Factors against A Third Intifada, But Who Knows?

Prof. As’ad Abdul Rahman

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is not, as it seems, really concerned to attain “a peaceful settlement” or “a just peace” with the Palestinians. An increasing number of politicians, observers, and ordinary people are now convinced that the failure to attain such a settlement is the very responsibility of the Israeli government which is interested in building more colonial settlements rather than reaching a peaceful political just settlement. The Palestinians have reached a dead-end and are facing a serious question; what is the use of continuing the negotiations without the full participation of the government of the United States? Many, among decision makers, Palestinians and Arabs as well, believe it is time for the Palestinian Authority to declare the absolute futility of such negotiations and start looking for another option that provides real protection for the Palestinian people who are losing their lands to Jewish colonial annexation in the name of “negotiating for peace”.

Others even pose an outright question: Has the Palestinian people become so weak and unable to unite in an uprising in view of the complete paralysis of the international community, the devastating inner conflicts within the Arab world, the complete opposition of the Palestinian Authority to ‘violence’ -which makes the ‘Oslo Accords’ the only strategy to follow- and with the Hamas movement using its full power to prevent any rockets aimed against Israel by any Palestinian faction in Gaza?

We have to admit that there are various factors against a Palestinian third Intifada taking place. One is the current security arrangements between the Palestinian Authority and Israel under which both will combat any violence or even a ‘popular political uprising’ against both the Israeli forces who are in full control of roads and checkpoints across the West Bank as well as against the Jewish colonial settlements in the occupied Palestinian land. The Israeli military occupation permits the Palestinian Authority to conduct its business pertaining to education, health, municipalities and social work that provide jobs and monthly wages, but has all the security placements on the ground under Israeli control. Movements of Palestinians and goods can be restricted anytime by the Israeli military. The disconnection of the Palestinian territories is creating ghettos surrounded by the Israeli military forces holding Palestinian communities in vast prisons. Indeed, the priorities, the privileges and the free movements are all exclusive rights of the colonial Israeli settlers.

According to the Israeli Yediot Ahronot newspaper, the Israeli negotiators have proposed that the Separation Wall be the boundary instead of the 1967 boundaries. The Wall, erected by the Israeli occupation forces, completely isolates 9.4% of the Palestinian West Bank including East Jerusalem and cuts off many Palestinian villages from their farms. Moreover, the far-right Jewish religious zealots are determined to eradicate every Muslim heritage in Jerusalem by proposing to put the holy Muslim Aqsa Mosque under the control of the Jewish religious authority designating special areas for Jews to conduct their prayers as well as  whatever constructions within or underneath the shrine.

To top all the above factors that have “imprisoned” the Palestinian population is the extreme divisions between the various Palestinian factions who have been internally engaged in inner conflicts, leaving Israel to conduct its judaization of Palestinian territories with absolute immunity, makes an effective Palestinian third Intifada extremely difficult to be initiated or to erupt spontaneously. There can never be an honorable and just political settlement or real opposition to Israel’s Judaization policies while the Palestinian factions are fighting one another. This Palestinian disunity has become deadly to Palestinian rights and national aspirations. The structures of the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) have become old and crumbling which makes it unable to mount a meaningful resistance against the Israeli colonial racist agenda in occupied Palestine. These structures need to be upgraded and restored. Many, in the Arab world, look at the PLO now as a relic of old glory that is no longer able to claim that it truly represents the Palestinians. It is no secret that many of the organizations that make up the PLO, are suffering from political bankruptcy and lack of Palestinian reasonable popular support. It is widely believed that the priority of these organizations lies in the fact that they now seek to preserve their privileges as so-called leaders without any followers to speak of! Such dysfunctional factions within the PLO are unable to inspire or motivate the Palestinian people to conduct resistance of any kind to stop the Judaization process of historical Palestine.

Such are the factors, but events never always take place as a result of logical thinking whereby losses and gains are carefully considered. Pressure and persecution over time often leads to a sudden horrendous explosion. History teaches us that no military occupation all across the world lasted forever. History also teaches us that peoples always surprise their rulers especially foreign ones. Recently, who would have predicted the fall of Gaddafi in Libya or Mubarak in Egypt? When people, ordinary people, in Palestine are driven to absolute humiliation and hopelessness at the hands of the Israeli occupiers, no one in our world should be surprised if a volcano erupts in the occupied Palestinian West Bank realizing the Third Intifada that many writers and politicians (including Mr. Kerry – the U.S. State Secretary) warned against.