|Desmond Tutu, center, placed a stone on a grave in Bilin, site of weekly protests against the Israeli barrier. With him, from left: Gro Brundtland, Jimmy Carter, Ela Bhatt and Abdallah Abu Rahmah. Photo: Rina Castelnuovo for The New York Times|
The Elders are shining a light on a weekly Palestinian demonstration, and in doing so supporting one of the longest-running and best organized protest operations in the history of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. It’s a protest that draws several hundred Palestinians every Friday, and has for almost five years, and is, for the most part, nonviolent.
With the moral weight of The Elders behind the protest, the pressure on Israel to withdraw increases–perhaps dramatically. That’s optimistic but Desmond Tutu and Nelson Mandela and the others are no strangers to the international scene and they understand that success in undermining apartheid will only come through more efforts at exposing what is happening in places like East Jerusalem.
Here’s to The Elders continuing the campaign for a Palestine free from occupation. The Wall must be dismantled and the Palestinians given a home.
In the mean time this once anonymous farming village will continue to be a symbol of Palestinian civil disobedience.