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Reclaiming Palestine: How Israeli Media Misread the Intifada

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However, the Israeli argument is, as has always been the case, narrow-minded in its view of history, or it conveniently applies history to fit whatever political argument Israeli officials or mouthpieces deem handy. Just a few weeks ago, Israeli Prime Minister, Benjamin Netanyahu, absolved the Nazis from the idea behind the Holocaust and pinned the blame on the Palestinian Mufti instead.

Previous intifadas, but more importantly the 1987 "Intifada of the stones," was not constructed as a strategy for liberation, but was a spontaneous reaction to a series of Israeli provocations, and the adjacent failure of the Palestinian leadership, all positioned within the larger context of the ongoing Israeli occupation.

Palestinians do not revolt when "the time is right" for them to do so, but whenever their collective suffering has culminated to the point that they cannot be silenced anymore.

Those, whether Israeli or even Palestinian intellectuals, who opine about the need for the intifada to do this or that, change directions or tactics, stop altogether or move forward, are simply unable to understand that the momentum of a collective struggle cannot be dictated from above.

This is not to argue that a grassroots, genuine Palestinian leadership that operates outside the confines of fatalism and defeat as demonstrated by the PA is not a necessary step needed to galvanize the popular efforts. But that is a decision to be taken by the youth themselves, and its timing and nature should be determined based on their own reckoning.

The Israelis are counting on their shoot-to-kill policy. The Palestinian leadership is waiting for the anger to fizzle out before resuming its endless quest for a frivolous peace process and financial handouts. The Intifada itself, however, operates on the basis of an entirely different arithmetic: a collective spirit that can neither be intimidated by violence nor procured by funds.

In fact this is precisely why the Intifada started in the first place and, as long as the factors that led to its inception remain in place, it, too, is likely to continue and escalate, not for the sake of liberating Palestine through some magic formula, but for the urgent need to regain national initiative, redefine priorities and a new sense of collective, as Palestinian first and foremost.

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Ramzy Baroud is the Managing Editor of Middle East Eye. He is an internationally-syndicated columnist, a media consultant, an author and the founder of PalestineChronicle.com. His latest book is My Father Was a Freedom Fighter: Gaza's Untold (more...)
 

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