IX. The First Intifada And The Beginning Of Israeli-Palestinian Negotiations

IX. The First Intifada And The Beginning Of Israeli-Palestinian Negotiations

Period
IX. The First Intifada And The Beginning Of Israeli-Palestinian Negotiations
9 December 1987 to 19 January 1993

The period 1987–93 witnessed the outbreak of the first intifada, which caused a major shift in both Israeli and Palestinian thinking about the conflict and its peaceful resolution. The 1990 Iraqi invasion of Kuwait that led to an American-led war against Iraq in early 1991 also dramatically shifted the regional balance of power, as did the collapse of the Eastern bloc in the Soviet Union and Eastern Europe. One result of all of this was the beginning of the first face-to-face Arab-Israeli talks since the Camp David Accords of 1979.

The first intifada broke out on 9 December 1987, when an Israeli truck struck and killed several Palestinians in Gaza. Wide-scale protests broke out, and Israeli occupation forces soon faced a massive civil insurrection that quickly spread to the West Bank. Israeli forces responded to rock-throwing crowds of young men with beatings, curfews, mass detentions, and deadly force, but they failed to halt the protests. Local committees sprang up in towns and villages throughout the West Bank and Gaza, both to maintain popular support for the intifada and to provide social services. Civil disobedience, including strikes, boycotts of Israeli products, and refusal to pay Israeli taxes, spread and became an additional dimension of the mass resistance to Israeli occupation.

The intifada and the scale of popular support for it came as a surprise and were initially spontaneous. In retrospect,  they represented the climax of a build-up in civil society activism, strikes, demonstrations, and mounting mobilization against Israeli practices in the occupied territories, especially during the preceding twelve months. As the intifada stretched into 1988 and then 1989, it became clear to Israel that its traditional methods for controlling the Palestinians in the occupied territories no longer worked. The Israeli public became increasingly aware of the financial and strategic costs of ruling a rebellious population. For the PLO, the spontaneity of the intifada revealed two things: first, the Palestinians in the West Bank and Gaza, suffering under direct Israeli military occupation, could no longer be counted on to wait patiently for the PLO to come to their rescue from outside the homeland. Second, a new generation of relatively independent leaders had arisen in the territories, ideologically tied to the PLO and coordinating with it rather than subject to its direct orders.

The year 1988 was pivotal for the intifada and the PLO. On 8 January, a coordinating committee for the intifada called the Unified National Leadership of the Uprising  (UNLU) issued its first communiqué. The initial committee consisted of members of Fatah and the Democratic Front for the Liberation of Palestine (DFLP). Several days later, a representative from the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP) joined, followed; in March by the Palestine Communist Party. This secretive four-person body sought to direct the intifada through its periodic statements. The UNLU coordinated policies with PLO leaders in Tunisia, particularly high-level Fatah leader Khalil al-Wazir (Abu Jihad). Israel believed him to be responsible for guiding the intifada and dispatched commandos who assassinated him in Sidi Bu Sa‛id, Tunisia, on 16 April 1988.

The start of the intifada witnessed also a shift in the Gaza Muslim Brotherhood and the emergence of its armed wing directed against Israel. On 14 December 1987 a communiqué announced the establishment of an “Islamic Resistance Movement” (to be known later on under the acronym Hamas).  The group formally declared its affiliation with the Brotherhood in February 1988 and issued its charter, which called for the total liberation of all Palestine and rejecting negotiations, in August. Hamas operated outside of the PLO and represented a challenge to the PLO. In October 1988, Hamas agreed to work with the UNLU, although it did not formally join it. Hamas issued its own communiqués calling for strike days different from those called for by the UNLU.

Diplomatically, the intifada prompted major changes regionally and internationally. It revealed the depth of pro-PLO sympathy in the West Bank. Accordingly, Jordan’s King Hussein formally cut all administrative ties with the West Bank on 31 July 1988, essentially giving up on having the territory return to Jordanian control and conceding responsibility for it to the PLO. On 15 November 1988, the Palestine National Council, meeting in Algiers, declared the independence of a Palestinian state, on the basis of UN General Assembly Resolution 181. At the same time, it issued another document stating its acceptance of Security Council Resolutions 242 and 338. On 14 December, after Arafat reaffirming his rejection of terrorism, the U.S. government announced for the first time that it would begin a dialogue with the PLO. However, it cut off this dialogue on 20 June 1990 following a failed raid on Israel by a guerrilla group from the Iraqi-backed Palestine Liberation Front.

With the intifada still underway, Iraq invaded and occupied Kuwait on 2 August 1990. The PLO supported the initiative presented by the Iraqi president Saddam Hussein on 12 August, linking the solution of the Gulf crisis with that of Arab-Israeli conflict. Various PLO figures offered different opinions about the occupation and, later, about the American-led attack on Iraq that began in January 1991. On the whole, however, the world perceived the PLO as supportive of Iraqi leader Saddam Hussein, and Saudi Arabia and other Gulf states cut precipitously their financial support. The “revenge” expulsion of several hundred thousand Palestinian residents of Kuwait after the country’s liberation worsened the situation further. Arafat suffered another blow during the Gulf Crisis when Palestinian leader Salah Khalaf (Abu Iyad) was assassinated in Tunis by a Palestinian, on 14 January 1991.

In the wake of the Gulf War and with the collapse of the Soviet Union, U.S. President George H. W. Bush decided to reward the Arab coalition against Iraq and to use the United States’ newfound influence in the region to try to resolve the Arab-Israeli conflict diplomatically. U.S. Secretary of State James Baker made a number of trips to the Middle East to lay the basis for a peace conference that would involve Israel, the Arab states, and non-PLO Palestinians. In the spring and summer of 1991, a weakened  PLO authorized a group of Palestinian figures in the West Bank and Gaza to meet with Baker. The latter devised a formula, acceptable by Israel, whereby Palestinian negotiators, though implicitly appointed by the PLO, would be part of a joint Jordanian-Palestinian delegation to negotiate a five-year self-government arrangement for the West Bank and Gaza. On 30 October 1991, the Madrid Conference opened under the sponsorship of the United States and the Soviet Union (then only two months away from dissolving).  

The Madrid Conference and the successive rounds of negotiations that were held in Washington during the following months led to improving the Palestinian image in the world and strengthening Palestinian identity. Thus, in January 1992, the Palestinian delegates practically split away from the Jordanian delegation and began separate bilateral talks with the Israelis. Their ties and identification with the PLO leadership became more and more visible. However, in terms of negotiation issues, the gap continued to be wide between their demands and Israel’s positions, even after Labor’s electoral victory with Yitzhak Rabin in June 1992. The deportation of more than 400 Islamic militants to South Lebanon in December was a reminder that much more than the Madrid terms of reference was needed to open the road toward a serious solution of the Palestine question. In January 1993 a secret negotiation channel was opened that led in Summer 1993 to an accord, but not necessarily one that would set the stage for a satisfactory solution.

MF

           

Selected Bibliography

Ashrawi, Hanan. This Side of Peace: A Personal Account. New York: Simon & Schuster, 1995.

Hallaj, Muhammad. “Taking Sides: Palestinians and the Gulf Crisis.Journal of Palestine Studies 20, no.3 (Spring 1991): 41–47.

Lockman, Zachary, and Joel Beinin, eds. Intifada: The Palestinian Uprising against Israeli Occupation. Washington, DC: Middle East Research and Information Project, 1989.

Mansour, Camille. The Palestinian-Israeli Peace Negotiations: An Overview and Assessment: October 1991–January 1993. Washington, DC: Institute for Palestine Studies, 1993.

Peretz, Don. Intifada: The Palestinian Uprising. Boulder, CO: Westview Press, 1990.

Schiff, Ze’ev and Ehud Ya’ari. Intifada: The Palestinian Uprising—Israel’s Third Front. New York: Simon and Schuster, 1990.

Tamari, Salim. “The Palestinian Movement in Transition: Historical Reversals and the Uprising.Journal of Palestine Studies 20, no.2 (Winter 1991): 57–70.

 

IX. The First Intifada And The Beginning Of Israeli-Palestinian Negotiations
E.g., 2018/12/14
E.g., 2018/12/14

The First Intifada And The Beginning Of Israeli-Palestinian Negotiations

1987

1988

1989

1990

1991

1992

The Oslo Process And The Establishment Of The Palestinian Authority

1993

1994

1995

1996

1997

1998

1999

The Aqsa Intifada and the End of an Era in Palestinian Politics

2000

2001

2002

2003

Popular action

Start of the Intifada in the Gaza Strip and the West Bank
9 December 1987

Popular action Institutional

First Communiqué of the Islamic Resistance Movement (Hamas)
14 December 1987

Diplomatic Legal

General Assembly Resolutions 42/210, 42/229 and 42/230
17 December 1987 - 23 March 1988

Popular action

Solidarity of Israel's Palestinians with the Intifada
21 December 1987

Diplomatic Violence

Security Council Resolution S/RES/605
22 December 1987

Policy/program Violence

Non-Armed Intifada
3 January 1988 - 13 February 1988

Diplomatic Sanctions

Security Council Resolutions S/RES/607 and S/RES/608
4 January 1988 - 14 January 1988

Popular action

Unified National Leadership of the Uprising
8 January 1988

Policy/program Popular action

The Palestinians' 14 Demands
14 January 1988

Sanctions Violence

Israel's Policy of "Beating"
19 January 1988 - 27 January 1988

Diplomatic

Resumption of Diplomatic Activity
30 January 1988 - 10 February 1988

Diplomatic Policy/program

Draft Security Council Resolutions S/19466, S/19780, S/20463, S/20677, and S/20945/Rev.1
1 February 1988 - 7 November 1989

Sanctions

One-Month Closure of Academic Institutions in the West Bank
2 February 1988

Diplomatic Policy/program

2nd Visit of US Secretary George Shultz to the Region; Statement to the Palestinians in the West Bank and Gaza
25 February 1988 - 26 February 1988

Policy/program Diplomatic

US Secretary of State Shultz Peace Plan
4 March 1988

Popular action Sanctions

The Intifada and the Israeli Response in Another Stage in the Confrontation
11 March 1988 - 29 March 1988

Diplomatic

3rd Visit of US Secretary of State Shultz to the Region
3 April 1988 - 8 April 1988

Violence

Assassination of Khalil al-Wazir in Tunis
16 April 1988

Diplomatic Policy/program

4th Visit of US Secretary of State Shultz to the Region
3 June 1988 - 7 June 1988

Policy/program Diplomatic

Arab Extraordinary Summit in Algiers
7 June 1988 - 9 June 1988

Sanctions

Another Round of Releasing and Detaining Faisal Husseini
9 June 1988 - 31 July 1988

Legal Institutional

Jordan Severs Ties with the West Bank
28 July 1988 - 4 August 1988

Policy/program Institutional

The Islamic Resistance Movement (HAMAS) Issues Its Charter
18 August 1988

Institutional

Elections in Israel
1 November 1988

Policy/program Institutional

19th Palestine National Council Meets in Algiers and Proclaims the Palestinian State
12 November 1988 - 15 November 1988

Diplomatic Institutional

General Assembly Resolution 43/160
9 December 1988

Violence

The Intifada First Year Balance Sheet
9 December 1988

Policy/program Diplomatic

Arafat addresses the UN General Assembly
13 December 1988 - 14 December 1988

Diplomatic Policy/program

Start of US-PLO Dialogue
14 December 1988

Institutional Diplomatic

General Assembly Resolution 43/177
15 December 1988

Violence

Tougher Israeli Measures Against the Intifada
17 January 1989

Diplomatic

US-PLO Official Meeting Takes Place in Carthage, Tunisia
22 March 1989

Policy/program

Israel Proposes Elections in the West Bank and Gaza
30 March 1989

Institutional

PLO Central Council Meeting Is Held in Tunis
31 March 1989 - 2 April 1989

Diplomatic

Yasir Arafat Makes First Official Visit to Paris
2 May 1989 - 4 May 1989

Popular action Violence

Resurgence of Intifada, Worsening of Repression
3 May 1989 - 19 May 1989

Policy/program

Israel's "Peace Initiative"
14 May 1989

Policy/program

The PLO Executive Committee Rejects Israel's Peace Initiative
15 May 1989

Policy/program Diplomatic

Egypt Proposes a Ten-Point Plan for Palestinian Elections
1 July 1989 - 30 September 1989

Diplomatic

US-PLO Official Meeting in Tunis
14 August 1989

Sanctions

Israel Deports Five Palestinians
27 August 1989

Diplomatic Sanctions

Security Council Resolution S/RES/641
30 August 1989

Colonization

Mass Emigration of Soviet Jews to Israel Is Triggered
1 October 1989 - 14 January 1990

Policy/program Diplomatic

The Baker Five-Point Plan
10 October 1989

Policy/program Diplomatic

Responses to the Baker Five-Point Plan
16 October 1989 - 18 December 1989

Diplomatic Institutional

Draft General Assembly Resolution A/44/L.50
6 December 1989

Diplomatic

US Voices Dissatisfaction with Israel
23 February 1990 - 3 March 1990

Institutional

Israel's National Unity Government Collapses
13 March 1990 - 11 June 1990

Violence

Rishon LeZion (Uyun Qara) Killings
20 May 1990

Diplomatic

Draft Security Council Resolution S/21326
31 May 1990

Diplomatic

Dial 1-202-456-1414
13 June 1990

Diplomatic Violence

The US Administration Suspends Dialogue with the PLO
20 June 1990

Contextual

Iraqi Forces Invade Kuwait
2 August 1990

Policy/program Violence

Palestinian Response to the Invasion of Kuwait
3 August 1990 - 17 January 1991

Violence

Haram al-Sharif Killings
8 October 1990

Diplomatic Violence

Security Council Resolutions S/RES/672 and S/RES/673
12 October 1990 - 24 October 1990

Diplomatic Legal

Security Council Resolution S/RES/681
20 December 1990

Diplomatic

Statement of the President of the Security Council S/22027
20 December 1990

Violence

Assassination of Salah Khalaf (Abu Iyad)
14 January 1991

Contextual Violence

The Gulf War
17 January 1991 - 28 February 1991

Policy/program

President Bush Outlines US Goals Following the Gulf War
6 March 1991

Diplomatic Policy/program

Secretary Baker First Stage Diplomacy
9 March 1991 - 22 May 1991

Diplomatic

Secretary Baker Second Stage Diplomacy
1 June 1991 - 18 October 1991

Violence

Intifada Statistics
30 July 1991

Diplomatic Policy/program

US-Soviet Joint Statement on the Middle East, Moscow
31 July 1991

Policy/program Institutional

20th Palestine National Council Is Held in Algiers
23 September 1991 - 28 September 1991

Diplomatic Policy/program

US Letters of Assurances
15 October 1991 - 18 October 1991

Institutional Policy/program

PLO Central Council Meeting Is Held in Tunis
17 October 1991

Diplomatic Policy/program

US-Soviet Invitation to the Madrid Peace Conference
18 October 1991

Diplomatic

Madrid Conference
30 October 1991 - 2 November 1991

Diplomatic

1st Negotiation Round, Madrid
3 November 1991

Diplomatic

2nd Negotiation Round, Washington
10 December 1991 - 18 December 1991

Diplomatic

General Assembly Resolution 46/86
16 December 1991

Sanctions

Israel Announces Deportation of Palestinians
2 January 1992

Diplomatic Violence

Security Council Resolution S/RES/726
6 January 1992

Diplomatic

3rd Negotiation Round, Washington
13 January 1992 - 16 January 1992

Diplomatic

Conference on Multilateral Peace Talks, Moscow
28 January 1992 - 29 January 1992

Diplomatic

4th Negotiation Round, Washington
24 February 1992 - 4 March 1992

Diplomatic

Arafat Survives a Plane Crash in Libya
7 April 1992 - 8 April 1992

Diplomatic

5th Negotiation Round, Washington
27 April 1992 - 30 April 1992

Diplomatic

Multilateral Talks
11 May 1992 - 13 May 1992

Violence

Assassination of Atef Bseiso in Paris
8 June 1992

Institutional

Elections in Israel
23 June 1992

Institutional Policy/program

32nd Zionist Congress Is Held in Jerusalem
26 July 1992 - 30 July 1992

Diplomatic

6th Negotiation Round, 1st Stage, Washington
24 August 1992 - 3 September 1992

Diplomatic

6th Negotiation Round, 2nd Stage, Washington
14 September 1992 - 24 September 1992

Popular action Policy/program

A Coalition of 10 Palestinian Organizations Opposed to Negotiations is Formed in Damascus
16 September 1992

Diplomatic

7th Negotiation Round, Washington
21 October 1992 - 20 November 1992

Diplomatic

Multilateral Talks
29 October 1992 - 12 November 1992

Diplomatic

8th Negotiation Round, Washington
7 December 1992 - 16 December 1992

Sanctions

Israel Deports 415 Palestinians to South Lebanon
13 December 1992 - 16 December 1992

Diplomatic Sanctions

Security Council Resolution S/RES/799
18 December 1992

Diplomatic

Bilateral Negotiation Round Delayed
11 January 1993