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French Version

Intifada enters its 3rd year - an uprising that never ends

Palestinians today are more resolute than ever before to maintain their struggle against Israeli occupation. It is the only way for them to achieve independence and build their own state.

With two full years into the Al Aqsa Intifada, realities in the Occupied Palestinian Territories are changing again. The Israelis are becoming bloodier in their treatment of the Palestinians.

However, the Intifada, which erupted in September 2000, sends a clear message to the world that "enough is enough." The Israelis are testing the best of their military on the Palestinians. Besides the all-time carnage, the Israelis are demolishing houses, destroying crops and shaking up the social and economic actuality in and around cities and towns of the West Bank and Gaza. The recent Israeli military blockade of the Palestinian President Yasser Arafat's compound in Ramallah is an indication of Israel's ill-fated policies.

Arab and world nations say the Palestinians are yearning for independence. They agree the Israelis can only achieve their security once the Palestinians become free and establish their own state on their soil.

Over the past 24 months, Arab and international support for the Palestinians proved impressive. Arab intellectuals and literary figures, however, believe the Palestinians are fighting alone in their contest with the Israelis. They are urging Arab nations to stand firm behind the Palestinians and join them in their struggle, rather than watch them die on television.

The Intifada was also present in the works and writings of almost all of the Arab intellectuals and novelists. It resonated the fact that words can be much powerful than guns.

Jordanian and Arab intellectuals see the Intifada as a direct popular response to 35 years of oppression and injustice. They believe the current uprising is another chapter in the Palestinian struggle for independence that began in 1948, when the Israelis established their state in Palestine.

Many note the Al Aqsa Intifada is a remarkable feat for the Palestinians who excelled against Israel's vile war machine. "The Palestinian Intifada regained the Arab peoples' dignity, squandered over the past decades," said novelist Saadeddin Shahin. He compared the current situation in the Arab world to the Arab rule of Andulsia in the 14 century. "I believe the Palestinian people are like the phoenix that survives the ashes. Never a Palestinian will die dastardly on this land."

Local writer Jamal Naji believes the Intifada is rewriting modern Arab history. "The Intifada is proving Arabs and Palestinians in particular, can teach others lessons about heroism and self-confidence," Naji explained.

"We have lost tens of hundreds of martyrs in the Intifada, something which we must be proud of. I am optimistic the Intifada will continue despite all the destruction and vandalism of the Israelis in Palestine." Naji's reason for this is he strongly believes the Palestinian people are mighty and won't give up their resistance until they achieve independence.

Many Arab intellectuals still remember how the first Palestinian Intifada (1987-1993) forced the Israelis and the US to recognize the Palestinian Liberation Organization (PLO) as the Palestinians' sole representative. It also incited more international support to Palestinian rights.

The intellectuals, however, regard the peace process between the Palestinians and Israelis, launched in 1991, as a setback to the Palestinian struggle against occupation. They view the Intifada as a response to the failure of this process and an outcry for justice and liberty.

"We have to elucidate the fact such coexistence between the Palestinians and Jews in Israel can't be realized," said Jordanian writer Fakhri Kawar.

"Each part hates the other," he stressed. "The Palestinians hate the Israelis for their arrogance and animosity. The Israelis, on the other hand, elected [Israeli Prime Minister] Ariel Sharon in 2001 to get rid of all the Palestinians in the Occupied Territories. This proves the Israelis are not ready yet to make peace with the Palestinians or the Arabs for that matter."

But Omar Abu Al Haija finds in the current Intifada a kind of civilian disobedience to the Israeli military machine. "Sharon has failed thus far to keep his promise to provide security for the Israelis," said the Syrian literate.

"The Intifada eradicated the Israeli aphorism that Israel's military power reigns supreme. By entering its third year, the Al Aqsa Intifada still continues to sound strong to end occupation and rebound all Jewish claims in Palestine."

Intellectuals also reject the idea that peace can be made between Arabs and Israelis in the future. They agree the Jewish mentality has never changed since the birth of Jesus Christ more than 2000 years ago, who was crucified by the Jews.

Jordanian Yousef Abdel Aziz emphasizes the fact Palestinian children are the motive of the Al Aqsa Intifada. "The Israeli army is killing the children because it knows these children will grow up tomorrow and continue the struggle against occupation," Abdel Aziz said. "History tells many stories of dictatorships that vanished aftertime. Israel is an aggressive dictatorship that will disappear at the end of the day," he concluded.

Ghassan Joha
The Star

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