and Presenting Facts About Israel
Palestinians call for a “peaceful intifada”
London - published on 31 March 2004
Beyond Images Ref: 85
Responding to the killing of Sheikh Yassin
On 22 March 2004, Israel killed the founder of Hamas, Sheikh
Ahmed Yassin, in a targeted missile strike in Gaza City.
While leaders of Hamas threatened massive attacks against Israeli
civilians, there was a second, and little-reported, Palestinian
response: a public appeal for the Palestinians to embrace non-violence.
The information below was reported via news agencies in Israeli
newspaper Haaretz on 26 March 2004.
Call by leading Palestinians not to resort to violence
but to pursue a “peaceful intifada”
In a half-page advertisement published on 25 March 2004 in
the Palestinian daily Al-Ayyam, 60 prominent Palestinian officials
and intellectuals called for the Palestinians to refrain from
retaliating for the death of Sheikh Yassin, saying that it would
ignite a new round of bloodshed and hurt Palestinian aspirations
The advertisement called on Palestinians to “lay down
their arms and turn to peaceful protest” to end Israel’s
occupation of the West Bank and Gaza Strip, and in this way
show the “bankruptcy” of the policies of the Israeli
The signatories said that the occupation must be “toppled”
but asked the Palestinian people to “reconsider the benefits”
of a violent struggle which is “undermining” the
Palestinian cause. Instead the appeal called on Palestinians
to “rise again” in a “peaceful, wise intifada”.
“Resistance does not have to be violent resistance”
said appeal signatory Hanan Ashrawi.
Among the other prominent signatories were Governor of Nablus
Mahmoud Aloul, co-author of the Geneva Accords Yasser Abed Rabbo,
and Abbas Zaki, a leading member of Yasser Arafat’s Fatah
Our comments: a challenge to Palestinian supporters
in the West
Influential figures inside Palestinian society have been questioning
the Palestinian violence for at least 2 years (see Beyond
Images Briefing 37).
Those in Europe, the USA and elsewhere who support the Palestinian
cause should be asked: do you support this new appeal for a
“peaceful intifada”, or not?
For the Palestinians, terrorism is not an inevitable outcome
of their situation, but a choice they make. The signatories
to the appeal described above have indicated the choice which
they believe the Palestinians should make.