Are we witnessing a third Palestinian intifada?

Fahed Khitan (Photo: Jordan News)
Twenty years ago, Jerusalem spearheaded an armed Palestinian Intifada that went on for five years, following a provocative visit by then Israeli prime minister Ariel Sharon to the grounds of Al-Aqsa Mosque.اضافة اعلان

The occupied city of Jerusalem has for days now been the scene of escalating clashes between occupation forces and settler groups on the one side and a Palestinian popular movement on the other, hosted by Sheikh Jarrah neighborhood, where the occupation is seeking to evict residents from homes owned by them under legal deeds, as was proven by Jordanian documents recently given to Palestinian authorities.

The continuous storming of Al-Haram Al-Sharif by terrorist settlers and the prevention of Palestinians from praying at the mosque during Ramadan exacerbated tensions.

Does this tense climate constitute similar conditions to those that were prevalent ahead of the 2000 Al-Aqsa Intifada?

Some analysts believe that the current conditions are even worse than they were in 2000.

Israel is more aggressive, oppressive, and extreme, and there is race between its right-wing and extremist parties, while among Palestinians there is deep awareness of absence of prospects, absence of opportunities for fair solutions, and daily pressures that are too heavy for citizens.

The focus of confrontations this time around on Jerusalem and its holy sites constitutes an additional key factor for the possible outbreak of a popular intifada that spreads to all occupied Palestinian territories, catching on through religious sentiments provoked by the recurring targeting of sacred sites. 

As always, the international community was lenient on the practices of Israeli governments, which encouraged them to continue their arrogant actions. During the time of the former Trump administration, which was completely biased towards more radical currents, Israel pushed ahead with its aggression against the Palestinian people, with complete disregard for any response from the international community and the UN. Additionally, the normalization of relations among Arab and Islamic countries tempted additional aggression and practices that disregard legitimate Palestinian national rights.

We can feel a change of tone in the international community’s response to current events in Jerusalem, particularly from the Biden administration, as the US, for the first time in years, is affirming the need for respecting the historical status quo in occupied Jerusalem and occupied Palestinian territories, supported by a European stance urging Israel to uphold its responsibilities as an occupying power.

Arab countries must leverage the current international stance to exert maximum pressure on the occupation to cease its aggression in Sheikh Jarrah and respect the inviolability of Jerusalem’s holy sites.

We are expected to see Arab action on this front, following a Qatari call, in coordination with Jordan and Palestine, for an urgent meeting of Arab foreign ministers this week.

If Arab efforts fail to spur a US and international stance pressuring Israel to cease the forced eviction of Palestinians from their homes in Shekh Jarrah and surrounding areas, and to completely refrain from violating the sanctity of occupied Jerusalem’s holy sites, the possibility of an outbreak of a third Palestinian intifada becomes very likely.

The Palestinian people have nothing left to lose; they are witnessing their lands being stolen, their holy sites violated, and their right for an independent state on their national land fading away.

If a Palestinian intifada does not break out today, then it certainly will soon enough.

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