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Reflecting on The Possibility of a Third Intifada
From Samia Khoury
December 29, 2013

Dear All: A lot of speculation has been going around about the possibility of a
third Intifada (uprising.) People living under so much oppression and stress,
are bound to rise up. It is a natural and spontaneous reaction as we
experienced it in the first and second Intifada.

Although the situation nowadays is much worse with the new realities that
continue to be created on the ground during the last forty six years, the
general mood is not the same. The frustration is mounting and the spirit of
solidarity is no more there as it was in the first intifada. Over and above,
the split between Fateh and Hamas has certainly exacerbated that frustration and
feeling of hopelessness.

Although people want to keep hoping that this nightmare is bound to disappear,
I think they have lost faith in their leaders, in the Arab countries, their own
ability to stand up against such brutality and of course they have no more faith
in their partners and brokers for peace.

Other than the fact that the civil society has waged a non-violent resistance
campaign including the BDS (Boycott, divestment and sanctions) there is a
Palestinian Authority that has signed agreements with Israel and is committed to
abide by them despite the fact that Israel is not keeping its part of those
agreements. One of those agreements is regarding security which to many
Palestinians it seems as if the Palestinian Authority has been commissioned to
control the security in the Palestinian Territories on behalf of the Israeli
occupation forces.

So, an uprising could be disastrous if both the Israeli and Palestinian security
forces would join efforts to suppress it. We have already seen the brutal
reaction of the Palestinian Security Forces to some of the Palestinian
demonstrations whether in Ramallah or in Gaza. The failure of the Arab Spring in
the neighboring countries would be another reason to think twice before waging
another Intifada, because we have no backing, and the loss of life under these
circumstances would simply be worthless.

Although usually there are no calculations ahead of time in a spontaneous
Intifada, I have a feeling that due to the general mood and the prevailing
situation, people are weighing the odds.

Ironically, Israel is provoking the Palestinians so that they would initiate
an uprising, and then Israel can claim that the Palestinians do not want
peace. Mr. Netanyahu already criticized Mohammad Assaf, the Palestinian Arab
Idol for singing longingly about Palestinian cities that are now part of Israel.
He wrote to Mr. Kerry saying that `incitement and peace cannot coexist`.

The recent killings in Qalqiliya and Jenin, and the raid on Gaza that killed a
little child are all provocative actions that are not justified. It seems to me
that when Israel lost two wars an expression Uri Avnery used to refer to the
war against Syria and the new agreement with Iran, Israel was bound to resort to
an alternative action to divert the attention from its lack of commitment to
ending the occupation or forging peace with the Palestinians.

However now that the year 2014 has been proclaimed by the UN General Assembly as
the International year of solidarity with the Palestinian people, we already saw
the Israeli rage about the resolution of the American Studies Association to
join the BDS campaign almost at the same time when the Dutch giant Water
company Vitens severed ties with Israels National Water Company.

So with all those developments, how can we lose hope especially after we watched
the unveiling of an eight-meter-high replica of the Israeli-built concrete
wall that surrounds the city of Bethlehem in front of St. James Church in
Central London. The director of this innovative project , and certainly the
Rector of the church are to be commended on their courage. It takes courage to
expose the truth, and unfortunately not all our churches have had that much
courage. But there is always a time to start.

So let us hope that there will be a concerted effort to proclaim 2014 not only a
year of solidarity, but a year of action to redress the grave injustice that
has been inflicted upon the Palestinian people for more than six decades.

Only then we will be spared the consequences of a third Intifada and it is only
when justice is restored that the whole region will live in peace and security.
With best wishes for a peaceful New Year.

Samia Khoury

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