Generational Dynamics: Modern Generational Theory Generational
 Modern Generational Theory


Generational Dynamics Web Log for 16-May-2021
16-May-21 World View -- Will there be a third Palestinian Intifada?

Web Log - May, 2021

16-May-21 World View -- Will there be a third Palestinian Intifada?

Can Joe Biden bring peace to the Mideast?

by John J. Xenakis

This morning's key headlines from

History of Palestinian Intifadas

Mahmoud Abbas on Wednesday -- can he prevent a Third Intifada (AFP)
Mahmoud Abbas on Wednesday -- can he prevent a Third Intifada (AFP)

Previously, I've described a new an unexpected development in the current war between Israel and the Palestinians. The new development, which has apparently caught everyone by surprise, is the rise of extremely bitter communal / sectarian violence between Israeli Jews and Israeli Arabs. (See "14-May-21 World View -- Communal violence within Israel threatens much wider war")

The purpose of this article is to explain in further detail the significance of this violence, and the role of the "58-Year Rule" of generational theory.

Today's violence is occurring on both the Jewish and Arab sides, but it's being characterized by some as a "Third Intifada," a general street uprising of Palestinian people against the Israeli government and people.

There have been two previous Intifadas. The first began in December 1987 in Gaza and spread to the West Bank. It consisted of massive peaceful protests, demonstrations, strikes, boycotts, and riots. It began to die off fairly quickly, and officially ended in September 1993 with the signing of the Oslo Accords agreement, which was supposed to provide peace between Israelis and Palestinians, but never did anything of the sort. In the late 1990s, Hamas was formed and carried out a series of suicide attacks against Israeli targets, while Israelis continued to build settlements in the West Bank, with both sides violating the Oslo Accords.

The Oslo Accords broke down in 2000, resulting in the Second Intifada, which began in September 2000 and was an armed rebellion by Palestinian militias, including Hamas and Fatah, against Israeli security forces, and against Israeli civilians using suicide bombings. The violence only began to subside in 2005, after the deaths of about 3,000 Palestinians and 1,000 Israelis.

Yassir Arafat vs Ariel Sharon

During the Second Intifida, the leaders of the Palestinians and Israelis were, respectively, Yassir Arafat and Ariel Sharon. On May 1, 2003, I posted my first major Generational Dynamics analysis, predicting that President George Bush's "Mideast Roadmap to Peace" peace plan would fail, because the Jews and the Palestinians would be re-fighting the bloody 1948 war that followed the partitioning of Palestine and the creation of the state of Israel. (Mideast Roadmap - Will it bring peace? (1-May-2003))

In that article, I wrote the following:

"There's an incredible irony going on in the Mideast today, in that the leaders of two opposing sides are, respectively, Ariel Sharon and Yassir Arafat.

These two men hate each other, but they're the ones cooperating with each other (consciously or not) to prevent a major Mideast conflagration. Both of them remember the wars of the 1940s, and neither of them wants to see anything like that happen again. And it won't happen again, as long as both of these men are in charge."

Although I didn't write the following, I suspected that Sharon and Arafat were actually cooperating in back channels to prevent the violence from turning into a full-fledged civil war.

Why would they do that? They would do that because they had both survived the ethnic civil war in 1948-49. In my article earlier this week, I gave an example of what happened during Rwanda's ethnic civil war: Populations had intermarried and were living on the same streets, where their children had played together. But that did not stop someone from picking up a machete, going next door, killing the father and children, raping the wife, killing her, and then cutting them all up into mangled pieces. These examples are the rule, not the exception, for ethnic civil wars. Crisis wars are like forces of nature; you can no more stop a crisis war than you can stop a tsunami.

That example is from the Rwanda war, but you can be absolutely certain that similar things happened during the 1948-49 ethnic civil war between Arabs and Jews. Both Arafat and Sharon had lived during that war. They may have personally participated in or ordered these kinds of atrocities. Nobody goes through experiences like that without being completely traumatized. Preventing a repeat of those experiences becomes an overwhelming goal, much more important than fighting another war, even a "justified" war.

It goes much deeper than that. Not only Arafat and Sharon, but also millions of Palestinians and Israelis had lived through the 1948-49 war and were similarly traumatized. That's why, during the Second Intifada, there was relatively little contact between civilian Jews and Arabs, and most of the violence was more or less organized, through militias and security police.

When Yassir Arafat died in November 2004, I wrote the following:

"Yes, he was a brutal, vicious terrorist. Yes he was a liar and maybe even a crook. Yes, he approved suicide bombings that killed Jewish children.

But for a man in his position, approving suicide bombings was the lesser of two evils. The greater evil was unleashing a new genocidal war, one that would kill many more Jewish and Arab children than suicide bombings do."

Mahmoud Abbas, born in 1935, took Arafat's place. He was also a survivor of the 1948-49 war, and did not radically change Arafat's policies. Today, Abbas is facing the possibility of leading the Palestinians through a Third Intifada.

The decline of Mahmoud Abbas

I have often seen Al-Jazeera's political analyst Marwan Bishara discuss Mideast topics. It's always been clear that he hates Israel but, notably, it's also been clear that he hates Mahmoud Abbas's Fatah even more than he hates Israel. He considers Abbas to be a historic traitor to the Palestinians, because he negotiates with the Israelis to keep the peace, and the West Bank security forces cooperate with the Israeli security forces for the same reason.

So I listened to Bishara rant for a long time on Saturday. He wonders why the Israelis are killing innocent Palestinians. He wants the US, the UK and the EU all to condemn Israel for its practices, and to force Israel to accept a ceasefire with Hamas.

It's not surprising that Bishara sharply disagrees with Abbas. Abbas was born in 1935 and lived through the 1948-49 war. Bishara was born in 1969, and knows nothing about the war except what Palestinian activists have told him. So he welcomes a Third Intifada, because the Palestinians might finally achieve their dreams of freedom -- whatever that means.

Abbas opposes a Third Intifada. He believes that the Second Intifada was a disaster for Palestinians. His unstated reason is that it is absolutely certain that Abbas remembers the traumatizing atrocities of the 1948-49 war. He is old enough to remember them, and he's also old enough to recognize that it's happening again. Israel's prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu was forced to go on television and tell the nation: "Nothing justifies the lynching of Arabs by Jews and nothing justifies the lynching of Jews by Arabs." For him to make that announcement reveals that horrible things are happening today and, indeed, news reports confirm that.

Can Mahmoud Abbas prevent a Third Intifada from occurring?

Mahmoud Abbas is now 85 years old. I reported years ago that polls shows young Palestinians were almost unanimous in disliking Abbas. They consider him a failure for any number of reasons, the most obvious one being that, 27 years after the Oslo Accords, almost nothing has changed for the Palestinians. Young Palestinians dislike Hamas leaders almost as much.

In my article last week, I described how the 58-Year Rule applies. The generations people who lived through the 1948-49 war were all traumatized by the horrors and atrocities. We've found that these generations all retire and die around the same time, 58 years after the end of such a war, which would have been 2006-2007. That's why the First and Second Intifadas fizzled. There were too many people around who were traumatized by the last war, and would do anything to keep it from happening again.

But that's not true today. Abbas is still around, but almost everyone else from that generation of survivors is gone. That's the difference between Mahmoud Abbas and Marwan Bishara. Bishara has no personal knowledge of the war's atrocities, so he couldn't care less if there's another ethnic civil war. He and many other young people welcome it, because they have fantasies that they'll be free and that Israel will be pushed into the sea.

So, can Mahmoud Abbas prevent a Third Intifada from occurring? Can an 85 year old extremely unpopular leader stop a force of nature? If I had to bet (and fortunately I don't), I would bet that he can't. Or if he can, he can stop it only temporarily.

Can Joe Biden bring peace to the Mideast?

On Saturday, there was a panel of journalists on the BBC discussing the Israel-Palestine situation. The hostility to Israel among these journalists is enormous, and not surprising. And it's worth noting that there are anti-Israel demonstrations going on in cities around the world.

One person said, "I'm going to say something very controversial. [long pause] If Donald Trump were president, this would not have happened."

Instead of the usual screaming, this comment was met with silence, which I interpreted as tacit agreement.

According to these journalists, Biden was hoping to avoid having to deal with the Mideast, since he wanted to focus on getting a new nuclear agreement with Iran, and ending the sanctions. This would now be very controversial, since Iran is funding Hamas. But the journalists are blaming Biden for the Mideast war, saying that he has been ignoring the Palestinian problem in favor of the Iran policy.

So the narrative is growing that the Mideast war is Israel's fault, and it's also Biden's fault because Biden is not holding back Israel, and forcing Israel to agree to a ceasefire.

In Washington, Democrats like AOC are demanding that Biden end all funding to Israel, and force Israel to accept a ceasefire under terms dictated by Hamas. Republicans are angry that Biden has been taking a wrecking ball to all aspects of America's domestic and foreign policy, and is giving money to the Palestinians, which they are using to buy weapons from Iran, which Biden is also supporting.

So this is shaping up to be a major political issue in America. Meanwhile, the Israel-Palestine war is continuing to escalate, and will continue to do so no matter what Biden does.


Related Articles:

(Comments: For reader comments, questions and discussion, see the Generational Dynamics World View News thread of the Generational Dynamics forum. Comments may be posted anonymously.) (16-May-2021) Permanent Link
Receive daily World View columns by e-mail
Donate to Generational Dynamics via PayPal

Web Log Pages

Current Web Log

Web Log Summary - 2021
Web Log Summary - 2020
Web Log Summary - 2019
Web Log Summary - 2018
Web Log Summary - 2017
Web Log Summary - 2016
Web Log Summary - 2015
Web Log Summary - 2014
Web Log Summary - 2013
Web Log Summary - 2012
Web Log Summary - 2011
Web Log Summary - 2010
Web Log Summary - 2009
Web Log Summary - 2008
Web Log Summary - 2007
Web Log Summary - 2006
Web Log Summary - 2005
Web Log Summary - 2004

Web Log - December, 2021
Web Log - November, 2021
Web Log - October, 2021
Web Log - September, 2021
Web Log - August, 2021
Web Log - July, 2021
Web Log - June, 2021
Web Log - May, 2021
Web Log - April, 2021
Web Log - March, 2021
Web Log - February, 2021
Web Log - January, 2021
Web Log - December, 2020
Web Log - November, 2020
Web Log - October, 2020
Web Log - September, 2020
Web Log - August, 2020
Web Log - July, 2020
Web Log - June, 2020
Web Log - May, 2020
Web Log - April, 2020
Web Log - March, 2020
Web Log - February, 2020
Web Log - January, 2020
Web Log - December, 2019
Web Log - November, 2019
Web Log - October, 2019
Web Log - September, 2019
Web Log - August, 2019
Web Log - July, 2019
Web Log - June, 2019
Web Log - May, 2019
Web Log - April, 2019
Web Log - March, 2019
Web Log - February, 2019
Web Log - January, 2019
Web Log - December, 2018
Web Log - November, 2018
Web Log - October, 2018
Web Log - September, 2018
Web Log - August, 2018
Web Log - July, 2018
Web Log - June, 2018
Web Log - May, 2018
Web Log - April, 2018
Web Log - March, 2018
Web Log - February, 2018
Web Log - January, 2018
Web Log - December, 2017
Web Log - November, 2017
Web Log - October, 2017
Web Log - September, 2017
Web Log - August, 2017
Web Log - July, 2017
Web Log - June, 2017
Web Log - May, 2017
Web Log - April, 2017
Web Log - March, 2017
Web Log - February, 2017
Web Log - January, 2017
Web Log - December, 2016
Web Log - November, 2016
Web Log - October, 2016
Web Log - September, 2016
Web Log - August, 2016
Web Log - July, 2016
Web Log - June, 2016
Web Log - May, 2016
Web Log - April, 2016
Web Log - March, 2016
Web Log - February, 2016
Web Log - January, 2016
Web Log - December, 2015
Web Log - November, 2015
Web Log - October, 2015
Web Log - September, 2015
Web Log - August, 2015
Web Log - July, 2015
Web Log - June, 2015
Web Log - May, 2015
Web Log - April, 2015
Web Log - March, 2015
Web Log - February, 2015
Web Log - January, 2015
Web Log - December, 2014
Web Log - November, 2014
Web Log - October, 2014
Web Log - September, 2014
Web Log - August, 2014
Web Log - July, 2014
Web Log - June, 2014
Web Log - May, 2014
Web Log - April, 2014
Web Log - March, 2014
Web Log - February, 2014
Web Log - January, 2014
Web Log - December, 2013
Web Log - November, 2013
Web Log - October, 2013
Web Log - September, 2013
Web Log - August, 2013
Web Log - July, 2013
Web Log - June, 2013
Web Log - May, 2013
Web Log - April, 2013
Web Log - March, 2013
Web Log - February, 2013
Web Log - January, 2013
Web Log - December, 2012
Web Log - November, 2012
Web Log - October, 2012
Web Log - September, 2012
Web Log - August, 2012
Web Log - July, 2012
Web Log - June, 2012
Web Log - May, 2012
Web Log - April, 2012
Web Log - March, 2012
Web Log - February, 2012
Web Log - January, 2012
Web Log - December, 2011
Web Log - November, 2011
Web Log - October, 2011
Web Log - September, 2011
Web Log - August, 2011
Web Log - July, 2011
Web Log - June, 2011
Web Log - May, 2011
Web Log - April, 2011
Web Log - March, 2011
Web Log - February, 2011
Web Log - January, 2011
Web Log - December, 2010
Web Log - November, 2010
Web Log - October, 2010
Web Log - September, 2010
Web Log - August, 2010
Web Log - July, 2010
Web Log - June, 2010
Web Log - May, 2010
Web Log - April, 2010
Web Log - March, 2010
Web Log - February, 2010
Web Log - January, 2010
Web Log - December, 2009
Web Log - November, 2009
Web Log - October, 2009
Web Log - September, 2009
Web Log - August, 2009
Web Log - July, 2009
Web Log - June, 2009
Web Log - May, 2009
Web Log - April, 2009
Web Log - March, 2009
Web Log - February, 2009
Web Log - January, 2009
Web Log - December, 2008
Web Log - November, 2008
Web Log - October, 2008
Web Log - September, 2008
Web Log - August, 2008
Web Log - July, 2008
Web Log - June, 2008
Web Log - May, 2008
Web Log - April, 2008
Web Log - March, 2008
Web Log - February, 2008
Web Log - January, 2008
Web Log - December, 2007
Web Log - November, 2007
Web Log - October, 2007
Web Log - September, 2007
Web Log - August, 2007
Web Log - July, 2007
Web Log - June, 2007
Web Log - May, 2007
Web Log - April, 2007
Web Log - March, 2007
Web Log - February, 2007
Web Log - January, 2007
Web Log - December, 2006
Web Log - November, 2006
Web Log - October, 2006
Web Log - September, 2006
Web Log - August, 2006
Web Log - July, 2006
Web Log - June, 2006
Web Log - May, 2006
Web Log - April, 2006
Web Log - March, 2006
Web Log - February, 2006
Web Log - January, 2006
Web Log - December, 2005
Web Log - November, 2005
Web Log - October, 2005
Web Log - September, 2005
Web Log - August, 2005
Web Log - July, 2005
Web Log - June, 2005
Web Log - May, 2005
Web Log - April, 2005
Web Log - March, 2005
Web Log - February, 2005
Web Log - January, 2005
Web Log - December, 2004
Web Log - November, 2004
Web Log - October, 2004
Web Log - September, 2004
Web Log - August, 2004
Web Log - July, 2004
Web Log - June, 2004

Copyright © 2002-2021 by John J. Xenakis.