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On the Intifada's anniversary, is there a winner?

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As news stories of the three pages released from the intelligence report, the war on terror that produced more terrorists but succeeded, the Woodward book describing a dysfunctional White House, and the GOP congressional leader writing explicit sexual emails to an underage boy, bombard us through relentless airwaves. The sixth anniversary of the second Intifada (uprising) came and passed without much mention.

The fact that Bush and his propaganda machine stopped talking about the vision of democratic Middle East, where the Israeli Palestinian conflict is resolved through an Iraqi invasion, financed by Iraqi oil, where the Iraqi people will treat the invading army as liberators proves that they are dead wrong.

Therefore, the only option is to go back to the obvious fact that existed for years, which is the Palestinian Israeli conflict is still the key to unstable Middle East and if we will ever resolve it, it will be on the land where the conflict exist.

The second Intifada is one event that changed the makeup of the conflict, the relationships of the parties, the vocabulary enforced on us on a daily basis and the facts on the ground.

So let us stop for a second, shut our eyes close our ears and step back in time, try to remember what happened, why it happened and how it changed our lives.

On September 28, 2000 Ariel Sharon, then a Member of the Israeli Parliament, accompanied by a thousand-strong security force, paid a provocative visit approved by Barak (Prime Minister of Israel) to the site of Al Aqsa mosque (one of the holiest sites in Islam). http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/al-aqsa_mosque

The next day Barak sent another large force of police and soldiers to the area and, when the anticipated rock throwing by some Palestinians occurred, the heavily augmented police responded with lethal fire, killing four and wounding hundreds. Thus began the second Intifada.

Sharon's visit did not create the Intifada, but it was without a doubt a catalyst for the outbreak. The underlying cause was the tremendous anger and frustration among the population of the Occupied Territories, who saw things getting worse under Oslo, whose hopes had been shattered, and whose patience after 33 years of occupation had reached the boiling point.
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When the Intifada broke out, the Israeli administration launched a process to demonize the Palestinian National Movement, and specially the leader of the movement Yasir Arafat.

The Israeli government also approved the operational and tactical plans of the IDF (Israeli Defense Force) to halt the Intifada. These plans included the massive use of snipers by IDF, which brought about heavy Palestinian dead and wounded.

Under the Oslo Agreement (1993), Israeli forces agreed to hand over control of all of Palestine to the Palestinian Authority within five years.

That handover never happened, however, as the Israeli military solidified its control over more than half of the Palestinian land the number of Israeli settlers grew from hundred and ten thousand to hundred and ninety five thousand in the West Bank and Gaza; in annexed East Jerusalem, the Jewish population rose from twenty two thousand to hundred and seventy thousand.

Thirty new settlements were established and more than eighteen thousand new housing units for settlers were constructed.
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Israeli authorities confiscated thirty five thousand acres of Arab land for roads and settlements from 1994-2000.

Poverty increased, so that in mid-2000, more than one out of five Palestinians had consumption levels below $2.10 a day. According to CIA figures, at the end of 2000, unemployment stood at forty percent.

Israeli closure policies meant that Palestinians had less freedom of movement -- from Gaza to the West Bank, to East Jerusalem, or from one Palestinian enclave to another -- than the freedom they had before Oslo.

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I am an Egyptian American born in Alexandria. I immigrated to the US in the late eighties, during this time lived in many places in US and Europe. I work as an IT manager and love it. I love to travel, it makes me feel young, and it awakes in me (more...)

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