Confronting Settlers at Nabi Saleh, Occupied West Bank

By Ellen Davidson, Veterans For Peace Associate
Especially impressive was watching how well schooled in the difficult practice of nonviolence the younger VFPs, in particular, were.  Matt Hoh (former USMC) could easily have inflicted substantial harm, so to speak, on the settler cowards who attacked the women first, then the photographers/videographers, then women and men who were not as formidable targets as that presented by Matt.

And Mike Hanes, who sprang immediately to defend the women first attacked by the settler in the gray sweatshirt, showed incredible self-restraint and composure, when that settler pushed him over a rock.  Mike is former member of Marine equivalent of special forces.  Never mind that that particular settler wore a sidearm, Mike easily could have brought that settler to a “no-good end,” an expression the Chinese often use to describe — well, a no-good end.

Both Matt and Mike were among those VFPers who stayed that night (March 3-4) in Nabi Saleh, since it seemed very likely there would be a house-raid on Bassem’s house (which has already been earmarked for “demolition) after midnight, as is frequently the practice.  No raid took place.  Why? — perhaps because of the VFP presence; or perhaps because the settlers and soldiers prefer not to do such violent house raids on the Sabbath — religious folks that most of them are.

Let’s hope and pray there is no raid — and no demolition — now that the VFP delegation is back home in the U.S.  Asked about the risk incurred by Nabu Saleh residents’ periodic demonstrations against the illegal settlement nearby and the seizure of the spring, Bassem said matter-of-factly that the alternative is, in its own way, far more dangerous.  The alternative? –passive acquiescence and lost hope.  The courage of the Palestinians just won’t quit.