Batya Ungar-Sargon is the opinion editor of The Forward. Her work has appeared in The New York Times, Foreign Policy, and The Washington Post. (May 2019)

Follow Batya Ungar-Sargon on Twitter: @bungarsargon.

NYR DAILY

A Palestinian in Israeli Military Court: Issa Amro, the Judge, & Me

Palestinian activist Issa Amro arriving for a hearing at the Israeli-run Ofer military court, Betunia, near Ramallah, West Bank, July 9, 2017

With the occupation largely hidden from view, many Israelis bemoan—in good faith, I believe—the lack of a “partner for peace” on the Palestinian side. Held captive by their politicians’ rhetoric and their own reasonable fears about security, what they don’t see is how deeply Israel’s military apparatus is invested in suppressing the very development of a Palestinian civil society that might produce such a partner—an interlocutor like the Palestinian rights campaigner Issa Amro. “I think Israel is afraid of nonviolent activists,” his lawyer, Gaby Lasky, told me. “If a very large number of nonviolent demonstrators would have huge marches like they had in India at the time of Gandhi, I don’t know how Israel would be able to stop that. And then, maybe, it would be a turning point in the occupation.”