Palestinian protestors clash with Israeli security forces in the West Bank village of Burin on February 25, 2013, while thousands of angry mourners attended the funeral of a man who the Palestinians say was tortured to death in an Israeli jail, as masked militants vowed to take revenge. (Jaafar Ashtiyeh / AFP / Getty Images)
Escalating talk of a third intifada reached fever pitch on Saturday over the death of Palestinian prisoner, Arafat Jaradat, only hours after he was interrogated by the Shin Bet secret service. But in a surprising admission by Avi Dichter, who served as Shin Bet chief during the second intifada and then as Public Security Minister, he warned that Israel’s tactical response will likely be a determining factor over whether the current unrest explodes into a full-fledged uprising.
On Sunday, as protests swept the West Bank and Palestinian leaders accused Israel of torturing Jaradat to death, thousands of Palestinian prisoners joined four of their comrades already on hunger strike, though only for a day. Masked gunmen of the Al-Aqsa Martyrs’ Brigades made a rare public appearance at Jaradat’s funeral on Monday to fire a salute over the grave, while they issued a proclamation threatening to avenge his death and warned that it would trigger—yes—“a third intifada.”
“No intifada—not the first, and not the second—broke out because of hunger strikes by prisoners, even when they were much more widespread,” Dichter told Israel Radio. He said the accepted version of how the previous uprisings began—in 1987 with a car crash in Gaza, and in 2000 with protests following Ariel Sharon’s visit to the Temple Mount—ignored the role played by Israeli forces in inflaming an already tense situation.
A release from the Al-Aqsa Martyrs’ Brigades warning of a "third intifada" in response to the death of a Palestinian prisoner in Israeli custody.