Today in Middle Eastern history: the First Intifada begins (1987)

and that's the way it was

In contrast with the Second Intifada, which began with a deliberate provocation when Ariel Sharon and 1000 Israeli police officers marched on to the Haram al-Sharif/Temple Mount in September 2000, the First Intifada began almost by chance. On December 8, 1987, an IDF truck crashed into a line of cars stuck at the Erez crossing between Israel and Gaza, killing four Palestinians. This was probably an accident, notwithstanding a pervasive Palestinian belief that it had been an intentional Israeli attack. A demonstration that broke out at the funerals, that evening, turned into mass PLO-led protests throughout Gaza, the West Bank, and East Jerusalem the next day, and that turned into nearly four years of violence. Over 2200 people lost their lives, more than 2000 of them Palestinians.

“Palestinian youth starting a fire during the First Intifada” (via OldHistoricPhotos.com)

Of course, if you know anything about the history of the…

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