87

The first Intifada that took place in 1987 was one of the most important and meaningful uprisings in Palestinian history: it was simple, heartfelt, and perhaps most importantly organised largely from a grassroots level. Thousands of Palestinians took part in largely peaceful protests and demonstrations, and the uprising came to be known as ‘The Stones Revolution’.

The subject of the ‘87 Intifada is now to be documented in Gaza in an archiving project that specifically addresses issues such as people’s daily lives at the time and the customs and traditions that have since disappeared from Palestinian society. Contemporary art will acquaint the younger generation with the period of the uprising and remind the local population of this important stage in Palestinian history.

Information from the Archive

The ‘Stones Revolution’ is known as such for the stones that were key amongst its weapons; the children who threw them are known as the ‘children of stones’. This Intifada was a form of spontaneous Palestinian popular protest against the generally miserable conditions in the refugee camps as well as the spread of unemployment, insults to human dignity and daily oppression suffered by the Palestinian people under Israeli occupation.

Sparked by an Israeli truck driver running down a group of Palestinian workers at the ‘Erez’ checkpoint that has divided Gaza from the rest of Palestine since 1948, the Intifada began on the 8th December 1987 in Jabbaliya in the Gaza Strip and soon spread to every town, village and refugee camp in Palestine. After this first outburst, the organisation of the revolution was sustained by United National Palestinian Leadership and the Palestine Liberation Organisation. The uprising calmed down in 1991 and was finally brought to an end by the Oslo agreement between Israel and the PLO in 1993.

The atmosphere that accompanied the Intifada had a considerable effect on Palestinian customs, traditions and behaviour at the time: people had to deal with a series of harsh security measures including the closure of streets, the erection of checkpoints, and curfews. In the years following, it became the job of each generation to convey to the next an awareness of these changes, which by this point had become a highly visible phenomenon, changing and developing with every shift to political negotiations and the situation on the ground in Gaza.