Academic journal article The Middle East Journal

Palestine and Palestinians: The Palestinian Intifada

Academic journal article The Middle East Journal

Palestine and Palestinians: The Palestinian Intifada

Article excerpt

The Palestinian Intifada, by Edgar O'Ballance. London and New York: Macmillan Press and St. Martin's Press, 1998. xx + 235 pages. Appends to p. 239. Bibl. to p. 240. Index to p. 252. $59.95.

Edgar O'Ballance, a competent and widely traveled journalist who, over many years, has made a speciality of the confrontations of the Near and Middle East, has put together a useful report on the Palestinian Intifada (uprising, 1987-93), which he describes as the "impromptu, unexpected surge of pent-up energy of a young and restless generation conditioned by Israeli repression. Harnessed by the exiled PLO HQ and coordinated through leafleted instructions, it became a mass movement of civil disobedience, of `stones against guns.' " It was, he says, "the catalyst that taxed the Israeli security forces to the utmost and eventually ... resulted ... in peace negotiations" (p. 231).

The book's format is strictly chronological. It first summarizes the earlier historical events starting with the First and Second Aliyah. O'Ballance then takes us in detail from 1987 to 1997. Each section is short and sharp and discusses a particular incident-number of deaths, political implications, resulting actions, and responses from around the globe. Those interested in IsraeliPalestinian peace will find the recital of day-today events both depressing and instructive. The mixed, or often purely destructive, motives of the countless factions on each side seem to promote a special kind of interactive running-in-place. No single event is surprising, but, when put in the context of a decade of similar events, the impact on the reader is to deepen the line and color of a tapestry of continuing violence. The 1993 Oslo accords, when they finally arrive in the narrative, bring a sense of relief. …

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