Seven steps to ending the cycle of violence in Israel-Palestine

Dr. Mubarak Awad discusses “Seven steps to ending the cycle of violence in Israel-Palestine”.

Awad may be the world’s leading expert on the nonviolence of the First Intifada. He is Palestinian, born in Jerusalem in 1943, bachelors, masters, PhD, US citizen, founded the Palestinian Centre for the Study of Nonviolence in Jerusalem in 1983 and evicted by Israel in 1988 for his role in inspiring the nonviolence of the First Intifada. 

That nonviolence did several things. 

  1. First, it got more Palestinians doing things to express their concerns about their mistreatment, because they could do so without the moral quandary and the personal risks involved in committing violence. 
  2. Second, increasing numbers of Israeli military personnel went to prison rather than follow orders to kill or or break the bones of nonviolent protesters. 
  3. Third, it increased the number of Israelis who thought they could live in peace with Palestinians. 

Yitzhak Rabin was Israeli Defense Minister when the Intifada began. If increasing numbers of soldiers were disobeying orders, what could he do? 

He ran for Prime Minister on a platform of negotiating with Palestinians. His victory in 1992 led to the Oslo Accords, which promised a two-state solution.

However, both Rabin and Palestinian leader Yassir Arafat were threatened by the nonviolence: Arafat did NOT want to be replaced as THE LEADER of the Palestinians. So Israel expelled 481 leaders of the nonviolence, including Mubarak, and arrested tens of thousands of others. Finally, they got the Palestinian violence needed to justify the overwhelming counter violence that they used to reestablish their dominance in the occupied territories and to accelerate the creation of more Israeli settlements. 

The following summarizes Dr. Awad’s “7 steps to end the cycle of violence in Israel and Palestine“:

  1. For Palestinians: Stop killing Israelis. Welcome them as neighbors. Recognize their history. Keep struggling nonviolently for equal rights. And select leaders through regular elections.
  2. For Israelis: Stop killing Palestinians. End the siege of Gaza. Reverse the land grabs in the West Bank and Jerusalem, which breed hopelessness and outrage. Stop the pogroms and the threats to the Al Aqsa mosque.
  3. For the international media: Cover this conflict the way you would have liked to have seen slave rebellions and or anti-colonial massacres covered in previous centuries. Stop using the word “terrorists” to describe actors on either side.
  4. For Americans: There is no military solution. Stop supplying weapons. Support Israelis and Palestinians equally. Show a positive example by improving our treatment of Native Americans and ending the vestiges of our domestic racial apartheid.
  5. For the international community: The two-state solution, unfortunately, is no longer an option. Support solutions that provide rights to all. Provide humanitarian aid and denounce apartheid. Work for justice and equality.
  6. Humanitarian aid organizations: Urgent humanitarian action is needed. Open the Erez and Kerem Shalom/Abu Salem crossings to allow for the movement of people and goods and remove the ban on access to the sea.
  7. Soldiers and armed actors: Don’t cut another’s life short. Don’t cut your life short. Don’t seek revenge. I applaud Israelis who are refusing military service to engage in a senseless attack on Gaza. Arms are for hugging, not for harming others. We can do this.

Graves distributed a flier summarizing alternatives for follow up action:

  • We are all prisoners of the media we find credible, except for leaders (especially elected officials), who are prisoners of the media their followers find credible.
    • Major media exploit that to please people who control most of the money for the media. 
  • Everyone believes in rule of law, except for people with power, who believe they should be above the law.
  • Everyone has a right and an obligation to defend themselves. However, recent research has documented that most violence has been counterproductive, because it strengthens the opposition’s will to resist. Nonviolence weakens civilian support and encourages security forces to disobey orders. 

Possible follow up action

  • Lobby city councils for ceasefire resolutions. 
  • Dialog with Israeli Jews working for a ceasefire like Sharon Dolev, Director of the Israeli Disarmament Movement, who has been beaten up by Israeli security forces for protesting in front of Netanyahu’s home. 
  • Ask the US Congress: 
    • Station US Navy hospital ships off Gaza to provide medical assistance to injured Palestinians.
    • Provide emergency food aid to Gaza 
    • Demand equal protection of the laws for Palestinians under Israeli occupation, e.g., allow them to file suit in US federal courts for denial of equal protection by Israel, with judgments charged against US support for Israel. 
    • Fund citizen-directed subsidies for local news nonprofits at 0.15% of the economies (Gross Domestic Product, GDPs) of Palestine and Israel, to try to counter the elite control of the major media. This would cost $27 million and $722 million US for Palestine and Israel, using 2021 GDPs. These numbers are tiny compared to what Israel has spent on the current war, a modest percent of the 2022 Israeli defense budget, and a tiny fraction of the US military budget. Much of the support for Netanyahu has been attributed to Israel Hayom, the leading Israeli newspaper, free for anyone wanting it, funded by billionaire Sheldon Adelson. 
    • Support training in nonviolence. Currently it’s a crime to teach nonviolence to anyone designated as a terrorist by the US State Department — “providing material support to terrorism.” If the Humanitarian Law Project had been supported in teaching nonviolence to anyone in Gaza, the West Bank, and elsewhere, Palestinians might have been able to get a redress of grievances without resorting to violence, and the Hamas attacks last fall might not have happened. 
    • Permanent ceasefire in the Israel-Gaza war, and / or 
    • Ceasefire secured by citizen-directed subsidies for local news nonprofits, training in nonviolence, and equal protection for Palestinians under Israeli law, secured by their ability to appeal to US federal courts. 

More information at:


How might the world be different if the PLO had followed Gandhi?” and 

Information is a public good: Designing experiments to improve government

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