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Tuesday March 16, 2010 3:13 PM (EST+7)
Voices warning of 'third intifada' gain ground

Read more: intifada, protests, demonstrations, third intifada, uprising, resistance

RAMALLAH, March 16 (JMCC) - Conditions in the occupied Palestinian territories are ripe for a new Palestinian uprising, warn a growing number of voices.

“When you go into East Jerusalem, in Sheikh Jarrah and other places where there is a demolition and you see the anger, you see the increasing willingness to confront the Israeli security forces, and you understand just how dangerous the situation is,” says Aric Ascherman of Rabbis for Human Rights.

Clashes broke out in Jerusalem Tuesday over new Israeli steps to establish control over the city and its religious sites.  

Israeli helicopters hovered over the walled Old City, and some 3,000 border police stopped Palestinians entering and leaving. Dozens of Palestinians were injured in the confrontations.

“This is a normal reaction to Israeli actions,” says Jerusalem governor Adnan Husseini. “Call it what you want, but this is a popular, physical response.”


Others said that the lack of leadership for the spreading clashes meant they would likely fizzle out.

“There is no consensus, no coordination and no strategy,” said political analyst Mahdi Abdel Hadi on al-Jazeera.

Fateh leader Hatem Abdel Qader faulted the Palestinian political leadership for seeking to block the protests. “I believe that the message sent by Jerusalem residents today is louder than that sent by the politicians,” he said.

When Husseini was asked if he and other leaders sought to stop the protests, he told, “No one can stop the Palestinian people from defending their holy sites.”

Former Palestinian negotiator Ahmed Qurei had warned Monday that a new wave of Palestinian resistance was inevitable under current conditions. If things remain at this level -- regardless of whether we make a decision or not -- it is coming. If Israel continues these practices, it is coming, he told reporters.


The clashes broke out after a period of tension over Israeli attempts to consolidate a demographic majority in Jerusalem through the construction of settlements, particularly in the Old City, home to Muslim and Jewish holy sites.

Palestinians have refused to restart direct bilateral negotiations as long as Israel continues to build in the areas it occupied in 1967. Attempts to begin indirect talks were initially agreed upon by both sides, only to stumble.

“We feel that they are trying to escalate,” Palestinian governor of Jerusalem Adnan Husseini said of Israel. “Because they are isolated now; they are in a difficult situation with the USA.”

Husseini was referring to a diplomatic confrontation that occurred when Israel announced the construction of 1,600 new homes in Jerusalem settlements during a friendly visit by United States Vice-President Joe Biden.

“They are trying to find a margin to move, really,” Husseini told al-Jazeera International. 






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