Palestinians Divided

Courtesy Reuters


Has Yasir Arafat, the president of the Palestinian Authority (PA), orchestrated and led the second Palestinian intifada in order to gain popularity and legitimacy while weakening Israel and forcing it to accept extreme Palestinian demands? Or has the uprising been a spontaneous response by an enraged but disorganized Palestinian "street" to Likud Party leader (and later Israeli Prime Minister) Ariel Sharon's September 2000 visit to the site known to Jews as the Temple Mount and to Muslims as al Haram al Sharif, and the failure of the Oslo peace process to produce an end to Israeli military occupation? Most Israelis take the first position, whereas most Palestinians take the second. Both are mistaken.

The truth is that the intifada that began in late September 2000 has been a response by a "young guard" in the Palestinian nationalist movement not only to Sharon's visit and the

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