RAMALLAH (Reuters) — Standing up to Israel through non-violent resistance can lead to action, Palestinians said Tuesday, after a prisoner hunger strike resulted in some Israeli concessions.
The deal under which thousands of prisoners agreed Monday to end a month-long hunger strike in a protest against Israel’s prison policy ended on the eve of Nakba (catastrophe) Day. The day that marks Israel’s founding in a 1948 war when hundreds of thousands of Palestinians fled or were driven out of their homes.
To some, the hunger strike proved the value of “popular resistance” as favored by President Mahmoud Abbas and Fatah. Under a deal brokered by Egypt, Israel agreed to end solitary confinement for 19 prisoners and lift a ban on visits by relatives living in the Hamas-ruled Gaza Strip. According to the deal the ones being prisoned under administrative dentention are to be freed unless they are brought to court.
“It is our hope that this gesture by Israel will serve to build confidence between the parties and to further peace,” said Mark Regev, a spokesman for Israel’s Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to Reuters.
However Palestinians believe that the fear of a backlash if the prionsers died is the main reason for the deal. Israel was used to meeting violence with violence, but less adept at countering non-violent tactics.
“The prime lesson here is that resistance, unity and solidarity can bear fruit for the political movement,” said West Bank political analyst Hani al-Masri to Reuters.
“Resistance, unity and determination can bring about results Hani al-Masri concluded.”
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