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8 years after start of second intifadah, Palestinians mourn loss of collective will

Sept. 28, 2008 10:54 A.M. (Updated: Sept. 28, 2008 10:54 A.M.)
Jericho - Ma'an - Commemorating eight years of intifadah, Palestinians mourn the switch from unified uprising against an occupier to infighting and self-destruction.

"Absence of political progress and failure to achieve progress in negotiations affected the Palestinian arena in general and the spirit of Intifada in particular," commented Ibrahim Atiq, deputy mayor of Jericho. Both the "international and regional atmospheres are not capable of kick-starting negotiations," Atiq lamented, suggesting that the internal "hand of unity should be extended [from within factions] to heal the rift."

Atiq expressed a general feeling among Palestinians, reflecting this week on the 8th anniversary of the start of the Al-Aqsa Intifadah, which erupted following months of stewing dissent when then Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon paid a provocative visit to the Al-Aqsa Mosque compound.

Sheikh Muhammad Abu Zeinah, an independent Islamic figure from the north of the West Bank said, "Despite dire conditions, life hardships and political complications, the Palestinian people proved that they can remain steadfast and restore his rights by force."

While political figures continue to extol Palestinian 'sumud' or steadfastness, most Palestinians see continued infighting as having given Israel the chance to push forward their settlement, confiscation and separation agenda.

Adel Abu Ni'mah, a Palestinian journalist, thinks the deteriorating situation has negative impacts on peace negotiations. He also believes the "coup" in Gaza and the attempts to do the same in the West Bank had negative impact on the Palestinian question.

While national disunity has become the new focus after eight years of intifadah, there have been few suggestions as to the mechanisms for re-establishing the cohesive collective will that started the intifadah in 2000.

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