On the 33rd anniversary of the great Palestinian popular uprising, the Intifada that was launched in December 1987, Samidoun Palestinian Prisoner Solidarity Network recalls, honours and celebrates the living memory and legacy of struggle, resistance and revolution that continues until the present day.
Launched by the murder of four Palestinian workers, mowed down by an Israeli occupation army truck in Jabaliya refugee camp in Gaza, Palestinians took to the streets en masse on December 8, 1987, building their movement, collectives and institutions, uniting around the messages of the Unified National Leadership of the Uprising, boycotting Israel and practicing all elements of popular struggle and collective resistance. Women, youth and workers played a critical role in leading the intifada, organizing committees in every village, town and city to mobilize all efforts for a revolutionary society conceived in resistance to colonialism.
The Intifada not only unified Palestinians inside Palestine, but also those in exile and diaspora. In many ways, it was the Intifada that broke the siege of the camps of Lebanon and sparked large-scale organizing in Palestinian communities around the world as well as a major upsurge in Palestinian solidarity organizing.
Of course, the Intifada was also met with vicious repression: mass imprisonment, vicious torture under interrogation, Rabin’s infamous “breaking bones” policy. Indeed, hundreds of thousands of Palestinians were detained and imprisoned by occupation forces during the Intifada, over 120,000 wounded and hundreds killed. Palestinian prisoners continued their resistance and their intifada behind bars, building and deepening the “revolutionary schools” from which emerged so many brilliant young organizers.
The Intifada continued despite the threatening international conditions – from the fall of the Soviet Union and the Eastern bloc states, the threat of US imperialism dominating a unipolar world, to the first Iraq War and the attack on Arab self-determination. Unfortunately, this context also meant that the confiscation of the Intifada, the sacrifices made by the Palestinian people and their accomplishments, were confiscated by a sector of the Palestinian ruling class in alliance with U.S. imperialism and Arab reactionary regimes, through the drive to first the Madrid conference and then to Oslo, the attempt to transform the revolutionary aspirations of the Palestinian people into a mere self-rule project adjacent to Zionist colonialism.
While the Oslo agreement seemingly put an end to the Intifada, it has not put an end to the Palestinian revolutionary vision. It points today precisely to why an alternative path for the Palestinian struggle, a path consistent with the historical Palestinian vision of return and total liberation, is so critical today at this moment, when the Palestinian cause is once again targeted for liquidation.
The vision of the Intifada has never been defeated, denied or suppressed. It lives on – just as it has for decades upon decades, in uprising after uprising. In Palestine, in the refugee camps, in exile and diaspora, and in every city of the world and every struggle for justice where the Palestinian flag remains a blossom of revolutionary hope, inspiration and vision for a liberated future.
On the 33rd anniversary of the continuing Intifada, in honour of all those who sacrificed and fought for freedom, Samidoun Palestinian Prisoner Solidarity Network pledges to continue the struggle – until return, until liberation, from the river to the sea.
The posters below convey only a portion of the creativity, vision and collective power of the continuing intifada, inside Palestine, among Palestinians in the camps, in exile and diaspora and among Arabs and internationalists. Most below are republished from the Palestine Poster Project: