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E. V.A.3.b. Resistance since 2000: The Second Intifada and Evolution of Nonviolent Protest

The peace process launched in 1993 was always opposed by sections of the Israeli population, especially the settlers, and by some Palestinians, including the Islamist political movement Hamas, which maintained the right to respond to Israeli provocation and was responsible for some suicide bombings within Israel. In September 2000, following frustration at the lack of substantive change in circumstances despite the so-called peace process, and the provocative visit by Ariel Sharon to Temple Mount/Haram Sharifi (holy to both Muslims and Jews), a second uprising broke out. Israel responded immediately to protests with shooting and systematic repression.

The Second Intifada was much more violent than the first. Individuals and groups in the Palestinian territories argued early in 2001 for mass involvement and nonviolent methods, but the armed militias were at the forefront of the struggle and sponsored the new tactic of suicide bombings inside Israel, which in turn prompted Israeli retaliation and major military incursions into Palestinian territory. Over time, however, many Palestinians have adopted a range of primarily nonviolent methods of protest. The Israeli decision in 2002 to build a separation wall between the West Bank and Israel, in the process expropriating Palestinian land, has in particular become a focus of continuing unarmed resistance by local communities affected by it supported by civil society groups. The ‘Karama (dignity) pledge’ launched in 2010 promoted a popular boycott of all Israeli settler produce (over 500 items were identified), and in May 2012 Palestinian prisoners managed to win concessions from the Israeli authorities by a coordinated hunger strike. Unarmed Palestinian protests have also been supported and publicised internationally by the involvement of a range of transnational solidarity activists and observers.

On the ongoing unarmed struggle, see:

Barghouti, Mustafa, Palestinian Defiance: Interview by Eric Hazan, New Left Review, issue 32, 2005, pp. 117-131

Barghouti is the leader of Al Mubadara (the Initiative), launched in 2000 with a petititon signed by 10,000, urging civil resistance, and formally established in 2002.

Carter Hallward, Maia, Creative Responses to Separation: Israeli and Palestinian Joint Activism in Bil’in, Journal of Peace Research, Vol. 46, issue 4 (July), 2009, pp. 541-558

On a key focus of protest against the ‘Apartheid Wall’.

Carter Hallward, Maia, Struggling for a Just Peace: Israeli and Palestinian Activism in the Second Intifada, Gainesville FL, University of Florida Press, 2011, pp. 286

Carter Hallward, Maia ; Norman, Julie M., Nonviolent Resistance in the Second Intifada: Activism and Advocacy, New York, Palgrave MacMillan, 2012, pp. 196

Kuttab, Eileen, Empowerment as Resistance: Conceptualizing Palestinian Women’s Empowerment, Development, Vol. 53, issue 2, 2010, pp. 247-253

Najjar, Sonja, Women’s Empowerment and Peace-Building under Occupation?, Palestine-Israel Journal, Vol. 17, issue 3 & 4, 2011, pp. 59-66

Argues peacebuilding has to empower resilience and resistance to occupation.

Norman, Julie M., The Second Palestinian Intifada: Civil Resistance, London, Taylor and Francis, 2010, pp. 176

Shows Palestinians frequently resorted to nonviolent tactics, especially when these were framed as a practical strategy rather than just as a moral preference.

Pearlman, Wendy, Occupied Voices: Stories of Everyday Life from the Second Intifada, New York, Thunder's Mouth Press / Nation Books, 2003, pp. 257

Interviews with Palestinians. See also Pearlman, Wendy , Precluding Nonviolence, Propelling Violence: The Effect of Fragmentation on Movement Protest Studies in Comparative International Development, 2012, pp. 23-46 , which argues that ‘cohesion’ – to be assessed according to the strength of leadership, organisation and a sense of collective purpose – ‘approximates a necessary condition for nonviolent protest’.