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Last year throughout the West Bank in Palestine, coordinated resistance against the Israel Defence Forces (IDF) took place in what is now known as the unity intifada (translation: unity uprising). North Star spoke with Hanna Kawas, founder and chairperson of the Canada Palestine Association to find out more about the new resistance groups that have emerged from this intifada.
Palestinian residents of the Sheik Jarrah neighborhood of Jerusalem faced eviction from their homes in May of last year. This year IDF attacks on the West Bank resulted in the deadliest year for Palestinians since 2005 (more than 165 Palestinians killed, including 40 children). Most recently there have been lock-downs in cities of the West Bank, resulting in labour strikes.
This recent pressure of the occupation on the Palestinian people pushed them to unite and organize their resistance. New groups spawned in Nablus, Jenin and Hebron. They mark a break with the past methods of resistance of the nation's liberation movement. Kawas gave us details about their tactics and goals.
On the support these groups are getting from the people of Palestine, Kawas commented "When they killed a leader of the Lion's Den, you could see all across the occupied territories, people mentioning his name, seeking revenge for him. It united the whole West Bank - from Hebron all the way to Nablus."
According to Kawas, this widespread support has pushed the old generation to acknowledge their short comings. Decades of resistance has lead to over 4,500 Palestinian political prisoners presently in Israeli custody, and a failed attempts at a peace process with Israel has contributed significantly to a demoralized older generation.
With the addition of the November elections, Israelis voted 5 times in the past 4 years. The last Palestinian elections were held in 2006. Confidence in the Palestinian Authority's ability to represent the interests of it's people is at an all time low, and it is not exactly suprising to see these new groups gain so much support from the Palestinian people.