Theater of Cruelty

A revolt lit by political stagnation

"This rebellion is not going to die out," says Palestinian journalist and author. Can the third intifada be the last?


Yet another popular uprising has started in the Palestinian districts, and has now smoldered for two months. The established factions do not appear to have played any role in igniting these glares, while the youth have been given an opportunity to create results after the hope of political breakthrough has faded. Far away on the horizon, at 21 years distance, we look back at the signing of the Oslo Agreement.
The Palestinian youths who started the current intifada in early October hope that this will be the last intifada. They hope that the occupation, which has now been in 48, will end this year. They hope to achieve an independent state – after politics and negotiations between different factions have failed to achieve anything for their future.

Many lost lives. Let's go back to 1978, when an Israeli jeep drove down four Palestinians in Jabalya north of Gaza, and then Prime Minister Yitzhak Shamir was Yassir Arafat's arch enemy. At that time, the intifada consisted of a group of stone-throwing children who, with an indescribable, epic, face to face with Israeli armed soldiers. But behind the scenes that were shown to the world stood civil disobedience, organized strikes and boycotts that turned into an effective tool, and formed the core of the struggle in the first Palestinian intifada. It led to the loss of over 2200 Palestinian lives. Then, in 1993, the PLO began to engage in secret negotiations with Israel, which ended with a statement of principles signed by Yassir Arafat and Yitzhak Rabin. This statement prepared the basis for a number of contractual agreements, known as the Oslo Agreement.
The Oslo Agreement is best known for 75 percent of Palestinians being placed under Israeli authority, which took control of the land, water and air in the occupied territories. Within the same period, the number of settlements increased, and the Palestinians imposed more restrictions on movement. Corruption and malpractice on the part of the PLO helped increase poverty and political repression. This resulted in violent clashes with Hamas and increased divisions in the Palestinian population. The sum of all this also led to an increase in violence episodes between Israelis and Palestinians.
People had already lost faith in solutions when Prime Minister Ariel Sharon conducted a provocative visit to al-Aqsa Mosque, which led to the al-Aqsa intifada erupting in the year 2000. This caused huge, violent aftermath and claimed twice as many Palestinian lives. as the first intifada, as well as 1070 Israeli dead.
The second intifada led to large-scale liquidation of Palestinian leaders, the demolition of infrastructure and Palestinian institutions, as well as the destruction of residents' homes. On the other hand, suicide bombers created security in the Israeli streets. Of course, this did not result in any of the objectives in the Palestinian cause being achieved.
The al-Aqsa intifada was completed in 2005, after Israelis and Palestinians entered into a ceasefire in the Egyptian city of Sharm al Sheikh. However, observers believe that this did not lead to any real political solution, and clashes continued in the cities in the west.

Think they will succeed. When it comes to today's situation, Palestinian youths carry twice as much frustration. They have no control over the violence, the hopelessness, the stagnant political processes, the three wars that have been fought in Gaza, the continuous humiliation of Palestinians, oppressive imprisonment practices or the wall between the West Bank cities.
All this hangs heavy over the young people when they have now started the third intifada. Despite the failure of the uprisings in several other countries, including Syria and Egypt, political activist, author and analyst Talal Okal told Ny Tid that he believes the young Palestinians who start this new uprising will succeed. He believes the situation is different than in Libya, Yemen and Egypt, where new dictatorships took control of the systems while the Arab youths despaired once again.
"International law guarantees Palestinians the right to resist in every way until the millennium's last occupation ends," Okal says. "The new intifada coincides with a wave of pessimism and desperation throughout the Arab world after most of the Arab Spring revolutions failed." Okal particularly draws on Egypt, where Hosni Mubarak's inherited government found its way back. He believes this has been a disaster both domestically and abroad, since Egypt's President Abdul Fattah al-Sisi joined the blockade of Gaza and Egypt has not acted as a mediator in the conflict between Israel and the Palestinians. Egypt has not even mediated between Hamas and Fatah. The only thing that has been done is an extreme persecution of the opposition and executions Egypt has not seen since the Ottomans ruled the country.

Never stability. As a result of these events, Palestinian youths do not trust that anything will change in the rest of the Arab world. They are fighting their own battle, alone.
Okal believes that Israel deliberately takes advantage of the difficult situation of the Arabs. The Israeli leadership now sees its incision to double the settlements and take full control of al-Aqsa Mosque, which represents both Islamic and Jewish sanctuary. They also have the chance to neutralize Egypt – which is preoccupied with internal crises. Egypt worries for Lebanese Hezbollah in Syria, for Syria to collapse, for the Gulf states and for the war in Yemen.
Israel has been given many opportunities to implement the two-state solution without implementing it. The young people will not wait for 20 new years for something to happen.
"The Palestinian uprising today confirms that the generations can be worn out, but they never die. The young people who threw stones during the first intifada were worn out in the mid-nineties, but returned in the 2000 uprising a generation later, ”says Okal. “Their inheritors are a new generation of youngsters who have grown up during occupation. It emphasizes that Israel's repression can never bring stability and that it cannot be the final solution. The Palestinians are exhausted, but never give up. ”
Despair. Even the Israeli press has placed some of the responsibility for the rebellion on President Benjamin Netanyahu. The newspaper Yediot Aharonot writes: "There has been nothing but escalation of the procedures that provoked the uprising from the beginning. No measures have been taken to restore peace and security for any of the parties. " Haaretz newspaper has published a report that reads: "The third intifada is underway after the political processes have stagnated for years. It has become commonplace to kill Palestinians, confiscate lands and demolish their houses. When all hope disappears in this way, the rebellion explodes. "

"When all hope disappears in this way, the rebellion explodes."

According to Okal, all Palestinians are gripped with despair – including politicians in positions of responsibility and other government officials. In so doing, the opportunity to find political solutions with Israel is crumbling – solutions that could make both the Palestinian and Israeli people safer.
On the other side of the border, adolescents, who are between 16 and 20 years old, are unable to report systematically from the West Bank uprising in television broadcasts and social media. A young man who wants to tell is 19 years old and throws stones at Israeli soldiers just 50 meters from the security wall between eastern Gaza and Israel. He explains why he has come here every day: “I feel it is vital to take revenge on this army. They have killed 70 youths since the uprising began. Now I just have to attend. " He goes on to say that hundreds of youths with him will continue to plague the soldiers with stone and molotov cocktails all the way to the United States and Europe, stopping Israel from destroying the territories of the Palestinians, forcing them to stop the attacks. "Then we can establish a viable state, and the Palestinians from the west can travel freely to the countryside and surrounding cities without Israeli barriers. We will not stop using violence until it happens. ”

Alone. We visit several of the places in the city where the revolt is going on. Some of the youths use kitchen knives as weapons against Israeli soldiers and settlers. Okal says that this is legitimate resistance, as defined in international law. "The famous Security Council resolutions – 242 in 1967 and 338 in 1973 – defined the legal basis for the Israeli army to occupy the West Bank, Gaza and East Jerusalem, saying that they should withdraw to the territories occupied during the war in 1967, ”he says. "This legislation has been in force from both the Hague Treaty in 1899 and 1907, the Geneva Protocol in 1925, the UN Declaration in 1945 and the Universal Declaration of Human Rights in 1948, the four Geneva Conventions in 1949, the Additional Protocols in 1977 and the Declaration of Independence for Colonized Countries. and people in 1960, and many of the UN General Assembly resolutions. These conventions and resolutions all state that the right to resistance is legitimate and part of international law. "
Okal excludes that this rebellion is going to die out. It has slowed down on a couple of occasions, but quickly flares up again at short notice. The leaders of both Fatah and Hamas are urging young people to choose the future, especially since the world community is so weak in this conflict. He believes that other countries have difficulty believing that such a thing can happen to them. "They have enough of their own, and our problems are isolated from the realities of European cities," he says.
The frustration means that the people are close to exploding. They will be friends against the current and take back the rights taken from them by force of arms. Europe is busy welcoming refugees, Russia is only thinking about military intervention in Syria, and the United States will largely only shape the world map. Nobody has time to think about achieving the Oslo II agreement, or at least stop the rebellion. Everything is out of control.

Translated from Arabic by Vibeke Koehler.

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