Ahmad Kittaneh was shot by Israeli soldiers on Thursday night during the largest protest in the West Bank since the Second Intifada. He and almost died. From his hospital bed he told Dalia Hatuqa, protest “is a national duty for every one of us.”
In the last two weeks, three separate attacks on Israelis took place in the West Bank and Jerusalem, and two Palestinian men participating in separate protests in villages near Tulkarem and Ramallah were shot dead. These skirmishes, coupled with the massive protests that Kittaneh took part in, have left many wondering if they were witnessing the beginning of a formal Intifada — or if the uprising would just patter out over time.
“What I saw the other day were people finally rising up,” Kittaneh insisted. “The numbers were huge. I don’t think we can go back from this.”
While the immediate motivation for these flare-ups may be the Gaza bombardment, it’s undeniable that a change in West Bank dynamics has also played a major role. With the temporary trappings of a quasi state-let slipping away — the peace process at a standstill, economic stagnation setting in — the only part of the window dressing that remains are the PA’s security forces whose main job, as far as regular Palestinians are concerned, is to protect Israel. This harsh reality is now in stark relief since Palestinian Prime Minister Salam Fayyad left office roughly a year ago.
“People are coming to the conclusion that maybe what was taken by force cannot be returned except by force,” said Mazin Qumsiyeh, a Bethlehem-based activist and university professor. “There has been significant upheaval and anger. It’s hard to determine the future, but the Palestinian psyche is changing, and we may be closer to a revolution against the PA, which is needed as well.” [Continue reading…]