chapter  2
Intifada of the Stones
ByMichael J. Carpenter
Pages 22

This chapter summarizes the first Palestinian mass uprising against the Israeli occupation, known as the Intifada of the Stones, or the First Intifada (1987–1993). The popular revolt was predominantly unarmed and mostly nonviolent, though stone throwing at occupation forces was emblematic. Lacking their own state and facing the continuous threat of repression, Palestinians in the occupied territories formed decentralized networks of community-based organizations called popular-resistance committees. For weeks, months, and years, the uprising defied the occupation, pushed Israeli society toward a crisis, and drew sympathy from Western countries and news media. The Intifada of the Stones did not end the Israeli occupation, but it came closer than any movement before or since. It raised the stature of the Palestinian struggle, isolated Israel internationally, and exacerbated divisions within Israeli society. This chapter also shows how the legacy of the Intifada was undone in the following decade, with the establishment of centralized political institutions and the escalation of armed conflict.