Since the last war on Gaza, the media has abounded with forecasts and the predicted signals of a third Intifada in Palestine, particularly in the West Bank. These expectations have mounted following the death of Palestinian prisoner, Arafat Jaradat, in an Israeli prison and the violent clashes that ensued as an extension of the escalating public reaction to the prisoner hunger strikes in Israeli prisons.
No one contests the fact that motives for a new Intifada are present – not just of late, but over the course of the last few years during which there has been an increase in illegal settlement construction, the Judaisation of Jerusalem, and Israeli settler and military attacks against Palestinians without the occupation having to face even the bare minimum of deterrents.
However, the presence of the motives for an uprising does not seem enough without the will in the hearts of those responsible for carrying this Intifada as its fuel and the factor for its continuity. On the other hand, a strong factor contributing to its failure is the presence of a powerful Palestinian contingent that is doing all it can to prevent it and trap its motives; that is able to abort it in its early stages, especially since the hotbeds of the occupation are in limited places.
Hence, the outbreak of an intifada under the current authority in the West Bank means the protesters will have to face two fronts; the occupation and the authority, and the latter will make sure to prevent developments of a comprehensive and continuous Intifada. This is due to the fact that the occupation simply cannot risk giving up the unprecedented sense of security it has enjoyed on this front for years which the PA has played a major role in providing.
When we remember the Al-Aqsa Intifada, we must remember that the people’s reaction to it (stone-throwing at the barriers) only lasted for the first few months. It then developed into armed confrontation meaning that Palestinians aspire to develop their means of resistance in any way possible and are not content with confronting an armed soldier with rocks. They will only do this if they are unarmed as they were at the beginning of the Intifada. The phase of armed resistance also emerged in the early nineties, but its intensity lessened in the later Intifada years.
Those who call for liberation must keep in mind the development of a means to face their enemy, as well as the provision of an atmosphere that fosters the culture and behaviour of resistance, not one that discourages it. As for those who call for protest against the occupation to remain fully peaceful and not develop over time, and those who consider the use of rocks violent, they are not looking for liberation. They are looking for a way of discouraging the culture of resistance and a justification for supressing forms of resistance they consider harmful to the interest of Palestinians, even though the Palestinian people are the only ones who have proven their worth over history in terms of their conflict. However, the toll is high and precious and cannot be reached by those who claim to be patriotic or have used it as a trade and for their own benefit.
Despite all of this, we still believe that the culture of resistance, which has recently been amplified in the minds of Palestinians, will soon be translated onto the streets. If it is not successful in breaking the suspicious security grip sought by the occupation, it will at least succeed in creating a gap in the wall of inactivity and stagnation and will establish a pathway for the new generation to play its expected and anticipated role. Both through large national confrontations that drain the energies of the occupation army and through concentrated resistance operations that re-align the unbalanced situation and impose new equations!
The views expressed in this article belong to the author and do not necessarily reflect the editorial policy of Middle East Monitor.