Senior members of the Palestinian Authority's ruling Fatah party last week quietly declared the "third intifada" against Israel, but stressed that this time around the Palestinians should return to using rocks and makeshift firebombs against Israelis, rather than suicide bombers and missiles.
Speaking to Nazereth-based newspaper Hadith Anas, members of the Fatah Central Committee insisted that the peace process with Israel had failed that it was time to return to popular resistance as a means of birthing a Palestinian Arab state on the ancient Jewish lands of Judea and Samaria.
However, one of the committee members said that the new uprising must be carried out by average Palestinians, not trained terrorists, and only primitive "nonviolent" weapons should be used.
"We want thousands of Palestinians to demonstrate daily near the settlements of the occupation, carrying out a human siege, and calling for the end of the occupation," said the committee member.
According to the report, Palestinian leader Mahmoud Abbas endorsed the decision, but only so long as the violence remains low-key, noting that the first Palestinian intifada managed to garner far more sympathy for the Palestinians and result in far greater Israeli concessions. That uprising brought about the acceptance of the PLO as a "peace partner" and began the "Oslo" peace process that saw Israel officially surrender large chunks of its biblical heartland.
By contrast, the most recent intifada, which was accompanied by regular mass-casualty suicide bombings, engendered as much sympathy for Israel as it did the Palestinians, and enabled Israel to more effectively demonstrate that it was in a fight for its life against a blood-thirsty enemy.
Or, as the Fatah official put it:
"The first intifada gained significant diplomatic ground as far as the Palestinians are concerned since its symbol, a boy throwing rocks at a tank, made it impossible for Israel to claim it was defending itself against terror as it did in the second intifada, followings the city-center bombings."
It is believed that Abbas' recent resignation and rumors that he plans to dissolve the Palestinian Authority are being used to set the stage for this new popular uprising. If it comes to fruition and guns and bombs are absent from the Palestinian actions, it could be a recipe for significantly increased diplomatic pressure on Israel to meet Arab "peace" demands.