Portuguese / Spanish / English

A new Palestinian intifada seems inevitable, but...

Despite the resumption of the Palestinian-Israeli negotiations last July, Benjamin Netanyahu's coalition government has tightened its siege of the Gaza Strip, increased military incursions and missile attacks on the civilian population there, and intensified its measures to confiscate land in the West Bank for more illegal settlements. This is all in addition to the unprecedented escalation in the pace of Israeli's Judaisation of Jerusalem, violations of the holy city's religious sanctities, and attempts to control or at least divide these Islamic and Christian sites. Moreover, the resumption of negotiations did not prevent the Israeli occupation's military and security forces from increasing their arrest campaigns, which did not spare Palestinian children, and their political assassinations, which have claimed the lives of about 50 Palestinians.

There are those who attribute this to Netanyahu's desire to drag the Palestinians into a new round of bloody conflict in order to hold them responsible for the failure of the negotiations. This may be the case in terms of the timing and tactical aspect, but the Israeli government's increased radicalisation can be attributed to its deluded belief that it can separate the never-ending negotiations from the escalations on the ground, which invalidate these negotiations and turn them into a cover for Israeli violations; and the government's belief that continuing to commit these violations will eliminate the Palestinians' "resistance mentality".

This is a new-old Israeli theory that has been proven to be false. Even Israeli political, military, security and media circles have warned consistently about the consequences of being too attached to this theory. This means that the escalation on the ground is nothing more than an echo of the policy dictated by ideological extremism, reflected by subsequent statements made by Netanyahu, who summed up the whole matter thus: "I want to make clear that I will not accept an agreement that does not cancel the [refugees'] right of return and which does not include Palestinian recognition of the Jewish state, and my government will not put such an agreement to a referendum." It is as if Netanyahu's cancellation of the right of return means that the essence of the Palestinian cause will be liquidated, or that the recognition of Israel as "the state of the Jewish people" means Palestinian acceptance of the essence of the Israeli project and the issues imposed on the ground as a result of it.

However, Netanyahu's government, which is caught up in its extremist ideology and its deluded assumptions, is ignoring this political escalation and the consequent unprecedented happenings on the ground which have in turn created the environment amongst the people in the Palestinian territories occupied in 1967 for another uprising; a third intifada. The popular protests and resistance measures over the past three years include sit-ins and demonstrations and suggest that a mass explosion is set to happen. The urge for resistance appears to be flowing through the veins of the people as the positions of the national political factions are on the decline and the devastating political division continues. Although it may be possible to defer another intifada I don't believe that that is what will happen.

The Palestinians' internal political weaknesses are compounded by the Israeli occupation's ongoing colonisation and violation of Palestinian land, people and honour. Both factors will contribute to the popular resistance activities turning into a full-blooded uprising. Israel cannot expect to confiscate Palestinian land and water, establish and expand illegal settlements, arrest and assassinate ordinary people, allow illegal settlers to attack Palestinians with impunity and continue to place restrictions on movement around the occupied territories, without some sort of reaction.

In short, the prevailing circumstances in the occupied Palestinian Territories are similar to those immediately prior to the 1987 (first) intifada, the 1996 Al-Aqsa tunnel riots and the 2000 second (Al-Aqsa) intifada. This should not be overlooked.

Moreover, Netanyahu and his government cannot ignore the fact that their actions and policies determine the timing of Palestinian resistance and popular uprisings, their nature and their duration. In addition to this, the Israeli occupation continues to deny the existence of the Palestinian people and their rights. The Israelis are exclusivists and exclusionists and do not hesitate to remove the Palestinians from the official narrative as the ethnic cleansing which has been ongoing since 1948 continues.

Netanyahu has stuck to his impossible conditions and rejection of any and all political agreements that meet even the minimum of Palestinian rights. This means that the Israelis will not end their brutal occupation unless their colonial project turns sour in a political, human, economic, moral and ethical sense. In a way, therefore, the Palestinian decision to pursue resistance, in all its forms, was never their option, it was imposed on them by the occupation.

As such, given the unprecedented level of escalation politically and on the ground carried out by the settler-led Israeli government of Benjamin Netanyahu, another popular Palestinian uprising is inevitable, sooner or later. This requires all of the Palestinian political forces across the popular and official spectrum, to unite in every way in order to meet the needs of the people during the coming phase.

The views expressed in this article belong to the author and do not necessarily reflect the editorial policy of Middle East Monitor.

ArticleMiddle EastPalestine
Show Comments
Show Comments