When Osama bin Laden evoked the Palestinian cause in his widely viewed statement October 7, he split Palestinians between those who appreciated the support and those who were horrified by the association. At the same time, the new world “coalition against terror” has deployed the Palestinian Authority (PA) to smother the embers of Palestinian resistance against the Israeli occupation. This PA suppression is destined to either end the uprising — or make it much more unpredictable and lethal.
Bassam Jarrar, a leading Islamist thinker in the Occupied Territories, is a teacher of Islamic studies at UNRWA’s Teacher Training Center in Ramallah in the West Bank and a member of the board of trustees of the Union of Islamic Scholars. He was among the 415 Palestinians expelled by Israel in December 1992 for alleged membership in the Islamic Resistance Movement, Hamas.
By the beginning of the first week of October 1988, as the Palestinian uprising moved into its eleventh month, the Islamic Resistance Movement (Harakat al-Muqawama al-Islamiyya, known by its Arabic acronym Hamas) had issued its thirtieth communiqué. Hamas appears to be engaged in a competitive race with the Unified National Leadership of the Uprising for direction of the daily struggle of the people of the Occupied Territories. Yet despite the fact that Hamas is six communiqués ahead of the Unified Leadership, it is another matter altogether whether it can command the kind of legitimacy and influence required to direct the Palestinian struggle against occupation.