One of the great underreported stories in the Middle East right now is the growing popularity of nonviolent tactics among Palestinians defending their property rights and freedom of movement against the Israeli "security fence." Doug Ireland describes some of the approaches being used in the village of Bilin:
Bilin is remarkable for the creative non-violence with which its residents have carried out demonstrations against the destruction of their community and the confiscation of their lands to build it. They have conducted demonstrations while placing themselves in handcuffs, as the Lebanon [Daily] Star reported—so it could not be said they were throwing stones at the Israeli occupying army. They have sent their minor children to demonstrate in front of the Israeli Supreme Court in Jerusalem—since their mothers and fathers were not allowed to enter Israel. They have chained themselves to trees about to be uprooted to make way for the Wall. Demonstrators have sealed themselves in large metal water barrels placed in the way of the construction crews erecting the Wall of Shame. They have held mock funerals of white-draped coffins, each inscribed with the name of human values that should be respected—Justice, Fairness, Humanity, Courtesy, and the like. They have created a mock security fence, placed themselves under it, and handed out leaflets in Hebrew to the Israeli soldiers begging them not to destroy their village and answer non-violence with violence. Israeli peace activists from groups like Gush Shalom (the Israeli Peace Bloc) have flocked to Bilin to join in these peaceful, nonviolent protests. The response to this nonviolence by the Israeli army has been disproportionately violent—tear gas, rubber bullets, live bullets, night-time raids of homes in Bilin. When attacked in this way, the Bilin protesters have responded with balloons filled with chicken dung—an insulting, but hardly lethal response.