Harriet Sherwood assumes peaceful intent of Palestinian resistance in Sept, despite prior violence

In a Guardian piece, Israeli military arms settlers in preparation for Palestinian protests, Aug. 30, Harriet Sherwood suggests that efforts by the IDF to arm “settlers” with non-lethal weapons in the event that Palestinian protests (expected after the PA’s attempt at Unilateral Declaration of Independence – UDI) turn violent, and other preparations by Israeli military authorities for a possible out break of violence, is provocative and indicative of Israel’s over-reaction.

Of course, as the Nakba Day protests demonstrated, what begins as a peaceful Palestinian protest can quickly turn violent, and indeed much of the “uprisings” on Israel’s borders, Qalandia and “East” Jerusalem escalated to rock throwing, fire setting, and attacks on IDF soldiers with Molotov cocktails and other incendiary devices.

Here’s the riot which broke out at Qalandia in May.

[youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gKAF59-qeK8&feature=player_embedded]

And, here’s a similar scene from “East” Jerusalem.

[youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YoCHwCpawjo&feature=player_embedded]

Further, Sherwood, again trying to downplay the very real risks that similar violence will break out in September, writes the following:

The Palestinian president, Mahmoud Abbas, has called for peaceful demonstrations in September to coincide with the Palestinians’ petition to the UN for recognition of their state. But he has repeatedly said protests should be peaceful. “I insist on popular resistance and I insist that it be unarmed popular resistance so that nobody misunderstands us,” he told the Palestine Liberation Organisation’s central committee. [emphasis mine]

Indeed, Abbas’s phrase “unarmed popular resistance”, contrary to what Sherwood is implying, is not necessarily the same as “peaceful demonstrations”, as the rioting in Qalandia and “East” Jerusalem shown above – as well as much of the “unarmed” rock throwing during the 1st Intifada – demonstrates.

However, whatever the intentions of Palestinian leaders promoting such “popular resistance” the IDF must prepare for any eventuality. 

As such, the IDF Ground Forces Command has drafted a new operational doctrine for dealing with civil disobedience campaigns, including anti-Israel marches, in anticipation of increases in the number, size and frequency of demonstrations ahead of the Palestinians’ UDI in September.

“The whole idea in incidents like these is to know how to confront the people marching as unarmed – if they really are – and to do everything possible to prevent casualties on both sides,” said Brig.-Gen. Miki Edelstein, the IDF’s chief infantry and paratroop officer. 

While the IDF seems ready for all possible contingencies, no doubt Harriet Sherwood is equally prepared to characterize any UDI related violence in Sept., which may occur, as the result of Israeli “overreactions” and “provocations”.  

While Israeli security in the face of violent protests may not be completely impenetrable, one thing is certain: facts, logic, and new information has never been able to penetrate Harriet Sherwood’s ideologically inspired narrative of the Israeli-Palestinian Conflict.

Written By
More from Adam Levick

5 lies in Guardian op-ed claiming ‘Christians being driven out of the holy land’.

Though we're of course accustomed to errors, distortions and omissions in Guardian...
Read More