Posts Tagged ‘nonviolence’


We’re ready for every possible scenario, even if they start firing at us. Nowadays, to be a Palestinian is to be an almost dead person. Palestinians die every day and we know that’s part of our reality. I was at the Erez checkpoint back in 2011 [during the last return march]; I’ve seen the full force of Israel’s cruelty.

The whole idea is based on UN Security Council Resolution 194 (the right of return) and the current unbearable living conditions in Gaza. It is actually a peaceful act. We want to ask the Israelis to welcome as if we were visitors from another country, the same way they welcome refugees in certain countries in Europe — though we’re not actually visitors here.

—Hasan al-Kurd (one of the March organizers)

I have been many times to Gaza since my first trip in 2004. Mainly to support the young adults programs of the American Friends Service Committee, but also to photograph what I observe within the locked box of the Gaza Strip. Some call it the largest open air prison on earth. During my first visit, now 14 years ago, I asked a friend there if he’d concur: no, he said, worse, the largest grave yard on earth. His observation then was up to date and prescient. He’d declared this before the major Israeli attacks of Operation Cast Lead (2008-2009) and Operation Protective Edge (2014). Death by Israeli live ammunition, rockets, bombs, white phosphorus, cluster bombs, and depleted uranium warheads against Palestinians, usually young adults, usually civilians, some perhaps who’ve I’ve taught photography to or photographed, and death by illness, despair, suicide, resistance, and the myriad of other Israeli violence over the years.

…an illegality that pains the eye and outrages the heart, if the eye be not blind and the heart be not callous or corrupt.

—B’Tselem, referring to Israeli soldiers accepting orders to shoot unarmed, nonviolent protesters in Gaza

First some relatively positive news, an instance of revived international attention on Gaza, I hope one among many: the demonstration and die-in last week in front of the Israeli Consulate in Boston. Here are some photos:

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And a video showing one of the organizers, Nancy Murray, speaking about Gaza.

Then news from the front: The Great Return March,
dated perhaps because this report is from the first week of a strategic 45 day nonviolent expression of frustration and hope.

Palestinians participate in a tent city protest commemorating Land Day, with Israeli soldiers seen below in the foreground on-March 30-Photographer- Jack Guez:AFP via Getty ImagesSM2

Palestinians at the Israeli border, Gaza Strip, March 30, 2018

Friday’s protests [March 30, 2018], which Israel estimated drew 40,000 people, were the first of six weeks of planned anti-Israel actions meant to dramatize the Palestinians’ plight as refugees. Israel said Sunday that Gaza militants used civilian demonstrators as cover as they fired at soldiers and tried to lay explosives near the border fence. Ismail Haniyeh, the leader of the militant Hamas group that rules Gaza and sponsored the protests, called the killings a “massacre.”

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A young Palestinian looks at a poster listing the villages that demonstrators at the Great March of Return plan to return to once the Palestinian right of return is honored. (Photo- Moha

A young Palestinian looks at a poster listing the villages that demonstrators at the Great March of Return plan to return to once the Palestinian right of return is honored. (Photo- Mohammed Asad)


Gaza Martyrs

Martyrs, killed on March 30, 2018


We’re a group of 20 organizers, only two of whom are affiliated with Hamas. Actually, most of us, including myself, are leftists. All the political parties in Palestine are behind us and supporting us, and Hamas — being an elected party — is one of those parties.

If we’d felt that [Hamas], or any other party for that matter, tried to control the protest and make it about them, we wouldn’t let them. Hamas is actually very understanding on that point.

—Hasan al-Kurd

ProtectiveEdge-Breaking Silence-map only

Thanks to Breaking the Silence

Recent comments from some of my friends in Gaza:

Great efforts dear.. keep supporting us to end the siege and live a human life like all others in the world
—Montaser Abu Kmeil



Thank you Skip for sharing with such a good material. Gaza is bleeding these day although the protesters are peacefully demonstrating without any violence. Many people killed and hundreds were wounded. We anticipate a real action from your side to raise American awareness on the Palestinian rights to live in peace and security side by side with Israel.
In justice and peace in the holy land,

—Mustafa ElHawi

Al Hawi.jpg


Thank you so much dear Skip, your solidarity and support highly appreciated, for sure your video and photos will encourage us to end the Israeli occupation. 
Be well, and please keep in touch. 

—Ibrahem ElShatali
Ibrahem ElShatali SM

Palestine en vue


With the Great Return March, Palestinians Are Demanding a Life of Dignity

“Israeli snipers open fire on Gaza protests second week in a row”

“Gaza ‘Return March’ organizer: ‘We’ll ensure it doesn’t escalate to violence — on our end'”

“Palestinian Journalist Yaser Murtaja Killed by Israel Sniper on Gaza Border”

Reading Maimonides in Gaza, by Marilyn Garson (2018)
From 2011 to 2015, experience in Gaza’s economic sector

This is How We Fought in Gaza, Soldiers׳ testimonies and photographs from “Operation Protective Edge,” by Breaking the Silence (2014)

Book suggestion: Night in Gaza, by Mads Gilbert (2015)
A participant’s view by a Norwegian medical doctor in hospitals during Israel’s assault on Gaza in 2014, Operation Protective Edge, with excellent photographs by the author. Israel has now banned him from entering the region for life.

Night in Gaza 2

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At home in Cambridge Massachusetts I am now recounting my trip to southeast USA with my photographic presentations about Palestine & Israel, in 15 parts, one for each day.

Photos from the trip, In passing: the south :: February 2009

Report of the trip

Photos in this entry from Gaza Visits the Israeli Consulate in Boston, January 2009

“Dying” in the lobby of the Israeli Consulate, 4 arrests for nonviolent “divine obedience” to the suffering of the Gazans




It is 5:11 AM, the train I ride seems about 1/4 full, mostly Black people, and only a few awake like me. Martha who married a Gazan man 7 or so years ago after meeting on an Internet Christian chat room hosted me. Very generously and graciously since she had short notice and we’d asked her to drive me to the station for the 5 AM train.

Driving to the station last evening to try to buy a ticket I noticed I’d been here before. Maybe on the first south tour, June 2007, ending the junket in Greenville and boarding a train home.

Pulling into Martha’s neighborhood I thought it recognized it as well. Later, walking, I concluded I’d not been here. I surveyed the neighborhood, an old mill workers’ residential area, with rudely built homes, and a factory, once a mill, which now seems to house a medical supply company.

I met Martha 2 years ago on my first swing south after the US Social Forum. She struck me as slightly odd, marrying a Gazan, passionate about the Palestinian cause, and totally ineffectual. Or so it seemed to me. But she came thru for this act of hospitality.




Earlier David B took me out for a long romp thru the woods around Brevard, high into the mountains for a look at a place called Three Falls. The day was warm, the trails relatively crowded, the falls partially iced from the recent frigid weather. Ice means white, water means black, thus, the falls were outlined and highlighted. Making a set of splendid photos, perhaps.

During the hike and while driving David confided to me more about “the deep hole I’m in.”

So we shared tales, me about X, Y, and M (leaving out F and Z) and he about his wife and his new woman friend.

We connected. As I do with most people on these trips, finding a piece of me that is in them, a piece of them that is within me. And they leave pieces of themselves with me, and I of myself with them. In this way we begin a conversation, interchange information, ideas, emotions, and build community. It is an unforeseen offshoot of these tours.




I believe I’ve truly advanced from an earlier stage of obsession over certain women. I’m not writing endlessly long letters—actually and in my head— to such as F and M. I allowed the last letter from M to mellow in my mind and heart, glancing at it from time to time, in no rush to answer it. Maybe I’ll let it mellow (or molder) for weeks. Maybe I’ll never answer it, just let it drift into oblivion, yet another of the 1000s of unresponded to messages from the heart.



Last night as I lay in the high bed Martha provided for me, after a shower, after washing my laundry (noticing I’d lost my blue Hike underwear, the type of underwear I love best), after eating fake fish and left over roast (without the meat) I realized thinking about the Gaza slide show: I’d left out a key part of the Gazan history: the Hamas takeover, both thru the election and the coup. So I simply opened the slide show and inserted the history. Without photos, unfortunately, because I have scant Internet access where I am now.

~The train is cruising breezily thru towns, often directly down the town’s vulnerable middle, and the southern countryside, North Carolina to Georgia, a 3 hour ride, soon in Atlanta. Others remain on the train and will this evening be in New Orleans. The whistle blows, the car rocks gently side to side. I await the opening of the lounge car so I can purchase coffee. Or maybe I’ll nap, last night was a short sleep.~

—February 8, 2009, Sunday, aboard the train from Greenville to Atlanta, the Crescent, NYC to New Orleans

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