...As noon approached, about 100 Palestinians and sympathetic foreign nationals [without those ISMers, the Pals. would be nowhere in this "non-violent game for the media] gathered on the main road between the Qalandia refugee camp in the West Bank and the Holy City and prepared to make their way to the separation barrier and tangle of steel, concrete and loudspeakers that make up the forbidding military checkpoint that Israel has erected to bar the way to Jerusalem. "Our goal? To bring down the wall," says Mohammed Slamyieh, 26, who made the trip from the southern city of Hebron. How? "Hope," he says. "Lots of hope."
But also some logic - as demonstrated by recent events. If by gathering peaceably day after day, thousands of Tunisians and Egyptians managed to topple dictatorships essentially by force of moral outrage, Palestinians might deploy the tactic against a military occupation that has gone on for 44 years. Given Israel's sensitivity to international pressure, such a campaign might force concessions from the Israelis that would make peace negotiations at least credible again - and perhaps produce a withdrawal.
It had to be peaceful, though. Any form of violence from the protesters would make Israeli military action looks justified. "If someone throws a rock today, he's with them," says Fadwa Tmazi, wearing a white cap at a jaunty angle over her headscarf. By "them" she means the Israelis. "He's in the middle. He's a collaborator, working with them in order to show we're incapable of having a nonviolent demonstration." But she has a corollary. "Or they're little kids," she explains. "This is how little kids express how they feel." [little kids? or teenagers? young men?]
And so a few dozen protestors set off, chanting through stop-and-go traffic as they marched the three or four blocks to the checkpoint. As they passed, shopkeepers scrambled to pull their goods inside and folding shut their iron doors. "You see what's happening," says Ahmad, frantic to get bolts of fabric into his upholstery store. "In about 10 minutes they''ll be shooting and all my products will be messed up."
Asked if he didn't think the march was nonviolent, Ahmad replies "La, la" - Arabic for "No." "Because they will now begin to shoot... ."
Fifteen seconds later, the first booms sound, and tear gas canisters arc across the noon sky...Journalists and other witnesses said the Israeli forces made the first move, [wait, the Israelis are on their side and the Pals. approach, yes? so who 'moved' fiirst?] firing the tear gas and sound grenades as the first marchers approached the checkpoint. Moments later, small knots of young Palestinian men answered with stones. [you noticed that? men!] News crews set up their tripods between them..
"It was a nonviolent event, that's what we wanted," says Slamyieh, on a sidewalk crowded with people trying to stay out of the range of the tear gas. "And you saw what happened. It'll stay like this all day until they decide to leave. As usual."
The press is so objective.
(k/t = BT)