The First Intifada: Hope and the Loss of Hope
In this reflection on the First Intifada (1987–93), Khalid Farraj recounts his very personal experience as an active member of the uprising. In addition to describing the harsh conditions in Israeli detention at the Ansar 3 prison in the southern Negev, Farraj details the ways in which the uprising was organized at the grassroots, fueling the hopes and dreams of an entire generation of Palestinians. He relates his own arrest in March 1988 during a security sweep of Jalazun refugee camp where he grew up and his work as an activist leafleting and disseminating information among the community. Farraj also provides a glimpse into the workings of the uprising both at the grassroots and at the level of the clandestine local leadership known as the Unified National Leadership of the Uprising (UNLU, al-qiyada al-muwwahida). Despite the letdown subsequent to the Oslo process, which yielded neither self-determination nor liberation for the Palestinians, the First Intifada remains a pivotal moment of Palestinian history, which Farraj looks back on with feeling but without nostalgia. This first-person text was translated from the Arabic by Nehad Khader and Maia Tabet. The original appeared in issue 110 (Spring 2017) of Majallat al-Dirasat al-Filastiniyya.