Four years in Palestine and I don’t meet Yonatan Shapira until he comes to Oslo last September. Turns out we’re both married to Norwegians. Over the course of his visit during the “World Week for Peace in Palestine and Israel”, a series of conversations gave me material for more than one feature interview, so this is the first edition in Electronic Intifada. He consistently nails it on so many key issues. So much so that I’ve been using his “co-resistance before coexistence” theme in several recent posts of my own as I do my part to help thrust it into the discourse. Some excerpts:
In July 2002, Salah Shehadeh, head of the armed branch of Hamas in Gaza, was bombed in the middle of the night with an F-16 dropping a one-ton bomb on his house where he was sleeping with his children and his wife. The bomb killed fifteen people, most of them children, and about 150 were injured. If I needed some answer for my questions and doubts, that was clear: this is a terror attack. And I’m part of a terror organization.
The commander of the air force said that everything was done perfectly, and the pilots should sleep well at night. That was an additional thing that helped us: when someone says you can sleep well at night, maybe it’s time to wake up and start to think. For me and several friends, that was the moment we decided to do something.
I am trying to not let go of this tool because I feel that it’s a production mechanism to create more and more activists. And we need more activists. So even within the problematic framework, I’m trying to continue to do dialogue, but — it’s a very big but — we have to make sure that the context will bring to the room the power imbalance and the reality on the ground. I truly think that at this point dialogue could be a legitimate tool in the Israeli-Palestinian context only if there is a subversive radical agenda that is agreed upon by all the facilitators.
Now the word coexistence makes you feel … not so comfortable. Let’s talk about co-resistance. Let’s struggle together. Let’s resist the policies of apartheid. Let’s resist the policy of racism together — and then we can coexist.