The Palestinian Authority's Responsibility for the Outbreak of the Second Intifada: Its Own Damning Testimony

(Institute for Contemporary Affairs-Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs) Lt. Col. (ret.) Jonathan D. Halevi - On February 11, 2013, on Israel's Channel 10 television program "The Source," it was claimed that there was not even an "iota of evidence" that the Palestinian Authority leadership, and Yasser Arafat in particular, planned and initiated the Second Intifada, which began in September 2000 and resulted in the deaths of more than 1,000 Israelis by 2005. Rather, it was claimed that this was a spontaneous popular uprising that ran counter to the interests of the Palestinian leadership. As a consequence, Arafat appears to be exonerated by the narrative presented. The program also reopened the old debate over whether the Second Intifada was ignited by Ariel Sharon's September 2000 visit to the Temple Mount in Jerusalem. Yet, extensive testimony at the time and in retrospect demonstrates the Palestinian Authority's role in initiating and managing the Second Intifada as an extensive terror onslaught, designed to impose a unilateral, unconditional withdrawal upon Israel, and improve conditions in anticipation of the battle for realizing Palestinian demands for the return of the refugees. The final decision to initiate the Second Intifada was made by Yasser Arafat immediately upon the conclusion of the second Camp David summit, which ended on July 25, 2000. Directives were disseminated to the national security forces, instructing them to prepare for the immediate option of initiating a violent campaign against Israel. This study presents the handwriting that was on the wall, with statements referring to a return to conflict by Yasser Arafat, Marwan Barghouti, Sakhr Habash, Imad Falluji, Suha Arafat, Ahmed Ibrahim Hiles, Raed Muhammed, Jihad Al-Amarin, Yasser Khalil, and Nabil Shaath, as well as in official Palestinian Authority publications. The study concludes with the text of the first proclamation by the National and Islamic Forces, the umbrella group that coordinated the operations of Fatah and Hamas against Israel. Yasser Arafat and important segments of the Palestinian leadership at that time were directly responsible for what happened during the Second Intifada and no amount of revisionist history can exonerate Arafat for standing behind one of the bloodiest periods in Israel's modern history. The writer, a senior researcher of the Middle East and radical Islam at the Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs, is a former advisor to the Policy Planning Division of the Israel Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

2013-02-20 00:00:00

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