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Gandhi's grandson to kick off Palestinian movement

Source: PTI
August 13, 2004 16:59 IST
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Mahatma Gandhi's grandson, Arun Gandhi, is to kick off an unarmed Palestinian movement against Israeli occupation.

Gandhi, head of the M K Gandhi Institute for Non-violence in the US, will be the star attraction at three mass rallies planned in Ramallah, Abu Dis and Bethlehem on August 26.

The campaign is being organised by a group of Palestinian social and political activists in Ramallah, who have joined hands with non-governmental organisations and Fatah leaders.

It comes in the wake of the International Court of Justice's ruling condemning the construction of the West Bank barrier by Israel.

Gandhi told daily Ha'aretz from the US that he intends "to promote the philosophy of non-violence, the approach that Non-violence is the only venue that can solve our problems".

"I am coming both to learn and to teach his (Mahatma Gandhi) philosophy. I understand that many bad things happened 55 years ago, but the attempt to get justice by revenge accomplishes nothing," he said.

He said he learned that from his grandfather when he was just a boy in South Africa and thought of revenge in retaliation to the apartheid and humiliation there.

"I've dedicated my life to explain to people how damaging prejudices can be, and how to form better relations. That is the basis of non-violence. Relations must be based on love, understanding and honour, not on negative foundations," Gandhi said.

"I will tell the Palestinians that it is their responsibility to change. If the Israelis do not want to listen, it does not mean we cannot act," Gandhi said.

"The question is who is more intelligent (to stop using violence) and who has more power to change. I think the Palestinians have a chance to be more intelligent and not act like the Israelis."

The Ramallah group is said to have established ties with Palestinians for Peace and Democracy in the US, headed by Mohammed al-Atar in order to launch a "creative way of resistance".

Terry Boulata, principal of a private school in Abu Dis and a major anti-fence activist, is said to be the link between al-Atar and the Ramallah group.

The fence is said to separate Boulata's home from her place of work and from her husband's family.

"The struggle is our right, but we must be creative," she told Ha'aretz.

The organisers intend to bring thousands to the rallies and record the talks with Gandhi. "We want to organise a Palestinian peace camp to explain to Israel and the world that our freedom is the key to peace," Boulata said.

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