IT HAS BEEN 30 YEARS SINCE THE OUTBREAK OF THE FIRST INTIFADA

A look at the causes, handling, repercussions and lessons: What we did right – and wrong.

By URI MILSTEIN
January 4, 2018 17:01
PALESTINIANS BURN tires in a demonstration during the First Intifada in Ramallah in 1988

PALESTINIANS BURN tires in a demonstration during the First Intifada in Ramallah in 1988. (photo credit: GPO)

 
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Thirty years ago, on Wednesday, December 9, 1987, at 6 a.m., the First Intifada broke out in the Jabalya refugee camp in the northern Gaza Strip. At the time, no one in Israel’s defense establishment had any idea how these events would play out. This was not the kind of war we were accustomed to – it consisted of violence that was carried out in an effort to achieve national goals. The intifada lasted nearly six years and ended only when the Oslo Accords were signed on September 13, 1993, granting a victory to the Palestinians similar to the evacuation of Gush Katif at the end of the Second Intifada.

The First Intifada can be divided into two stages. In the first stage, tens of thousands of Palestinians participated in violent demonstrations, such as throwing stones at security forces. As a result, their actions were described as “returning to the Stone Age.” The second stage was characterized by a brutal campaign of terrorism led by Hamas, the establishment of which in the Gaza Strip had been encouraged by Israel.

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