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1987 - First Intifada

History0x_1987_First Intifada_min.JPG

Title: 1987 - First Intifada


About:  A Palestinian uprising erupted against the Israeli occupation of the West Bank and Gaza. Involving a two-fold strategy of violent resistance and civil disobedience, it would last some four years.

For 20 years,  Israel had ruled the occupied territories with an iron fist, enforcing curfews and conducting raids, arrests, deportations and house demolitions.

After hundreds of Palestinians witnessed the killing of four men when they were run down by an Israeli jeep outside Jabalya refugee camp in Gaza on 8 December, the indignation felt at their situation was immense. The funerals of those killed were attended by some 10,000 people, but they were forced to mourn once again the following day, when Israeli troops fired aimlessly into a crowd, killing 17 year-old Hatem Abu Sisi and wounding 16 others.

As Palestinian leaders gathered to discuss the escalating situation, protests and clashes broke out within the refugee camps, spreading rapidly across the West Bank and East Jerusalem. Palestinians took control of neighbourhoods, barricading roads to prevent Israeli army vehicles from entering. Largely unarmed, they defended themselves by throwing stones at the soldiers and their tanks. Shopkeepers closed their businesses and labourers refused to go to their workplaces in Israel.

The Israeli army defined such acts as 'rioting', and moved aggressively to suppress the protests by firing rubber bullets, live ammunition and tear gas into the crowds. However, the protests grew larger, involving tens of thousands of people, including women and children. By 12 December, six Palestinians had been killed and 30 had been injured in the violence.

As the protests showed no signs of dissipating, Israel used mass arrests to try to dissuade people from taking part. Universities and schools in the West Bank were closed and curfews enforced. Palestinian farms and homes were razed, trees were uprooted and protesters who refused to pay taxes had their properties seized. Illegal Jewish settlers also launched regular attacks against the Palestinians. In the first year alone, 300 Palestinians were killed, 20,000 had been injured and some 5,500 were detained by Israel.

Despite peace attempts made on the world stage, the backdrop to the political negotiations remained one of ongoing violence. While Israeli civilians and soldiers were also killed during the Intifada, the hugely disproportionate violence and casualties on the Palestinian side, as well as forced deportations and land expropriation, provoked widespread international condemnation, tarnishing Israel's reputation and drawing attention to the volatile situation in the Occupied Territories.

Decade: 1980s

Year: 1987

Region: Middle East

Country: Israel + Palestine

Politics: Protest

Society: Religion

Type: Historical Event

Impact: 7

Artist: Bryan Willian


Group: Genesis

Number: 87/100

Price: 0.7 ETH


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