New Palestinian Intifada in the making

Al-Ahram Weekly Editorial
Thursday 25 Oct 2018

Egypt quickly intervened late last week to prevent a military escalation in Gaza after several rockets were fired by an unknown group towards nearby Israeli settlements.

As usual, Israel responded with a wide-scale bombing campaign that hit 25 alleged “Hamas targets”, killing one Palestinian and injuring several others.

The deputy director of Egyptian Intelligence was dispatched to Gaza to meet with Hamas leaders who wisely distanced themselves from that act, and confirmed their commitment to the understandings mediated by Egypt to maintain a shaky truce in Gaza.

The Islamic Jihad group also denied any relation to the firing of the projectiles that exploded outside a home at the city of Bir Al-Sabea, causing no injuries.

Both groups condemned the attack and said that it threatened to derail efforts, led by Egypt, to reach a permanent truce in Gaza.

Hamas and the Islamic Jihad are both aware that the Egyptian mediation effort is not only aimed at preventing military attacks by Israel’s army but, equally important, to bring to an end the inhuman Israeli siege of Gaza that has turned the lives of more than two million people into a horrific nightmare.

Nevertheless, as the Israeli elections are getting close, and Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu faces a serious investigation into alleged bribes he received, the usual irresponsible rhetoric came from the Israeli Defence Ministry warning of a wide-scale offensive against Gaza.

By arbitrarily striking targets in Gaza, Israel’s army and defence minister are also aiming to punish Palestinians for insisting on their right to peaceful protest along the border with Israel over the past six months, in what is known as “the Great March of Return”.

On a weekly basis, Palestinians have been demonstrating peacefully along the ugly wall built by Israel along Gaza’s border, without fear of the merciless Israeli killing machine.

Since the protests started, more than 200 Palestinians, including children and women, were shot dead in cold blood. Yet, this did not prevent Palestinians from coming up with creative means of resistance to keep their revolt alive.

Indeed, Palestinians are going through unprecedented tough times, considering the turmoil in the region that followed the popular revolts in several Arab countries in early 2011.

The Palestinian cause is no longer at the top of the Arab and international agenda. The peoples of Syria, Iraq, Libya and Yemen, for example, have enough bloodshed and violence in their own countries that require international attention and effort to bring peace back to their nations.

Moreover, since US President Donald Trump came to office nearly two years ago, he has adopted stances that are not just biased towards Israel, but even more extreme than some of the right-wing Zionist groups that recognise no Palestinian rights, or even see them as human beings.

Trump ignored all international laws and UN resolutions and recognised occupied Jerusalem as Israel’s capital.

To pressure Palestinians to accept a “business deal” offered by his son-in-law, he went further and suspended hundreds of millions of dollars in UNRWA financing that were vital to provide for the basic needs for Palestinians living under occupation, or in refugee camps in Jordan, Lebanon and Syria.

Thus, Palestinians, whether in Gaza, the West Bank or occupied Jerusalem have no alternative but to fight for their own rights, through all peaceful means and successful worldwide campaigns such as Boycott, Divest and Sanction (BDS).

While there have been repeated warnings of the consequences of the dire living conditions in Gaza, with no jobs, electricity or freedom of movement, recent reports have suggested that the situation in the West Bank is not much better.

Therefore, several Israeli politicians and analysts have been warning of the outbreak of another uprising, or Intifada, that will shake the basis of the entire so-called peace process that started 25 years ago with the signing of the Oslo Accords.

The Israeli government must set election priorities aside and embark on a serious peace process based on recognising that occupation of land by force cannot last forever.

More than 70 years of wars and violence against Palestinians did not produce the results Israel wanted.

The steadfastness of the Palestinian people, and their deep belonging to their land, despite all odds, should provide enough lessons.

Otherwise, Israel is brewing a new Intifada that should not come as a surprise to anyone.

* A version of this article appears in print in the 25 October, 2018 edition of Al-Ahram Weekly under the headline: New Palestinian Intifada in the making

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