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Death of Ziad Abu Ein could work to Abbas’ advantage

The death of Palestinian Minister Ziad Abu Ein could aid in taking the spotlight off President Mahmoud Abbas' recent problems and also reinforce use of nonviolent resistance, which he supports, as a strategy for ending the occupation.
Palestinian minister Ziad Abu Ein (C) scuffles with an Israeli border policeman near the West Bank city of Ramallah December 10, 2014. Abu Ein died shortly after being hit by Israeli soldiers during a protest on Wednesday in the occupied West Bank, a Reuters photographer who witnessed the incident and a Palestinian medic said. Abu Ein, a minister without portfolio who was in his early 50s, was rushed by ambulance from the scene, in the village of Turmusiya, but died en route to the nearby Palestinian city o

The death of senior Palestinian official Ziad Abu Ein, while he attempted to plant olive trees in Palestinian territory, is sure to reignite calls for a major discussion of Palestinian resistance tactics and strategies. Palestinian nonviolent efforts have been going on for years without producing concrete results.

At a time when negotiations had reached a dead end and armed resistance had proven extremely costly in human and other terms, an alternative strategy was sought. Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas and others in the Palestinian national camp advocated nonviolent popular struggle as the most effective means to force Israel to end its 47-year occupation. The Israelis, who recognized how lethal responses to popular protests fueled the first intifada, have confronted the various efforts with just enough violence to try to deter, but without major fatalities.

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