Israeli Oppression, Palestinian Unity: the Rise of the Third Intifada?

Funeral of Muhammad Ziad Awad Salaymah, killed by Israeli border police (Reuters)

Israeli Oppression, Palestinian Unity: the Rise of the Third Intifada?

Hebron unrest to 'spread to all of Palestine'

After a ceasefire was brokered to end Israel's eight day siege on Gaza earlier this month, Israel has continued to attack Palestinians in a number of ways: showing an unwillingness to give up its pursuit of Jewish settlements in the West Bank, withholding tax revenues indefinitely from the Palestinian Authority, and continuing to fire indiscriminately at Palestinians along the border. The latter resulted in the death of a 17-year-old boy last week--an event that sparked two days of tense protests in Hebron and what some are now saying will be the beginning of the third Intifada.

Interpress Servicereports Wednesday that a new Palestinian group called the National Union Battalions (NUB), comprised of multiple political groups, has already called for the third Palestinian uprising in a video released over the weekend. The group is comprised of members from Hamas, Fatah, Islamic Jihad and the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP) who simultaneously announced the establishment of their group--the purpose being to unite differing political factions in solidarity against Israel.

"This is the beginning of a third Palestinian Intifada, which is erupting from the heart of Hebron and will spread to all of Palestine," the video states.

IPS reports:

The Battalions' demands include removing all IDF checkpoints in the West Bank, the release of all Palestinian prisoners from Israeli jails, an Israeli withdrawal from all occupied Palestinian land, and the transfer of all tax revenues Israel has been withholding from the Palestinian Authority (PA) since the U.N. voted on upgrading the Palestinians' status.

The NUB also demands the opening of all border crossings, and the supply of water and electricity to the besieged Gaza Strip.

Meanwhile, as Palestinians begin to reach across their former political boundaries--a movement ignited by Israel's most violent and oppressive campaigns in recent years--the Israeli government announced yet another new round of settlement expansion in the occupied West Bank this week, which will include 1,500 new settler homes in East Jerusalem's Ramat Shlomo. The exorbitant amount of new settlements proposed this month, as well as Israel's punitive tax revenue withholding, comes in the form of retaliation for last month's historic vote at the United Nations that established Palestine as a non-member observer state at the UN, Israel officials claim.

These moves, however, seem to be only further alienating Israel from a broader international community. Four European members of the United Nations security council, UK, France, Germany and Portugal, are composing a strongly worded joint condemnation of Israel's recent retaliatory settlement expansions, the Guardianreports Wednesday.

All members of the 15 state security council, with the exception of the US, are expected to sign on to the international condemnation, stating the settlement activity is illegal and must stop, according to Palestine's envoy to the UN, Riyad Mansour.

Whether strongly worded condemnations will have any effect on the US-backed military giant is yet to be seen. What has become apparent, however, as IPSreports, is the mass anger, as well as unification, in Palestine that Israel's recent actions have sparked, as was seen in the days of protest in Hebron that spread to other towns and cities in the West Bank.

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