Long before the 1987 Palestinian intifada, the Arabic term "sumud," meaning steadfastness, best reflected the form of resistance undertaken by Palestinians in the occupied territories. The act of sumud was neither violent nor militant. It reflected the hugely important act of staying put on one's land and refusing to budge no matter what.
This is the term that Palestinians, Israelis and diaspora Jews recently applied to their unique act of nonviolent resistance in the largely abandoned village of Sarura, located south of Hebron. On May 18, activists arrived in Sarura to support the villagers who have been harassed and intimidated to leave their homes by Jewish settlers and the Israeli army. Some 300 local Palestinian, Israeli and foreign volunteers set up camp in Sarura and helped the town's villagers to return. They did so by rehabilitating the caves they were living in and preparing wells and other basic infrastructural elements in Sarura.