Our friend Ori Weisberg at The Forward:
This Saturday marks an important anniversary in Israeli history: 30 years since the First Intifada.
For years leading up to the Intifada, which literally means dustup or uprising in Arabic, Israel had maintained Gaza as a pool of cheap labor. Tension had been building since 1985, when Defense Minister Yitzhak Rabin’s “iron fist” policy resulted in the deportation of Palestinian nationalists. Things came to a head on December 9th, 1987, when an IDF vehicle collided with a truck in the Jabaliya refugee camp in Gaza city, killing four Gazans. Sustained popular protests spread quickly across Gaza and the West Bank, featuring rock throwing and molotov cocktails.
At that time, I was serving in the Israeli Defense Forces. I was between basic training and an infantry squad commander’s course, living on a young kibbutz north of Eilat as a “lone soldier” without family in the country.