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Why this isn't a 'new' intifada

What we’re seeing today is not a new intifada, but an ever-more sophisticated version of the one Palestinians have been fighting all along.

In a pre-interview with a television news producer yesterday, I found myself stammering over a familiar question: as a Palestinian, do you have any hope for the future?

Steeped in the day-to-day of our “conflict” with Israel, I find it difficult to respond to such banalities – not least because I’m in no position to represent all Palestinians.

So after attempting something articulate with the producer, I decided to get in touch with my friend, Emad Burnat, the Oscar-nominated director of 5 Broken Cameras and as good a gauge as any of the situation in the West Bank.

If you’ve seen his film, you’ll know why. In it, Emad documents his West Bank village’s nonviolent struggle against Israeli land grabs. Produced from more than 700 hours of footage, the documentary features intimate portraits of Bil’in’s leading nonviolent activists, who maintain a remarkable sense of hope amidst the violence and tragedy that surround them. But here’s the thing: the earliest of the film’s footage dates back to 2005, when common wisdom had it that the Second Intifada was over.

Five broken cameras director and Emmy Award winner, Emad Burnat, holds his award in front of the Israeli wall, during the weekly demo against the wall and occupation in the West Bank village of Bi'lin, Novmber 29,2013. The village celebrated return of Burnat to Bil'in in today's weekly demonstration.

Five broken cameras director and Emmy Award winner, Emad Burnat, holds his award in front of the Israeli wall, during the weekly demo against the wall and occupation in the West Bank village of Bi’lin, Novmber 29,2013. The village celebrated return of Burnat to Bil’in in today’s weekly demonstration.

So when I asked Emad today if a third intifada was coming, his response wasn’t surprising. Instead, it reminded me of something he published just before his appearance at the 2012 Oscars:

“I come from Palestine. I have lived my entire life under military occupation, and I have no memory of a time without struggle.”

Ask anyone in the West Bank or Gaza and they’ll tell you: Israel’s menacing stranglehold over every aspect of their lives has never ebbed, and neither has Palestinian resistance to it.

Click for +972′s full coverage of the kidnappings

From the daily struggle to access their lands, their schools, or their places of worship in the West Bank, to braving the persistent hum of drones and the “shrill of sorties” over Gaza, Palestinians have never abandoned their quest to “shake off” the manacles of occupation.

If Western journalists need images of keffiyeh-clad young men sporting slingshots and stones to call that an intifada, yesterday’s day-long clashes with the Israeli army should satiate them. But make no mistake: in villages like Bil’in throughout the West Bank, in Jerusalem and Gaza, the Palestinian intifada – like the Israeli policies it resists – has never paused.

If anything, it has grown to include a groundswell of international support, as evidenced by the runaway successes of the BDS movement and the growing roster of artists refusing to perform in Israel.

Of course, none of this can spare Palestinians the current ravages of Israel’s ongoing occupation. But taken together, rather than a “new intifada,” these efforts represent an ever-more sophisticated version of the one Palestinians have been fighting all along. Its inclusiveness, its principled nonviolence, and its momentum are indeed cause for this Palestinian to hope.

More on the kidnappings:
Three kidnapped Israeli teens found dead in the West Bank
Our problem with selective sympathy for young victims
How the public was manipulated into believing the teens were alive

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    1. Kolumn9

      Principled nonviolence like the murder of three Israeli teens?

      Reply to Comment
    2. Bar

      Slingshots and stones?

      Try constant murder and attempted murders of Israeli civilians.

      Try constant rockets launched at Israeli civilian centers.

      Try attempted kidnappings and successful kidnappings.

      Even where you have slingshots and stones you often have molotov cocktails as well.

      Perhaps the Palestinians should negotiate for peace in good faith and close a deal instead? After all, things like the security barrier were built because of the extreme violence of the Palestinian “struggle” against Israeli civilians and roadblocks and checkpoints were built in large numbers because of the violence of the Palestinian “struggle” against Israeli civilians.

      A Palestinian state could have existed now for many years and everyone knows it, because Israel has proposed one more than once. Unfortunately, the Palestinian “struggle” is not to live in peace in their own state but rather it is to overturn the right of Israelis to self-determination. Even those Palestinians who want to end the occupation, merely view ending it as a stage in the next “struggle” to end Israel (see Gaza as example number one of this) so that the most “moderate” leader ended up telling Obama just a few months ago, after 15 years of peace negotiations (!!!!), that he will never sign “end of conflict.” So what was he negotiating?

      From avoiding negotiations and demanding Israel’s destruction as a Jewish state, the primary aspect of the Palestinian “struggle” has been violence that virtually always targets Israeli and Jewish civilians. And make no mistake, this violence preceded the state of Israel by decades so that nobody can claim it has anything to do with “occupation.”

      This violence is precisely why the Palestinian “struggle” has no moral foundations and those who support it may have propagandized the situation into one where the world is sympathetic, but hatred of Jews and murderous attacks on Jewish civilians are the reason the “struggle” has failed and will continue to fail. You can’t build something on a foundation of hatred.

      Reply to Comment
    3. shmuel

      To “negotiate for peace in good faith” means to accept that you continue to steal their land, lives and natural resources without having anything to say?

      Reply to Comment
      • Bar

        Dude, this entire article is propaganda and didn’t influence me. Do you think your silly remark will?

        Reply to Comment
    4. Sol

      It’s the Third Intifada, albeit a year late.
      First Intifada – 1987
      Second Intifada – 2000
      Third Intifada – 2014
      Avigdor Lieberman, Danny Danon, Naftali Bennett, Price Tag, and the Kahane Movement will respond in kind.

      Reply to Comment