[A-List] Jaggi in West Bank update
mstainsby at tao.ca
Tue Dec 24 02:01:51 MST 2002
The article below appeared in yesterday's Montreal Gazette, and perhaps
other outlets. I make some important clarifications to the last two
paragraphs below ... (after the arrows --->)
Activist vows to defy today's deadline
Jaggi Singh staying put in west bank. Montrealer uneasy with media
attention, says reporters need 'a bit of a reality check'
The Montreal Gazette - Monday, December 23, 2002
Montreal social activist Jaggi Singh is pledging to stay in the West Bank
despite an Israeli court decision ordering him to leave Israel today.
Speaking with The Gazette from the West Bank town of Beit Sahour, where he
has been staying since Friday, Singh said it was a matter of principle for
him to break the conditions of his admission to Israel imposed on him by
an Israeli court.
"To obey the Israeli court ruling on not traveling to Palestine is to be
complicit in the process of normalizing Israel's occupation," he said.
The court ruled last week that Singh, who was initially refused entry by
customs officials, could enter Israel but would not be allowed to visit
the occupied territories. He was also ordered to post $5,000 bail and
leave Israel on Dec. 23, Singh said.
"I'm not planning on leaving either Palestine or Israel" today, he said.
Singh faces arrest or even contempt-of-court charges by deciding not to
leave until early January, as he had planned.
On another matter, Singh said the amount of media attention he was getting
back home was making him uneasy.
"I think journalists have to get a bit of a reality check. There is an
occupation going on here; there is just a whole variety of issues around
it. And yet suddenly there is this focus on me being in the West Bank.
There are literally hundreds of internationals - people who are actively
working in support of Palestinian resistance - who are here."
Singh said he saw his mission in the occupied territories as supporting
and raising awareness about non-violent civil resistance.
"I'm not here to get engaged in any armed struggle. I'm supporting a group
called International Solidarity Movement that is involved in non-violent
direct action to confront the Israeli occupation. It's a clear example of
resistance that is different from a suicide bombing."
[---> This quote is in direct response to a question that asked,
essentially, "What would you say to people who say you're supporting
suicide bombers?" Like I always do, I mentioned that the Israeli
occupation and illegal settlements are the primary violence in Palestine.
I also gave the quote above (which is accurate), as well as mentioning
that the ISM supports the families of martyrs whose houses are slated for
demolition (by residing in homes, and trying to prevent the actual
destruction). Context here is everything.]
The goal of the ISM is to provide Palestinians with a different model of
resistance that would allow them eventually to wrest control of the
Palestinian uprising from armed militias and turn it into a truly popular
uprising , Singh said.
[---> It's important to note that this comment is not attributed to me as
a quote. That's because I never said it, and it's an interpretation by the
reporter of other comments I made. What I did talk about to the reporter,
with regards to the work of the ISM, was the difference between the first
and second intifadas. I pointed out that the first intifada was a much
more popular uprising ("popular" in the sense of involving mass, active
participation from Palestinians) while the second intifada is much less
popular (again, in the sense of active participation) and is more in the
hands of the various armed militias. I then said the actions of the ISM is
trying to re-cultivate the mass acts of resistance of the first intifada.
Finally, to be clear about the position of the ISM regarding violence and
non-violence, let me cite from their mission statement: "We utilize
nonviolent, direct-action methods of resistance to confront and challenge
illegal Israeli occupation forces and policies. As enshrined in
international law and UN resolutions, we recognize the Palestinian right
to resist Israeli violence and occupation via legitimate armed struggle.
However, we believe that nonviolence can be a powerful weapon in fighting
oppression and we are committed to the principles of nonviolent
The ISM does not marginalize or judge other armed struggle groups, and
rather aims to promote a specific kind of civil resistance, in order to
make unworkable the tools of occupation (checkpoints, curfews, home
demolitions, bypass roads, etc), as part of a general resistance to the
In the future, if people want to clarify or challenge a comment I might
have made, or something I might have wrote, please get in touch directly
by e-mail. Stay in touch. -- Jaggi]
In the contradiction lies the hope.
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