"We need the spirit, values and wisdom of the heroes of the popular uprising that glorified our children and young people, the elderly and women over the full four years in accordance with the correct vision that was able to expose the occupation and foil its plans to find alternatives to the PLO, and dismantling of the isolation of the organization that were imposed in the wake of the Iraqi invasion of Kuwait," Abbas said.
Abbas is pretending that the first intifada was meant to make the PLO relevant, when in fact its leaders acted independently and were against the PLO. After a few years the PLO managed to co-opt the movement.
Abbas added that the spirit of the popular uprising was characterized by purity, clarity and philosophy derived from the national consensus to get rid of the occupation, and that the activities of the popular resistance today (which includes shootings, stabbings, running over Jews in cars, and thousands of firebombs) is "part of the spirit of the uprising which we desperately need to reach today."
He praised the role of the Coordinating Committee and its members who led the events of the intifada first with wisdom and courage, and their role in spreading the culture of popular resistance that children still practice.
Here is a brief history of the intifada:
False charges of Israeli atrocities and instigation from the mosques played an important role in starting the intifada. On December 6, 1987, an Israeli was stabbed to death while shopping in Gaza. One day later, four residents of the Jabalya refugee camp in Gaza were killed in a traffic accident. Rumors that the four had been killed by Israelis as a deliberate act of revenge began to spread among the Palestinians. Mass rioting broke out in Jabalya on the morning of December 9, in which a 17-year-old youth was killed by an Israeli soldier after throwing a Molotov cocktail at an army patrol. This soon sparked a wave of unrest that engulfed the West Bank, Gaza and Jerusalem.B'Tselem considers the first intifada as lasting until 2000, and counts over 420 Israelis killed, most of them civilians.
Over the next week, rock-throwing, blocked roads and tire burnings were reported throughout the territories. By December 12, six Palestinians had died and 30 had been injured in the violence. The following day, rioters threw a gasoline bomb at the U.S. consulate in East Jerusalem. No one was hurt in the bombing.
The intifada was violent from the start. During the first four years of the uprising, more than 3,600 Molotov cocktail attacks, 100 hand grenade attacks and 600 assaults with guns or explosives were reported by the Israel Defense Forces. The violence was directed at soldiers and civilians alike. During this period, 16 Israeli civilians and 11 soldiers were killed by Palestinians in the territories; more than 1,400 Israeli civilians and 1,700 Israeli soldiers were injured.
Jews were not the only victims of the violence. In fact, as the intifada waned around the time of the Gulf War in 1991, the number of Arabs killed for political and other reasons by Palestinian death squads exceeded the number killed in clashes with Israeli troops.
PLO Chairman Yasir Arafat defended the killing of Arabs deemed to be “collaborating with Israel.” He delegated the authority to carry out executions to the intifada leadership. After the murders, the local PLO death squad sent the file on the case to the PLO. “We have studied the files of those who were executed, and found that only two of the 118 who were executed were innocent,” Arafat said. The innocent victims were declared "martyrs of the Palestinian revolution" by the PLO (AlMussawar, January 19, 1990).
Palestinians were stabbed, hacked with axes, shot, clubbed and burned with acid. The justifications offered for the killings varied. In some instances, being employed by Israel's Civil Administration in the West Bank and Gaza was reason enough; in others, contact with Jews warranted a death sentence. Accusations of "collaboration" with Israel were sometimes used as a pretext for acts of personal vengeance. Women deemed to have behaved "immorally" were also among the victims.