History of Palestine Part X
2000 The Second Intifada. Israel is lowering the peace process
Although the 2nd Intifada was triggered by Ariel Sharon, it was at the same time expressing many years of accumulated Palestinian frustration over the peace process that the Israelis had halted. Like the first Intifada in 1987, it therefore had its own popular dynamic and was beyond the control of both Arafat and Palestinian politicians. Israel’s dislike of concessions and the frustrations of the Palestinians continued the rebellion against the occupying power, ultimately forcing the Israeli government to print elections in February 2001. It was won by Ariel Sharon himself.
According to THEMEPARKTOUR, Sharon’s victory was perceived as a serious blow to the peace process. That same month, the UN Secretary-General’s Office released a document showing that Israel’s economic blockade of Gaza and the West Bank is on the verge of causing the Arafat government to collapse due to lack of funds. The United Nations Special Envoy in the Middle East, Terje Rød-Larsen, stated that if other countries did not provide immediate assistance to the Palestinians – according to. The UN report would need $ 1 billion US $ for the rest of the year – then violence would increase.
The following months the fighting intensified. The Israeli assaults and stalemate in the peace process grew opposition to Israel’s illegal occupation, and Sharon again responded with selective killings of Palestinian leaders and attacked Palestinian cities and living quarters with helicopters, fighter jets, rockets and bombs. In addition, nightly invasions of Palestinian cities were destroyed, with houses, airports and hospitals destroyed. Hundreds of Palestinians were killed by the Palestinian forces, and Israeli military needle-stick operations evolved into regular occupation of ever larger areas, according to. the peace plan should be under Palestinian control. The Sharon government worked systematically to lower the peace plan.
On September 11, 2001, New York was hit by a terrorist attack. Sharon harnessed the current chaos to declare that his fight against the Palestinians was a key part of the global fight against terrorism. This attitude was not contradicted in Europe and found support in the United States government. Sharon therefore stepped up the war against the Palestinians.
For the Palestinians in the Occupied Territories, the situation became increasingly desperate, and it provided the basis for the development of a new phase in the Palestinian resistance struggle. The number of suicide attacks carried out by desperate Palestinians whose brothers, sisters, parents or other family members had been killed by the Israelis. They were predominantly organized by the Hamas, Islamic Jihad and al-Aqsa martyrs brigades and targeted places in Israel where many people were gathered to do the greatest possible damage – the most killed. The terrorist attacks against civilian Israelis were each condemned by Arafat and Palestinian self-government, and the condemnations were each rejected by the Israeli government, whose interest it was to make self-government – and especially Arafat – solely responsible for the terror. The Israeli government generally wanted to demonize the Palestinian people and its elected leadership, thereby giving the peace process the death blow. Managed. Although other Palestinian groups like The PFLP sought to hit Israel’s military and illegal settlements in the Occupied Territories, and in fact, at times more military targets than civilians were hit, the terrorist actions that came to fill most in the political picture in the West. The Palestinian terror may be felt. Not the Israeli state terrorism that led to 3 times as many Palestinians as Israelis being killed in the conflict.
To increase security in Israel, from the beginning of the Intifada, Sharon restricted the passage of goods and people across the borders of the West Bank and Gaza. It affected both the Palestinian laborers who otherwise worked in Israel and the Palestinian companies that were barred from importing and exporting.
In December 2001, Sharon had advanced so far in demonizing the Palestinians and Arafat that Israel severed all ties with the Palestinian president, refusing to recognize him as a negotiating counterpart. At this point, the Oslo peace process was finally buried by Israel. A process Sharon had fought since 1993.
Israel’s blockade of Palestine – both the goods and the human stream – and Israel’s ongoing destruction of the Palestinian infrastructure brought the Palestinian economy to the brink of collapse. During the first 18 months of Intifada, unemployment tripled to 30%. Although donations from the Arab League and the EU increased in 2001, it was not sufficient to offset the collapse of production and trade. The self-government recorded a budget deficit of DKK 430 million. US $ and GDP fell by 12% in the first quarter of 2002.
In March 2002, the Arab countries held a summit in Beirut, but Arafat was barred from participating because Israel had already besieged and shattered its headquarters in Ramalla for over a month. A group of 40 pacifists – 11 of them from Western countries – formed a human block at headquarters to protect the Palestinian president from Israel’s attack.