Is Palestine Heading Toward a Third Intifada?

As the rest of the Arab World erupts in protest against autocratic leaders, Palestinians are stuck under the yoke of Israeli occupation, writes Elias Sahab. But burgeoning signs and growing desperation suggest a Third Intifada might be inevitable.

al-monitor A Palestinian protester fires a stone from a slingshot towards Israeli soldiers during clashes at a weekly protest against a nearby Jewish settlement, in the West Bank village of Nabi Saleh, near Ramallah July 6, 2012.  Photo by REUTERS/Mohamad Torokman.

Topics covered

shaul mofaz, unesco, palestinians, oslo accords, intifada

Jul 12, 2012

This is not the first time that signs are emerging in Palestine that indicate the potential eruption of a third intifada, or popular uprising. It will be similar to the glorious first uprising, which had momentum that was only halted by the ominous Oslo Accords.

These indicators are present every time a major crisis in the occupied lands enters a dead end, requiring a popular uprising that can revive the glorious one of the past. However, it should be accompanied by developed methods, which go hand in hand with the people’s resistance to a brutal occupation under an incapable authority.

Every indicator in Palestine shows that the crisis is deep-rooted and aggravated.

1.  Many months have passed since the Palestinian national reconciliation agreement was signed, and nothing thus far proves that its provisions will be implemented or that it will achieve its desired results.

2.  The vicious cycle of the negotiations has grown more aggravated in recent years, hiding the growing colonial settlements that are eating the West Bank and Jerusalem like cancer. This is taking place and no Arab or international forces have been mobilized to take a strict stance against this seemingly unstoppable development.

3.  The Palestinians’ national dignity and pride continue to be wasted, as Palestinian authorities asked the Israeli occupation authority to be the mediator between them and the International Monetary Fund. This mediation will allow the Palestinian authorities to receive $1 billion in loans, which will allow them to cover daily expenses. This process shows that the international aid to the Palestinian authority is nothing but an indirect way to allow the occupation to organize its affairs and ensure its continuity and strength.

4.  Against the backdrop of a lack of political achievements, the Church of the Nativity in Bethlehem was named a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Of course, this event should be celebrated, but it is pitiful when compared to Palestinian national achievements.

5.  Thousands of Palestinian prisoners have lost hope while in Israeli jails, where they have spent many years living in inhumane conditions. These conditions pushed them to wage hunger strikes in the protest of the occupation authorities, who seem so assured and self-confident. But when the hunger strikes proved to be in vain, the Palestinian prisoners radically improved their tactics. They started contacting international fora to re-categorize themselves as “prisoners of war” who were captured by Israel. They are not security detainees, for they are resisting occupational forces and not a national authority. In support of their case, the prisoners raised the third Geneva Convention and its addenda. This is something that the Palestinian National Authority should have done from the moment it was established, as the Geneva Convention considers those who are arrested while resisting occupational forces as prisoners of war.

6.  The last straw was the visit to Ramallah by the war criminal Shaul Mofaz, the head of the Kadima party after [Tzipi] Livni. The people of Ramallah were outraged by this visit, and they went to the street, unarmed, to stand up for their dignity. They formed an association called “Palestinians for Dignity.” The protesters were subjected to a violent crackdown, and many Palestinian police officers were wounded. Meanwhile, Israeli police forces were safe and sound.

When there are as many crisis indicators as there are now, the process [of resolving the Palestinian issue] becomes a waste of Palestine’s national dignity and will lead to the nation’s financial bankruptcy. In turn, this will complete their political bankruptcy, which they have been suffering from for a long time. The situation is tense and will ultimately lead to the outbreak of the third intifada. This time, the intifada will recall the first Palestinian uprising, but in a more nuanced way due to the political and practical experience that the Palestinian people have gained in their resistance to the Israeli occupation’s relentless brutality.

I can clearly see the indicators for the third intifada, and they will turn the current narrative of the Palestinian issue from a simple border war that erupted in 1967 into a fight against the ethnic cleansing that began in 1948.

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