Feb 26 2013
Palestinian prisoner Arafat Jaradat's funeral was held on Monday in the village of Sair near Hebron; tens of thousands of angry and distressed Palestinians took part of his final farewell. Those who witnessed the event cannot help but be aware that the West Bank and Gaza Strip are undergoing a phenomenal change – if tensions have not already snapped, then they are definitely on the verge of doing so.
So far, the two Palestinian intifada (uprisings) have taught us that a spark of any size can stir the streets of Palestine and push it into resistance.
A tank transporter running over and killing a group of Palestinians on the evening of the first intifada was the first breaking point. Ariel Sharon's forceful entry into al-Aqsa mosque's yard was the catalyst for the second.
It seems that Arafat Jaradat's death under torture in an Israeli prison may be the third point to ignite a third uprising.
Jaradat can be seen as Palestine's Mohamed Bouazizi; the 26-year-old Tunisian street vendor set himself on fire in December 2010 in protest of corruption in the country. His act consequently led to the Arab Spring uprising in Tunisia which then led to turmoil and revolutions across the whole Arab world.
Similarly Jaradat's death under torture and the solidarity of thousands of detainees in Israeli prisons may also re-ignite the Palestinian revolution — if it has not already done so.
Jaradat's funeral embodied the highest form of Palestinian national unity. It was unlike funerals before – not to denigrate these events in any way – but the circumstances and timing of his funeral has made the difference.
Driven by Israel's unrestrained behaviour which has become unbearable for many Palestinians, Jaradat's funeral has come at the apex of Palestinian anger.
It was a beautiful sight to see Fatah's yellow banners embracing Hamas' green ones, the Popular Front's red and Islamic Jihad's black. This is the Palestinian martyrdom celebration: a celebration of dignity, nobility and self-sacrifice for the region's most just cause.
Fatah was reborn out of the million-strong Gaza Strip rally which marked the movement's anniversary, and it is now crystalising as an honourable infant of struggle, reviving the memories of this movement which bore the burden of struggle for over 50 years.
Israel will sorely regret electing a racist, extremist leadership that goes out of its way to humiliate the Palestinian public and displays heinous contempt for it by sabotaging the peace process, practicing the terrorism of settlements and, finally, starving it by withholding the revenues from it which are its dues.
Regardless of their cruelty, none of Israel's extortionist tactics will tear the Palestinian people apart. Instead, Netanyahu will find that he has given Palestinians the very gift they have yearned for; the gift of a third intifada – through the assassination of the martyr Arafat Jaradat.
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