Wall Vaulting: The New Fad Sport of Nonviolent Popular Resistance in Palestine

by Enchanted Prison Guard

 

There are many forms of non-violent popular resistance – of which there are many types. There is the type in which civil society is simply rebuilding its own identity through the forms. There is the type of direct confrontation between belligerent occupier and the occupied. There is the type in which individuals educate themselves and act with the intention to educate others of the forms and types of non-violent popular resistance. I’m sure there are more. Please send me your thoughts.

Of course, some forms employ a mix of types. Sports for example, no matter where they are played, tend to build relationships of many types, some cooperative, some competitive, some mutually inductive and some mutually restrictive. In any case, so it seems, a new fad sport appears to be evolving in the West Bank of Palestine incorporating a study of the forms and types of Nonviolent Popular Resistance using sport, education, team building, media outreach, and communication with the police and military on both sides which directly engages both occupier and occupied with the intention of having fun and making a point. As you can tell from the title of this piece, pole vaulting the wall/Wall appears to becoming a popular sport in the West Bank of Palestine.

Teams are training in class rooms studying the principles of peaceful beautiful resistance: Gandhi, Sharp, King Jr., Galtung and international law are just a small part of the required reading material for the curriculum. Then of course there is the rigorous training in sport employing a mutually inductive cooperation through competition. These people are strong. Intellectually. Physically. Morally.

People are reaching out to the media to inform the world of who they are and what is their intention. To put it simply, in the words of one of the participants, “simply stated, the wall is not impenetrable. We penetrate it with love… in our hearts and we make it known that we are non-violent and this has a profound effect on any act of physical violence the Israeli Defense Force or Police might take against us. We get arrested. We have lawyers. Some of us spend time in jail. Some of us get tortured. A few of us have been brutally wounded. One of us was killed. We know the risks. We’re Committed. We just turn around and do it again. The word is getting out and it’s making it difficult for the Israeli Army to do anything in terms of physical violence at this point. We have a lot of international support through the media, the internet, and even the Secretary General of the U.N. Has commented in support of our actions.”

The group, of course, calls themselves Palestinian Wall Vaulters for Peace and they work with a group affiliated with security called Fighters for Peace which is comprised of former Palestinian and Israeli combatants who act, essentially as observers and human shields. They also work with “Doctors Beyond Boundaries” for obvious reasons as well as Free Legal Aid, an array of international lawyers working pro bono publico for other obvious reasons.

I am told there is a website in the works. Apparently some one bought the best combinations of domain names when they heard of the group and the group is not yet in a position to purchase any of them (for not so obvious reasons) and is reluctant to choose amongst the list of poor combinations that might be available.

Needless to say, they’re looking for support. They’re not asking for any money. Poles are cheap and the attire is not well defined yet. The wall/Wall is where it is and it is what it is so there are many locations for practice and performance.  The type of support they are looking for is in the form of acknowledgement (if not solidarity with the same forms and types they are engaged with): that they have the inalienable right to self determine, to human rights (at least at its current theory and practice) and to provide for their human needs unimpeded.

At the moment they are asking not to take or expose any pictures since it just makes it easier to be spotted as they usually set up “flying break points” spoofing on the “flying checkpoints” the Israeli Defense Force might set up. “We hope people will come to Palestine and experience our beautiful culture and experience all there is to experience in the West Bank,” says one of the organizers for the group.

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