Magazine article Washington Report on Middle East Affairs

Academics Discuss New Dimensions of an Institutionalized Intifada

Magazine article Washington Report on Middle East Affairs

Academics Discuss New Dimensions of an Institutionalized Intifada

Article excerpt

Academics Discuss New Dimensions of an Institutionalized Intifada

Pat and Samir Twair are free-lance journalists based in Los Angeles.

Alternatives available to the Palestinians were discussed by Prof. Mahmood Ibrahim and Dr. Adel Samara at an Oct. 15 panel sponsored by the Arab American Press Guild. "Palestinian Statehood, the Right of Return and Jerusalem" was the title of the panel moderated by AAPG President Samir Twair.

Professor Ibrahim said the renewed intifada is no surprise in light of a withering Palestinian economy and Israel's division of the West Bank into zones which are crisscrossed by bypass roads enabling Israeli troops to encircle Palestinian cities with tanks.

"The surprise," stated the Ramallah-born historian, "will be the consequences of this uprising. Will it be in vain, or used as a springboard to a widespread Arab national movement?"

Dr. Samara, who received his Ph.D. in economics from Exeter University and directs a research center in Ramallah, said an Arab national movement must be rebuilt from scratch.

Professor Ibrahim stressed that when the intifada began in 1987, it took months to institutionalize the uprising. "The entire Oslo movement was created to circumvent the intifada," he averred, "just as the [Oct. 17] Sharm el-Sheikh meeting has been called as a new Oslo to pre-empt the [Oct. 21] Arab summit."

It's no secret," the UCLA-educated professor continued, "the uprising of the past two weeks has created a resurgence of pan-Arabism. Arab regimes view the situation as dangerous. People are protesting in the streets of Amman, Cairo, Rabat, and Damascus. Now they are demonstrating against Israel's oppression of the Palestinians. Tomorrow, they could be demanding greater freedom in their own countries."

Responding to AAPG board member Yusef Ayoub Haddad's offering of a biblical and Qur'anic interpretation of Arab Christian and Muslim claims to Jerusalem, Professor Ibrahim argued that it is not religious interpretations, but those who hold power, who make a difference.

"There is a universal unacceptability of taking land by force," he observed, "and Israel's failure to live up to international agreements to return Palestinian land must be highlighted repeatedly."

U. …

Search by... Author
Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed

Oops!

An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.