The Levant (meaning “rising”, implying the rising of the sun in the east) nations – Syria, Palestine, Israel – broadly equivalent to the Arabic term Mashriq, (the land where the sun rises) doesn’t really seem to be in a state to signify it’s so called name.
The nations which have written their recent history in context to violence and hatred, now seem to be developing a new trajectory to it. Though, this dispute cannot be inferred without giving due eloquent to the origin of this war and the one word, which defines this decades long hatred, Intifada.
“Intifada” – why is this word so important in the history of Palestine and why should one know about it?
Intifada, an Arabic word, verbally meaning “to shake off”, describes or rather is a tagged term used to describe the uprising of Palestine against the Israeli military occupancy of the West Bank (including East Jerusalem) and Gaza Strip.
The intifada (uprising) has taken place twice – the first one from 1987-1993 and the second one from 2000-2003.
The intifada was aimed to achieve the Palestinian goal of autonomy or eventual independence. Both the intifada had separate characteristics to them and played different roles in the uprising.
The first outbreak was specified as the war of the stones, which was signified by persistent acts of thrusting of rocks against the Israeli army as well as the police, on a daily basis. It was seen as a threat to the Israeli strategic interest and led to supposed negotiation between the Palestinian Liberation Organisation’s leadership with the Israeli leaders.
The second intifada conflagrated subsequently to the visit of Ariel Sharon’s to the al-Aqsa mosque in Jerusalem in 2000. This (the second) intifada was different in nature as it no more involved stones rather advanced technology had seeped in by this period and gun battles, suicide bombing and terrorist activities took place. It had led to the formation of wide-ranging security blockades to shield the Israeli population from Palestinian penetration and violence.
Why is it important to know about these gruesome acts of violence, today? What significance does it have to world today?
It is important to know about it as there is a supposed threat of a ‘third intifada’.
The third intifada is supposedly taking place or is on the brim of starting a new rage against the Israeli Army. Several protests have swept Jerusalem, Gaza and the West Bank in the past few months and have witnessed tens of thousands of Palestinians taking to the streets. Men and women of all ages have started a movement against the army.
Several demonstrations took place, some have passed by silently as the mass chanting of slogans took place, calling for solidarity to battle against Israeli military occupation and, at the same time, some gatherings have turned violent, as the Israeli military victimized them by throwing tear gas, rubber-coated steel bullets and live fire.
Although, the irony of the situation is that even as the world urges for this war to end by creating the “two-state solution”, a recent poll piloted by the Palestinian Center for Policy and Survey Research showed that almost half of the resident Arab population favours escalating the use of armed force and violence against Israeli non-combatants. The poll also showed this inclination is unrelieved by any potential Israeli willing to consent Palestinian statehood. This raises the question: why wouldn’t a third intifada take place in Palestine?
Although, tragically but we can see some hope in these circumstances as the first intifada had led to Oslo I and Oslo talks between the two sides, which had led to the formation of a Palestinian state alongside Israel. The second intifada led to the Israeli withdrawal from Gaza in 2005. Thus, we can probably see a ray of hope in the clouded sky of Gaza even if it transpires later than sooner.
How much ever is contemplated about the apparent uprising of a third intifada, on this issue, there is a rare understanding between Ismail Haniyeh, the Gaza-based leader of Hamas, and Isaac Herzog, the Israeli opposition leader.They both believe that this is a beginning a Third Intifada and this acceptance can probably be the stepping stone towards achieving a solace to the horrific life led by people of Palestine as well as Israel.