BZU hosts Institute for Palestine Studies conference on 1987 Intifada

Commemorating the thirtieth anniversary of the popular Palestinian uprising against the Israeli Occupation, a revision to the history and memory of the 1987 Intifada was the center of discussion at the annual conference of the Institute for Palestine Studies, held at Birzeit University on from 24 - 26 November.

Palestinian academics and scholars gathered at the conference to revisit the Intifada after the failures of negotiations, and the worsening political, economic, and security conditions of the Palestinians under occupation.

The conference addressed a number of questions on the role of collective memory in shaping the understanding of the Intifada; the causes of the uprising and why it gained a wide popular base; its impacts on the society, culture, and politics; and on the image of Palestinians worldwide.

The two-day conference also highlighted the exceptional characteristics of the 1987 Intifada, and the possibility of a similar uprising taking place again and leading to different results.

Birzeit University’s President, Abdullatif Abuhijleh, spoke, in his welcoming remarks, about the University’s national role in the long history of Palestinian resistance. “Neither students, nor professors, hesitated in participating in the national struggle.”

“Birzeit has always been a platform for promoting democratic dialogue, and for presenting differences in opinions, affiliations, and the thoughts of political movements, which is all part of national responsibility.”

“Therefore,” the President continued, “The university is proud to host this important conference, offering a platform for fruitful discussions and dialogues, and we look forward to reaching realistic and fair solutions to the Palestinian question.”

The Director of the Institute of Palestine Studies in Jerusalem and Ramallah, Khalid Farraj, believed this conference was a great opportunity for academic exchange, and a platform for constructive discussion about an event that was a turning point in the 20th century in the world and Palestine.

The conference was held both in the West Bank and Gaza, and will be continued in Beirut, Lebanon, in a conference discussing the same subject.

The 1987 Intifada was a wave of popular demonstrations against the Israeli occupation that broke out in the Gaza Strip and the West Bank, soon turning into an organized popular uprising with unprecedented momentum and sustainability. The attempts to suppress the movement by the Israeli military occupation only intensified the resilience of the Palestinian population. The Palestinians invented creative ways to meet the challenge. They developed political, social, and cultural forms of defiance to express their deep desire for freedom, enabling an international wave of popular solidarity and identification with the Palestinian cause.