Is what is happening in Jerusalem nowadays an outburst, an Intifada, the prelude to the outbreak of an Intifada, or an "Intifada" that adapts to and fits reality?
Most of what is happening indicates that what is happening is a form of uprising. However, the lack of leadership, a goal and organisation, as well as the fact that not all the people of the nation are participating in the uprising makes this local and sporadic outbursts with varying degrees differing from one area to another. In Jerusalem, there is a state of uprising, but in other areas, there are sporadic outbursts that vary in intensity.
It is not expected for the third Intifada to occur in the same manner as the first or second Intifadas. The local, Arab, and international facts, experiences, and circumstances are all completely different. There are areas that are not only occupied, but annexed, such as Jerusalem, areas that are under full control such as the Jordan Valley and the area known as Area C, and areas that are under Israeli sovereignty, but the PA receives certain powers over them and participates in security coordination. In such areas, the Israeli forces are not always present, but when necessary, they make arrests and raids, which occur in many cities. As for the Gaza Strip, it is subject to the occupation by means of the blockade, aggression, and invasions from time to time.
After the Oslo Accords were signed and the devastating division, a large section of the nation, both inside and outside the authority, started to have interests in allowing the situation to remain the same and were opposed to the outbreak of an Intifada. Meanwhile, the PA president openly and explicitly stated he would prevent an Intifada while the factions leading the Intifadas and uprisings are in ruins.
The Intifada occurring today has many faces and is occurring in the form of waves and popular outbursts, and even in the form of an Intifada in certain areas. We have also seen outbursts in solidarity with the prisoners, in opposition to settlement activity, and in defence of Gaza, which suffered three brutal attacks, the most recent of which was the most vicious. However, in Jerusalem we are witnessing an "Intifada".
The next uprising does not necessarily have to last for years. It may be more suitable to come in the form of successive waves and outbursts with different themes, taking breaks in between to refresh before rising up once again. It will build on the achievements of the previous uprisings and outburst, only if these uprisings have a goal, leadership, and a national front that will ensure its ultimate victory.
What is happening in Jerusalem at the moment is a new cycle of the conflict that erupted after matters reached a certain point that Jerusalemites can no longer endure. After over 47 years of Jerusalem's occupation and annexation by Israel and the announcement that it is the unified and eternal capital of Israel, and 20 years after the signing of the Oslo Accords, which separated the territories occupied in 1967 and Jerusalem, as it did not include East Jerusalem as part of the Area A territories, which should be under PA control, the city is still being systematically targeted with acts of Judaisation. In addition to this, Israel is expelling as many Jerusalemites as possible from the city in order to reach a point where the Palestinians in Jerusalem are a small minority subject to the will of the Jewish majority.
The Jerusalemites have reached a state of complete frustration, as they feel they are unable to change the hell they are living in. Instead, matters are getting worse, especially after Mohammed Abu Khdeir was burned and killed, escalated armed settler attacks, and calls for killing and murder without being held accountable. Attacks on people, property, trees, stones and holy sites have become part of the daily routine.
Jerusalemites suffer from their leadership's fear of confrontation and its inability to protect them or provide a way to save the Palestinian cause, after having reached an impasse. The Palestinian leadership is also reluctant to choose a new path and only voices condemnations and denunciations rather than taking responsibility. The leadership relies on Jordan, the Arabs and Muslims at a time when they are not responding to the calls.
In the face of all this and in light of the continued division which is preventing the outbreak of an Intifada since all the Palestinian energy is being consumed by internal conflict, despite all the horrors and dangers, the Jerusalemites found no other choice than to take action through a new form of Intifada that suits the reality; a reality in which the leadership and national forces are not carrying out their duties of providing protection or leading the confrontation imposed on the people. The failure to confront means the complete victory of the colonial settlement project. When the leadership and forces are absent, each individual takes action to defend themselves in the manner they see fit.
This is instead of taking an alternative path to bilateral negotiations solely under American auspices; a path that adopts all forms of resistance, including the peaceful, popular, and armed forms which are part of the Palestinian rights and are guaranteed under international humanitarian law. This resistance must be based on one national authority that determines which forms of resistance are appropriate for each phase and each Palestinian group. However, the reality we are witnessing is completely different. We are seeing condemnation for armed resistance even though it is a given right, and it is being called "targeting civilians", as if the conflict is between two equal countries with armies, and as if those carrying out the operations are factions that possess equal leaderships, capabilities and expertise rather than individuals doing all they can against the enemy. They cannot distinguish between civilians and soldiers; between clerics and holy sites and military barracks and soldiers. In this case, the clerics are spearheading the racist colonial project, making the violation of Al-Aqsa a daily routine. All of these violations are occurring under various pretexts aiming to strip these operations from their heroicness, and trying to distinguish between resistance and revenge.
We cannot blame those who are drowning for trying to hold on to anything that may save them from drowning in any possible way. When the national organisation that unites the entire nation, as well as the leadership, factions, unions are lacking one unified goal and a national front, as well as political, organisations, and economic foundations, then the Intifada will become an individual uprising. This type of intifada is more of out of desperation than of hope, while the large Intifadas fuelled by hope are capable of victory. In the midst of the confrontation, a leadership capable of restoring hope is being formed; a leadership confident in the ability of the Palestinians to persevere and hold out until victory comes.
Rather than mourn the Intifada before it even starts and reject all forms of armed resistance, the elite and leaders must first provide the conditions for its victory and prevent it from becoming chaotic. The means of struggle are not limited to only one way, especially when the occupation commits all sorts of crimes at an unprecedented rate and pass racist laws that leave no room for Palestinians in their homeland. In this case, we cannot completely rule out armed resistance.
National dialogue must also be held and it must begin discussing whether the Palestinians need an Intifada or not or if they should immediately and completely abandon the terms of the Oslo Accords of if they should do it gradually. If the answer is yes, which is suggested by various indicators, and then the discussion must move to the appropriate means and time frame for this to be carried out and the goal sought to be achieved. In addition to this, the conditions for the victory of the Intifada must be provided so that when it breaks out, and it will inevitably do so sooner or later, it can be another source of glory.
Despite all that has been mentioned above, there is apparent and clear confusion in the Israeli government regarding the losses caused by the resistance and the escalated disputes in Israel regarding assessing what is happening and how to deal with it in order to prevent it from growing and turning into a full blown Intifada. The fear of the "Jerusalem Intifada" has reached the point of blaming the government and its radical and racist policies claiming to unify Jerusalem, while it seems even more divided than before. There is also a fear in Israel of the continuation of the Intifada and its escalations, as well as its Arab, Islamic and international repercussions, because the Palestinian cause and Jerusalem unite all the Arabs, Muslims and the free people in solidarity with the just Palestinian cause.
The eruption of the conflict in Jerusalem can change all the cards and equations and turn the tables against the interests and objectives of Israel and its supporters. Or, it can drive matters to chaos, which can serve Israel's purposes and interests. Are we daring enough to choose the right choice or will division and the fear of confrontation be the end of us?