Some Palestinians Losing Faith in the Intifada

(Los Angeles Times) When Abu Fahdi joined the Al Aqsa Martyrs Brigade and took up arms against Israel, he thought he was serving his people. Now he believes he did them only harm. "We achieved nothing in all this time, and we lost so much," he said. Among Palestinians from all walks of life, there is a quiet but growing sentiment that their intifada, or uprising - which broke out four years ago - has largely failed as an armed struggle, and lost its character as a popular resistance movement. Moreover, many Palestinians fear that what has been, in effect, their military defeat at the hands of Israeli Prime Minister Sharon has left them without leverage to extract political and territorial concessions that would help lay the groundwork for their hoped-for state. For some time now, influential figures in Palestinian society - intellectuals, lawmakers, analysts, professionals, and well-regarded local officials - have been asserting that the violent confrontation with Israeli forces has reached a dead end and their people must look to the future. "We have witnessed the destruction of Palestinian society - its civil institutions, its economy, its infrastructure," said Zuhair Manasra, the governor of Bethlehem. "The result has been a complete disaster for the Palestinians, at all levels."

2004-09-28 00:00:00

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