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الأحد، 11 أكتوبر 2015

Is it a new intifada? Leave it to the Palestinians to answer

Is it a new intifada? Leave it to the Palestinians to answer

Amal Nazzal 

Sunday, 11 October 2015


Palestinian protesters carry a bucket full of stones as they clash with Israeli soldiers during a protest against the Israeli violations, near Israeli settlement of Beit El, West Bank on October 10, 2015.

Is it a new intifada? Are we witnessing the beginning of a third uprising in the Occupied Palestinian Territories (OPT)? This type of a question has been repeated over and over again in the past few days. Different analysis scenarios have been provided to predict if such a new Palestinian intifada in the OPT could possibly take place.
A vital point which has been misleading us recently while predicting the possibility for a third intifada is the unsuccessful comparison between what led the first and the second uprisings to erupt, in 1987 and 2000 respectively, and what could ignite the next one.
This blind mirroring of the political, economic and social conditions to check out any likely matches with what we are witnessing today is useless. It was seven years after the first intifada ended in 1993 that the second intifada started in 2000. Those seven years imposed new dynamics and mechanisms on the ground to ignite the second uprising.
As Daoud Kuttab put it while he was discussing the different shades of resistance between the first and the second intifada, “Although there are parallels between these two uprisings, there are also contrasts in their methodology, available resources, and political context.” This is the logic we should use to read the current reality and analyse all of its practices.
With the passing of ten years since the Sharm El-Sheikh Summit held on 8 February 2005 to end the second intifada, vital, new and dynamic determinants have entered the Palestinian socio-political scene to re-shape it. All of this should be considered in today’s analysis; new resistance tools and techniques are used and there is a different perspective of the leadership structure. This new mass uprising has its own character, logic, game rules and players.
So is it a question of how organised these young Palestinian rebels are? Surely not. In theory, mass movements are mainly defined as amorphous, poorly organised and without any form in their early stages; nothing should worry us there, as the main reason behind this unorganised status quo of the masses is the determination and the new vision to bring new order to life. As such, on the ground, it shouldn’t be the question of how organised they are as much as how determined and steadfast they should be.
What could be said here also, is that there are vast decentralised flashpoints and demonstrations, including those in East Jerusalem, the West Bank, within Israel itself and theGaza Strip. This cohesion and unity in many Palestinian geographic points are adding together to move us forward in our struggle against Israeli occupation and colonisation.
Yes, it’s the new generation. Through a quick observation of the escalation of the attacks, it’s obvious that Palestinian youngsters are highly involved in the operations they are carrying out with cold weapons. The vast majority of the attacks are individual efforts led by younger Palestinians rather than planned attacks led my political parties or organisations, as was the case in the previous intifadas. These enthusiastic youths are not waiting for any political group to direct them; some of them are not even part of any Palestinian political party. Some abiding images of the previous intifadas are of Palestinian women standing side by side with their brothers and cousins, throwing stones and participating in demonstrations; that is inspiring and promising.
Moreover, and in case a new intifada does begin, we are going to experience a dramatic change in communication and media coverage thanks to social media. So far, the hashtag #thirdintifada has been used more than four thousand times in the past five days.
More Palestinians are now empowered with social media tools to cover and convey their reality to the outside world.
In the end, let’s not worry about definitions or labels, or whether it is a third intifada or not. Let the people on the ground — that ground covered by clashes and confrontation — decide where they want and hope to lead it. It’s a new generation of Palestinian rebellion which has been resisting for the past few years against Israeli occupation, colonisation and apartheid.
Amal Nazzal is a doctorate researcher in organisation studies in social/political movements, University of Exeter.
Palestinian protesters are seen using slingshots and throwing stones at Israeli soldiers during a protest against the Israeli violations, near Israeli settlement of Beit El, West Bank on October 10, 2015. Images by Anadolu Agency.

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