The Quds intifada: Issues, positions, challenges and prospects - An Islamic Jihad perspective

There have been numerous analyses of the current conflagration raging in Palestine. We present here another such analysis. This one, however, is from within one of the Palestinian factions - the Palestinian Islamic Jihad. This internal discussion document has been circulating within that movement, and was translated by AMEC in order to allow English-speaking readers to understand differing perspectives on the uprising. While the views expressed here are those of the Islamic Jihad Movement and do not necessarily reflect the views of the Afro-Middle East Centre, this paper is being published because it is important in representing a protagonist voice engaging fellow interlocutors. AMEC's objective in making this analysis available is to enrich the discussion on the uprising specifically, and the broader Palestinian question in general.

Prepared by: Studies and Policies Unit, General Secretariat, Islamic Jihad Movement in Palestine

In the name of God, the Gracious, the Merciful

Submission

Once again the Palestinian people have shown, as they have done through more than a century of struggle, that the land of Palestine is what makes life worth living, and that it is worth sacrifices of blood and soul and all that is precious and valuable.

It was Al-Aqsa Mosque, the iconic symbol evoked in the Qur'an, which caused our people in all of Palestine to rise in defence and in sacrifice for the sake of each step that our Prophet Muhammad, Peace be upon Him, had taken in his ascension to heaven. It is a sacrifice for every grain of sand on which Umar al-Farouq had prostrated to God, and for the army of the Prophet’s companions, God bless them, on the great day of the conquest of Jerusalem when al-Nasser Salahuddin liberated Jerusalem and Al-Aqsa Mosque from the clutches of its invaders, the Crusaders, with the sword of Islam.

It is Palestine, rising up en masse from the river to the sea, from Rafah to Ras al-Naqura (Rosh Hanikra), and from Khalil al-Rahman (Hebron) to Sakhnin, to trouble the faces of the new invaders, the Zionist usurpers. It is the blessed intifada brought back to life by the youth of Palestine, and the people of Palestine, transmitting their message to the whole world, to those who turned their backs on Palestine or forgot it. The message says: ‘Palestine cannot be forgotten, and she will remain alive until God ordains that right be done and falsehood be nullified, until the land and the homes are restored to her people, and they return to them victorious and dignified, God willing.’

 

 

The Studies and Policies Unit in the office of the Secretary General of the Islamic Jihad Movement in Palestine prepared a preliminary study and an objective assessment of the situation by the end of the first week of the intifada in order to provide a better understanding of developments in Palestine.

With the intifada continuing and spreading, and with the challenges and questions it raises, the movement’s leadership has decided to send this assessment to various levels of its cadres in view of its importance in describing the various dimensions of the current situation, and assessing their future prospects.

We pray to God that this assessment with its scientific method will assist in developing an understanding of ongoing developments, contribute to further evolution of this blessed intifada, and keep its flame glowing with the blood of its righteous martyrs.

Studies and Policies Unit, General Secretariat

The Palestine Intifada 2015: Assessment of the intifada and its future

The current intifada in Palestine, with its momentum and rapid spread across a wide area, took many people by surprise, especially the Zionist enemy which believed that a resolution of the conflict over Jerusalem and the West Bank in its favour was imminent, given the region’s preoccupation with its wars and internal conflicts. The Palestinian Authority (PA) was no less surprised since its president had long threatened that he would ‘not allow the outbreak of a third intifada’.

 

1. Are we witnessing a new intifada?

Through a diversity of actions, the intifada has already spread to more than fifty flashpoints, stretching from the occupied West Bank and Jerusalem, through the land occupied in 1948, to the Gaza Strip, and has produced a number of martyrs and wounded, and a number of deaths and injuries in the ranks of the enemy. It has received popular support in all parts of Palestine. Such developments confirm that we are witnessing a real intifada or, at least, the beginning of one. It may continue or escalate to varying degrees, with different tools and various forms of struggle, although its course and destiny are linked to different factors, which will be discussed later.

2. Why the debate around the term ‘intifada’?

The confusion over the term ‘intifada’ could be attributed to ‘intifada phobia’ – the fear felt by parties affected by it and who therefore refrain from using the term for developments on the ground. These parties include:

1. The Palestinian Authority (PA), whose president has repeatedly pledged to prevent the outbreak of a new intifada. This is why the PA and those controlling its departments or benefiting from it tend to describe developments in Palestine as ‘habba’ or upheaval.

2. Israel, with all the horror that the ‘intifada’ is arousing in the minds and memory of the Israelis, along with the challenge it poses to its plans to take control of the West Bank, to Judaise Jerusalem and to share control of the Aqsa Mosque before bringing it down. For this reason, the official Zionist discourse attempted to brand developments in Palestine as a passing wave of terrorism. Furthermore, many Israelis have been content with the term ‘habba’ used by some Palestinians.

3. Some intellectuals, journalists and political analysts who are associated with the PA and its media machine or impressed by its discourse, which they work to promote. There are also members of some Palestinian factions who might at times agree with the PA and the Fatah movement in much of their political and media rhetoric, motivated as they are by personal interest or due to a lack of awareness.

4. ‘Arab’ and foreign media that are not sympathetic to the Palestinian people, or are biased towards the Zionist position.

The PA is exercising a ‘veto’ on designating current developments as an intifada, although some figures from Fatah, the dominant party in the PA, having been taken by surprise, have recently used the word, possibly to appeal to the sentiment on the Palestinian street. Others seek to delink the intifada from Al-Aqsa or Jerusalem.

3. What are the causes and factors of the current flare-up of the intifada?

Understanding the intifada’s real causes will greatly help in assessing its course and future, and predicting whether it will persist or be contained. But before talking about the causes, there are certain essential observations to be considered.

A: Certain elements within and close to the PA seek to ignore or underplay the danger facing the Aqsa Mosque as well as the Zionist incursions and clashes inside its compound. They refrain from associating the intifada with the Mosque in order that the uprising does not bear the name ‘Second Al-Aqsa Intifada’. The reasons for this are ideological and political, and are aimed at ignoring any hint of an Islamic nature to the intifada and to weaken the Islamic forces involved in it. They prefer to focus on political aspects relating to negotiations and a political settlement.

B: The realities of the current intifada cannot be understood outside the context of the conflict with the Zionist enemy. Therefore, due to the special nature of the intifada model or the similarity of various actions of struggle, an objective reading of current events requires recalling the 1987 ‘Revolution of Stones’ (the First Intifada) and the 2000 Al-Aqsa Intifada, in addition to what is known as the limited 1997 ‘Nafaq (Tunnel) Upheaval’, all of which are important for the analysis.

1. The 1987 Intifada

The intifada that broke out in 1987 was a mass uprising where the people took the initiative. It was characterised by the participation of children and the use of stones as weapons of resistance, and was thus called the ‘intifada of the children of the stones’.

That intifada was an expression of the Palestinian people’s rejection of twenty years of Israeli occupation (after 1967), the failure of the official Palestinian leadership and the lack of progress in the Palestinian cause, as well as an expression of despair and frustration at the Arab position regarding Palestine after the November 1987 Arab League Summit in Amman which revealed that the Palestinian cause and the conflict with the Zionist entity were no longer an Arab priority.

Islamic Jihad had a strong presence from the beginning of the uprising, resulting in the Zionist enemy considering it the group that ‘lit the match’ or ‘rolled the rock’ that paved the way for the intifada’s outbreak, especially its role in the stabbings of Zionists and in the famous al-Shuja'iyyah battle on 6 October 1987. The Muslim Brotherhood later created the Hamas movement, which marked a qualitative leap in its history. Fatah and the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) rode the wave and sought control and domination by setting up the Unified National Leadership of the Intifada, which excluded Hamas and Jihad.

The First Intifada lasted about six years, and maintained its popular character throughout. According to B’Tselem, only eighty-four Israelis were killed from its beginning until the end of 1991. Then, as a result of various regional and international subjective and objective conditions, the intifada flame died down, after being undermined by the option of a settlement and ‘peace’ with the enemy, which began with the Madrid Conference and the Washington negotiations and culminated in the 1993 Oslo Accords.

In general, the 1987 intifada was an uprising of the people and political groups – mainly Islamic Jihad, Hamas and PLO factions in the United National Leadership. The PA did not exist at the time, but emerged as a result of the betrayal and thwarting of the intifada, as a fruit of the PLO’s recognition of Israel – which appeared to be an achievement of the intifada won by the Zionist enemy and not by the Palestinian people who made the sacrifices.

2. The 1997 Nafaq (Tunnel) Intifada

This intifada took place during the peak of the Oslo negotiations and the PA process. It was referred to by the name ‘Al-Aqsa’ when it was revealed that the Benjamin Netanyahu government had dug a tunnel under the mosque.

The PA had identified 1999 as the date for a ‘final resolution’ and the declaration of a Palestinian state, and it sold this illusion to the people. Since then the PA has not hesitated to collaborate with the occupation authorities in suppressing and aborting the intifada.

3. The 2000 Al-Aqsa Intifada

The reason for the Al-Aqsa Intifada was that the Camp David negotiations had reached a stalemate in the middle of 2000. The sticking point in the negotiations was the question of the Aqsa Mosque. The Israelis wanted Jews to share it with the Palestinians on the basis that the space above ground in the Mosque’s compound (144 dunams/0.144 square kilometres) would be assigned to Muslim Palestinians for worship and the area below the ground would be assigned to the Jews. This would have meant that control below and above ground, i.e., over the entire Mosque, would be in Israeli hands and be part of their sovereignty over what it calls ‘united Jerusalem’. PLO chair Yasser Arafat rejected the proposal, and told US President Bill Clinton, who had supported the Israeli position: ‘If I accept this, my people will kill me.’

On 28 September 2000, the visit of then Israeli prime minister, Ariel Sharon, to Al-Aqsa Mosque sparked the intifada that Arafat had hoped for in order to improve his negotiating position. In that case the name ‘Al-Aqsa Intifada’ stuck because the people had risen against Sharon’s desecration of Al-Aqsa.

Two important developments took place during the Al-Aqsa Intifada. The first was a strong and clear shift to military action and martyrdom operations. This followed an increase in the loss of Palestinian life as a result of the violence and cruelty exercised by the occupation forces against the intifada. The uprising resulted in the deaths, according to Israeli sources, of 1084 Israeli soldiers and settlers from its commencement until its end in 2005. This was the first time in the history of the conflict that resistance fighters had inflicted such a huge human loss on the enemy forces. Perhaps this is the secret behind ‘the intifada phobia’ of the Zionists.

The second important development was that Arafat supported the intifada and instructed Fatah and PA’s security apparatuses to participate in it, while publicly declaring his commitment to a negotiated settlement. The intifada broke out seven years after the signing of the Oslo Accords, but the behaviour of Arafat and the PA were different in 2000 than during the 1997 intifada because their gamble on and expectation of a Palestinian state was left in the past after the enemy’s former prime minister, Yitzhak Rabin, announced that there were ‘no sacred dates’ for the settlement of that issue.

The 2000 Al-Aqsa Intifada, then, was an uprising of people and political factions and was backed by Arafat’s Authority. Yet the different parties had varied motives; the PA wanted to improve conditions for a settlement and strengthen its negotiating position, while the Hamas and Jihad endeavour was for the purpose of strengthening resistance for liberation. We should not forget that Arafat, may God have Mercy on him, paid with his life for his position on the intifada.

It is against this background that we ask what the reasons are for behind the current intifada’s flare-up.

Causes of 2015 Intifada

The following four main factors are associated with the outbreak of the current intifada.

1. Continued Zionist incursions into the Aqsa Mosque

Netanyahu and his ruling right-wing coalition have a scheme for the spatial division of Al-Aqsa Mosque; they wish to impose Jewish prayers in its precincts before seizing the whole complex with the aim of demolishing it to rebuild their ‘temple’.

The current frenzy in the Jewish ultra-nationalist and religious right over this issue has exceeded all imagination and crossed all lines. The Zionists’ declared programme and slogan nowadays are that the so-called Temple Mount or Al-Aqsa Mosque should belong to the Jews, and that it is time to ‘liberate’ it from the Muslims and ‘restore’ it to them.

The Zionist aggression went beyond Al-Aqsa and extended across the entire city of Jerusalem through Judaisation projects of all kinds and in every location, whether in the old city whose area does not exceed one square kilometre, or in its neighbourhoods in East Jerusalem where homes are being demolished, their residents displaced, and their identity cards withdrawn. Moreover, Israel’s construction of the separation wall has isolated tens of thousands of the city’s population from it, preventing entry to it by people from the West Bank. Such acts, together with various oppressive measures, heavy taxes and a decline in tourism have affected Jerusalem’s economic situation, reducing its contribution to the overall Palestinian economy from an estimated fifteen per cent before the Oslo Accords to the current seven per cent.

The threat to Jerusalem and Al-Aqsa have been felt most by our people in the 1948 areas, first by the Islamic Movement, and also by other political forces and parties. They represent the vanguard of Al-Aqsa’s defence, positioning themselves (as ‘murabitun’ or guards), on its grounds to protect it because of its elevated status and symbolic value.

A visit by Arab Knesset member Jamal Zahalka to Al-Aqsa provoked the Zionists whose media had earlier labelled him an atheist, and wondered why he visited the mosque. This reflects a battle over the mosque’s Arab Islamic character which the Zionists deny, thus denying a role in it for Arab Palestinians.

In order to understand the current Israeli escalation against Al-Aqsa Mosque, two major factors should be considered.

A. A lack of Arab and Muslim concern with Palestine and a preoccupation with the broader conflicts in the region have created a favourable opportunity for the Zionists. It is significant here to recall the words of a former deputy mayor of Jerusalem, Meron Benvenisti, who said in 2000: ‘[Ehud] Barak must abandon the illusion that it is possible to achieve peace while Israel maintained sovereignty over Jerusalem and Al-Aqsa Mosque…This will never happen because Arabs and Muslims will not allow it to happen.’

B. In light of events in the region, the current Zionist leadership believes that the seizure of Al-Aqsa will pass without active Arab and Muslim protest.

The trials that Arabs and Muslims experienced during the fifty-one days of Israel’s destructive 2014 war on Gaza was like the Resurrection that would bring the dead back to life, yet the region’s peoples, governments and capitals, deep in the blood of their own people, failed to awake, maintaining stances that ranged from total silence to gloating to collusion. It was only with God’s help, the people’s steadfastness, and the courage of the resistance fighters that Gaza and its resistance have survived to remain on the map.

In the minds of the Zionists, the tribulations of Gaza and the resultant reaction of Arab and Muslim peoples opened the way to Al-Aqsa. They thus decided to start their battle for the mosque. But just as they lost the battle in Gaza, so too shall they, God willing, fail in the fight to seize Al-Aqsa, which has again ignited the battle over the West Bank and Jerusalem.

2. Jewish settlers’ domination and growing aggression

The Zionist colonisation of the West Bank and Occupied Jerusalem is not simply about the presence of settlements and settlers – who now number between 600 000 and 700 000. By 2019, according to Netanyahu’s housing minister Uri Ariel, from the Jewish Home Party, the number of settlers in the West Bank alone will be 600 000. Taken together with Jerusalem, the number will exceed a million.

Another Israel or an undeclared ‘settler state’ now exists in occupied Jerusalem and the West Bank, having grown and developed in the shadow of the settlement process. Before 1991 eighty per cent of the West Bank had no settlement construction. With settlers having built their ‘state’ atop the ‘Palestinian state’ that was supposed to be established in the West Bank, a ‘two-state solution’ for Zionists now means sharing the West Bank under Israeli terms and conditions and in its service, not Palestine for Palestinians!

The ‘settler state’ is nurtured and developed by wild right-wingers who hold key seats in the Israeli government, such as housing minister Ariel and justice minister Ayelet Shaked (who had called for the slaughter of Palestinians) – both members of the Jewish Home party, in addition to the party’s leader and education minister Naftali Bennett. The list of right-wingers also includes former foreign minister Avigdor Lieberman, leader of Yisrael Beiteinu party, in addition to prime minister and Likud leader Netanyahu, who is allowing a free Jewish hand in settlement building and Judaisation schemes in Jerusalem and the West Bank.

The setter state around villages and towns in Jerusalem and the West Bank now uses armed militias similar to the Stern, Hagana and Irgun gangs that had operated before the Nakba that befell Palestine in 1948. Rabbis and former army officers lead the militias, with the Zionist police and occupation army protecting them. These settlers, whose existence and armed presence in the occupied Palestinian lands have never been recognised by any party other than Jews, are now launching a war on the Palestinians similar to the Zionist gang war launched before the Nakba. Their war is part of the Zionist government’s policy aimed at portraying events in the West Bank as a civil war rather than legitimate resistance against an occupation and colonisation of Palestinian land by settlers.

This year, settlers have already launched more than 1000 attacks against Palestinians in Jerusalem and the West Bank. They reached a peak with the burning of the Dawabsheh family and the murder of the sixteen-year-old Muhammad Abu Khdeir in Jerusalem, under protection from the occupation army and police who provide cover for such acts and support settler terrorism which targets people, land and all aspects of Palestinian life in Jerusalem and the West Bank.

The height of the settlers’ aggression was their incursion into Al-Aqsa Mosque to perform prayers and seize it. On his Facebook page Mohannad al-Halabi, who carried out a stabbing attack in Jerusalem on 3 October 2015 – before being martyred, wrote his last words which demonstrate what the mosque symbolises to many. He also referred to the settler attacks as factors leading to the explosion of the intifada.

When the armed PA security apparatus stands idly by as settlers commit terrorist acts supported by the occupation forces, burning people, trees, homes, mosques, and churches, and desecrating Al-Aqsa Mosque and threatening to demolish it, Palestinians have no choice but to take to the streets to defend themselves, their land and holy places with all the means available to them.

3. The collapse of the negotiations option

Talk about the failure of the negotiations or settlement option, and about the deadlock in this process is not new. Arafat realised it when the Al-Aqsa Intifada broke out in 2000, seven years after he signed the Oslo Accords. What, then, is the situation twenty-two years later?

The latest development on this issue was the bombshell announcement of PA president, Mahmoud Abbas, at the United Nations, when he declared that the PA will no longer observe the Oslo Accords. Yet, he did not. He told Israelis (according to Hussein al-Sheikh, a prominent Fatah leader): ‘The escalation will be in the speech but not in the decisions.’ It is worth noting that some Israelis challenged him to dare to withdraw from the Accords.

What Abbas said was simply repeating the admission that the Oslo Accords and the PA’s option had failed. Reiterating such words at the UN podium meant the end of this option, but the PA president, who once said that he could not move from one place to another in or outside Palestine without permission from the occupation authorities, did not announce that he would no longer be bound by the Oslo Accords or that he would abandon the PA. The survival of the PA is in the interest of Israel, not of the Palestinians, and it remains a cover for a trouble-free and cheap occupation.

In general, the ‘Oslo failed’ announcement, while seemingly abandoning the negotiations option, is no longer convincing to Palestinians – including some members of the Fatah movement – who had once seen promise in the PA and its work. It has, however, opened the door for them to look for alternatives.

4. The emergence of a new aware, bold and courageous generation

The generation that is now at the vanguard and standing on the front lines is aged between fifteen and twenty-three years. Members of this generation were born in the period of the failed Oslo Accords and the ensuing negotiations; the post-Oslo generation. Many expected that this generation would be domesticated, with distorted minds to obliterate its national character and culture and to kill its spirit of struggle. Yet, this generation has proven that such an expectation is baseless.

We are faced by a generation that lived its childhood during the Al-Aqsa Intifada period; as youth, is members witnessed the PA turning against it and considering it a disaster. They grew stronger, becoming more aware as they watched Israel’s ‘convenient’ occupation that created new realities on the ground marked with aggressiveness, seizing all that it found, and leaving nothing for the Palestinians.

As children and youth, this generation felt the rhythm of resistance victories against the Zionist enemy in Lebanon, and the defeat of the Israeli occupation army by the Palestinian resistance in Gaza, which in three previous wars had remained steadfast and unwavering. They realised that a person’s will and resolution could result in a miracle. Thus, they became more alert to the facts and course of the conflict, and were emboldened with courage in confronting the Zionist soldiers and settlers.

Such is a generation that possesses global knowledge and communication tools, which were not available to previous generations during past uprisings. This generation has liberated itself of the fear of Israel and of hopefulness in the PA and its project to a far greater extent than even some veteran cadres and icons from the various factions.

This is a generation that only fears for the future and destiny of its people and its cause, at a time when the situation in the Arab region is collapsing under civil wars and sectarian conflicts with the Palestine issue being left behind, while an open or secret rush towards the Zionist entity takes place.

Therefore, with the Arabs abandoning Palestine, and the PA failing in its responsibility to protect its people and relying on the failed settlement option, the new generation has decided to take the initiative and break the impasse, to ignite confrontation and defend themselves, their people, land and holy places with a knife, stone, Molotov cocktail and run over operations, along with any other available simple weapon against an arrogant enemy, who everyone knows should only responds to the language of force.

The intifada’s main features and participants

The intifada’s major attributes are:

  1. Participation of all Palestinians around Palestine, from Rafah to Ras al-Naqura, either through active involvement or through their support and solidarity.
  2. Involvement by Palestinians in the 1948 areas with a remarkably strengthening role. (We see this in Jaffa, Nazareth, Afula, Tamra, Shefa-Amr, Sakhnin, Umm al-Fahm, Ramla, Naqab, etc.)
  3. Individual operations such as stabbings (described as the ‘intifada of knives’), similar to the individual operations that characterised the 1987 intifada.
  4. A perceived dominance of youth aged between fifteen and twenty-three years, in what appears to be a ‘youth revolution’, thus breaking the barrier of fear of occupation forces’ repression in this age group. Attempts by the PA to domesticate these young people and corrupt life around them have failed.
  5. Defence of Al-Aqsa and Jerusalem is central to confronting the Judaisation and demolition policies.
  6. Use of firearms and explosives has been avoided, and only popular resistance tools such as knives, stones, Molotov cocktails, burning tyres, roadblocks and run-over operations being used.
  7. The occupation is the target, and clashes with the PA have been avoided despite its attempts to curb or stifle the intifada (as was the case in Bethlehem).
  8. Unity of all Palestinian groups on the ground, regardless of their affiliations, has been achieved.
  9. The intifada’s spread to the Gaza Strip where clashes with occupation forces have taken place along the border.
  10. The lack of a (necessary) required Arab and Islamic interaction with the intifada.

It is important to have a clear sense of the forces involved in the intifada. Given the specificity and complexity of our people in the 1948 areas who are involved in the intifada, we will exclude them in this discussion. In the West Bank, Jerusalem and the Gaza Strip, the following forces are involved.

1. There are two groups of Palestinian people:

A: The young generation (fifteen to twenty-three years, mainly male and female school and university students) which fuels the intifada and serves as its army leading the confrontation.

B: The general public (adults).

Two aspects, one negative and one positive, characterise the positions of various sectors within the general public, mainly in the West Bank and, to a certain extent, in Jerusalem.

On the negative side, we have perceived the following:

-          Caution and anticipation among a wide range of people.

-          Hesitation and lack of enthusiasm to join the intifada, either as a result of the PA discouraging them by raising fears over the lives of their children, their livelihoods and interests, or a lack of confidence in the PA, fearing that it may negotiate over the uprising, and offer more concessions. Such feelings may also result from a lack of confidence in the various Palestinian factions, in light of the divisions between Fatah and Hamas, and the conflict over power and influence under the occupation.

-          Fear that the bloodshed and sacrifices will be wasted without any significant results towards liberation from the occupation.

On the positive side, we have perceived the following:

-          High morale among people as a result of the heroic operations carried out by the intifada’s youth.

-          Empathy with children of the younger generation, and support to and pride in their heroic acts.

-          Warmth towards the martyrs. The funeral of the hero martyr Mohannad al-Halabi has been described as the largest ever in the history of al-Bireh and the second largest after that of Abu Ammar (Yasser Arafat) in the entire region of Ramallah and al-Bireh.

2. Palestinian factions: Despite their varied motives, Fatah, Hamas, Jihad, the Popular Front and other factions are participating in the intifada activities, each according to its ability and presence in a specific area.

3. The Palestinian Authority: The PA is involved – through its discouraging people. It is working to contain the intifada and end it through security coordination with occupation authorities.

The nature and reality of the parties’ role in the intifada can be understood through their various stated positions.

The PA position

The PA does not want an intifada, which is embarrassing it and making it appear weak to Israel and the world, and proves that it is isolated from its people, their decisions and their struggle.

The head of the PA security apparatus has urged action to prevent the intifada escalating. ‘We are peaceful people who want a political solution, a resumption of the negotiations and revival of the Road Map,’ he said.

The PA is holding on to security coordination with the Zionist enemy, and the search for and arrest of resistance activists or those supporting them. Haaretz reported on a meeting on 6 October 2015 between senior PA officers and Israeli army and security officers to discuss ways to curb and contain the intifada and end what they called ‘violence’.

Officially, the PA has refrained from any statements that might anger the Palestinian people. But it launched a campaign through unofficial media outlets to cast doubts on the intifada and its effectiveness, even describing it as ‘an Israeli scheme’ to entrap the Palestinian people. Some went further by saying, ‘The intifada is not ours, but an uprising of the Israelis and the settlers.’

Since the uprising has forced its presence on the ground and became a fait accompli, the PA has been seeking to coopt and take advantage of it, if possible, in order to force the Israeli back to negotiations.

There is a disjuncture between the position of the PA and its ruling party, Fatah. Some Fatah spokespersons have spoken as if they were the only actors behind the intifada. This is an attempt to regain Palestinian support, since sixty-five per cent of Palestinians had called at the outbreak of the intifada for PA president, Mahmoud Abbas, to step down, and had expressed support for the resistance, according to polls.

The PA is unhappy with the participation of especially Hamas and Islamic Jihad in the intifada, fearing that they will gain an advantage through their involvement, or that the people will rally behind the resistance option.

Significantly, the PA announced its willingness to send a Fatah delegation to meet Hamas, with Islamic Jihad in attendance. The two movements snubbed the proposal, fearing that it could detract from the intifada and focus Palestinian attention on issues of division, reconciliation, unity, the government and others internal disputes, as well talking about internal Palestinian issues. Slipping into this mode would lead to further demolition of the Palestinian home, if its people are asked to stop confronting the occupation in battles in Jerusalem and the West Bank, and to rush behind an illusion of reconciliation and unity with no visible basis for such between Hamas and Fatah or between the Gaza and Ramallah authorities.

Similarly, some PA, Fatah and PLO figures have repeatedly called for the formation of a unified national leadership for the intifada, invoking similar experiences in 1987. But at that time the unified leadership did not include either the ‘Oslo Authority’, which did not exist, or Hamas or Islamic Jihad. It is well known that it was formed even without the knowledge of Yasser Arafat, who unofficially sided with the intifada. So on what basis is a call for unity made – especially by an Authority whose clear goal is to contain and abort the intifada, not to or strengthen it or ensure its continuity?

The PA seeks to liaise with Jordan and Egypt to reach an agreement that will allow it to exploit and co-opt the intifada to serve the negotiations, and to make Jordan to bear the responsibility of any formula that might be agreed upon with Israel on the situation in Al-Aqsa Mosque, under the pretext that Jordan is the custodian of the holy shrines.

Finally, the intifada has tested the PA and Fatah claims of support for and adoption of ‘popular resistance’. Will the Authority allow people and Fatah members to take to the streets in its areas to demonstrate as part of intifada activities, and to march to the spots where clashes with the occupation forces take place?

The Israeli position

The new intifada forced the Zionist enemy’s government into an impasse. This is indicated by Netanyahu’s face and tone when he talks about the intifada, as well as in the decline of his popularity, and the rise of rivals within his right-wing coalition.

According to an opinion poll conducted by Israel’s Channel 2, published on 10 October 2015, seventy-three per cent of Israelis were unsatisfied with Netanyahu’s leadership and policy following the outbreak of the intifada. In a question posed to Israelis, who are greatly shifting to the right, about who they believe is the right person to deal with security issues, twenty-two per cent chose Avigdor Lieberman, leader of Yisrael Beiteinu party, and seventeen per cent picked Jewish Home party leader Naftali Bennett. Netanyahu was third, selected by fifteen per cent of those polled.

It is worth noting that Netanyahu’s popularity did not see such a sharp decline during the 2014 Israeli war on Gaza; on the contrary, his popularity increased when it began.

The intifada has revealed Israeli society’s fragile psychological situation and the central place of security in the lives of its members. The intifada – which was described by the Israeli media, and by its ‘fellow’ Palestinian official media, as ‘habba’ (or upheaval) – led Netanyahu to state that Israel was in ‘great danger’ (because of the ‘habba’?). He called on Israeli political parties to form a unity government to confront the intifada’s threat, and the rising of what he called a ‘wave of terrorism’. Netanyahu issued the same unity call several weeks ago, following developments in other parts of the Middle East, but now it is as a result of events in the West Bank, Jerusalem and the whole of Palestine...due to the habba.

The Channel 2 poll also highlighted an obsession with security. Seventy-nine per cent of Israeli respondents indicated that they lost the feeling of security as a result of the intifada. This was translated into deserted streets in Jerusalem at certain times of the day.

The Israeli impasse

The impasse facing Netanyahu and his government involves a highly complicated and complex situation.

Netanyahu cannot abandon his plan to divide and control Al-Aqsa because such a move will anger the Jewish right, his allies in the coalition. Nor can he proceed with such plans because the result will be continued clashes with the Palestinians, and a sense of embarrassment before those Arabs he seeks to win over to his side in the battle against what he calls Palestinian ‘terrorism’, which he likens to the Islamic State group.

Netanyahu cannot curb the right-wing settlers and halt their predominance. In fact, he protects them, but with the settlers going on the loose, the situation could develop in unexpected ways, with massacres committed against the Palestinians, thus pushing the confrontation to new levels.

Netanyahu cannot abandon his tactic of managing the conflict with the Palestinians while avoiding a final settlement with the PA. Similarly, he cannot bear the consequences of the prevailing Palestinian feeling that the settlement process has reached a dead end.

Netanyahu cannot meet the desires and demands of his partners in the right-wing coalition to declare an all-out war on the intifada, because this would be athe coup de grace to the Oslo Authority and its end at the hands of Israel, which does not want to waste its services on Israeli security.really does not want to abandon it or lose the services it provides to ensure Israeli security. On the other hand, a failure to meet his partners’ wishes would threaten to collapse the coalition, and he is not ready to concede the power to develop new policies to the Zionist Camp and leftists, especially as regards a political solution and the relationship with the Palestinians.

Netanyahu has responded by strengthening repressive measures against the Palestinians, including demolishing homes of those who carry out resistance operations, preventing access to Al-Aqsa Mosque, dividing Jerusalem into ten security zones, punishing its people, and mobilising thousands of policemen and four Israeli army units in the West Bank. He constructs more roadblocks, intensifies arrests – especially administrative detention – as he seeks to reach what some people portray as a ‘balance of blood’ with the Palestinians rather than a balance through deterrence. He accomplishes this through shedding Palestinian blood and cold-blooded killings of Palestinians, as was evident in the shooting of Isra’a Abed, a female citizen of Nazareth, in the town of Afula; and Hadeel al-Hashlamoun in Hebron. Netanyahu does not seem to carefully weigh the consequences or consider the possibility that Palestinians across the spectrum would accept the challenge and enter into the circle of such a ‘balance of blood’.

Netanyahu is facing an impasse in which he attacks the PA and accuses it of inciting the violence, while he needs it to join him in suppressing the intifada. Since he is unprepared to change tack and offer concessions to the Authority, he resorts to easing the tone of his speech about Abbas, halting attacks on him and asking for his help in moves to confront ‘Palestinian terrorism’ – the common enemy of Israel and the Authority, as he claims.

Netanyahu also accuses Hamas more than any other movement of being behind the West Bank events, just as he did in Gaza. This is a message directed mainly at Abbas and Fatah, warning them that the intifada’s persistence, which may undermine the Authority, is a goal sought by Hamas in order to replace the PA. This message implies that Hamas is the PA’s and Israel’s common enemy, and that both should work against it by fighting the intifada, which is an uprising of the Palestinian people, not of Hamas or any other faction.

In conclusion, the intifada has brought the Zionist entity to an impasse, as seen in the confusion and uncertainty in the behaviour of the enemy’s government, and the decline in its leader’s popularity. As described by analyst Udi Segal from Israel’s Channel 2, the Netanyahu government is in a grave state of dizziness.

 

The Hamas position

Hamas seeks to maintain its rule of the Gaza Strip, protect resistance as its preferred option, and avoid being dragged into a new confrontation with Israel. Hamas supports the resistance and the intifada in the West Bank to confront Israeli aggression in all its forms, and also wants to force the PA into an embarrassing position.

The PA fears that Hamas might exploit the intifada to revive its stature and increase its influence in the West Bank, while maintaining its rule of Gaza, thus perpetuating the state of division.

As part of its moves to revolutionise the West Bank, a Hamas cell carried out the shooting of two settlers (a husband and wife). Israel arrested five members of the cell, and declared this a major achievement. Yet Israel did not accuse the Hamas leadership of being behind the attack, because it wanted to avoid having to strike the movement in Gaza, and slipping into an unwanted military confrontation, at least while an intifada is raging with no guarantees that it will stop. A war on Gaza will, rather, strengthen the intifada.

Some Israeli sources have said that Netanyahu sent a calming message to Hamas through a third party indicating that he did not want a confrontation in Gaza – after he had accused it of being responsible for the escalation in Gaza by allowing demonstrators to reach to the border with Israel and clash with occupation troops.

Some official Arab and Palestinian parties claim that Hamas seeks to profit from its role in the intifada in order to extract a price from the PA, with a view to entering into a full partnership with the PA and Fatah in deciding the Palestinians’ future, and also in consideration of the Arab and international positions on Hamas’ rule of Gaza and its role in Palestine.

Casting doubt on Hamas’s intentions and behaviour is, in our view, part of a Zionist game to strike at the unity of the Palestinian position on the intifada. It is therefore important to pay attention to such a game and assert the importance of coordination with Hamas and other powers on the ground.

 

The Islamic Jihad position

Being a resistance movement that has not joined the Authority created by the Oslo Accords, Islamic Jihad advocates for the continuation of the resistance and the intifada in Jerusalem and the West Bank to confront Israel’s continued aggression, in line with its preference for the option of jihad and resistance.

As Islamic Jihad was present at the beginning of the first intifada in 1987, today too it maintains a strong presence, especially in operations carried out by its people against settlers, such as Mu’ataz Hijazi who was martyred in Jerusalem after an assassination attempt on Yehuda Glick, a Jewish rabbi who was the spearhead of the Jewish settlers’ incursions into Al-Aqsa. Other Jihad martyrs were Dhia Talahmeh, killed in Hebron, and Mohannad al-Halabi. Before carrying out the operation in which an Israeli reserve officer and a settler rabbi were killed near Jerusalem, Halabi wrote on his Facebook page that ‘the third intifada has begun’. Many considered him the one who sparked the intifada’s outbreak.

Jihad worked earnestly on the eve of this intifada to activate and revolutionise the situation on the ground by highlighting the cases of Palestinian prisoners on hunger strike, especially Sheikh Khader Adnan and lawyer Mohammad Allan, and the great victory they achieved with their strike, supported by the movement leadership and the Al-Quds Brigades, and by threatening to end the truce in Gaza.

Jihad follows the intifada’s daily activities, either by joining in its events on the ground or in marches, as seen in Gaza and in other parts of the West Bank. The movement also provides support through the Palestine Today TV station, Radio Jerusalem in Gaza, as well as on websites and through social media. As Jihad has participated in the intifada, it has revived the spirit of the movement in the West Bank, as the enemy had accused it (and accused it, also, of building a military unit in the north and centre of the West Bank).

Islamic Jihad considers resistance and the intifada to be the path to liberation and defeat of the occupation, or ‘freedom and independence’ in the words of Sheikh Khader Adnan, a view which the PA and its supporters did not like. He came under a wave of severe criticism, according to political analyst Hani al-Masri, to the extent of casting doubts on his beliefs, thus ignoring the role model he represented and the legendary steadfastness he stood for and expressed in his words.

Current events, in Jihad’s perspective, represent a real intifada, but the movement does not recommend describing it as a ‘third intifada’ because this will diminish the Palestinian history of struggle, presenting it as if it had only begun with the 1987 Intifada. Interestingly, the 1987 Intifada was not called the ‘First Intifada’ until the Al-Aqsa Intifada broke out in 2000. It is also noteworthy that the Palestinian people carried out several famous revolts and uprisings during the 1920s during the British Mandate, and at the inception of the Zionist scheme in Palestine.

Islamic Jihad believes that designating the intifada as a ‘habba’ or ‘upheaval’ diminishes it, which is the intention of the PA and the occupation. The term ‘intifada’ should not be abandoned; it has no synonym in any other language, and Palestinians have inserted it into all languages’ dictionaries.

Associating the intifada with Jerusalem, where the battle takes place and with Al-Aqsa being threatened, is an issue of great significance. The right term, from Jihad’s perspective, could be one of the following:

The Second Al-Aqsa Intifada:

-      This highlights the status of Al-Aqsa and its central position to the battle.

-      The use of the word ‘second’ is not a repetition or an attempt to encapsulate the events, but is meant to revive the Al-Aqsa Intifada and associate it with the current one.

-      It does not cover all of Jerusalem in terms of land, people and holy places.

The Quds (Jerusalem) Intifada:

-      This is a term that covers Jerusalem with all its neighbourhoods and features, its people, Muslims and Christians, and their holy places that are being targeted by the Israeli occupation.

-      It highlights the status of Jerusalem as a city, the capital of Palestine and a symbol of its holiness.

In light of the above, the ‘Quds Intifada’ can be adopted for its significance, and the possibility of agreement with other factions, at least with Hamas.

The Leftist position

The leftists in the Popular and Democratic Fronts (PFLP and DFLP), the Palestinian National Initiative and other parties and groups join the intifada activities at different levels, based on the size of their presence and the organisational or popular weight of each. The Popular Front is, however, involved in the intifada beyond what its size might suggest.

The PFLP agrees on certain issues in the PLO’s programme with the PA and Fatah, but some members are critical of the Authority’s performance in negotiations and call for an improvement in the conditions for negotiations, though not abandoning negotiations per se.

The leftist discourse aligns at times with that of Fatah and the PA, but is ahead of them in calling for the formation of a ‘unified national leadership’. However, it does not point out the impossibility of partnering with the PA in leading a struggle agenda against the occupation, considering that the PA sanctifies its security cooperation with the enemy. As such, the motto of a ‘unified national leadership’ is no more than an entry point for taming and containing the Intifada.

The Arab and Islamic position

The Arab world is preoccupied with its own affairs and is not paying attention to developments in Palestine. It is not only a lack of interest; there is an undeclared rush by some countries towards Israel, with reports, for example, of Saudi-Israeli contacts and meetings.

Notably, Egyptian President Abdul Fattah el-Sisi, in his speech at the United Nations, called for expanding the circle of ‘peace’ with ‘Israel’, and called on other countries to follow Egypt, Jordan and the PA in recognising Israel and signing a peace deal with Tel Aviv without any conditions, without demanding that it commits to accords it has signed with the Palestinians, or even calling on it to accept the Arab Initiative – with all its shortcomings.

There are weaknesses in the positions of Islamic bodies and movements, and Muslim scholars and preachers, in terms of expressing concern with the issue of Al-Aqsa and the threats facing it, except for a few timid voices.

One of the major aspects of Arab and Islamic weakness in interacting with Palestine, which is causing a great loss to the intifada and the resistance movement, is what is happening in Syria, which is preoccupying them (e.g. Iran, Syria, Hizbullah) and exhausting their capabilities.

In conclusion, the official Arab position does not seem interested, in any way, in supporting the intifada and its continuation. In fact, it is feared that some parties might assist the PA and Israel in circumventing and containing the intifada without any consideration for the consequences of the Zionist policy of continuing to target Jerusalem and Al-Aqsa Mosque. In addition, any expectations of a settlement restoring to the Palestinian people the minimum level of their rights to the land will fail.

As for the people themselves, they have been preoccupied with internal conflicts which have exhausted their capabilities, but this does not mean they would give up Al-Aqsa Mosque. If this intifada continues, it will have implications for correcting the region’s compass and directing its energies anew towards supporting the Palestinian people and their legitimate struggle against the Zionist occupation.

The US and international position

The US still regards Israel as a victim and provides cover for all its crimes. The US administration has declared that the stabbings of settlers by Palestinians as ‘terrorist acts’, with total disregard for the terrorism of the settlers and the occupation forces against unarmed Palestinians.

We believe that the Americans, who prevented PA President Mahmoud Abbas from meeting Netanyahu at the United Nations, will again contact the two sides to pacify the situation and encourage them to return to the negotiating table in order to cooperate on combating the ‘terrorism’ of the Palestinian people, or to kill the intifada!

It is unknown whether the Obama administration, which had turned its back on the Middle East flare-ups, will re-enter through the Palestinian situation to impose a final solution on the conflict. Should it re-engage, it will not be on the side of the Palestinians, because the USA cannot change the convictions of Netanyahu and the Jewish right. Instead, it will seek to put pressure on the Palestinians to accept the Israeli ‘solution’, regardless of whether Abbas or anyone else is in power. Such attempts are doomed, and will be no better than those of Clinton and his administration to reach a solution after the outbreak of the 2000 Al-Aqsa Intifada.

The European position, on the other hand, goes no further than seeing the current developments as an opportunity to resume negotiations. The European position cannot exceed the ceiling set by the USA.

Russia is preoccupied with Syria, and it is unlikely that, in light of Moscow’s relations with Israel, it would adopt a position or interfere in favour of the Palestinians.

Expected scenarios should the intifada continue

There are three possibilities for the course and future of the current intifada:

1. The intifada will escalate and expand into a comprehensive intifada and an open confrontation, with the participation of all Palestinians. This requires the PA to side with the intifada, as Arafat previously did, and to instruct its security forces to defend the Palestinian people. It will need to cease persecution of the resistance, cooperate with it and provide it with weapons or return those confiscated by the PA in the past decade. This option is unlikely in the current circumstances; Arafat is not in power, as former PA minister and Legislative Council member Nabil Amr noted.

In the event of any developments or surprises, such as either the Israeli or Palestinian side tipping the ‘blood balance’ through Israeli massacres or large Palestinian military operations, things could get out of hand. The situation may change especially if the intifada youth succeed in dragging Fatah, with its strong position in the West Bank, into a confrontation.

2. The intifada will continue at its current pace. The chances of its continuation are good because of the persistence of its causes – from continued aggression, Zionist incursions into Al-Aqsa, the encroachment of uncontrollable settlers, to a deadlock in negotiations and the emergence of a post-Oslo generation. Yet these causes may not be sufficient for the intifada to continue with the same intensity, especially if the Zionist policy of repression continues with PA collusion, and if Arabs and Muslims ignore the developments on the ground.

3. A third possibility is that of the intifada being contained under the hammer of Israeli repression, with the PA’s collusion and discouragement, lack of support from the Arab and Islamic world and US interference to pressure the two sides to return to negotiations. The PA in Ramallah favours this option because it seeks to maintain itself; even if no progress is made towards a settlement, or if there are no gains from Israel, it is important for the PA that the intifada’s flame is extinguished.

In conclusion, it seems the first possibility, comprehensive escalation, is unlikely at this early stage. Containing or aborting the intifada is not easy, but remains a possibility. Therefore, we expect the intifada to continue for the foreseeable future, at the same pace or in varying degrees, from day to day and place to place.

However, it should be noted that the host of factors and issues discussed here will determine whether the intifada will persist or end. The most important of these factors are: the Israeli position, the PA position, the positions of Palestinian factions – particularly Fatah, Hamas and Islamic Jihad, the position of the Palestinian people and their ability to stand firm, the Arab and Islamic positions, and the US and international positions.

The intifada’s achievements

Despite questions raised about the intifada’s effectiveness, the following achievements can be recorded at this early stage:

1. The Palestinian cause has been revived and is attracting more attention from the world.

2. Palestinian unity has been reaffirmed, emphasising that Palestine has one people and a sole cause, which is to liberate its homeland from Zionist occupation.

3. Jerusalem’s centrality to the conflict has been highlighted as the full spectrum of the Palestinian people, with all its denominations and various affiliations, rallied around the cause of Al-Aqsa and the danger posed to it.

4. The intifada has caused confusion within the Zionist entity, government, security and military institutions, revealing the fragile nature of their security, and blocking their schemes for Jerusalem and Al-Aqsa Mosque.

5. All attempts to domesticate the new generation of young Palestinians, to wipe out its cultural and national character, and to defeat its spirit of struggle have been thwarted.

6. The intifada has demonstrated the Palestinian ability to be creative and innovative in the methods of confrontation and popular resistance.

7. The intifada has highlighted the role and place of Palestinian women in the struggle, with their guarding of Al-Aqsa, confronting Israeli troops and settlers, and stabbing attacks against Zionists.

8. The intifada has raised the morale of the Palestinian people and its pride in the generation of youth, male and female, who stood up to defend Al-Aqsa, the land and people, and has raised the martyrs and martyrdom to a high status.

9. Zionist public morale has been undermined, with feelings that security is lost, and their confidence in their leadership and their existence on Palestinian land has been shaken.

Risks and threats to the intifada

1. Continuous security coordination between the PA and the occupation authorities, and collaboration in containing and subduing the intifada.

2. Jerusalem left to face the enemy while there is minimal involvement and participation in the intifada in the rest of the West Bank.

3. Isolation of Gaza from the intifada for fear of an overall military confrontation in the area.

4. Urgency and failure to live through the various phases of the intifada by departing early from the realm of popular action to martyrdom bombings or rocket attacks.

5. Zionists exploiting divisions among the various factions and deepening the rifts between them, especially between Hamas and Fatah, in order to remove the latter from the intifada.

6. Escalation of Zionist oppression, especially by arresting intifada activists and cadres of various factions under the watch of, or in coordination with, the PA.

7. Decline in the participation of our people in the 1948 areas who live under Zionist oppression and are subjected to arbitrary measures. Alternately, their role being negatively affected if people in the West Bank and Jerusalem join the intifada.

8. Continued absence of Arab and Islamic popular and official support for the intifada.

9. US and western intervention to save the Zionist government from the intifada crisis by proposing a project to pacify the situation in the enemy’s favour.

10. The PA surrendering to Zionist and US dictates, and accepting any solution that might bring it back to the negotiating table – even if it has no positive outcome, and halts the intifada.

Prospects: Strengthening the possibility of the intifada continuing

Ensuring the intifada’s continuation and escalation, and preventing attempts to contain or abort it requires all forces to participate, especially the resistance forces. Among others, this requires the following:

1. Resolve the controversy about its name and insist on calling it an ‘intifada’ rather than an upheaval or ‘habba’, a word that should be withdrawn from daily use because it belittles the current developments. The term ‘Al-Aqsa Intifada’ is recommended and should be agreed upon by all resistance forces.

2. Affirm the intifada’s popular character, pave the way for youth to be at the forefront, and avoid factional rivalries and attempts to jump on the bandwagon because this will generate frustration and undermine the morale of the youth and the general public.

3. Develop a clear and specific goal for the intifada. Voices calling for rationality or realism in defining goals are not acceptable during battle because this is a way of limiting and discouraging activities, and is the beginning of a path towards containing and aborting the intifada. Therefore the goal should not be restricted to preventing the enemy from implementing a temporal and spatial division of Al-Aqsa Mosque, or responding to settler attacks, but should be raised to be liberation from occupation, and the unconditional defeat of the occupation in the West Bank and Jerusalem. Even if this takes place in stages and the struggle takes a long time, the enemy will feel that the cost of remaining an occupying power is too high to bear, and so it will be forced to evacuate certain areas or implement a unilateral disengagement, as happened in Gaza. It is important that the area of disengagement is expanded.

4. Emphasise that the failure of the negotiations option is a cause of the intifada, and rally the people to adopt and support the struggle (jihad) and the resistance. This requires avoiding uncertainty and softness in discourse around the PA, its positions and behaviour by stating that its insistence and expectations of a partnership with the enemy – which undermined all possibility to establish a Palestinian state in the negotiations – is betting on an illusion, and that continuing negotiations will not change the realities imposed on the ground by the enemy to prolong its occupation. Care should be taken at this time to maintain a tone of unity, and to avoid offending, abusing or distrusting others, and to avoid rivalry or bickering with any party.

5. Flexibility and diversity, and even realism, are tools of the struggle, not the goal. Avoid insisting on a specific form of resistance, because the intifada is a popular action where people take the initiative and devise methods for self-defence and confronting the enemy. All available means of resistance are legitimate and necessary, whether a demonstration, stone, knife or gun. It is the moment and the possibility that defines and imposes the means more than an organisational decision, especially in light of the spread of individual initiatives among the youth. It is important to avoid rushing to martyrdom attacks or firing rockets. This is a popular intifada that should run its course, while the intifada and its resistance activities are constantly monitored in the face of the enemy’s oppressive tools.

6. Distinguish between the positions of the PA and of Fatah, particularly its younger generation, while pushing the latter towards more involvement in the resistance and intifada. This requires a different approach, from Hamas in particular, to ease Fatah’s concerns, which includes doubts about Hamas’s intentions to control the Authority, replace Fatah in the PA, or remove it entirely.

7. Emphasise the intifada’s universality in all of Palestine. This requires expanding the area of confrontation in the West Bank, which has been limited so far, so that Jerusalem will not be singled out by the enemy. Gaza should also not be isolated from the events in the West Bank and Jerusalem, or alienated from the conflict under the pretext of avoiding a military confrontation or a new war in the region. Gaza has a permanent reason to rise up in order to end the imposed blockade and proceed with reconstruction. Therefore, Gaza should not be excluded from the Quds Intifada at a time when our relatives in the 1948 areas are involved.

A comprehensive confrontation can be avoided by uniting all the resistance forces, controlling rocket fire, and maintaining the intifada’s popular nature. This includes engagement with the enemy at border posts, within certain parameters that help reduce losses as much as possible. It should be noted that a generation similar to the one leading the intifada in the West Bank exists in Gaza, yet with a more intense mood as a result of the state of siege and imprisonment Gazans live in.

8. The intifada and resistance forces should avoid falling into traps and manoeuvres that the PA could resort to, such as calling for a reconciliation dialogue to divert attention away from the intifada, or to set up a unified national leadership under the pretext of seeking to achieve national unity, but which aims to contain and crush the intifada. However, a distinction should be drawn between a ‘unified front’ and any other form of coordination among intifada participants, such as creating grassroots bodies – which is important. All factions, including Fatah, should work on a formula for this purpose.

9. Ignore sceptical or discouraging campaigns launched by several parties with regard to the intifada’s feasibility and the struggle, specifically those voices that say that the current Arab and international situation will not allow the Palestinian people to harvest the fruits of their resistance and sacrifices. They say Palestinians should drop their stones or any weapon in their hands, spare themselves the difficult effort and blood, and wait for the world’s conscience to awake and return what Israel holds, a few clumps of soil from what is left of the land. Such voices reflect the mouthpiece of the Zionist enemy which aims to perpetuate the occupation and swallow all of Palestine.

10. Work to awaken the Arab and Islamic fronts through the cause of Jerusalem and the Al-Aqsa Mosque to regain interest in the Palestinian issue within an Arab, Islamic and international framework, despite everything that is happening in the areas of conflict and chaos.

11. Work to provide the required support to the Palestinian people in face of oppressive Zionist policies, especially demolition of homes in Jerusalem and of homes belonging to Palestinians who carry out resistance attacks, in addition to restrictions imposed on their living conditions and economic situation. These aim to break the will of the people and destroy their morale in order to force them to abandon the intifada and refrain from participating in its activities.

12. Call for an end to an unjustified warming of relations by some Arab parties towards the Zionist enemy, which violates Islamic shrines and threatens to demolish Al-Aqsa Mosque. Also call for a halt to calls for normalisation – both open and secret, especially invitations to visit Al-Aqsa Mosque under the spears of the Israeli occupation and with permission from its embassies around the world.

13. Finally, this could be the first time in the history of the Palestinian people that they are confronting the Zionist enemy without any official Palestinian support or pan-Arab, Islamic or international backing. Yet it is the awakening of the post-Oslo generation that has communicated a message to the entire world that Palestine cannot be forgotten and will remain on the battlefield.

Whatever the current path and fate of the intifada, we should view it as a link in a long chain, from the history of a long, bitter and complicated conflict with the Zionist colonial project. Should the intifada’s flame fade today, it will be reignited tomorrow, as long as a new Palestinian generation is born, every day, every hour and minute, on the land of Palestine, in Bayt Al-Maqdis, its outskirts and in every part of the world.

Last modified on Wednesday, 13 January 2016 12:37

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