The Impact of the Intifada on the Israeli Occupation

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The Israeli occupation thought it could oppress the Intifada through increasing the severity and intensity of its crimes. It assumed that collective punishment and the terrorization policy would push the Palestinians into surrendering and giving in. However, the Palestinian people destroyed such hopes through their steadfastness and adherence to their rights, legality and heritage.

The occupation used several methods to silence the Intifada, some of them were:

  1. Dividing the areas of the Palestinian Authority (the West Bank was divided into 60 parts and the Gaza Strip into 4).
  2. Unleashing the army to crush the Intifada through military operations, assassinations and destruction of Palestinian assets.
  3. Doing military operations to invade and close down Palestinian areas in the West Bank and Gaza and turning them into small cantons.
  4. Evading responsibility of the crimes it committed against the civilians, attacking the Palestinian political regime and shouldering it the responsibility of the resistance, and attributing the violence to late President Yasser Arafat in person.
  5. Activating diplomatic ties to justify and promote Israeli military operations as a form of self-defense.

The Intifada constituted an important stage in the conflict between the Palestinian people and the Israeli occupation which failed to achieve its objectives at several levels.

Militarily: The occupation used all military strategies, such as killing and surrounding the Palestinians, to weaken the Intifada, but it failed. In fact, the Israeli soldiers and officers felt desperate and some even refused to serve after a series of operations by the Palestinian resistance. The Palestinian resistance’ steadfastness exposed the truth about the Zionist military force. The occupation had claimed it was invincible, but the resistance showed that it can be fought, and it can also be defeated.

Socially: The Intifada became a source of disturbance and confusion to the Israeli community. It developed into armed confrontations and operations that stroke the Israeli entity hard, and affected all groups of the community. Several Israeli settlers decided to leave the occupied lands in search for security and stability.

Politically: The Intifada exposed the real face of the religious and ethnic disputes within the occupation’s entity. All parties accused one another of being responsible for the eruption of the Intifada. Two examples are the disputes between the Likud and the Labor, and the Reform Jews and Orthodox.

Economically: As a result to the escalation in the Intifada, the Israeli economy was severely affected because of the security situation and suspension of trade. The occupation estimated the economic loss in the second month of the Intifada to have been about 5 billion shekels (i.e. about 1.5 billion dollars). The affected sectors included:

  • Tourism: This sector is key to the Israeli economy. In the first few months of the Intifada, the tourism sector lost about 600 million dollars which resulted in the discharge of employees and cancellation of 80% of flights during that period.
  • Construction: The complete paralysis in the entity resulted in delaying the delivery of apartments on time.
  • Transportation: The unstable security conditions forced several companies to stop some of its buses, especially those operating in the settlements in the West Bank and the Gaza Strip. In addition, the number of passengers declined because of the fear that spread among the settlers of the resistance’ operations.
  • Commercials: Several commercial campaigns were cancelled as the purchasing power weakened, and there was low interest in promotional advertisements.
  • Agriculture: A big number of agricultural lands seized by the occupation were located in the West Bank and the Gaza Strip. The harvest was delayed and so the fruits were not sold.
  • Entertainment: Several Jewish concerts and festivals were cancelled, and the number of people visiting theatres, cinemas and operas decreased.

Spiritually: The Intifada uncovered the cowardliness and fearful nature of the Israeli soldiers, and the decline in the army’s strength. Some soldiers evaded the service in the hot spots, while others attempted suicide. It was devastating to the army to feel powerless in the face of children armed with stones. 

Internationally: The Intifada revealed to the world the ugly truth of the occupation, which was perceived as a democratic entity. The images of murder, massacres and absence of morals were all over TV channels hence the world saw the bloody and monstrous mentality the occupation had.

Source : PALM Strategic Initiatives Centre