Before the war on Gaza one-and-a-half years ago, talking to friends, I used to say that nonviolent resistance is the strongest way to fight off the Israeli occupation of Palestinians’ lives and lands, and gain independence and freedom.

Every time I would give my opinion, I would hear strong criticism from most listeners.

Today, nonviolent resistance proves successful. It achieved in few years what violent resistance did not achieve in many.

BDS (boycott, divest and sanctions) campaigns against Israel succeeded in making many supermarkets in the US and Europe boycott products originating from Israeli settlements. Did violent resistance ever achieve that?

BDS campaigns succeeded in making large financial funds and banks in Europe divest from companies involved in building the apartheid wall, many artists cancel their shows in Israel and many universities in Europe refuse to cooperate with Israeli universities in Israeli settlements.

Today, a significant number of international supporters demonstrate every Friday against building the apartheid wall and settlements on Palestinian territories. Most importantly, thousands of Israelis demonstrate weekly against occupation and ethnic cleansing in East Jerusalem.

When did bombs in malls and public transport buses succeed in achieving that?

The Palestinian president and the prime minister signed a new law that bans products from Israeli settlements from entering West Bank markets and this put settlers’ economy in danger. Did violent resistance succeed in achieving this goal?

Last week, after the Freedom Flotilla incident, countries strongly criticised Israel’s siege on Gaza and are strongly urging Israel to lift it, with no preconditions. When did the useless rockets achieve that?

The list of nonviolent resistance success stories can go on.

Three factors will make Palestinians achieve their independence: continuing strong nonviolent resistance; building their economy as the government in the West Bank is already doing; uniting as soon as possible, especially since Hamas agreed last week to a Palestinian state within the 1967 borders.

This will lead to an independent Palestinian state that the whole world will recognise, whether Israel likes it or not.

Wasseem AlKury,
6 June 2010