Definition — “Intifada” is the Palestinian uprising against Israeli occupation of the West Bank and Gaza Strip, beginning in 1987. The Second Intifada, also known as the Al Aqsa Intifada, began in September 2000 when Ariel Sharon marched provocatively with his troops around the Temple Mount.
Both Intifadas have been devastatingly brutal with civilian casualties on both sides, but by far the Palestinians have borne the brunt of the deaths and injuries. During the First Intifada, the Israeli Defense Forces (IDF) killed an estimated 1,162–1,204 Palestinians over 6 years. [Rami Nasrallah, ‘The First and Second Palestinian Intifadas,’ in Joel Peters, David Newman (eds.) The Routledge Handbook on the Israeli-Palestinian Conflict, Routledge 2013 pp. 56–68 p. 61]. Among Israelis, 100 civilians and 60 IDF personnel were killed. [Mient Jan Faber, Mary Kaldor, ‘The deterioration of human security in Palestine,’ in Mary Martin, Mary Kaldor (eds.) The European Union and Human Security: External Interventions and Missions, Routledge, 2009 pp. 95–111.] The Second Intifada was even more brutal.
The casualty counts are an important place to begin to understand what is at stake when we consider the real possibility of a THIRD intifada. Regardless of where the observer, the diplomat, the solidarity activist, or media come down on the Intifadas historically —- the facts point to the devastating impact on Palestinian men, women and children, of whom the vast majority of dead and injured are innocent civilians.
The reason is simple. The U.S. Congress sends over $3.8 Billion in military aid to the State of Israel EVERY YEAR. Israel has the best equipped military and “security” forces in the Middle East, if not on the planet. And last month, 125 Democrats in Congress said that military aid to Israel shouldn’t be conditioned on Israel’s human rights record. Any child knows this is a recipe to support and enable Israel’s massacre of civilians without being held accountable.
The recipe for a Third Intifada has been simmering for weeks as Israel prepares to evict (I prefer the term expel or expulsion) from their homes in the Sheikh Jarrah neighborhood in east Jerusalem. “Eviction” couches Israel’s actions in terms of a real estate dispute, while “expulsion” correctly defines the political action underway. The State of Israel is about to kick Palestinians out of their homes, the homes they were sent to in 1947-1948 when Israel kicked them out of their homes and businesses and neighborhoods in present day Israel to make room for the Jews emigrating to this newly created country, the First Nakba, or “catastrophe”. In 2021, the intended beneficiaries of the homes in the Sheikh Jarrah neighbor are again Jews, the Zionist settlers who don’t even mask their intention of erasing Palestinians from the land between the river and the sea.
On May 9, gangs of settler thugs, supported by Israeli “defense” forces, attacked Al Aqsa Mosque as Palestinians were praying, injuring many and refusing to let ambulances approach to help the wounded.
Sheikh Jarrah: A Third Palestinian Intifada Is Now a Stone’s Throw Away
My Palestinian friend from Gaza, Yousef Aljamal, has been watching these developments from his perch in Turkey where he’s studying for his PhD. He writes about the possibility that we’re witnessing the beginning of the Third Intifada. (Read his article here.) His parents and grandparents are refugees from the First Nakba, ending up in Gaza as a result of their expulsion from the village of Aqer which became Kiryat Ekron in present day Israel. Other members of his family were expelled to Jericho in the West Bank in 1948. Israel has kept the family separated from each other for decades.
Yousef has witnessed a lot in his short life in Gaza — the Second Intifada, Israel’s military assaults on Gaza (Cast Lead in 2009, Operation Pillar of Defense in 2012, Operation Protective Edge in 2014), as well as Israel’s ongoing blockade of the Gaza Strip since 2007 which has left over 2 million Palestinians stuck in the world’s “largest open air prison“. He understands the certain disaster ahead if Israel launches another military campaign in Gaza.
“Israel might have the power now to suppress the Palestinians, shoot them in the eye, fabricate claims that what is happening in Sheikh Jarrah is a “real estate dispute,” but its intellectual leaders, unlike its politicians, know very well that they can’t sustain this system of apartheid for very long. In the same way that the Second Palestinian Intifada erupted in Jerusalem, a Third Palestinian Intifada is now a stone’s throw away. But this time, no one knows where it will stop. And then, all the normalization agreements and all the recognitions of Jerusalem as Israel’s capital will not be able to stop the Palestinians and their supporters across the globe.”
Read Yousef’s entire article here. And then if you’re an American, contact President Biden here and your member of Congress, and tell them to hold Israel accountable for the slaughter that has already begun in Gaza today.