By Iyad al-Qara
The second Palestinian popular uprising, known as ‘Al-Aqsa Intifada’, broke out 18 years ago and escalated into an armed conflict with the Israeli occupation. Yesterday, the Palestinian people commemorated this anniversary and through their massive participation in Great March of Return, the most creative means of resistance, they reiterated that they had opted for the option of resistance.
These popular demonstrations along the Gaza’s eastern borders is no less important than the 1987 First Intifada. Through that uprising, the Palestinians communicated a message to the Israeli occupation and the international community that their cause was still alive and had to be listed in the world’s agenda and that they were prepared to spark off a third and a fourth uprising for this lawful cause.
On the 27th Friday of the Great March of Return, the Palestinian people expressed their willingness to continue their freedom struggle against the occupation despite the violent Israeli crackdown on the peaceful protests. On that day, which is one of the bloodiest days in the march, the Israeli occupation forces killed (8) Palestinians and wounded up to (500) after deliberately after opening fire on the peaceful protests.
The Palestinian people love life, yet they have embraced resistance as an option to achieve their demands and rejected the option of negotiation and compromise that the Palestinian Authority’s President Mahmoud Abbas had tackled and asserted during his speech to the UN General Assembly. The Palestinian masses in the Gaza Strip replied to Abbas’s ‘speech of weakness and humility’ by their massive participation in the Great Return March last Friday. The message of the masses was clear: the platform on which he stood to utter his pointless words does not equal a drop of blood from a Palestinian protester at the Great Return March he/she loses to support resistance.
Following Abbas’ speech at the UNGA, which encouraged the Israeli occupation to quell the Great March of Return violently, a question is being posed, “Do we need a new national program based on what has been gained so far in the Great March of Return?’
Since the Palestinian people have made great sacrifices and are prepared to make more, the key question now is how we can translate these sacrifices into a comprehensive national project aiming to handle the dire situation in the Gaza Strip. By necessity, the proposed project has to foil Abbas’ threats to impose new sanctions on the beleaguered enclave and force the Israeli occupation to pay the price for its crimes against the Palestinian people and for violating the 2014 ceasefire.
On the other hand, this argument compels us to question, ‘What is next?’ The Palestinian factions offer an answer in this crucial period. They should lead the Palestinian masses to achieving the objectives of the Great March of Return and to ‘immunizing’ them amid the escalating changes leading to an upcoming phase, as it seems that Abbas and the occupation are plotting something while mediators are getting away despite of the huge number of Palestinian victims, and the occupation and PA’s crimes against Gaza.