Palestian Intifada and BDS Movement
The First Intifada or First Palestinian Intifada (also known simply as the intifada or intifadah[note A]) was a Palestinian uprising against the Israeli occupation of the West Bank and Gaza. The uprising lasted from December 1987 until the Madrid Conference in 1991, though some date its conclusion to 1993, with the signing of the Oslo Accords.
The uprising began on 9 December, in the Jabalia refugee camp after an Israeli Defense Forces’ (IDF) truck collided with a civilian car, killing four Palestinians. In the wake of the incident, a protest movement arose, involving a two-fold strategy of resistance and civil disobedience, consisting of general strikes, boycotts of Israeli Civil Administration institutions in the Gaza Strip and the West Bank, an economic boycott consisting of refusal to work in Israeli settlements on Israeli products, refusal to pay taxes, refusal to drive Palestinian cars with Israeli licenses, graffiti, barricading, and widespread throwing of stones and Molotov cocktails at the IDF and its infrastructure within the West Bank and Gaza Strip.
Israel, deploying some 80,000 soldiers and initially firing live rounds, killed a large number of Palestinians. In the first 13 months, 332 Palestinians and 12 Israelis were killed. Given the high proportion of children, youths and civilians killed, it then adopted a policy of ‘might, power, and beatings,’ namely “breaking Palestinians’ bones”. The global diffusion of images of soldiers beating adolescents with clubs then led to the adoption of firing semi-lethal plastic bullets. In the intifada’s first year, Israeli security forces killed 311 Palestinians, of which 53 were under the age of 17. Over the first two years, according to Save the Children, an estimated 7% of all Palestinians under 18 years of age suffered injuries from shootings, beatings, or tear gas. Over six years the IDF killed an estimated 1,162–1,204 Palestinians. Between 23,600-29,900 Palestinian children required medical treatment from IDF beatings in the first 2 years.
Among Israelis, 100 civilians and 60 IDF personnel were killed often by militants outside the control of the Intifada’s UNLU, and more than 1,400 Israeli civilians and 1,700 soldiers were injured.
Intra-Palestinian violence was also a prominent feature of the Intifada, with widespread executions of an estimated 822 Palestinians killed as alleged Israeli collaborators, (1988–April 1994). At the time Israel reportedly obtained information from some 18,000 Palestinians who had been compromised, although fewer than half had any proven contact with the Israeli authorities.
The ensuing Second Intifada took place from September 2000 to 2005.
The Second Intifada, also known as the Al-Aqsa Intifada (Arabic: انتفاضة الأقصى Intifāḍat al-ʾAqṣā; Hebrew: אינתיפאדת אל-אקצה Intifādat El-Aqtzah), was the second Palestinian uprising against Israel – a period of intensified Israeli–Palestinian violence. It started in September 2000, when Ariel Sharon made a visit to the Temple Mount, seen by Palestinians as highly provocative; and Palestinian demonstrators, throwing stones at police, were dispersed by the Israeli army, using tear gas and rubber bullets.
Both parties caused high numbers of casualties among civilians as well as combatants: the Palestinians by numerous suicide bombings and gunfire; the Israelis by tank and gunfire and air attacks, by numerous targeted killings, and by reactions to demonstrations. The death toll, including both military and civilian, is estimated to be about 3,000 Palestinians and 1,000 Israelis, as well as 64 foreigners.
Many consider the Sharm el-Sheikh Summit on 8 February 2005 to be the end of the Second Intifada, when President Mahmoud Abbas and Prime Minister Ariel Sharon agreed that all Palestinians would stop all acts of violence against all Israelis everywhere and, in parallel, that Israel would cease all its military activity against all Palestinians everywhere. They reaffirmed their commitment to the Roadmap for Peace which began at Madrid[clarification needed]. However, the violence did not stop in the following years, though suicide bombings decreased significantly.
The Boycott Divestment and Sanctions Movement (also known as BDS and the BDS Movement) is a global campaign attempting to increase economic and political pressure on Israel to end what it describes as violations of international law. The BDS campaign calls for “various forms of boycott against Israel until it meets its obligations under international law”. The stated goals of BDS are: the end of Israel’s occupation and settler colonization of Palestinian land and the Golan Heights, full equality for Arab-Palestinian citizens of Israel, and acknowledgement of the right of return of Palestinian refugees.
The campaign, organised and coordinated by the Palestinian BDS National Committee, was started on 9 July 2005 by over 170 Palestinian non-governmental organizations in support of the Palestinian cause for boycott of Israel, disinvestment from Israel and international sanctions against Israel. Citing a body of UN resolutions and specifically echoing the anti-apartheid campaigns against white minority rule in apartheid era South Africa. Protests and conferences in support of the campaign have been held in a number of countries around the world.
There is considerable debate about the scope, efficacy, and morality of the BDS movement.
Supporters of BDS compare the movement with the 20th century anti-apartheid movement and view their actions similar to the boycotts of South Africa during its apartheid era, comparing the situation in Israel to apartheid. Critics of BDS vehemently repudiate the charge that Israel is an apartheid state, asserting, among other things, that in Israel (outside of the West Bank) “Jews and Arabs mix freely and increasingly live in the same neighborhoods…there is no imposed segregation” and that Arabs and Jews interact together in any mall, restaurant, or hospital in Israel.
Critics further argue that the BDS movement disincentivizes the Palestinian leadership from negotiating with Israel at present, and that it is antisemitic in the form its opposition to Zionism takes, in resembling historic boycotts such as the Nazi boycott of Jewish businesses and in promoting the delegitimization of Israel.