What started “the first intifada” in 1987?
The reasons behind the first Intifada in 1987 are not only restricted to the events that happened around the time but there is a bigger picture attached to it. The Palestine-Israeli conflict was at the root of the Intifada that gave the world a different view of what was happening in the region between the two sides.
The roots for an uprising were sewn as soon as the Israelis started to buy land around the West Bank and gradually started taking over the area through their adulterated military dominance. Palestinians were suddenly prisoners in their own land with their social, economic and political rights in tatters. Palestine as a word was expelled from text books and universities were closed for prolonged periods to deprive Palestinians even the basics of rights.
By 1987, the number of Palestinians captured in Israeli jails in the past two decades reached around two-hundred thousand. Israeli forces murdered four young Palestinians at a Gaza check point and then an Israeli trooper opened fire on a group of peaceful Palestinian protestors that resulted in the killing of Hatem Abu Sisi, a seventeen year old boy. The news of these two incidents spread like wild fire and the Palestinians finally decided that enough is enough and something had to be done to protect their interests.
The first intifada in 1987 wasn’t a brutal movement; it was simple civil disobedience against Israeli rule. As opposed to the Israeli propaganda, it wasn’t even orchestrated by the PLO; rather it was a systematic mobilization of the Palestinian people that had formed different small organizations to stand up for their rights. The first years of the movement involved not paying taxes, boycotting Israeli products and political graffiti etc. Even in the later years of the movement, it was the people standing up to the strongest military force by throwing little stones at them while they were being shot at. Images of young boys and teenagers throwing stones at bunkers and oncoming tanks laid this myth to rest that Israeli forces were fighting a terrorist organization.
The movement lasted till 1993 and although it didn’t bring freedom for Palestinians, it brought them the attention of international community. When the pictures of the movement were broadcast around the world, major global powers realized the intensity of the situation and condemned the attacks by Israeli forces. It was during the first intifada that international media and political powers saw the Palestine-Israel conflict in a different perspective, which brought some hope for the poor and oppressed citizens of Palestine.
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