Between a Stone and an Olive Branch …
In December 9th, 1987, the Intifada broke after the killing of some Palestinian workers by an Israeli force vehicle. Looking back in time, when the word Israel was not even recognized in our vocabulary. Being sixteen, an age where instead of focusing on boys and boyfriends, the dream of liberation became present and close to fulfilling.
Finally, Palestine, the homeland will be liberated. Somehow, we all found ourselves part of the making of that intifada. Schools were closed; we were going in what felt secretly to school for the coming years until our graduation. Thinking of being in a demonstration, breaking a curfew, hiding a demonstrator running away from the soldiers, writing poems, and participating physically and mentally in every vibe of what was taking place, was what meant to be the generation of the intifada.
Our clothes took the shape of what became a dress code, by twelve; one will hear the sequential click of closing all the stores in one single act. Checkpoints became visible.
We didn’t need anyone to organize us; the whole nation was held, each in his possible way.
The stone became pure of resistance facing the brutality of armed forces.
Or maybe I was too young to understand.
Today, 27 years later, murder is committed again, by Israeli occupation forces in another act of what resembles resistance in modern non-violent means. The scenes of the Palestinian flags with the olive branches in today’s olive planting attempt in front of the armed forces and tear gas, that proved again and again how brutal this occupation is.
In between the stone and the olive branch, the Palestinian resistance took many forms and shapes that were often criticized, from suicide attacks to armed strength and lately with car ramming. Somehow, to prove that the Israeli occupation doesn’t understand any language but the language of force and murder.
I often thought of the importance or the efficiency or none of the different means of resistance we Palestinians adopted. Defying violence in any shape is not easy to believe in, while confronted by the real life threatening situations, where you feel it is your very existence that you are defending.
But looking at it all at this very moment, regardless of the sadness and the oppressed emotions I am experiencing now; I tend to understand the meaning of absolute non-violence. The way this man (Ziad Abu Ein) was slain today, without being shot by a bullet that took his life. While the world watched him planting an olive tree while the settlers uprooted trees. While the world watched the brutality of Israeli soldiers towards a mass of people who were planting trees on their very own land. While the world listened to the last words of this man. The words that Palestinians live with and die…each moment. There is no life with occupation …
But the conclusion remains, violent or non-violent resistance… the results will always be death to Palestinians at the hands of a soldier or a settler.