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March 02, 1990 - Image 16

Resource type:
The Detroit Jewish News, 1990-03-02

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Continued from Page 1

Israelis to expel him and
still presenting himself as a
man of non-violence. But his
message today also carries a
warning: empowered by
their success with the in-
tifada, Palestinians are
following a course of non-
violence and are ready to
make peace. Ignore this op-
portunity and dire conse-
quences will follow.
"1995 is our target year,"
he said, speaking this week
at the Birmingham Temple.
"Either we'll have hell or
we'll have peace."
In an interview, Awad said
he has spent the past two
years mustering support in
the Arab world, the United
States and Europe for a two-
state solution; teaching
Christians that they "have
to open up and speak out
about what is happening in
the Middle East" and en-
couraging Christian leaders
to produce a statement of
support for a Palestinian
state and for Palestine Lib-
eration Organization
Chairman Yassir Arafat;
fostering talks between Pa-
lestinians and Arabs; and
working with his organiza-
tion, the Washington-based
Non-Violence International,
to advocate non-violence
throughout the world.
A Christian born in
Jerusalem, Awad has lived
for the past 19 years in the
United States and holds
American citizenship. He
receives funding from his
lectures, European nations,
private sources and from
churches for special projects,
he said. He takes no money
from Jews, but would not
discuss why.
Awad cites as his inspira-
tions the Quakers and Men-
nonites, as well as Mahatma
Gandhi and the Rev. Martin
Luther King. Critics charge
that Awad's definition of
non-violence is very diff-
erent from that of the civil
rights leader. For while
Awad says he would never
use a weapon against an-
other human being, he does
not denounce those who do.
Non-violence "is to em-
power people to choose what
they want," he said.
"I wouldn't say to anybody
to kill. But the occupation is
taking away Palestinian lib-
erty and dignity — every-
thing. So you don't just sit
quiet." If someone chooses to
use a gun in such a case, he
is "stupid," Awad said. "But
that's his choice."
Awad no longer advocates
throwing stones, about
which he said, "I was for it
so much." Now he believes
Palestinian children should
greet Israeli soldiers with

the Palestinian flag.
"We have to make it
difficult for Israel to occupy
us," he said. "I'm
militaristic non-violent. We
have to take the initiative in
our hands."
The intifada has affected
everyone from Palestinians
and Israelis to countries
throughout Europe, Awad
"More and more," he hears
Israelis and American Jews
saying, "This is not our Jew-
ish heritage to oppress and
occupy others."
The intifada also has given
Palestinians dignity and
confidence and a new image,
he said. They no longer are
perceived by the nations of
the world as "terrorists, but
as people fighting for their
rights," Awad said.
"Because of the intifada,
we've switched the whole

"You're doing to us
exactly what the
Germans did to
you. Only the gas
chambers are not
Mubarak Awad

formula. Now we're seeing
who is David and who is
Awad, who holds a degree
in social work, compared the
Israeli presence in the West
Bank and Gaza to the Nazi
offensive in Europe.
"You're doing to us exactly
what the Germans did to
you," he said in his lecture.
"Only the gas chambers are
not built."
Awad assailed Jews who,
he said, are always boasting
about their great morality
but are selective about
where that morality can be
They work for cause after
cause, "but when it comes to
Palestinians, a lot of Israelis
and Jews keep their eyes
closed and shut.
"That's hypocrisy," he
said. "And I challenge that
very loud."
Awad said he also
challenged the PLO, and
won. "I went to the PLO and
I pushed" for a two-state
solution. "We were able to
change them from saying no
to recognizing Israel.
"The PLO is accepting the
idea of non-violence," he
said, adding, "but they
will not be interested in
those ideas if they don't
The Palestinians in the
territories already have
started creating their own
state, he said. They are issu-
ing their own currency, mar-

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