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Palestinians mark 9 year anniversary of Intifada
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09:26, September 29, 2009

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The Palestinians in the West Bank and Gaza Strip marked on Monday the ninth-year-anniversary of the Intifada of al-Aqsa, or Uprising, without remarkable activities amid concerns that its continuation would lead to more political complication in the future.

Ibrahim Abrash, former minister of culture and a political scientist, told Xinhua that "when I evaluate the nine years of the Intifada, I would say the outcomes were negative, because it has brought no political achievements to the Palestinian people."

The Intifada of al-Aqsa was the second in the Palestinian history. It erupted in the Palestinian territories against Israel on Sept. 28, 2000 when the Palestinians protested a provocative visit of former Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon to al-Aqsa Mosque. Sharon at that time was an opposition leader.

Gaza emergency chief Mo'aweya Hassanein told Xinhua that since the beginning of the Intifada in late September 2000, 7515 Palestinians were killed and over than 100,000 injured. Also hundreds of Israelis were killed in attacks carried out by militants in both Gaza and the West Bank.

As nine years has passed, the Palestinians began to wonder whether it is worth continuing the Intifada, which turned into militant attacks contrary to the first seven-year Intifada that started in December, 1987. The first Intifada ended with signing Oslo peace accords in 1994.

"In fact we haven't achieved any of our political goals during the second Intifada. It dragged the Palestinians into a dark tunnel, with anonymous outcomes amid an ongoing inter-Palestinian split between rival Fatah and Hamas and amid a stalled peace process," said Abrash.

During this Intifada, late Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat, who signed Oslo peace accords with Israel, died in November 2004. The Palestinians believe that Israel got rid of Arafat by poisoning him after he challenged Sharon and insisted to establish a Palestinian statehood with Jerusalem as its capital.

After the death of Arafat, who was a peace partner with Israel for ten years, Islamic Hamas movement staged many suicide bombing attacks on Israel, mainly after Israel unilaterally pulled out from the Gaza Strip in September 2005.

Hamas, which joined the elections, had overwhelmingly won and formed a government. However, Palestinian observers believe that the current Intifada was over three years ago when Hamas movement seized control of the Gaza Strip and routed security forces of President Mahmoud Abbas, Arafat's successor.

"I believe that the inter-Palestinian disputes and split between Fatah and Hamas had weakened the Intifada of al-Aqsa, and deprived the Palestinians from earning any political achievements," said Abrash, who held the Palestinian factions responsible for the current deteriorated situation.

He added that "the Intifada has practically ended three years ago without any official declaration in the aftermath of the split between Hamas that controls Gaza and Abbas who rules the West Bank with his Fatah party."

President Abbas is one of the leaders who frankly announced that he was against militarizing the Intifada of al-Aqsa. Various armed groups were formed, which carried out a series of armed attacks.

However, amid the current Israeli policy of keeping a tight blockade on Gaza, expanding settlement in the West Bank, keeping roadblocks that divided the West Bank, what happened in Jerusalem on Sunday urged many Palestinian leaders to warn of a third Intifada against Israel.

"I believe that such calls and warnings are just unrealistic slogans empty of any content," said Hani Habib, a Gaza-based academic at al-Azhar University in Gaza.

"I don't think that the weakened and divided Palestinian people will be able to go for a third Intifada against Israel, simply because they are struggling to overcome the hard life caused by the Israeli siege and the internal split," said Habib.

But more radical groups like Hamas, Islamic Jihad and the Popular Resistance Committees (PRC) reject the views that the current Palestinian Intifada failed to achieve the goals and inspirations of the Palestinian people.

Senior Islamic Jihad leader Kahled al-Batsh said the only thing the Palestinians should do immediately "is to end their current split, because there is one enemy of the Palestinian people -- Israel."

Source: Xinhua

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