Annual Fundraising Appeal

Here’s an important message to CounterPunch readers from Chris Hedges….

Hedges2

Chris Hedges calls CounterPunch “the most fearless, intellectually rigorous and important publication in the United States.” Who are we to argue? But the only way we can continue to “dissect the evils of empire” and the “psychosis of permanent war” is with your financial support. Please donate.

Day8

Yes, these are dire political times. Many who optimistically hoped for real change have spent nearly five years under the cold downpour of political reality. Here at CounterPunch we’ve always aimed to tell it like it is, without illusions or despair. That’s why so many of you have found a refuge at CounterPunch and made us your homepage. You tell us that you love CounterPunch because the quality of the writing you find here in the original articles we offer every day and because we never flinch under fire. We appreciate the support and are prepared for the fierce battles to come.

Unlike other outfits, we don’t hit you up for money every month … or even every quarter. We ask only once a year. But when we ask, we mean it.

CounterPunch’s website is supported almost entirely by subscribers to the print edition of our magazine. We aren’t on the receiving end of six-figure grants from big foundations. George Soros doesn’t have us on retainer. We don’t sell tickets on cruise liners. We don’t clog our site with deceptive corporate ads.

The continued existence of CounterPunch depends solely on the support and dedication of our readers. We know there are a lot of you. We get thousands of emails from you every day. Our website receives millions of hits and nearly 100,000 readers each day. And we don’t charge you a dime.

Please, use our brand new secure shopping cart to make a tax-deductible donation to CounterPunch today or purchase a subscription our monthly magazine and a gift sub for someone or one of our explosive  books, including the ground-breaking Killing Trayvons. Show a little affection for subversion: consider an automated monthly donation. (We accept checks, credit cards, PayPal and cold-hard cash….)

paypal-donate-21

Don’t want to donate through PayPal?
Then click here to donate through our secure server.

 To contribute by phone you can call Becky or Deva toll free at: 1-800-840-3683

Thank you for your support,

Jeffrey, Joshua, Becky, Deva, and Nathaniel

CounterPunch
 PO Box 228, Petrolia, CA 95558

If Israeli TV cameras had bothered to follow the Israeli peace activists from the coexistence group Ta’ayush last Saturday when they went to Ramallah, they could have provided Israelis an answer to the question of what the IDF would do if thousands of unarmed Palestinians marched on the army’s positions. Some 300 men and women […]

On the Edge of the Non-Violent Demonstrations

by Amira Hass

If Israeli TV cameras had bothered to follow the Israeli peace activists from the coexistence group Ta’ayush last Saturday when they went to Ramallah, they could have provided Israelis an answer to the question of what the IDF would do if thousands of unarmed Palestinians marched on the army’s positions.

Some 300 men and women from the Israeli group, which calls itself a Jewish-Arab partnership, met last Saturday in Ramallah with Yasser Arafat and central activists from Fatah, feminists, and representatives from Palestinian non-governmental organizations. After a meeting in Arafat’s office, they went outside to demonstrate opposite the tanks poised on a hill outside the Palestinian government complex. They marched toward the tanks. They were not armed. Not with guns, stones, or even posters.

All they had was a single hand-held loudspeaker, and people aged from 17 to 75, 300 in all. They were exposed, open, and walked toward ! the soldiers, also Israelis, who hid inside four tanks and a single jeep. It would have been very difficult to think the soldiers weren’t there, because they did what every IDF force in the territories does: They started their engines with a deafening noise, moved the cannon barrels up and down and left to right, as if aiming it at the demonstrators, issued white and black smoke from the engines, and rolled back and forth on the tank treads, those steel teeth that have chewed up the asphalt and sidewalks that European countries spent a lot of money improving.

It’s doubtful the voice coming from the loudspeaker reached the soldiers. But they must have known that every person marching toward them was an Israeli. The IDF takes a great deal of pride in its sophisticated technology, which enables daylight or nighttime identification of sources of fire. That day in Ramallah, a pair of opera glasses would have sufficed for the soldiers in the tanks to know who was marching ! outside. Who knows, maybe they recognized a neighbor, or their older sister’s philosophy teacher.

In fact, maybe the Hebrew voice reached the soldiers. The speaker, a Ph.D. in history, was emotional as he shouted “We invite the soldiers to come home.” The rest of the marchers began chanting “Soldiers come home,” and with perfect orchestration, the soldiers responded immediately with two stun grenades. Don’t be afraid, said an Israeli woman with some experience in these kinds of events. That’s nothing but noise. It’s just meant to frighten us.

That’s not exactly true. When a stun grenade falls inside a crowd, and not away from it, the way they are supposed to, it can burn, harm eyes, wound, even break a bone. Dozens of Palestinians who stood unarmed over the past year opposite soldiers have been wounded that way. During the last 16 months, the Palestinians tried dozens, if not hundreds, of times to hold non-violent demonstrations against IDF forces.

It! ‘s impossible to march on the settlements. Banks of tanks and machine guns, fortifications, reinforced outposts and roads for Jews only block direct access to the settlements. The IDF Spokesman’s Office has spun a myth that every clash that ended with Palestinian casualties was a conflict between two armed sides.

IDF and Border Patrol troops have made clear innumerable times that any gathering of people opposite its forces is considered a dangerous “disturbance of the peace” that requires a response. Sometimes clubbing and violent dragging, then come the stun grenades, maybe tear gas, and very quickly firing live ammunition into the air and then shooting rubber-coated steel pellets into the crowd. The steel pellets are covered with a thin layer of rubber, sometimes it’s live ammunition.

Sometimes the shooting starts before any of the demonstrators have managed to throw a stone. Often, the shooting is in response to stone-throwing by teenagers who hide behind ! improvised barricades. Sometimes they are shot in the head, sometimes the pellets strike protesters standing in albeit dangerous places, but dozens of meters away from the stone-throwers. To someone who has been at these non-violent demonstrations in recent months, it appears the IDF has long since gone past what was thought to be its limits. The Israelis that day in Ramallah decided not to test the limits, and dispersed on their own, going to their next meeting with the Palestinians.

For Palestinian activists to organize dozens of non-violent demonstrations that would march simultaneously toward IDF forces, they would need some guarantee that the soldiers wouldn’t cross the red lines into mass murder. Only Israeli society can provide that guarantee. Israeli society must widen the circle of those asking about the nature of the IDF’s activities in the territories captured in 1967. It must ask what its frightened and frightening children are doing at the checkpoints, b! efore those children become casualties of the “Let me die with the Philistines” war. Israeli society must ask more and more questions about the IDF’s rules of engagement and the money the government spends on developing the settlements and on the welfare of their residents, while its disabled citizens are left to live as beggars.