Title: Sari Nusaybah Urges Palestinians To Pursue Nonviolent Conflict 

Document Number: FBIS-NES-2002-0320
Document Date: 20 Mar 2002
Source: Jerusalem Al-Quds in Arabic 20 Mar 02 p 13 
AFS Number: GMP20020320000198 

Subslug: Commentary by Sari and Lucy Nusaybah:  "More Effective Force" 

[FBIS Translated Text]     "More Effective Force" is a new six-part TV 
series. It shows that nonviolent political struggle has constituted one 
of the most effective and inventive forms of change in the 20th century. 
Local Palestinian TV stations will begin showing this series on 21 March. 
Each episode highlights a different experience from a different part of 
the world, from a distinctive perspective: toppling the white minority 
rule in South Africa; achievements of the movement against racial 
discrimination in the US south in the 1960s; nonviolent resistance of the 
Nazi occupation of Denmark in the 1940s; Solidarity strikes that ended 
Soviet hegemony over Poland; the restoration of democracy in Chile; and 
of course, the events in India led and inspired by Mahatma Gandhi 
culminating in the liberation of India from British colonial occupation 
at a time when the British Empire was the main superpower. All these 
experiences represent success stories of nonviolent methods in 
confronting conflicts that seemed intractable. 

    Every episode includes live scenes of real events and interviews with 
persons who took part in them. But what mostly distinguishes this series 
is the clarity and force of the message, whether from the aspect of the 
nonviolent methods or the hoped-for goals. On the basis of Gandhi's 
philosophy, the man who pioneered the methodical organization of 
nonviolence and its most energetic use, the message is as clear as the 
sun. The thrust of nonviolent struggle for the achievement of just 
political objectives, especially when used against a bestial, barbaric 
force and opposite great imbalances in power, is not only extremely 
effective in the achievement of these objectives, but often this is done 
more quickly. And maybe this method is sufficient to achieve them. 

    This message, which gains special importance today in relation to the 
Palestinian people more than at any other time, must give hope in 
addition to providing a new strategy for a peaceable people. This people 
is primarily unarmed, occupied by a state that is predominately military 
in nature with full nuclear capability and an arsenal of advanced 
conventional weapons. The recent events have clearly shown two things in 
particular: on one hand, the Palestinians have proved a high degree of 
readiness, determination, and extraordinary courage, yet Israel's 
military superiority has prevented them from achieving their political 
objectives. On the other hand, the Israelis will never be able to score 
decisive political victory over the Palestinians despite their 
overwhelming military superiority. Moreover, resorting to the strategy of 
nonviolence and its weapons by a primarily unarmed people can directly 
deprive the Israelis of the advantage of being the stronger military 
power. It will redefine the rules of the game in the battlefield and 
enable the unarmed Palestinians laboring under the burden of occupation 
to take the initiative and launch an attack that cannot be repulsed. Its 
thrust gains momentum like a rolling snowball through every individual in 
this people for it leans on their just rights. And the columns of the 
Israeli army and its informational clout would stand hapless in front of 

    The TV series recalls examples of conflicts in which nonviolent 
strategies proved to be more able than many military powers and political 
authorities that were mighty at the time. And consequently, they are more 
able and effective than violence as a means of affecting political 
change. The series shows how one nonviolent activity with a defined, 
prominent objective, such as Gandhi's march to the sea to bring salt in 
defiance of the tax on salt, can inspire the creativity of a whole nation 
living under the yoke of tyranny and injustice, mobilize and move it. 
Also it shows a matter that is not less important, albeit less widespread 
and less understood: nonviolence requires a great degree of courage, 
discipline, determination, and clear vision and strategy, not 
acquiescence, surrender, and cowardly avoidance of confrontation. On the 
contrary, it requires confrontation because it is a popular battle using 
nonviolent means. In addition, this battle cannot bet on the other side's 
abstention from using violence against the first one. Nonviolence is 
based on the assumption that the opponent will use violence and all forms 
of bestial practices, and on violence rebounding on the interest of the 
opponent. This is why nonviolence requires a great deal of organization 
and courage, a high degree of commitment that even entails sacrificing 
the self, and highly advanced tactics. Borrowing an example from the 
language field, it is possible to compare violence to screaming and 
yelling with the intention of making one heard in a certain crisis, while 
nonviolence could be compared to a clear, logical message. And while 
screaming and yelling can be heard, most of the time it is not 
understood. The listener stops listening or paying attention after a 
while. Against this, if the message is clear it is easily understood. It 
is also effective in stimulating activity, action, winning sympathy or 
achieving the desired objective. 

    The methods of nonviolent struggle are not strange to the Palestinian 
people. Palestinians, men and women alike, used these methods during many 
periods of their history, including against the Ottoman rule. And the 
1987 intifadah in particular constituted a very advanced form of 
nonviolent struggle. It was a popular revolution in the full sense of the 
word. It had a clear political objective and unified strategy: replacing 
the octopus of Israeli occupation with popular mechanisms of Palestinian 
authority in all facets of life, from commerce to education. 

    It is no exaggeration to say that the Palestinians have become 
instructors in the arts of resistance. For Palestinian struggle is one of 
the few brilliant examples in the history of struggles for national 
independence. It is a struggle that by all criteria will certainly bear 
the fruit of victory, and grant the Palestinian people real freedom and 
independence. But in the context of the existence of an occupying force 
with a high degree of military organization that does not hesitate to use 
force against unarmed civilians, the real power of the sons of the 
Palestinian people rests in themselves and the justness of their cause. 
The concept of justice is the energy that drives all nonviolent 
movements. It drives whole peoples, and the justness of the Palestinian 
cause is not disputed. The biggest proof of the commitment to this cause, 
which even reached the level of sacrifice, has been confirmed in a 
painful way through the numbers of martyrs of all ages all over the 

    There is now a need for finding the key within the possible 
strategies of nonviolence. Through this key the Palestinian people could 
be mobilized despite the policies of closure and dismembering pursued by 
Israel, and at the same time reach the conscience and humanity of the 
external world, including the Israeli people and policymakers in the 
United States. For nonviolence itself is an information battle like any 
other matter, so that the Israeli Government finds itself in a vortex. 
This vortex must give the Israeli Government the choice of losing the 
support and sympathy of most of the external world, especially the 
West--support and sympathy that it cannot ignore--or reaching a just, 
possibly permanent, agreement with the Palestinians. Since it is not 
sufficient that the justness of this cause is glaringly evident and that 
the Palestinians are visibly the victims, it is essential to make sure 
that the justness of this cause is not distorted by deceitful 

    And as this TV series shows, the key to starting any effective 
nonviolent activity is finding the confrontation point that must be a 
shameful, objectionable matter in no uncertain terms. This series may 
help us find this key and go back to our moral power in order to win this 
inequitable military struggle. The first episode of this series begins 
with the examples of Poland and South Africa. 

[Description of Source: Jerusalem Al-Quds in Arabic -- Independent, 
largest circulation Palestinian newspaper; supports Palestinian Authority 
and peace process;]