Posted by: Harold Knight | 12/29/2013

From Samia Khoury: Reflections on the Possibility of a Third Intifada.

(A communication from Samia Khoury today. I urge you to follow the links and pictures I have provided as you consider Samia’s observations. -H. Knight)

Jerusalem
December 29, 2013

Dear All:

A lot of speculation has been going around about the possibility of a third Intifada (uprising.) People living under so much oppression and stress, are bound to rise up. It is a natural and spontaneous reaction as we experienced it in the first and second Intifada.  Although the situation nowadays is much worse with the new realities that continue to be created on the ground during the last forty six years, the general mood is not the same. The frustration is mounting and the spirit of solidarity is no more there as it was in the first intifada. Over and above, the split between Fateh and Hamas has certainly exacerbated that frustration and feeling of hopelessness. Although people want to keep hoping that this nightmare is bound to disappear, I think they have lost faith in their leaders, in the Arab countries, their own ability to stand up against such brutality and of course they have no more faith in their partners and brokers for peace.

Palestinian Super Star, Mohammed Assaf

Palestinian Super Star, Mohammed Assaf

Other than the fact that the civil society has waged a non-violent resistance campaign including the BDS (Boycott, divestment and sanctions) there is a Palestinian Authority that has signed agreements with Israel and is committed to abide by them despite the fact that Israel is not keeping its part of those agreements. One of those agreements is regarding security which to many Palestinians seems as if the Palestinian Authority has been commissioned to control the security in the Palestinian Territories on behalf of the Israeli occupation forces. So an uprising could be disastrous if both the Israeli and Palestinian security forces would join efforts to suppress it. We have already seen the brutal reaction of the Palestinian Security Forces to some of the Palestinian demonstrations whether in Ramallah or in Gaza. The failure of the Arab Spring in the neighboring countries would be another reason to think twice before waging another Intifada, because we have no backing, and the loss of life under these circumstances would simply be worthless. Although usually there are no calculations ahead of time in a spontaneous Intifada, I have a feeling that due to the general mood and the prevailing situation, people are weighing the odds.

Seattle BDS rally

Seattle BDS rally

Ironically, Israel is provoking the Palestinians so that they would initiate an uprising, and then Israel can claim that the Palestinians do not want peace. Mr. Netanyahu already criticized Mohammad Assaf, the popular Palestinian Arab Idol for singing longingly about Palestinian cities that are now part of Israel. He wrote to Mr. Kerry saying that incitement and peace cannot coexist. The recent killings in Qalqiliya and Jenin, and the raid on Gaza that killed a little child are all provocative actions that are not justified. It seems to me that when Israel “lost two wars” an expression Uri Avnery used to refer to the war against Syria and the new agreement with Iran, Israel was bound to resort to an alternative action to divert the attention from its lack of commitment to ending the occupation or forging peace with the Palestinians.

However now that the year 2014 has been proclaimed by the UN General Assembly as the International year of solidarity with the Palestinian people, we already saw the Israeli rage about the resolution of the American Studies Association to join the BDS campaign almost at the same time when the Dutch giant Water company Vitens severed ties with Israel’s National Water Company. So with all those developments how can we lose hope especially after we watched the unveiling of an eight-meter-high replica of the Israeli-built concrete wall that surrounds the city of Bethlehem in front of St. James’ Church in Central London? The director of this innovative project, and certainly the Rector of the church are to be commended on their courage. It takes courage to expose the truth, and unfortunately not all our churches have had that much courage. But there is always a time to start. So let us hope that there will be a concerted effort to proclaim 2014 not only a year of solidarity, but a year of action to redress the grave injustice that has been inflicted upon the Palestinian people for more than six decades.  Only then we will be spared the consequences of a third Intifada and it is only when justice is restored that the whole region will live in peace and security. With best wishes for a peaceful New Year.

Samia Khoury

QALQILIYA

QALQILIYA

Reaching eight meters into the air, the enormous Wall around Qalqiliya (pop. 50,000) is protected by a razor wire fence and sniper towers every 300 metres. It has all the trappings of a maximum security prison; a single gate regulates exit and entry into the city, manned by an Israeli guard or locked altogether. The wall has annexed more than 50% of the West Bank to Israel, and the Palestinians live in three  walled enclaves, disconnected from one another, with movement at the whim of the Israeli army.

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