West Bank, Occupied Territories (TFC) – Thousands wounded, scores dead. The Third Intifada is here. Its intensity and duration have yet to be determined. However, outlet after outlet are simply posing it as a question. From the Wall Street Journal to the Guardian, outlets don’t want to admit The next Intifada has arrived. The entire media seems to be in denial. To understand why, it is important to understand the background of the conflict.
Intifada when literally translated from Arabic becomes “tremor” and colloquially it means “to shake off the oppressor.” When most Western outlets translate it, it is simply translated as “uprising.” The removal of context from the conflict starts with the very translation of words. Reference to the Third Intifada is also misleading. It’s the fourth. The First Intifada started in 1987 and ended in 1993 and the Second was 2000 to 2005. The “Silent Intifada” happened in Jerusalem in 2014. Depending on who is asked, the “Al-Quds Intifada” started today or it started last summer. Many see the actions occurring in Holy Land as a direct result of the attacks on Gaza last Summer, some say they are separate.
To truly understand the Palestinian Intifadas, however, the events of 1948 are more important. Israel had just fended off an assault by its Arab neighbors and truly established itself as a nation in the world’s eyes. As soon as the war ended, the Israelis began Mivtza Nikayon (Operation: Cleaning). The operation was exactly what it sounds like: an ethnic cleansing operation. The Israelis murdered Palestinians, burned their farms, and engaged in brutality that nobody expected to see. Nobody, except for Gandhi. Two years earlier, Gandhi issued a scathing indictment and referred to their activities as “naked terrorism.” This was before the ethnic cleansing campaign. As a result of Mivtza Nikayon, 700,000 Palestinians found themselves without a home. These refugees were placed in camps, where their children still live today. This event is called Al-Nakba (the catastrophe) by the Palestinians. Hundreds of thousands more refugees found their way to camps with each new attack by Israel. These camps are the backbone of Palestinian resistance.
As each previous flare up of resistance occurred throughout history the Israeli government’s propaganda machine prepared the world for the conflict and repackaged the events to blame the Palestinians. This time, the Israelis are still reeling from the disastrous assault on Gaza last summer that caused a civilian death toll so high that the world noticed. Then came the “price tag” attacks by Israeli settlers on Christians and Palestinians that left the world wondering if the Israelis had lost their collective minds. The BDS movement has began crippling Israeli trade, as nation after nation refuses to trade with or invest with Israel. The constant stream of videos from the Occupied Territories shows daily Israeli aggression. A toddler was killed in a “price tag” attack and the world mourned. These events have been too much for Israeli propagandists to spin, so instead they attack YouTube. The Israelis are currently blaming YouTube for the current strife because the site brought the information to the world. They don’t blame the attackers in the videos. This uprising is impossible to package and sell to the media as anything but an oppressed people fighting back. Although the media continues to show the knife attacks as justification, the Israelis hit another snag when they were forced to admit that at least one of those gunned down for a knife attack was innocent. Then, a video showed Israeli soldiers dropping an item onto the body of dead Palestinian who was accused of a knife attack. Speculation arose that the soldiers were planting a knife. The war isn’t easy to sell, so the media doesn’t want to call it an Intifada.
The next reason the media is having a hard time discussing it, is very simple: it’s leaderless. This is a popular uprising from the population. The media can’t find an image of a dark-skinned bearded Disney-style villain. Instead they are receiving images of Christians and Muslims standing together slinging rocks at Israelis armed with rifles and tear gas. Without a leader to demonize, the media would be forced to discuss why thousands of Palestinians of all religions are standing with primitive weapons against one of the most technologically advanced armies in the world. That’s not a discussion the media wants to have about one of our allies. There’s a defiance and a bravery in the actions of those risking all that Americans will devour. Americans have shown themselves more willing then ever to support an indigenous people’s claim to territory. This can be clearly seen in Kurdistan. Israel, a country that has supported the Kurds, has to have taken notice of this. If the maps of the Middle East are to be redrawn, the Palestinians are in the best position they have ever been in to receive their own borders.