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The Intifada created a new equation that put the occupation at the difficult corner of the conflict
By: Mohammad Al-Sahli
December 17, 2019

Several subjective and objective factors contributed to the outbreak of the Palestinian Intifada, which stops the attempts to end the Palestinian programmatic, political and organizational achievements of the Palestinian struggle, since the launch of the contemporary Palestinian revolution in the mid-of-1960s.

The occupied Palestinian territories were transformed, by this intifada, into a burning volcano from the massive public action against the occupation, and with its expansion, and persistence, it led the international community, with all its components, unprecedentedly in front of an urgent entitlements, in the light of the inability of the occupation to limit the uprising, despite the abuse that it had taken against the participants in its activities.

In the face of this great event, Washington and Tel Aviv were active together in trying to find "inexpensive" political way to suppress the intifada, in order to avoid passing the discussions that took place in the United Nations, in the context of the succession of international recognition of the Declaration the Independence of the State of Palestine, as it crystallized by the Palestinian National Council after months from the outbreak of the uprising.

The Palestinian political consensus to launch an open battle against occupation in the field and politics were among the most prominent factors that gave the intifada its public momentum and its geographical spread throughout the West Bank and Gaza Strip. It is also one of the most prominent factors that have brought back the international, political and popular support to the Palestinian national rights. The Palestinian cause has returned to the forefront of attention at all levels. It was natural for observers to conclude that the intifada managed to thwart attempts to marginalize the Palestinian factor in the political equation that exists in the region. Among the most prominent achievements of the intifada since its first months was the renewal of recognition of the Palestinian rights, and the individuality and legitimacy of its representation through the PLO.

During the intifada, the unity of political and popular confrontation, was reflected in the internal national relations and strengthened and developed within the framework of the unified leadership of the intifada and its field and political program. Perhaps it can be said that the first year of the Intifada witnessed a model of what a national liberation movement should do in light of the integration of the political and mass realities.

It can be said also, that the effects of the intifada were reflected on the movement of the Arab street through the mass activities witnessed in Arab capitals and cities in support to the Palestinian people rights, and that the Intifada brought the Arab official system back to the circle of declared commitment with the decisions of Arab summits related to the Palestinian cause.

In conclusion: The intifada has formed a major national motive under the banner of the national liberation program, and in light of the Palestinian political consensus on the need to continue and expand it towards achieving its goals of freedom, independence and return. This constituted political motive for the activities of the intifada, during the period in which this consensus continued.

This is what Washington and Tel Aviv also realized after all the attempts to suppress the Intifada with direct military force was failed, they concluded that the way to influence on the intifada by turning its path towards its goals begins by manipulating on it, by presenting a political attractive offers to the Palestinian official leadership through talking about a horizon for a political solution to the Palestinian-Israeli conflict away from the field of the existing confrontation. In 1988, Washington already expressed its willingness to engage in direct dialogue with the PLO.

Since that time, Palestinian official policy has practically entered into betting on the possibility of the United States playing a role that goes beyond its permanent bias towards the interests of the occupation, and perhaps the most dangerous thing in this bet is that it gave opportunity to accepting the exit of deliberation on the Palestinian issue from the United Nations to outside it, according to paths dominated by it the United States of America. And this is what happened more than a quarter of a century ago since the settlement was launched on the basis of the Oslo Accords, and the planers of this path think that the uprising has gone a long way to have a pivotal role in influencing the direction of US policy regarding the conflict in the region. Here, they made a great mistake:

* It is essentially a wrong reading of the American strategy essence in the region, and to the nature of Israeli-American relations, the wide points of intersection in the interests of the two parties, and the unity of their vision towards the function of any political solution to the Palestinian / Arab-Israeli conflict, which is to affirm the reality of the occupation's dominance in the region, and to devote its expansionist policies at the expense of the national interests of the Palestinian and Arab peoples.

it was clear at that time that the dialogue call which Washington launched towards the PLO aims to establish a distance between official Palestinian policy and the targets and activities of Intifada. This was the most dangerous thing in the American-Israeli plan to manipulate the intifada. Therefore, it is an illusion, in our view, to believe that there is a distance within the US-Israeli interests for the Palestinian side with all that this means in the presence of the Palestinian cause as viewed by international legitimacy resolutions.

* It is first of all a wrong reading for the intifada reality, and the level it took and the prospects for its development, and therefore, it is a mistaken speculation that its owners believed that the intifada has become ready, and can see its political achievements in favor of the rights of the Palestinian people. This, along with contrast of the Palestinian estimates regarding the situation of the intifada, led to the loss of its most important weapon, which is unity in politics and in the field. This means that the momentum and escalation in the course of the uprising are vulnerable to decline, and that is in the interest of the occupation and its American ally.

Among the wrong reading of the intifada’s situation and the degree of its development and maturity is also a wrong estimate of the capabilities of the Palestinian people and their readiness to proceed to the victorious ends of the intifada. It can be said that the essence of this reading is the practical function of what is happening on the ground, from the point of view of accepting the offer of dialogue with Washington as equivalent to what the Palestinian people can obtain politically through the field of the intifada.

The Intifada answered in a practical, direct and effective way the question of unity in politics and the field, and provided practically answers to the questions of confrontation through an open battle with the occupation. It also answered, through popular revival and the role of the Palestinian people, to the question of how to adjust the balance of militarily dysfunctional forces in favor of the occupation, and to create a new equation through the intifada that put the Hebrew at the difficult corner of the conflict.

Notes:Mohammad Al-Sahli is Editor in Chief of Al-Hourriah newspaper, the official speaker of the Democratic Front for the Liberation of Palestine
Translated by: Rasha Abu Allan
Revised by: Rawda Abu Zarqa

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