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The Arab Uprising Hasn't Suddenly Arrived In Palestine -- It's Always Been Here

This weekend, Israeli security forces engaged in a bloody crackdown on unarmed protesters.

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The Nakba day demonstration at Qalandia was a small but crucial step forward for the new form of unarmed Palestinian resistance led by the March 15 movement. Full of harsh criticism for Palestinian leadership and struggling to breathe under an increasingly brutal military occupation, young urban Palestinians are confronting the systemic challenges to Palestinian existence in the Occupied Territories. Inspired by other Middle Eastern revolutions, the March 15 movement is abandoning armed struggle in favor of a model of resistance characterized by non-compliance with Israeli occupation, Palestinian unity and international isolation of Israel through boycott campaigns.

Many in the international press are claiming the Nakba day protests show that the Arab spring has arrived in Palestine. In Qalandia, this statement was not true. It was Palestinians who organized mass unarmed resistance against Israeli occupation in the late 1980s. It was Palestinians who organized civilian demonstrations in Ramallah and Hebron during the first months of the Second Intifada despite harsh military repression in the form of over one million bullets fired by the Israeli army. It is in villages like Bil'in, Budrus and Nabi Saleh that Palestinians have continued this spirit of unarmed resistance every week for the past eight years despite continued Israeli attacks. The Arab spring has not arrived in Palestine; it has always been here. 

Joseph Dana is a freelance journalist based in Tel Aviv. He has been published in The Nation, Le Monde Diplomatique, The National, Al Jazeera English, Haaretz, and is a contributing editor for the online Israeli independent commentary magazine

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