First Intifada

("Intifada" is Arabic for "shaking off.") The term became the universal name for the Palestinian uprising that began spontaneously on December 9, 1987 in Gaza and quickly spread to the West Bank and East Jerusalem. The first mass popular uprising against Israel’s occupation, the First Intifada quickly developed popular committees operating under the umbrella of a unified, central leadership and involved coordinated strikes, boycotts, demonstrations and other acts of civil disobedience. Women played a central (though under-documented) role in the First Intifada, which was largely an unarmed struggle, particularly during the first eighteen months, with stone-throwing youth becoming the symbol of the resistance. There were, however, some attacks against Israeli soldiers and civilians involving weapons and Molotov cocktails. The Israeli military was unable to quell the rebellion, although they implemented a harsh "break their bones" policy under Defense Minister Yitzhak Rabin, involving widespread arrests, beatings and use of live ammunition against civilians. Intra-Palestinian violence was a grim feature of the intifada, with rivalry growing between the different Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) and Islamic resistance factions, and many Palestinians were killed as alleged collaborators with Israel. The intifada officially ended when Israel and the PLO formally recognized each other in 1993 and co-launched the Oslo Process. See "A Quiet Revolution: The First Palestinian Intifada and Nonviolent Resistance," Mary Elizabeth King, Nation Books, 2007; and "The Intifada," MERIP, November 12, 2011. See also the 2015 documentary film, directed by Amer Shomali and Paul Cowan and presented by Just Vision, "The Wanted 18."

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