Wednesday, June 02, 2004

Intifada's End?

this is probably just a little premature.... looks like the israelis are calling the intifada a 'done deal'. but crazy killings have pretty much gone way down, and hamas' leadership is on a non stop rotation from dead leader to dead leader. too bad, eh? anyways, here's the article:

Palestinian Affairs: Death of an Intifada
Isabel Kershner

In the West Bank city of Tul Karm, everyone from Yasser Arafat’s governor to the remnants of the Al-Aqsa Brigades says the Palestinian uprising is as good as over

Hani Aweideh looks like he hasn’t quite grown into his new role as a militia leader. Clean-cut with neatly coiffed hair, pressed beige jeans and a matching polo shirt with embroidered trim around the collar, the only thing that distinguishes this 26-year-old from the ordinary young men of Tul Karm is the AK-47 he brings with him when he emerges out of hiding for an afternoon rendezvous in an anonymous downtown store.

Aweideh handles the gun awkwardly, though with obvious reverence, asking for a plastic bag to hide it in for the short hop from the backseat of a car into the store. Not long ago Aweideh and his comrades from the Al-Aqsa Martyrs Brigades -- the armed cells, affiliated with Yasser Arafat’s Fatah movement, that sprung up with the intifada -- would have been swaggering through the streets of this West Bank market town, inspiring admiration in some residents, terrorizing others and plotting what they call "military operations" against nearby Jewish settlements or Israeli cities that lie over the Green Line, the pre-1967 border that skirts Tul Karm to the west.

But the armed men are not walking around here anymore, certainly not in broad daylight. The few of them left after the army’s frequent raids, targeted killings and arrests are said to be feeling hunted and alone. And while predictions of calm times ahead may be premature, many here are already declaring Tul Karm’s intifada over.

"Everybody’s either dead or in prison," says Nidal Jallad, who is hanging around the store shortly before Aweideh makes his entry. "It’s over. We’ve had enough. All we want now is for the prisoners to come home." One of Nidal’s brothers, a Hamas activist, was caught in March 2003 transporting an explosive belt from Nablus in a car with three others, including the would-be suicide bomber. He is now serving a 17-year sentence in Beersheba jail. Another brother, Nidal says, was shot by an Israeli army sniper during a curfew and is just starting to walk again after four operations. Nidal claims his brother was only outside because soldiers had taken him from his house, dropped him off near the hospital, then ordered him to walk home.

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