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The Intifada

Between 1987 and 1993, Palestinian civilians protested Israeli occupation in an ongoing campaign of loosely organized confrontations in which Palestinian youths burned automobiles and pelted Israeli Defense Force (IDF) troops with rocks. Israeli troops attempted some use of non-lethal weapons, but the effects were limited by the low technology devices available, which proved inadequate to meet escalating civil unrest.

In December 1987, the first intifada broke out in the Gaza Strip, Judea and Samaria, with the characteristics of a popular uprising. Severe and violent riots which began in the Gaza Strip spread to the areas of Judea and Samaria, and developed into popular terrorist activity on a massive scale, including the throwing of Molotov cocktails, stabbings and physical attacks, sabotage of property, severe rioting, incitement, and mass murder of those suspected of collaboration with the Israeli authorities, and more.

When IDF troops resorted to deadly force, the resulting civilian casualties undermined international support for the Israeli government's policy. Thus, civilians armed only with paving stones succeeded in employing force to wrest an important political concession from a nation which had previously proven its military dominance of the region in a series of conventional conflicts.

The Israel Security Agency [ISA] was then called upon for the first time to deal with the unprecedented wave of rioting in the "territories," alongside its routine operational activity, and was required to adapt its activity to deal with the new challenge. In January 1988, the ISA was charged with comprehensive responsibility for intelligence evaluations in the territories. For this purpose, a special research unit was established in the ISA Division of Arab Affairs.

In the early months of the first intifada, Palestinians waited for the underground leadership's directions, which came out in a numbered statement that was quickly distributed by fax throughout the occupied territories. The leaflet, Bayan al-intifada, came to be regularly issued by what was known as the Unified National Command of the Intifada. This underground leadership was a well-kept secret, and for Israel, its members were like needles in a haystack.

The Green Line was not an official boundary line but a line that is separating Israel and its neighbors, but in fact this was a limit to everybody. Shortly after the war the Green Line opened to free movement. Contact was indirect but continuous between Israel and Jordan. This policy lasted until the first intifada (which broke out in December 1987). and finally the Green Line was closed to Palestinians almost completely. Free movement of Israelis beyond the Green Line continued until ten years later (Oslo). Israel continues to provide electricity, water, telephone and mail to the Palestinians, though less regularly than she used to.

The Hamas (translated as 'zeal') - also known as the 'Islamic resistance movement', is a Sunni Islamic organization, which was established at the beginning of the first Intifada, (December 1987) by Sheikh Ahmed Yassin. The Hamas was established from cells of the Muslim Brotherhood organization that had already been active in the territories. The Muslim Brotherhood is recognized as a social movement, and constitutes a convenient arena for the activities of individuals and groups deriving extreme religious legitimacy from the organization. The Muslim Brotherhood does not only provide ideological and logistical support for the Hamas; The Egyptian branch of the Muslim Brotherhood was a significant influence behind the formation of the Hamas organization. The first intifada ended with the Oslo Accords, the second intifada ended with the reoccupation of the West Bank and the construction of the separation barrier, but also with 1,115 dead Israelis and about 8,000 injured and with 4,269 dead Palestinians and about 30,000 injured.

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Page last modified: 18-10-2015 20:21:11 ZULU