- First Intifada
Infobox Military Conflict
Arab-Israeli conflict, Israeli-Palestinian conflict
caption=Media coverage of the first Intifada (1987-1992) often focused on young Palestinians throwing stones at tanks and Israeli soldiers.
West Bank, Gaza Strip, Israel
casus=Growing sense of frustration among Palestinians
commander2=Unified National Leadership of the Uprising [Zachary Lockman, Joel Beinin (1989) "Intifada: The Palestinian Uprising Against Israeli Occupation" South End Press, ISBN 0896083632 and 9780896083639 p 327]
casualties1=160 [http://www.btselem.org/english/statistics/first_Intifada_Tables.asp B'Tselem] Statistics; Fatalities in the first Intifada]
casualties2=1,162 by Israelis 1,000 by PalestiniansThe First Intifada (1987–1993) (also "
intifada" and "war of the stones") was a mass Palestinianuprising against Israeli rule ["uprising by Palestinians against Israeli rule in the West Bank and Gaza Strip territories." [http://encarta.msn.com/encyclopedia_761579974/Intifada.html Intifada] , Microsoft Encarta.] that began in the Jabalia refugee campand quickly spread throughout Gaza, the West Bankand East Jerusalem. [http://www.jmcc.org/research/reports/intifada.htm The Intifada - An Overview: The First Two Years] ] Palestinian actions ranged from civil disobedienceto violence. In addition to general strikes, boycotts on Israeli products, graffiti, and barricades, Palestinian demonstrations that included stone-throwing by youths against the heavily-armed Israeli Defense Forcesbrought the intifada international attention. [ [http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/shared/spl/hi/middle_east/03/v3_ip_timeline/html/1987.stm BBC: A History of Conflict] ] Intra-Palestinian violence was also a prominent feature of the Intifada, with widespread executions of alleged Israeli collaborators contributing almost half of the death toll among Palestinians.
Over the course of the first intifada, an estimated 1,100 Palestinians were killed by Israeli forces and 160 Israelis were killed by Palestinians. In addition, an 1,000 Palestinians were killed by Palestinians as alleged collaborators, although fewer than half had any proven contact with the Israeli authorities. [Zachary Lockman, Joel Beinin (1989) "Intifada: The Palestinian Uprising Against Israeli Occupation" South End Press, ISBN 0896083632 and 9780896083639 p 38]
Israel's capture of the West Bankand Gaza Stripfrom Egyptand Jordanin the wake of the Six-Day Warin 1967, a growing sense of frustration among Palestinians living in the Israeli-occupied territorieshad developed. The "Iron Fist" policy launched by Israel in 1985 along with economic integration and an increase in settler activity was in what the then Israeli minister of Economics and Finance, Gad Ya'acobi, noted "a creeping process of "de facto" annexation" contributed to a growing militancy of Palestinian society. [Zachary Lockman, Joel Beinin (1989) Intifada: The Palestinian Uprising Against Israeli Occupation South End Press, ISBN 0896083632 and 9780896083639 p 32] According to Donald Neff, "The immediate cause" of the First Intifada came on 8 December 1987, when an Israeli army tank transporter ran into a group of Palestinians from Jabalya refugee camp in Gaza Strip, killing four and injuring seven." [ [http://www.washington-report.org/backissues/1297/9712081.html WRMEA] [http://www.palestinehistory.com/issues/intifada/intifada1.htm palestinehistory.com] ]
The First Intifada came at a time when Palestinians were protesting acts taken by Israel that they perceived as brutal and of political stalemate with parties involved in the
Arab–Israeli conflict. The Palestine Liberation Organization(PLO) had not brought about any solutions to alleviate Palestinian suffering and in 1982, during the Israeli invasion of Lebanon, the organization had been forced to relocate their offices to Tunis. [ [http://www.palestinehistory.com/issues/intifada/intifada1.htm Al-Aqsa Intifada] - Wael Imad el Nasheat] Although all Arab states with the exception of Egyptmaintained an official state of war with Israel,Fact|date=August 2008 the Arab summit in Ammanin November 1987 focused on the Iran–Iraq War, and the Palestinian issue was shunted to the sidelines for the first time in years. [cite book |author=Aryeh Shalev |title=The Intifada: Causes and Effects |publisher=Jerusalem Post & Westview Press |location=Jerusalem |year=1991 |pages=33 |isbn=0-8133-8303] [Jamal Raji Nassar, Roger Heacock (1990) "Intifada: Palestine at the Crossroads" Greenwood Publishing Group, ISBN 027593411X and ISBN 9780275934118 p 31] Israeli military occupationof Southern Lebanonand the continued Israeli military occupation of the West Bank and Gaza Strip contributed to growing discontent with the status quo.
Palestiniansand their supporters assert that the Intifada was a protest against Israeli repression which included extra-judicial killings, mass detentions, house demolitions, deportations, and so on. [Ackerman, P and Duvall, A: "A Force More Powerful: A Century of Nonviolent Conflict", page 403. St. Martin's Press,2000] While relatively few houses were demolished in the years before the Intifada, house demolitions "appeared to have deterrent value" to Israel. After the start of the Intifada, and after the PLO began compensating affected families, demolitions "were transformed into a stimulus to further escalation of resistance." [cite book |author=Aryeh Shalev |title=The Intifada: Causes and Effects |publisher=Jerusalem Post & Westview Press |location=Jerusalem |year=1991 |pages=111-114 |isbn=0-8133-8303X] In addition to the political and national sentiment, further causes to the Intifada can be seen in the Egyptian withdrawal from their claims to the Gaza Stripas well as the Jordanian monarchy growing weary of supporting its claims to the West Bank.
High birth rates and the limited allocation of land for new building and agriculture contributed to the increasing density of population in the
Palestinian territoriesand a rise in unemployment. While income from manual labor in Israel was beneficial to the Palestinian economy, jobs were growing scarcer, even for those with university degrees. At the time of the Intifada, only one in eight college-educated Palestinians could find degree-related work. [Ackerman, P and Duvall, A: "A Force More Powerful: A Century of Nonviolent Conflict", page 401. St. Martin's Pres, 2000 ISBN 0312228643]
One incident that was often mentioned as a motivation is the perceived IDF failure in the "
Night of the Gliders", or the "Kibia action", in which a Palestinian guerrilla infiltrated an IDF army camp from Lebanon and managed to kill six soldiers.Cite book | publisher = Transaction Publishers | isbn = 0765802554 | pages = p. 74 | last = Shai | first = Shaul | title = The Axis of Evil: Iran, Hizballah, and the Palestinian Terror | date = 2005] Cite news | last = Oren | first = Amir | title = Secrets of the Ya-Ya brotherhood | work = Haaretz | accessdate = 2008-05-13 | date = 2006-10-18 | url = http://www.haaretz.com/hasen/spages/775582.html] Cite journal | volume = December 1997 | pages = 81–83 | last = Neff | first = Donald | title = The Intifada Erupts, Forcing Israel to Recognize Palestinians | journal = Washington Report on Middle East Affairs | accessdate = 2008-05-13 | url = http://www.washington-report.org/backissues/1297/9712081.html]
The Palestinians felt abandoned by their Arab allies and the PLO had failed to successfully challenge Israel and establish a
Palestinian statein its stead, as promised, despite thwarting Israeli attempts to organize puppet elections in the territoriesFact|date=September 2008. The first Intifada (1987 - 1993), was a spontaneous explosion of popular resistance to the Israeli occupation, a resistance which had begun some fifty years before.
The Intifada was not initiated by any single individual or organization, but the PLO soon established itself at the forefront enhancing their presence in the territories. Local leadership came from groups and organizations loyal to the PLO that operated within the Occupied Territories;
Fatah, the Popular Front, the Democratic Front and the Palestine Communist Party. The PLO's rivals in this activity were the Islamic organizations, Hamasand Islamic Jihadas well as local leadership in cities such as Beit Sahourand Bethlehem. However, the uprising was predominantly led by community councils led by Hanan Ashrawi, Faisal Husseiniand Haidar Abdel-Shafi, that promoted independent networks for education (underground schools as the regular schools were closed by the military as reprisals for the uprising), medical care, and food aid. [ [http://www.merip.org/palestine-israel_primer/intifada-87-pal-isr-primer.html MERIP] Palestine, Israel and the Arab-Israeli Conflict, A Primer] The Unified National Leadership of the Uprising(UNLU) gained credibility where the Palestinian society complied with the issued communiques.Zachary Lockman, Joel Beinin (1989) "Intifada: The Palestinian Uprising Against Israeli Occupation" South End Press, ISBN 0896083632 and 9780896083639 p 39]
After the traffic incident at the
Erez Crossingthat killed four Palestinian refugees, rumor quickly spread that the wreck was deliberate and an act of vengeance in response to the Israeli stabbed to death several days earlier in the Gaza market.Fact|date=January 2008 That evening, an uprising began in Jabaliawhere hundreds of Palestinians burned tires and attacked the IDF troops stationed there. The uprising spread to other Palestinian refugee campsand eventually to several major cities. On December 22, the United Nations Security Councilcondemned Israel in Resolution 605 for violating the Geneva Conventionsdue to the number of Palestinian deaths in these first few weeks of the Intifada. [cite web|title=Security Council Resolutions 1987|accessdate=2008-02-04|url=http://www.un.org/Docs/scres/1987/scres87.htm]
The IDF was given
truncheons and encouraged to break the bones of Palestinian protesters. This aggressive stance was expressed by Defense Minister Yitzhak Rabinduring his tour of the Jalazon Refugee Campin January 1988, when he stated "The first priority of the security forces is to prevent violent demonstrations with force, power and blows ... We will make it clear who is running the territories". The Swedish branch of Save the Childrenestimated that, "23,600 to 29,900 children required medical treatment for their beating injuries in the first two years of the intifada", one third of whom were children under the age of ten years old.cite book|title=The Domestic Sources of American Foreign Policy: Insights and Evidence|author=Eugene R. Wittkopf and James M. McCormick|page=86|year=2007|publisher=Rowan & Littlefield|isbn=074254740X|url= http://books.google.ca/books?id=CwN6RATLAk0C&pg=PA86&dq=children+palestinian+%22first+intifada%22+killed&lr=&sig=NKCQqT4M1tRUOl0zGJsu2vtBsu4]
April 19, 1988, a leader of the PLO, Abu Jihad, was assassinated in Tunis. During the resurgence of rioting that followed, about 16 Palestinians were killed. In November of the same year and October of the next, the United Nations General Assemblypassed resolutions condemning IsraelAburish, Said K. (1998). "Arafat: From Defender to Dictator". New York: Bloomsbury Publishingpp.201-228 ISBN 1-58234-049-8]
The Israeli state apparatus carried out contradictory and conflicting policies that injured Israel's own interests such as the closing of education establishments (putting more youths onto the streets) and issuing the Shin Bet list of collaborators. [Jamal Raji Nassar, Roger Heacock (1990) "Intifada: Palestine at the Crossroads" Greenwood Publishing Group, ISBN 027593411X and ISBN 9780275934118 p 115]
In 1989, local committees in Beit Sahour initiated a nonviolence movement to withhold taxes, [Gradstein, Linda "Palestinians Claim Tax is Unjust, Many Don't Pay" " [Ft. Lauderdale] Sun-Sentinel" 8 October 1989, p. 12A] taking up the slogan "
No Taxation Without Representation,"cite web |url=http://www.beitsahourmunicipality.com/english/historic.htm |title=Welcome To Beit Sahour Official Website |format= |work= |accessdate=2008-06-07] the legality of which under international law is disputed. The Israeli defense minister Yitzhak Rabinresponse was: "We will teach them there is a price for refusing the laws of Israel." [Sosebee, Stephen J. "The Passing of Yitzhak Rabin, Whose 'Iron Fist' Fueled the Intifada" "The Washington Report on Middle East Affairs." 31 October 1990. Vol. IX #5, pg. 9] When time in prison did not stop the activists, Israel crushed the boycott by imposing heavy fines while seizing and disposing the equipment, furnishings, and goods from local stores, factories, and homes.
As the Intifada progressed, Israel introduced various riot control methods that had the effect of reducing the number of Palestinian fatalities.Fact|date=February 2008
Moshe Arenssubsequently proved to have a better understanding of pacification, which perhaps reflects in the lower casualty rates for the following years.Fact|date=February 2008 In July 1989, the first suicide attackoccurred inside Israel's borders: the Tel Aviv Jerusalem bus 405 massacre. Suicide bombings by Palestinian militants started in April 16, 1993with the Mehola Junction bombing, carried out towards the end of the Intifada. [cite book|title=Tangled Roots: Social and Psychological Factors in the Genesis of Terrorism|author=Jeffrey Ivan Victoroff|year=2006|page=204|publisher=IOS Press|isbn=158603670X|url=http://books.google.ca/books?id=olWnkxm4SPoC&pg=PA204&dq=%22suicide+bombing%22+first+palestinian+1993&sig=VIy73kToRvMzPDwCmuDiKagBt80]
In 1990, 21 Israeli soldiers confessed to frequent repeated brutal assaults against Palestinians. Yishai-Karin reported that Israeli soldiers were exposed to violence against Palestinians during the first weeks of training. The soldiers also expressed feelings of joy when they were given power to instill fear and use physical violence on the Palestinians. One soldier recalls shooting an unarmed Palestinian for no reason, "We were in a weapons carrier when this guy, around 25, passed by in the street and, just like that, for no reason - he didn't throw a stone did nothing - bang, a bullet in the stomach, he shot him in the stomach and the guy is dying on the pavement and we keep going, apathetic. No one gave him a second look,' he said. [ [http://observer.guardian.co.uk/world/story/0,,2195924,00.html Israel shaken by troops' tales of brutality against Palestinians | World news | The Observer] ]
By June 1990, according to
Benny Morris, " [T] he Intifada seemed to have lost direction. A symptom of the PLO's frustration was the great increase in the killing of suspected collaborators; in 1991 the Israelis killed more Palestinians - about 100 - about 150." Benny Morris, "Righteous Victims: A History of the Zionist-Arab Conflict, 1881-1999", Knopf, 1999. p.612] [http://www.phrmg.org/monitor2001/oct2001-collaborators.htm Collaborators, One Year Al-Aqsa Intifada] , The Palestinian Human Rights Monitoring Group, October 2001. Accessed May 15, 2007.] Attempts at the peace process in the Israeli-Palestinian conflictwere made at the Madrid Conference of 1991.
The intifada was not a military endeavor in either a conventional or guerrilla sense. The PLO - which had limited control of the situation - never expected the uprising to make any direct gains against the Israeli state, as it was a grassroots, mass movement and not their venture. However, the Intifada did produce a number of results the Palestinians considered positive:
*By engaging the Israelis directly, rather than relying on the authority or the assistance of neighboring Arab states, the Palestinians were able to globally cement their identity as a separate nation worthy of self-determination. [Jamal Raji Nassar, Roger Heacock (1990) Intifada: Palestine at the Crossroads Greenwood Publishing Group, ISBN 027593411X and ISBN 9780275934118 p 1] The era marked the end of the Israeli discussion of a "Jordanian solution" to merge the Palestinian territories with Jordan. The combination of the failure of the "Iron Fist" policy, Israel's deteriorating international image and Jordan cutting legal and administrative ties to the West Bank with the U.S.'s recognition of the PLO as the representative of the Palestinian people forced Rabin to seek an end the violence though negotiation and dialogue with the PLO. [Shlaim Avi (2000) "The Iron Wall; Israel and the Arab World" Penguin Books ISBN 0-14-028870-8 pp 455-457] [ [http://www.fpri.org/peacefacts/023.199511.sicherman.rabinappreciation.html Foreign Policy Research Institute] Yitzhak Rabin: An Appreciation By Harvey Sicherman]
*The Israeli countermeasures (particularly during the earlier years of the Intifada) resulted in international attention to the Palestinians' cause. The fact that 159 Palestinian children below the age of 16 were killed (many of them shot while throwing stones at IDF soldiers) was especially alarming for international observers.Fact|date=September 2008 Significantly, numerous American media outlets openly criticized Israel in a way that they had not previously. [Shlaim Avi (2000) "The Iron Wall; Israel and the Arab World" Penguin Books ISBN 0-14-028870-8 p 455] The conflict succeeded in putting the Palestinian question back on the international agenda,Fact|date=September 2008 particularly in the
United Nations, but also for the European Communityand the United States as well as the Arab states - which during the 1980s were concentrated on the Iran–Iraq War. The European Community(later European Union) became an important economic contributor towards the nascent Palestinian Authority, and American aid and support of Israel became more conditional than it was previouslyFact|date=September 2008 at least in appearance.Fact|date=September 2008
*The Intifada also dealt a heavy economic blow to Israel. The Bank of Israel estimated it cost the country $650 million in lost exports, largely through successful Palestinian boycotts and the creation of local micro industries.Fact|date=May 2008 The impact on the services sector, including the important Israeli tourist industry, was notably negative. [Noga Collins-kreiner, Nurit Kliot, Yoel Mansfeld, Keren Sagi (2006) "Christian Tourism to the Holy Land: Pilgrimage During Security Crisis" Ashgate Publishing, Ltd., ISBN 075464703X and ISBN 9780754647034]
*The uprising can be linked to the
Madrid Conference of 1991, and thereby to the return of the Palestinian Liberation Organization from their Tunisian exile. Prior to the first Intifada, it was doubtful whether there would ever be a Palestinian state.Fact|date=May 2008 After the Oslo accords, an independent Palestinian entity at sometime in the future seemed relatively certain.Fact|date=May 2008
*The Intifada pinpointed numerous problems with the IDF's conduct in the operative and tactical fields, as well as the general problem of Israel's prolonged control of the West Bank and Gaza strip. These problems were noticed and widely criticized, both in international forums (in particular, when humanitarian questions were at stake), but also in Israeli public opinion, in which the Intifada had caused a split.Fact|date=November 2007
*It was expected that the approximate 120,000 detainees would form a cadre for a continuation of the Intifada if the two sides could not find a mutually acceptable solution. [ [http://www.washington-report.org/backissues/1297/9712081.html WRMEA] Donald Neff "The Intifada Erupts, Forcing Israel to Recognize Palestinians"]
Timeline of Intifadas
*cite book |author=Eitan Alimi |title=Israeli Politics and the First Palestinian Intifada |publisher=Routledge |location=London|year=2006 |pages= |isbn=0415385601 |oclc= |doi=
*cite book |author= Geoffrey Aronson |title=Israel, Palestinians, and the Intifada: Creating Facts on the West Bank |publisher=Kegan Paul International |location=London |year=1990 |pages= |isbn=0-7103-0336-X |oclc= |doi=
*cite book |author=
Joel Beinin; Zachary Lockman |title=Intifada: The Palestinian Uprising Against Israeli Occupation |publisher=South End Press |location=Boston |year=1989 |pages= |isbn=0-89608-363-2 |oclc= |doi=
*cite book |author=Joost R. Hiltermann |title=Behind the Intifada: Labor and Women's Movements in the Occupied Territories |publisher=Princeton University Press |location=Princeton, N.J |year=1991 |pages= |isbn=0-691-07869-6 |oclc= |doi=
*cite book |author=Mary Elizabeth King |title=A Quiet Revolution: The First Palestinian Intifada and Nonviolent Resistance |publisher=Nation Books |location=New York |year=2007|pages= |isbn= 1560258020 |oclc= |doi=
*cite book |author=
Benny Morris|title=Righteous Victims: a History of the Zionist-Arab conflict, 1881-1999 |publisher=Knopf |location=New York |year=1999 |pages= |isbn=0-679-74475-4 |oclc= |doi=
*cite book |author=Don Peretz |title=Intifada: The Palestinian Uprising |publisher=Westview Press |location=Boulder, Colorado |year=1990 |pages= |isbn=0-8133-0860-7 |oclc= |doi=
*cite book |author=Andrew Rigby|title=Living the Intifada |publisher=Zed Books |location=London |year=1991 |pages= |isbn=1-85649-040-8 |oclc= |doi=
*cite book |author=Aryeh Shalev |title=The Intifada: Causes and Effects |publisher=Jerusalem Post & Westview Press |location=Jerusalem |year=1991 |pages= |isbn=0-8133-8303-X |oclc= |doi=
*cite book |author=
Ze'ev Schiff, Ehud Ya'ari|title=Intifada: The Palestinian Uprising: Israel's Third Front |publisher=Simon & Schuster |location=New York |year=1989 |pages= |isbn=0-671-67530-3 |oclc= |doi=
* [http://www.intifada.com/palestine.html The Intifada in Palestine:Introduction] (www.intifada.com)
* [http://www.un.org/Docs/scres/1987/scres87.htm United Nations Security Council Resolution 605]
* [http://www.guardian.co.uk/israel/Story/0,2763,1275360,00.html Palestinian Arab "collaborators"] (Guardian, UK)
* [http://libcom.org/library/rebellion-palestine-le-brise-glace The Future of a Rebellion - Palestine] An anaysis of the 1980s intifada revolt of Palestinian youth. on libcom.org
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