As Palestinians mark the 29th anniversary of the First Palestinian Intifada (Uprising), the memories of a people dispossessed of its own land, and bereaved of the warmth of home and the nourishment of family reemerge, marking the world’s most traumatic legacy.
On December 8, 1987, in a historic uprising that marked itself across time and space as one of history’s most outstanding anti-occupation retorts, Palestinian men and women took to the streets in Gaza and the West Bank to speak up against Israel’s terrorism.
The event marked an outburst of demonstrations, riots, and rallies across the occupied territories.
One of the reasons why the Intifada remains of a key momentum in the Palestinian national struggle is because it had given birth to resistance factions, both armed and unarmed.
The grassroots riots exploded on December 8, 1987, after an Israeli driver rammed his vehicle into Palestinian workers from Jabaliya, in northern Gaza Strip, near the Beit Hanoun (Erez) border crossing, killing four workers and leaving several others wounded.
Soon after the hit-and-run attack, Israeli troops showed up in the area and cracked down on the Palestinians marching in the funeral procession of the four casualties.
Spates of bullet fire and teargas grenades unleashed from Israeli helicopters showered the funeral procession in an attempt to disband thousands of marchers who took part in the funeral. Several were killed and dozens were left injured, sparking even further Palestinian outrage.
According to observes, these violent individual acts — and those preceding them — were the last straws in a 20-year saga of military occupation and its atrocious effects on a population bereaved of its homes, lands, and sovereignty.
More than a knee-jerk reaction to that occupation, it was a united uprising of a relentless political struggle for self-determination that had been playing out long before 1987 at the grassroots level.
Those incidents were in fact the stroke that broke the camel’s back after twenty long years of brutal Israeli military occupation. The Palestinians had seen it all. Not only had they been dispossessed of their homeland and driven out of their homes in 1948 to make way for the boatloads of Israeli settlers flooding into Palestine on a promise of a self-proclaimed Jewish state; they had also been thrown into a mountainous journey towards the unknown.
Today the Palestinians are the victims of an imperialist project that denied their existence and their rights to self-rule in the land where their forebears had set up roots for millions of years.
To this day, the Zionist project has held powerful parties in its service, despite the flagrant violations of international law and United Nations resolutions supporting the rights of the Palestinians.
What Israel could not use as a bargaining chip, though, was the commitment of a victimized people and their iron will that dared hurl stones, from a very close distance, towards heavily-armed troops and military tanks which far exceeded their physical capacities and vulnerable bodies but never their undefeatable souls and unbroken wills .
The seeds of the so-called “War of the Stones” which saw the day in 1987 continue to nourish the determination of a people deeply devoted to their land and holy sites, at a time when the world’s superpowers have turned their back on Palestine.
(Source / 08.12.2016)