The intifada, the uprising of the Palestinian Arabs, was triggered, though not caused, by a car crash in which four Palestinians were killed by an Israeli vehicle on December 8, 1987. Hundreds of Palestinians turned on Israeli troops stationed in the Gaza Strip’s largest refugee camp of Jabalya, and demonstrations and riots spread like wildfire to other refugee camps throughout the Gaza Strip and the more affluent and secular West Bank. In December, the riots spread to Jerusalem, where scenes previosly seen on the streets of the Gaza Strip and the West Bank, of barricades, burning tires, Palestinian flags and stone throwing, were repeated. While the intifada was low-tech, dozens of Palestinian teenagers ambushed small patrols of Israeli soldiers, showering them with large rocks, attempting to kill with brute force. This tactic soon gave way to using thousands of Molotov bottles, over 100 hand grenade attacks and more than 500 attacks with guns or explosives. Moreover, the Palestinians encouraged young children to participate in the demonstrations and attacks, practically turning them into human shields against Israeli soldiers trying to restore order. The IDF – trained to fight against regular armies – had no ready-made answer to civil resistance in which its tanks and warplanes lost all significance against stones thrown by civilian rebels. Two years of intifada brought the Palestinian problem to the forefront of international attention and heightened the debate within the Israeli society as to a future settlement with the Palestinians. The army leadership found itself under attack from boths sides of the political spectrum, accused of too much laxity by some and of brutality by others.



Share           PRINT   
26 Apr 2015 / 7 Iyar 5775 0