"People Power in the Holy Land: How Popular Nonviolent Struggle Can Transform the Israeli-Palestinian Conflict"
Journal Article, Journal of Public and International Affairs, volume 14
Author: Maria Stephan, Former Research Fellow, Intrastate Conflict Program/International Security Program, 2003–2005
The Israeli-Palestinian conflict is a human tragedy that has defied political settlement for more than 50 years. Official negotiations have neither ended Israeli occupation of the Palestinian Territories nor fostered the development of a viable Palestinian state, both prerequisites for a secure peace. This article argues that an alternative strategy based on civilian-led, nonviolent struggle, or "people power," is needed to transform the conflict. It analyzes tactics & strategies of collective nonviolent direct action & their relevance to ending a situation of occupation. Conflict theory & principles of nonviolent action are applied to a case-study analysis of the 1987 Intifada, a mostly nonviolent popular uprising that forced the issue of Palestinian statehood to the forefront. A central conclusion is that official-level negotiations are insufficient; a strategy of sustained, nonviolent direct action involving all parties, with adequate moral & material support from the international community, can help break the cycle of violence & pave the way to a just peace.
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