Necessity is the Mother of Inventive Nonviolent Resistance

Palestinians barricade themselves in and around the house of a Palestinian family in Beit Lahiya in the northern Gaza Strip, November 21, 2006, after they received a call from the Israeli military that they were going to blast the house, ordering its occupants to evacuate. (MaanImages/Wesam Saleh)


Long ago, Thomas Edison invented the electric light at a time when there was a need for light. Alexander Graham Bell invented the telephone at a time when there was a need for telecommunications. Now, the Palestinians in Gaza have invented a new weapon of nonviolent resistance at a time when they desperately need such a weapon to defend their homes from the ongoing Israeli airstrikes that destroy Palestinian homes on a nearly-daily basis.

The new Palestinian weapon is very simple, all you need is to call on your neighbors, friends and beloved ones to gather around your home or on its balconies or on its rooftop, to try to get the attention of the Israeli pilot before he drops the bomb, and hopefully turn him away.

A creative nonviolent weapon, made up of human beings, including scores of women and children, neighbors and friends, yesterday night prevented an Israeli air force ‘demolition by missile’ of the home of Palestinian resistance fighter Mohammad Baroud, from the popular resistance committees, in Beit Lahia town, in northern Gaza.

Mohammad Baroud, whose home was targeted by the Israeli army, was ordered by the Israeli military by phone to evacuate his home within ten minutes, as the Israeli air force was about to destroy it. This is the way Israeli military has destroyed dozens of Palestinian-owned homes in the Gaza Strip, over the past five months.

It was about an hour before midnight on Saturday when Baroud received the call. Within minutes, crowds of people gathered around, on balconies and rooftop of Baroud’s house, as the loudspeakers of the local mosque called on the residents to take to the streets to protect the house from the Israeli air strike.

“Death to Israel, Death to America”, the crowd chanted angrily, with fingers pointing to the sky as the Israeli plane approached. They hoped, without knowing whether their tactic would work, that their presence would dissuade the pilot from bombing the home. They were successful, and the plane turned back.

On Sunday afternoon, more crowds gathered around the house, saying they would split into shifts to protect the house around the clock.

Unarmed civilians, with only their bodies, defying Israeli jetfighters. Now, the question is, how will the Israeli military, the fourth largest in the world, respond to this latest nonviolent tactic by the Palestinian people to stand up for their right to resist the Israeli occupation, by any means possible.

Rami Almeghari is a freelance journalist and translator in the Gaza Strip. This article appeared first at the International Middle East Media Center. He may be reached at rami_almeghari@hotmail.com.

Related Links

  • Palestinian mass resistance blocks Israeli air strike, Yousef Alhelou writing from Beit Lahiya (20 November 2006)