For many Israelis, the very thought of non-violent Palestinian protest goes so far against the grain as to be incomprehensible, lethally suspicious, a violation of a bedrock narrative.
In many cases, Israeli media have actively ignored or obscured non-violent Palestinian protest.
The fact is that Israel may need a Gandhi more than the Palestinians do. As the Jewish state begins to examine its own actions and decision-making in the flotilla disaster, it is becoming that much clearer that Israelis need, for their own sake, to begin to study non-violence.
Over the past decade, Israel has been moving farther and farther away from non-violent solutions to difficult problems.
Israelis suffer at least as much as Palestinians from the machismo ethic that fuels the resort to violence. Twenty years ago, it was that macho ethos which made it so constitutionally painful for the IDF to develop, train for, and employ non-lethal methods in the face of civilian unrest. Twenty years later, it was that same macho ethos which turned tear gas into a lethal weapon in countering demonstrators in the West Bank.
Today it is that same macho ethos which drives Benjamin Netanyahu and, especially, Ehud Barak, which gave rise to the colossally tragic – and entirely unnecessary – consequences of the flotilla raid.