The longevity of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict brings into question the efforts and willingness of local politicians to put an end to the violence in the region. Moreover, some doubts are rising on the actions of the UN and third countries around this matter, and above all, the impartiality of their intentions as mediators and peace specialists. This article focuses on the positive effects of the internal third-party interveners ensuring better grounds for conflict resolution and peacebuilding process.
The Israeli-Palestinian conflict has been ongoing for decades. Neither the international community nor regional and local actors managed to mitigate the violence and find a solution to the protracted conflict. When talking about conflicts of this scale, we logically address the peace operations organised by the UN as the only possible tool to deal with them. People forget that conflicts are not only about politics, they are also about the societies involved.
The bottom-up approach to conflict resolution of this extent might seem like a helpless action, however, there are numerous studies proving the effectiveness of nonviolent civil resistance of internal third-party interveners. At the end of the day, this is all about civilians involved in the conflict. Civilians live it through and will have to deal with all possible consequences following peace restoration. This article aims to report an excellent example of the civil resistance campaign where Israeli anti-occupation activists work with Israeli society to show the government’s injustices and crimes it commits against Palestinians.
Breaking The Silence
Breaking the Silence is an NGO founded by veteran soldiers who have served in the Israeli military since the Second Intifada. Their mission is to demonstrate to the Israeli public the reality of everyday life in the Occupied Territories. In particular, how Israeli soldiers pressure the civilian population daily and control them. By bringing testimonies, they prove that abuse towards Palestinians and destruction of property, are far from “extreme” and “unique” cases. Unfortunately, such treatment has been a norm for years and is completely justified by the Israeli government in the name of the state’s security. The aim of the organization is to end the occupation, and Israelian society can serve as a source of help.
“People working there risk their safety and are constantly under pressure from their own government and society. However, they believe this risk is nothing compared to the struggles Palestinians are exposed to on a daily basis.“
Maybe exactly the Israelis are the lacking element of the conflict’s solution. In a truly democratic society: who else if not people can influence their own government and have the power of decision making? Unfortunately, civilians in Israel continue to deny the sad reality, which is well-known to Israeli soldiers. Therefore, ex-combatants made it their priority to boost public awareness by showing civilians what lies behind the propaganda and people’s indifference.
How Israeli people could be the key element to end the conflict
The organization uses several strategies to achieve their goals. For example, one is publishing testimonies from the military who served in Gaza, the West Bank and East Jerusalem since the beginning of the 21st century.
Besides, the NGO holds public events, such as lectures and meetings. During those events, former soldiers “break the silence” by telling their personal experiences and explain how the IDF operates and controls the Palestinian population.
The organization also conducts bigger events, such as campaigns and exhibitions. Together with other NGOs, artists, as well as public and educational figures, they share the scale of support for Palestinians and show that the responsibility to end the occupation lies on the shoulders of Israeli people.
For those who are difficult to convince with speeches and videos, the NGO organizes tours in Hebron and the South Hebron Hills in the West Bank to reveal the injustices of the reality that exists just next to their own houses.
Breaking the Silence is only one of the numerous examples of organisations in Israel acting as an internal third-party intervener in the conflict and embodying civil resistance to the aggression from its own state. People working there risk their safety and are constantly under pressure from their own government and society. However, they believe this risk is nothing compared to the struggles Palestinians are exposed to on a daily basis. Due to the efforts of organisations like Breaking the Silence, there is still hope for humanity and the belief that the region might find its peace someday.