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Fatah official: Non-violence key to Palestinian struggle

Sept. 27, 2011 11:19 P.M. (Updated: Sept. 28, 2011 4:48 P.M.)
BETHLEHEM (Ma’an) -- President Mahmoud Abbas' adviser said Tuesday that non-violent resistance was crucial to the Palestinian struggle against Israeli occupation and that violent confrontation was not an option.

Sabri Saydam told Ma'an that the Palestinians must take "the path of non-violent popular resistance to highlight Palestinian suffering" and avoid giving Israel any pretexts to export their "internal crisis."

Abbas made it clear in his address to the UN General Assembly on Friday that peaceful resistance would be the only means in the next stage of the Palestinian struggle against Israeli occupation, Saydam told Ma'an.

"Despite the fact that NATO has intervened militarily in other countries, the Palestinians have not asked NATO forces to intervene, but instead, they went to the UN whose resolutions were the basis which launched the peace process."

Palestinians must use the "weapons" of modern technology, Saydam said, highlighting the importance of social networking tools to organize resistance campaigns and boycotts against settlement products.

"We will organize demonstrations more civilized than those going on in Arab countries, and we will adopt qualitative projects to end occupation using modern technology. There will be peaceful protests inside Palestinian cities, rather than in areas adjacent to bordering areas."

Pressure must also be put on Israeli academic institutions by asking universities worldwide to sever their formal ties with Israeli institutions.

"There are numerous electronic websites which might disperse or weaken our efforts, and to avoid that we should introduce distinguished ideas like the UN flying chair campaign, and such campaigns should not be under the umbrella of any political faction," Saydam said, highlighting the power of ideas in the Palestinian struggle.

He added that the Palestinians would enhance their relations with international solidarity campaigns.

Abbas asked the United Nations on Friday to recognize a Palestinian state, in an impassioned plea for the international community to take on responsibility for ending the six-decade conflict.

The president's appeal to the council reflects a loss of faith after 20 years of failed peace talks sponsored by the United States, Israel's main ally, and alarm at relentless Israeli settlement expansion eating into Palestinian land.

A 1993 agreement signed by PLO leader Yasser Arafat and Israeli Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin set out a plan for Palestinian self-rule, which was never fully implemented.

Palestinian uprisings erupted in 1987 and 2000, but failed to end Israeli occupation or bring statehood closer.

The European Union, Russia, the United Nations and the United States -- known as the "Quartet" -- have tried for months to draft "terms of reference" that might breathe life into peace talks that collapsed nearly a year ago.

Israel and the United States openly opposed the Palestinian UN bid for statehood, with the US vowing to use its veto.

On Monday, the UN Security Council began talks on the Palestinian bid for membership.

To pass, the Palestinians need the support of nine out of the 15 members of the Security Council. Six have already thrown their weight behind the bid, seven have not revealed their decision, while Colombia says it will abstain.

Israel has occupied Gaza and the West Bank including East Jerusalem since 1967, in violation of international law.
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