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Anatomy of Another Rebellion
Author(s): Rema Hammami and Salim Tamari
Source: Middle East Report, No. 217, Beyond Oslo: The New Uprising (Winter, 2000), pp. 2-15
Published by: Middle East Research and Information Project (MERIP)
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/1520164 .
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Palestinianyouths run from Israeli tear gas in Ramallah.

A nyonewatchingthewidespread
clashesthatengulfed intifada.
Butin thissecondintifada,
thevarious
stagesare
the OccupiedTerritories
in OctoberandNovember morecondensed,
the killingmorebrutal,the reactions
2000mustexperience
a senseof dejavu.Thedramatic swifter
andthemediacoverage
moreintense.
Thelanguage
elementsseemlikea restagingof eventstwelveyearsago. of theuprising
hasalready
becometheidiomof everyday
Youngmenarmedwithstonesfacethe mightiestarmyin existenceforparticipants
andobservers
alike.Speaking
2 to theVoiceof Palestine
aboutbesieged
the MiddleEast, mothersmourn,nationalistsymbols on November
aboundat martyrs'
funerals all coveredinstantaneouslyBethlehem's
needforfood,thecity'sparliamentary
deputy
tointifada
daysandnonby the-international
media.Eventhe paradesof masked said:"Wehavetoadaptourselves
days."Non-intifada
days?Massinsurrection
has
youthcarryinggunsrecallthe chaoticendingof the first intifada
Rema Hmmami, an anthropologist.
chairstheM.A.programin womensstudiesat
BitzeitUniversity.
SalimTamari,a sociologist,
directstheInstituteofMerusalem
Studies
(JerusaSm)
and is alsoafiliated withBitzeitUniversity.
Botharecontributing
editors
of MiddleEastReport.

2

onceagainbeensuperseded
byquotidian
life.
Asinthefirstuprising,
diplomatic
stalemate
followed
by
a seriesof dramatic
eventssparked
a long-foreseen
explosion.In1987,adisappointingArab
summit,
asettler
killing
MIDDLE
EASTREPORT
217 * WINTER
2000

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of a schoolgirlandthe
death of seven Palestinianworkersin a car
accidenttriggeredthe

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---

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In late Sep2000, the

breakdown

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of

the

Camp David II summit, followed by Ariel

.... .

Sharon'svisit to the
Haram al-Sharifand
the killing of demonstratorstherethe next

..

day, detonated

the

situation.But in both
casesdeeperfactorsdetermined the sudden
transition from a
seeminglysedate and
routinized system of
controlto widespread
.

.....
:!....
:.

violence involving tens
of young
profthousands
men and women ready

:

.

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....rS..
.po.'."c....

to give their lives to

b..ring the status quo to
end. The makeup
of political forces and
their ability to shape,
support and give strategic direction to
spontaneous actions
will ultimately deter-

cideal
din
ffnean

,oce

c, ---l 'n
imine

if, and how, the

uprising leads to a re-

'* '11-

formulationof larger

i

[E' I Israeli and Palestinian

6_

--

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---

m
E*'

political strategies.
The crucial differences between the first

.

and second uprisings

e

emanate from their
profoundly changed
JOMARIE FECCI/IMPACT VISUALS
political and diplomatic contexts. Their consequences are also likely to be
considerably different. The first intifada (1987-1993) came
at a time of total political stalemate-the aftermath of
Israel'sinvasion of Lebanon, the dispersal of the PLO and
intensified Jewish settlement throughout the West Bank
and Gaza. The Israeli military was in full control of Palestinian population centers, and administered Palestinians'
daily lives under conditions of direct colonialism. The uprising-a militant but essentially unarmed civil insurrection-put the Israeli military, and Israeli society at large,
on notice that Palestine could no longer be governed by
colonial rule. It shifted the political balance to the internal
forces inside the Territories, and enhanced the role of civil
'

..

,

,

.

societyand its massorganization.It engageda largesector
of Jewishsocietyin soul-searchingand, ultimately,retreat
from long-held beliefs. It also redirected the PLO
leadership'sstrategicthinkingin favorof a two-statesolution based on SecurityCouncil Resolution 242 and the
partitionplan.
had a strongcivilsociety,a
Tenyearsago the Palestinians
the Unicolonialstateandan amorphousinternalleadership,
of the Uprising(UNLU).The PLO
fiedNationalLeadership
directed,or attemptedto direct,the movementby remote
controlfromTunis.Todayin Palestinethereis a virtualstate
in situ,headedby the relocatedandexpandedPLO
apparatus
with a substantialandarmedsecurityapparatus
bureaucracy,
and an electedparliament.The PalestinianAuthority(PA)
presidesovera "peaceprocess"which, aftersevenyears,has
left them and the populationthey rulepennedinto disconnectedfragmentsof the OccupiedTerritories,encircledby
evergrowingsettlements.Yetthesenewactorsseemparalyzed
at a criticalmomentof Palestinianhistory.Herewe havea
massiveuprisingsupportedbymillionsacrosstheArabworld,
streetitselfseemslimof the Palestinian
but the participation
ited: civil societyis absent,the oppositionparties'involvementis token,the governmentgivesalmostno guidanceand
thelegislativeassemblyis silent.Howcanwe accountforthis?

DeceitorBrokenPromises?
Oslo:Original
The main political outcome (if not achievement)of the
first intifadawas the Oslo accordsthemselves.Earlycritics of Oslo who saw it leading to a continuation of occupation-either as apartheid pace Edward Said or as
"occupationby remotecontrol"paceMeronBenvenistimost likely see vindication of their analysis in the currentcrisis.Moreimportantis how the politicalleaderships
who signed the agreements understood them, and
whether,over time, variousIsraeligovernmentsactually
changed their meaning.
Broadly,Oslo called for phased devolution of Israeli
rule over the West Bank and Gaza, followed by negotiation of the thorny issues of settlements, refugees and
Jerusalemas part of the final status agreements.Besides
its original withdrawal from Jericho and Gaza, Israel
would undertakethreeredeploymentsduringthe five-year
transitionalphase.The text of variousagreementsis not
explicit on the amount of territorythese three redeployments would return.But the PAand Palestiniansupportersof Oslo assumedthey would encompassall of the 1967
territories,save Jerusalem,the settlements and vaguely
defined "militaryinstallations,"which would be left for
final status. Such optimism first ran into trouble with
the miserlysecond redeploymentunder Netanyahu. But
in line with US thinking, optimists believed that the returnof Laborwould restorethe originalspiritof the agreement. Among other things, they failed to take seriously
the fact that EhudBarak,as interiorministerin the Rabin
government,had actuallyabstainedfromthe vote on Oslo
in its heyday.

217 *? WINTER
2000
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3
3

CampDavid
Baraknever implemented a third redeployment. Rather, at
Camp David (July 11-25, 2000) he insisted on moving directly to final status talks. Thus, the PA was forced to negotiate permanent status issueswhen they fully controlled only
18 percent of West Bank and Gaza territoryand jointly controlled another 24 percent. The former (AreaA) comprises
urbancenters, while the latter (AreaB) is composed of builtup village areas.Barak'sstrategysharpenedOslo's fundamental imbalance of power: whereas final status talks had been
contingent on withdrawalfrom almost all the Occupied Territories, the third (and final) redeployment was now contingent on major Palestinian concessions on final status issues.
The Palestinian leadership always distinguished between
concessions they had to make over transitional arrangements-internal mobility, bypass roads, economic agreements and water sharing-and firm stances in final status
talks, particularlya stricterinterpretationof Resolution 242.
They presented the initial failings of Oslo as contingencies
imposed by the need to bring the PLO home from exile
before it could struggle for statehood from within the Occupied Territories.1As Oslo's failings mounted, logically the
leadership would adhere even more strongly to these Palestinian "redlines"during final statustalks.On one level, Camp
David's breakdown is the product of the clash of these two
4

contending logics: Israel expected continued Palestinian
"flexibility"in return for more land area, while the PA had
lost too much in the transitional stage to concede much on
final status.
But there are major differences of opinion about what
happened at Camp David. According to the official Israeli
version, echoed by Bill Clinton, Barakmade "first-timegenerous offers"which the Palestinianleadershiprejected.Jerusalem-and specifically the Israeli demand that Israel have
some form of sovereignty over the Haram al-Sharif-was
the stumbling block. Recently, new analyses are emerging
about the content of Israeli offers, about the causes of the
breakdown of talks, and most importantly, about the strategies underlying Israel'sbehavior at the talks.

Jerusalem
Although Barakannounced at the end of September that he
favored the creation of two capitals for two states in Jerusalem, a published interview with Menahim Klein, advisorto
chief Israeli negotiator Shlomo Ben Ami, shows what he
meant by this.2 According to Klein, Israelwould annex the
main bloc of settlements in East Jerusalem and expand
GreaterJerusalemas far south as Gush Etzion near Hebron.
The outlying Arab suburbs of East Jerusalemwould be divided into an outer ring with full Palestinian sovereignty
2000
217 *- WINTER
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217 WINTER
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and an inner ring with only expanded autonomy. Muslim
and Christian holy sites, and the Arab neighborhoods inside the Old City, would receive this "expanded form of
autonomy but Israelwould remainthe hegemonic power"that is, would retainoverallsovereignty.Within this arrangement, metropolitan Jerusalem would be divided into
Palestinianand Israelimunicipalities, and would remain an
open city, with no international borders or checkpoints.
Akram Haniyyeh, among the Palestinian advisors at
Camp David, provides a different version. The crucial difference in the "American-filtered"version of the Israeli
proposals received by Palestinian negotiators was that the
Old City would not enjoy the same expanded autonomy
as the "inner ring" neighborhoods. Instead, he relates, the
Americans proposed a special status for the Old City in
which the Palestinians would have sovereignty over the
Christian and Muslim quarters, while Israel would have
sovereignty over the Jewish
and Armenian quarters.3
U
Haniyyeh'sand Klein'sver-

But behind Jerusalem loomed the more problematic
issue of refugees. Under the guise of "family reunification," Israel offered a symbolic return of a few thousand refugee families from Lebanon over a 15-year
period. Israel also suggested the formation of an "international" fund for refugee resettlement in the countries
in which they live, or for compensation. In return, the
Israelis expected an "end of claims" and "end of conflict" statement from the Palestinian negotiators, meaning that any implication of Israeli responsibility for
creating the Palestinian refugee problem would be forever buried. Such a statement would drive a wedge between Arafat and diaspora Palestinians, whom he would
no longer be able to represent.
This demand, perhaps more than control over the holy
places, constituted the main obstacle to success at Camp
David. As Akram Haniyyeh expressed it, Barak wanted
"the golden signature from
the Palestinians" on a carte
blanche for Israel.5 Contrary to all major sources,

ThePalestinianI ulthority
presides
Uzi Benziman also sugoverr a "p
e
ahfpeace pr (bcess"essc" which,
jectedanythingshort of full
gested in Haaretzon Nowhich,
afin allPalestinianter seven years,
sovereignty
IhasleftPalestin- vember
3 that it was
areas of East Jerusalem. Prorefugees, not Jerusalem,
sions of events dovetail on

three main issues. Arafat re-

ians penned in1t :o disconnected

over
posedIsraelisovereignty

the Haramal-Sharifareawas

'l

a criticalelementin ending fragments
of territory encircled
the talks.The Israelispro ever largersettli

posed a "vertically divided"
sovereignty,in which the Palestinians would control the
surface area of the Haram al-Sharif, and Israelwould control the area below surface. The idea of shared sovereignty
was stunning-no previous Israeliadministration, Laboror
Likud, had everadvancedsuch a notion. According to Klein,
"It was on this point that the summit ended."

by

Iments.

that producedthe stalemate
at Camp David.

"There is

a growing impression,"he

writes, "that even if Barak
had agreed, at Camp
David, to leave sovereignty
over the Temple Mount in
the hands of the Palestinians, the question of the right
of return would have remained open, and in any event
Arafat would have refused to sign a peace agreement that
contained a statement declaring the end of the conflict
and the renunciation of mutual claims."

forBarak?
Settlements,
RefugeesandEndofConflict AnExitStrategy
Three components of the Israeli offers on settlements were
unacceptable to the Palestinians.4 Besides the massive
Etzion bloc mentioned earlier, two other blocs which intrude considerably into the boundaries of the proposed
Palestinian state would be annexed to Israel. These three
blocs house some 250,000 settlers, who would retain Israeli citizenship, but would include 80,000-100,000 Palestinians living within the enlarged bloc, who would be
effectively disenfranchised. Most problematic within this
arrangementwas the complete encirclement of EastJerusalem with vast, newly expanded settlements such as Maale
Adumim towards the east, and Har Homa in the south.
Integrating the three blocs would mean that Israeli territory would reach in a long line from the eastern outskirts
of Jericho westward to Beit Sahour, effectively splitting the
West Bank in two. It would also seal Jerusalem off from its
Palestinian hinterlands.

According to commentators on both sides, the issue of sovereignty over the Haram compound was raised after negotiations actually broke down due to the "end of conflict"
clause. If the talks had alreadycollapsed, then why did Israel
demand shared sovereignty over the Haram at the last moment?There are three theories. One is that Barakwanted to
keep Shas in his crumbling coalition and so offered a palliative to the religious right. This demand would also allow
him to save face when his proposed concessions to the Palestinians were leaked. Or perhaps Barak got cold feet and
decided to add an element into the negotiations which he
consciously knew the Palestinianswould reject.
The third theory-believed by most of the Palestiniannegotiators-is that Barak,from the outset,went to Camp David
intending that the summit fail. Calculatingthat he could not
survivepoliticallyaftermakingeven limited concessionsto the
Palestinians,he opted to let them provide him with an exit

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5

Fatah's

Tanzim
and

Origins
Graham

Politics

Usher

nNovember
andKhalid
with "inside"leadership.
Withthereturnof the "outside"
PLOleadership
9,2000,Hussein
Salahat,
Abayat
along
around
50other
were
oneoftheseven
houses to theTerritories,
Palestinians,
visiting
courtesyof theOsloaccordsandtheestablishment
hitbyIsraeli
tankshellstheprevious
nightintheWestBank
village of thePalestinian
Authority
(PA),thiscadrewaseithermarginalized
ofBeitSahour.
thenclimbed
intotheirMitsubishi
truck orcooptedintothePA'snewministriesoroneof itsmyriadpoliceand
They
pickup
todrivebackupthehilltotheheart
ofthevillage.
seconds intelligenceforces.ThetwoprocessesexplainthewhollycontradicThirty
thetruck
wasa smoldering
missile torycharacter
ofthemovement
asithasevolved
overtheseven-year
later,
shell,hitbyananti-tank
launched
fromanIsraeli
waskilledin- Osloperiod.
thetanzim
themilitary
For,ontheonehand,
Apache
helicopter.
Abayat
provides
were
twoPalestinian
his andpolitical
women
behind
baseofthePA's
rule.Ontheother,
stantaneously-as
standing
theyareitsloyalvan-andSalahat
wasseverely
wounded.
Thetwomenwere
thefirst andyetpotentially
mostseditious-opposition.
victims
ofanIsraeli
of
"initiated"
assassinations
aimed
attak- InOslo's
initial
Fatah's
taskwasrelatively
policy
period
straightforward-to
out
the
of
the
Palestinian
intifada.
consolidate
and
ensure
the
InGaza,
survival.
PA's
thistooktheform
of
ing
"ground"
leadership
inthiscase,thePalestinians
TheIsraelis-and,
whosupplied
them quelling
thechallenge
to
the
new
the
and
posed
regime
by politicalmilitary
withthenecessary
onAbayat-knew
theirground
well. policy
ofHamas,
aconfrontation
that
came
toahead
thekilling
intelligence
following
hadbeena leader
ofFatah-the
dominant
factionof13Palestinians
the
PA
at
Gaza's
Palestine
on
Ex-prisoner
Abayat
by
police
mosqueNovemofthePLO
headed
Arafat-in
the1987intifada.
Like
hun- ber18,1994.
the
the
crucial
confrontabyYasser
Territories,
Throughout
Occupied
dreds
ofothers,
hisactivism
thedisillusionment
inthespring
of1996when
Hamas
andIslamic
Jihad
launched
lapsed
during
broughttionarrived
onbytheOslopeaceprocess.
Likehundreds
ofothers,
hehadre- awave
ofsuicide
inIsrael
inrevenge
forIsrael's
assassination
of
bombings
hismovement
intheheatofthepresent
alead- theHamas
Inresponse,
Fatah
blessjoined
uprising,
taking
"engineer"
YahyaAyyash.
gave
passive
attacks
onarmy
inand ing-and
settlements
active
asofficers
inthePalestinian
forcesingroleinarmed
postsandJewish
support
intelligence
around
Bethlehem.
Salahat
wasa member
ofFatah's
Shabiba
ruthless
ofitsIslamist
youth tothePA's
suppression
opposition.
movement
andanofficer
inthePalestinian
General
Intelli- Itwasa Pyrrhic
Whatever
thePA's
indisabling
success
the
Authority's
victory.
Taken
thetwoembodied
thetanzim,
Fatah'smilitary
arms
ofHamas
andJihad,
thesuicide
were
devastatgenceService.
together,
bombings
ontheground
intheOccupied
andthelead- ingenough
toIsraeli
tobring
topower
and
Territories,
"organization"
opinion
Binyamin
Netanyahu
and
force
theal-Aqsa
intifada.
avirtual
halt
totheOslo
toIsrael's
formal
commitment
ingpolitical military behind
process,
especially
tofurther
intheWest
Bank.
military
redeployments
Fatah
thus
were
faced
with
a
dilemma.
ThePalestinian
leadgrassroots
Origins
waswedded
tothesecurity,
and
economic
structures
ofOslo's
ership
political
Thetanzim
trace
theirorigins
tothoseFatah
cadre
who-under
the "interim"
The
Israeli
wasdetermined
toturn
those
arrangements.
government
of
Fatah
leader
Khalil
al-Wazir
their
teeth
into
a
in
the
West
Bank
and
Gaza.
On
the
guidance
(Abu
Jihad)-cut
arrangementspermanent
reality
intheyouth,
socialandarmed
that
in
the
Ocother
with
the
of
the
the
Palestinian
hand,
organizationsoperated
vanquishing Islamists,
political
Territories
both
before
andduring
thefirstintifada,
theso-calledsphere
wasbereft
ofanopposition,
since
both
thehistorical
PLO
cupied
opposition
andcivilsociety
hadlongsincelosttheir
constituenparties
organizations
GrahamUsheris authorofDispatchesfromPalestine:The Riseand Fallof the
in
cies
the
Territories.
Here
was
a
vacuum
to
Occupied
waitingbefilled.
Oslo PeaceProcess(London:PlutoPress,1999). He is a contributing
editorof
MiddleEastReport.
What
hassince
come
tobeknown
asthetanzim
filled
it.

from an agreement.Accordingto a recentanalysisby an Israeli
is no different from Asad, for at the decisive moment, he preferred
the convenience of the routine conflict to the audacity of bringing
historian,Barak'sactualagendaat Camp David was to createa
crisisthatwould invitea Palestinianrejection.July 10, one week
about peace.
before the commencement of the Camp David talks, Dan
The resemblance of Margalit'sscenario to actual events is
Margalit,a journalistclose to the Israelileadership,wrote:
uncanny.While the actualIsraeliconcessionsmay seem stingy,
This is what should happen with the Palestinians: Barak should
Baraks public relations victory after the talks posed Israeli
them
with
which
that
he
is
to
present
proposals,
stipulate
willing
generosityagainstPalestinianintransigence.More intriguing
make concessions that are very difficult for Israel. If they are reis Margalit'ssuggestion, in the same article, that "whoever
advocatesa national unity government must internalizethe
jected, both the Araband Westernworldswill understandthatArafat
6MIDDLE
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217
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structure.
Butwiththedemise
oftheOsloprocessorganizational
andtheremoval
of theschismsit causedwithinFatah-three
tothehard
realities
ofOslowasexpressed
atvarious
to becommon
itsgrassroots
leaders.
lev- themes
The
appear
among
Opposition
after1996,aspopular
discontent
withtheOslopro- firstis a growing
of
the
terms
of
the
Oslo
els,especially
critique very
process,
cessgrew
andsupport
forFatah
asamovement
ofthePA where
Palestinian
national
aresuborned
toa negotiatindependent
aspirations
Within
newinstitutions-and
declined.
thePA's
theelected ingstrategy
basedon US-leddiplomacy
and"security
especially
cooperaCouncil-it
withIsrael's
Palestinian
tended
tobeFatah
tanzim
andintelligence
forces.
Initsstead,Fatah
Legislative
depu- tion"
military
thegeneral
tieswholedthecrusade
"other
asidefromnegotiations
andthe
putsforward
against
corruption,
options"
mismanagementandlawlessness
ofthePA's
Fatah consolidation
Onthestreet,
ofthePA.Relations
withtheIsraeli
and
governance.
government
Israel's
settlement
activists
tooktheleadinprotests
anddiplomatic
withtheUSandthe
against
policies "peace
camp"
cooperation
andfortherelease
ofPalestinian
Onoccasion,
the European
Union
areacceptable,
butnotas substitutes
for"other
political
prisoners.
tanzim
thePA,especially
those options."
InBarghouti's
butwemust
words,"Wecannegotiate,
protests
against
against
sponsored
whoshowed
forarresting,alsohaveaction
"outsider"-led
forces
a penchant
ontheground."
security
and
sometimes
detained
Fatah
activists.
Fatah
inthe"tunnel"
activists
firstunveiled
thataction
confronkilling
torturing
the
Above
consisted
of
a
reof
democratic
tations
of
1996
and
then
in
2000demonall, opposition
process
September
again theMay
form
initiated
Council
anditsyoung
West strations
insolidarity
withPalestinian
whengunmen
bytheFatah
Higher
(FHC)
prisoners,
Bank
Marwan
in
General
Established
the
fire
on
Israeli
soldiers
and
settlements
1991, opened
Secretary Barghouti.
implanted
deepin
FHC
Bank
wasessentially
theoldWest
intifada
made
of
PA-controlled
areas.
the
Since
the
action
has
evolved
from
leadership up
uprising,
localleaders
andex-prisoners
drawn
from
thetowns,
and
refurandom
often
on
Israeli
soldiers
and
settlevillages
(and useless)firing
intheWest
Bank.
Steered
between
fromwithin
1994and ments
Palestinian
civilian
areastomoreguerrilla-like
geecamps
byBarghouti,
1999some122Fatahconferences
wereheldintheWestBank,involv- attacks
onisolated
nearsettlements
and,above
military
outposts
ofsome85,000Fatahactivistsandresulting
inthe all,onroads
intheWestBank
andGaza
maintained
forthesettlers'
ingtheparticipation
electionofsome2,500leaders.Asimilarprocessoccurred
inGaza,but exclusive
use.
ata slowerpaceandwithless participation.
Theaimof theseregional
Thesecondtheme
callsforwrenching
thePalestinian
struggle
conferences
wasclear:toconvenethefirstmeetingoftheFatah
General outfrom
under
thetutelage
of USregional
andIsraeli
diplomacy
in11years
toelectanewFatah
Conference
Central
Council
and hegemony
towhere
Fatah
believes
itproperly
United
(FCC)
belongs-the
Council
thetwohighest
bodies Nations
Inparticular,
world.
thetanzim
and,aboveall,theArab
Revolutionary
(FRC),
decision-making
ofthemovement.
Once
theresult
is asserts
thatany"end
ofconflict"
mustbepredicated
onIsrael's
(andif)thatConference
full
convenes,
aforegone
intherepresentation
conclusion:
amassive
increase
ofthe withdrawal
tothe1967lines,including
EastJerusalem,
andrecogTerritories'
ontheFCC
andFRC
attheexpense
of nition
oftheprinciple
ofPalestinian
ofreturn
"totheir
Occupied
leadership
refugees'
right
thepro-Oslo
in
exiled
Tunisia.
ingeographic
homes"
Palestine.
InBarghouti's
view,"thePalestinformerly
leadership
Toprevent
thisdenouement,
Yasser
Arafat
hasrepeatedly
inter- ianswillnotaccept,
andArafat
cannot
lessthan
accept,
anything
vened
tostallthedemocratization
in
the
what
name
of
and
Jordan
received
andwhatSyriaandLebanon
will
process,
usually
Egypt
"national
butactually
to protect
thoseheappointed
tothe receive
fromIsrael."
unity"
in1989,whohavesincebecome
FCC
theinner
coreofthenational Finally,
theWestBank"insiders"
a genuine
advocate
national
Theseleaders-Ahmed
Qurei
Saeb
coalition
between
all
the
Palestinian
the
Erekat,
leadership.
(Abu
factions,especially
'Ala'),
Nabil
Shaath
andTayyib
'Abd
al-Rahim-are
viewed
as non-PLO
Islamist
movements
ofHamas
andIslamic
united
generally
Jihad,
themostpro-American
oftheleadership.
Thetanzim
wants behind
thecommonly
heldnational
badly
return,
goalsofindependence,
theirscalpsinanypost-Arafat
succession
andending
theoccupation.
Theprecondition
ofsucha
struggle.
sovereignty
ofcourse,
isthedestruction
oftheterms
oftheOsloprocoalition,

andOutsiders
Insiders

Politics

cess and,aboveall,thesecuritycooperationit envisionedbetween
the PA,Israeland the CIA.Thespontaneouseruptionof the alButwhatunitesthe tanzimpolitically?This is not such an easy Aqsaintifadahas enabledFatahto advanceeachof these political
U
questionto answer,since Fatah'spoliticsareas inchoateas its goals withconcreteaction.

needto set two conditionsforits establishment:
generousIsraeliproposalsand Palestinianrefusal."6
But of course,the
formationof a national unity government(with Likud's
Sharon)wouldhaltpeacenegotiationsentirelyandbringLaborinto conflictwiththe US. Sucha coalitionwouldonlybe
becamebelligerent.
acceptableto the US if the Palestinians
Whateverthe Israeliintention,the idea of sharedsovereigntyoverthe Haramal-Sharifraisedthe sensitivereligious
dimension-control overa highlycontestedsacredsite-in
the public arena.In raisingthe issue,and then grantinga

police permit and protection to Ariel Sharon to visit the
site, Baraklinked the humiliatingdeal offeredat Camp David
to the event that galvanized the Palestinian street. In the
process, it was inevitable that protests would take on a religious character.

AnUntenable
Situation
The deeper backdrop to the current uprising is the Palestinian population's actual experience of Oslo. During Barak's

MIDDLE
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217 a* WINTER
2000

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7
7

mits to work in Israel proper,
the rest of the
they-like
population-are denied permits to travel to the other part
of the Occupied Territories.
Even the long-awaited "safe
passage"arrangements,finally
implemented in 1999, turned
out to be the hated permit system in a new guise.
Within the West Bank and
Gaza (and particularly in the
former), urban and built-up
village areas have been fragmented and segmented from
each other and from the land
surrounding them. These socalled "autonomous" zones
are marked off by bypass
roads for the use of settlers,
and by Israeli security zones
(Area C), allowing the army
to cut off any area at will.
Amira Hass, writing in
Ha'aretz October 18, says:
"During these days of strict
internal restriction of movement in the West Bank, one
can see how carefully each
road was planned: So that
200,000 Jews have freedom
of movement, about three
million Palestinians
are
locked into their bantustans
until they submit to Israeli
demands." Only within the
municipal boundaries of
towns does the population
live outside direct Israeli military control. For those living
inside the municipal boundaries of villages (Area B) and
; JXi-vS{l
the unlucky people living
outside municipal boundaries (Area C), occupation
continues unabated.
Strategic settlement exPHOTO
JEROME
DELAY/AP
Israelitroopsblockthepathtotheal-Aqsa
mosque.
pansion and bypass roads effectively divide the West
tenure, negative processes begun under Netanyahu have Bank into two major zones, north and south, and carve
deepened, rendering the situation untenable for most Pales- Jerusalem out from the Palestinian map. In greater
tinians, and unbearable for hundreds of thousands. First is Jerusalem, the policy of Judaization has brought tens of
the continued separation of the West Bank from Gaza. thousands of settlers from inside Israel-many of them
Movement between the two areashas remainedalmost com- new Jewish immigrants-to settle the ring of colonies
pletely restrictedto a few of the political elite and, to a lesser separating the city from its West Bank suburban hinterextent, large merchants. While some 100,000 commuting land. Simultaneously, the Israeli Interior Ministry unworkers (less than 5 percent of the population) can get per- dertook a campaign of withdrawing the residency
8

2000
WINTER
217
REPORT
EAST
MIDDLE
MIDDLE
217 *" WINTER
EAST
2000
REPORT

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All use subject to JSTOR Terms and Conditions

permits of Palestinian Jerusalemites to transfer them
from the city.
During 1998-2000, the West Bank and Gaza have witnessed a considerableexpansion of Jewish settlements, especially attempts to connect settlements into major blocs so
that they may survive final status talks. In the formula of
the three zones, the lightly populated Area C, comprising
the majority of Palestinian land-most of it agriculturalhas effectively become up for
grabs. Israelisecurity control of
U
AreaC, writes Hass, "enabledIs-

raeltodouble
thenumber
ofset- Both sides
in 10

tions. ArmedPalestinianaction succeededin clearingthe
Israelimilitaryfromonly one site,Joseph's
Tombin Nablus.
Given its vulnerability,
Tomb
could
Joseph's
arguablyhave
beenclearedwithoutthetanzim'sinvolvement.In mostother
caseswherearmedcadregot embroiledin clashes,demonstratorssoon calledthem off, since the main resultof their
could exacta higher
gunfirewas that Israelisharpshooters
toll amongcivilians.8
DuringNovember,Palestinian militaryactions under the
nominaldirectionof the tanzim

n ) W u nde

anewstrategic
rstand
esaun tookattacks
turn,directat settlements,espeing
settlements,to continueits dis- settlementsas Israel's
primarycially Psagot, Netzarim and
criminatorypolicy of cutting claim nn thoe
IVest Bank and Gilo.
Duringthe first intifada,
U
t
backwaterquotasforthreemilthe unarmed
population was
lionPalestinians
[and]toprevent Gaza beyondfiIial status,
fearfulof incurringthewrathof
Palestinian
inmost
the well-armedand
development
tiers

years, to enlarge the

of the area of the West Bank."
Land confiscations to expand
settlements in Area C have gone hand in hand with steppedup house demolitions to further depopulate it, while settler
attacks against olive harvestersbecame a regularoccurrence
during the autumns of 1999 and 2000.7

TwoIntifadas

sw.

state-supported settlersand largelyleft
them alone. But it isn'tjust reducedfearthat accountsfor the seconduprising'sfocuson
settlements.Twelveyearsafterthe firstintifada,settlements
haveoftenexpandedinto the vicinitiesof Palestinianurban
increasedin numbers,
centers,andsettlershavedramatically
as havetheirattackson Palestinianciviliansas partof their
land piracyin AreaC. Both sides now understandsettlementsas the tangiblecornerstoneof Israel'sabilityto hold
on to vast areasof the West Bankand Gazabeyondfinal
status,andto sustainits militarypresencethereindefinitely.

The elements of the overall situation leading to the current uprising make it qualitatively different from the preceding one. The first intifada-widespread and difficult
to control-involved confrontations between the civilian population at large and the Israeli army and border
police within the urban centers. The present uprising (ex- While Hamasemergedas a majorforce by the end of the
cept in Jerusalem and early clashes inside the mixed cit- first intifada,the religiouscharacterof that uprisingwas
ies in Israel) is taking place at military checkpoints which relativelymuted.In comparison,religionhasplayeda mamark the borders of towns or consolidate control over jor mobilizingand symbolicrole in the current
uprising.
settlement roads (Netzarim crossing) or religious sites Ironically,the participationof Hamas and other Islamic
(Joseph's Tomb, Rachel's Tomb). By means of the new forces continues to be minimal, confined to raisingthe
geography, the Israeli army can better confine the insur- Hamas flag at funeral processions.9Nevertheless,since
gency within specific locations and protect itself at se- the issue of al-Aqsatriggeredthe uprising,religiousfercure strategic positions. This narrowed "battlefront" has vor has at times engulfed the currentconflict. This can
also allowed the greater militarization of the clashes. As be observedin the political idiom of the street, and in
Uri Avnery points out, while the military proclaims its the PA'ssudden stresson Islamicthemes in the
struggle
use of attack helicopters, missiles and tanks, they don't over Jerusalem.Its can also be seen in reactionson the
mention the main weapon being used-sharpshooters.
Israelistreet. Followingthe damageto Joseph'sTomb af"The sharpshooter is trained to look at a crowd of dem- ter the expulsion of its Israeli garrison by Palestinian
onstrators, choose a target, take aim and hit the head or youth, Israelisburnedmosquesin Tiberiasand Akka,atupper body." The majority of the Palestinians killed have tempted to burn one in Jaffa, and Palestinianstorched
died in exactly this way.
the Jericho synagogue. During the second week of the
Unlike the first intifada, there are now about 40,000 Pal- uprising, severalimams used the Fridaysermon to em-

FromNational
to Confessional

estinianpoliceandsecuritymen underarms.Theirpres- phasizeMuslim-Jewishantagonism;these sermonswere

ence allows, among other things, for easier justification of
Israeli use of military force, despite the fact that official security forceswere involved in clashesin only a very few cases.
The much-touted Fatah tanzim-a murky designation that
includes Fatahstreet cadre and elements of the Preventative
Security Force-has undertaken the majority of armed acAMlnnl?

r' rAC%r

nrng%rr br r%I,

MIUUL tAST HREPOUH
21 /

- ?

?-

broadcastwidely on PalestinianTV. In Gazaand Nablus,
Hamas elements attackedseveralcafes and storesselling
alcoholic beverages.The only official responseto these
sectarianattackswas a condemnationby the PA'sminister of informationwho then called for national unity in

the October 15 edition of al-Ayyam newspaper. A large

^-

WINIER 2000

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9


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