Twenty Years in the Making: The Palestinian Intifada of 1987

Keramati, Yashar
June 2007
Nebula;Jun2007, Vol. 4 Issue 2, p107
Academic Journal
Why did the Intifada of 1987 take place? The independent variable which I analyze in this article will be the multifaceted oppression brought upon by Israel in the 20 years following its illegal occupation of Palestine after the Six Day War of 1967 which bottled-up Palestinian grievances and denied them their desires for self-determination, leading to the dependent variable at hand, the Intifada of 1987. After 20 years of occupation and its multidimensional detriments, the Palestinians wanted their sovereignty from the Israeli occupation which harshly affected all aspects of their lives. With a combination of long term frustration and lack of alternative avenues to pursue their ambitions, they finally rose up. It is recognized that no major conflict is mono-causal, and the Intifada is far from being an exception to this trend. However, the subjugation of the Palestinian people by Israel following the Six Day War was the foremost cause of the Intifada and thus acts as a necessary condition for the conflict in that it would have been exceptionally unlikely that the Intifada of 1987 would have taken place without the circumstances imposed by Israel after 1967. The oppression ensued by Israel took four key forms: economic, social, ideological, and political. Hence, Israel's authoritarian conduct towards the native Palestinian population will be examined in depth in four separate categories. Firstly I will discuss the severe economic frustration suffered by the Palestinians due to Israeli policies. Next, the continuous and day-to-day social misery the Palestinians suffered at the hands of the Israeli military government and settlers in the occupied territories of the West Bank and Gaza Strip will be explained. Following this, Israel's denial of Palestinians ideological ambitions will be taken into account. Finally, I evaluate the effects of Israel denying Palestinians political freedom and how this pushed Palestinians towards perusing their political objectives by other means. Subsequently, I take into account important sufficient causes for the making of the conflict and how they acted as catalysts for the Intifada. These are the abandonment of Palestine by her former Arab allies and the eventual and new belief by Palestinians in the 1980s that Israel's militarily could be damaged and thus Israel could be forced to stop its oppressive ways and grant them the freedom and autonomy which they were desperately seeking all along.


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