without justice there can be no peace. We are so far from that now. For the time being, the only hope I can find is in the small, seemingly insignificant daily acts of resistance.

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