President Trump’s historic announcement this week that the United States will recognize Jerusalem as Israel’s capital and move its embassy there triggered a backlash in the Palestinian territories called “three days of rage.”
Marches were held and flags were burned.
But one Palestinian newspaper called for a “calm intifada.”
According to the Middle East Media Research Institute, the Palestinian daily Al-Ayyam reprinted an article that first appeared in 2012 by columnist Hassan Al-Batal titled “Why Don’t I Want a Third Intifada?”
MEMRI explained that even before the announcement, when Trump’s intentions became known, the Palestinian factions declared three days of rage and a general strike. Palestinian officials stated that outbreaks of violence were likely to follow Trump’s declaration.
However, Al-Ayyam posted the message seeking calm, a message of “popular resistance alongside negotiations,” MEMRI reported.
“[Never] go to war while utilizing the methods of the previous war,” the commentary urges. “The terminology remains the same, since it remains the weapons of the weak against the strong, but the situation is no longer what it was, not on the ground, nor in the political realm, nor perhaps even among the public.”
The columnist concedes “the tiniest spark” can ignite the “highest flame,” which is how previous uprisings began.
“The first glorious intifada [also] broke out as the result of [the spark of] an unintentional, or intentional, traffic accident, and the second broke out because of [the spark of] a deliberate provocation at the Al-Aqsa compound – leading to a large conflagration which went on for years,” the commentary notes.
“Whether the intifada was spontaneous or planned is not important. Neither is whether the [PLO] leadership in Tunis [in the first intifada] controlled the flames or whether the leadership in Ramallah lost control of events [in the second intifada]. One way or the other, we know how war can break out, and only occasionally do we know how it will fade. This fading can happen as a result of chaos and loss of security control, as well as of a downturn in the economy. It can also happen as a result of society’s return to the ebb tide of traditional values, after the flood tide of radicalism.
“When it began, the first intifada was radical and the young people rebelled against both the occupation and society’s patriarchal nature. It ended with a return to tradition and restrictions on women’s dress. … Those who observed the second intifada, which was characterized by a move to use weapons … know that the occupation dragged us into playing by its rules. The ‘suicide attacks’ would have been understandable had there not been so many, and had there not been indiscriminate attacks on civilians while occupation soldiers [i.e. better targets] manned checkpoints,” he wrote.
But the violence did not “win the global solidarity,” he wrote, and the conflict ended up being Palestinian “terrorism against [Israeli] terrorism.”
“As the PA moved closer to Fatah, and Fatah moved closer to [its military wing] the Al-Aqsa Martyrs Brigades, the occupation army gained a pretext for a systematic and ongoing destruction of the PA and its logistical headquarters – that is, its administrative centers. [The occupation army] went so far as to eliminate the historic leader of the Palestinian people [Yasser Arafat],” he wrote.
“[Perhaps it is better to wage] a calm intifada alongside ongoing negotiations. Why not? Once the [Palestinian] public complains that the negotiations [are yielding nothing], then the PA will be able to launch a political attack, and Israel will be on the defensive, until conditions are more favorable in the world, in the Arab countries, and in the region. Better to accumulate political achievements than to gamble on a third intifada,” the commentary said.
WND reported the rhetoric immediately turned white hot in the Middle East after Trump made the announcement, with Palestinians announcing “three days of rage”
“Trump is a pyromaniac who could set the entire region on fire with his madness. The last few days prove decisively that the United States cannot remain the sponsor or arbitrator in negotiations between Israelis and Palestinians,” said Ayman Odeh, chief of the Joint List, a group of Arab-majority political parties.
In contrast, a panel member appearing on a special ILTV broadcast from Israel explained simply: “The Arabs don’t have a claim on Jerusalem. It was never an Arab capital. The Muslims don’t have a claim on Jerusalem.”
The comment was from Ari Fuld, the COO of the Israel-based non-profit Standing Together, who added, “When you say it’s one-sided, yes, it’s the side of truth. … To give in to terrorism and to tell lies is not going to bring peace. When the Arabs realize the world is not playing their game anymore … if they want to make peace, then peace will come.”
See the full panel discussion as Israel reacted to Trump’s announcement:
Trump’s order was based on the 1995 Jerusalem Embassy Act that instructed the federal government to relocate the American Embassy to Jerusalem and to recognize the city as Israel’s capital.
But the law presented the president with the option of signing a waiver to delay the move for six months if he determined the move could harm international relations. Presidents Bill Clinton, George W. Bush and Barack Obama continued signing the waiver, and Trump signed it earlier this year.
But on Wednesday he announced he will allow the waiver to expire.
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu explained that Jerusalem has been “the focus of our hopes, our dreams, our prayers for three millennia.”
“Jerusalem has been the capital of the Jewish people for 3,000 years,” he said.
Danny Danon, Israeli ambassador to the United Nations, said the decision righted a historic wrong.
“Now is the time for all U.N. member-states to follow the lead of our American friends and recognize our ancient capital of Jerusalem as the capital of the state of Israel,” he said.
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