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The last two weeks of attacks by Israelis and Palestinians and street clashes in Jerusalem have raised questions about whether Palestinians will launch a new intifada to shake off the Israeli occupation.That is a reasonable expectation, in view of the two previous intifadas and the continuing abuses that Palestinians suffer from Israel's occupation, colonization and siege policies. We have already had three Palestinian intifadas against foreign domination – in 1936-39, 1987-90, and 2000-01, so we should more accurately talk about a possible fourth intifada. Translating popular anger into a new intifada on the streets in the context of these same Palestinian leaderships that dominate today would be a futile effort of mass emotional and political self-expression, with no consequence other than more violent and increasingly racist Israeli reprisals.One day, somehow, an effective Palestinian national leadership will emerge that could mobilize all Palestinians and their many supporters around the world and channel their energy into political actions that could achieve meaningful results.Palestinians know this, and are too smart to repeat a valiant feat in which mass popular resistance was matched only by ineffective leadership, sharper Israeli colonial assertion, and a mostly indifferent or distracted world.
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