First Intifada

The First Intifada or First Palestinian Intifada was a sustained series of Palestinian protests, in some cases violent riots, against the Israeli occupation of the West Bank and Gaza. The intifada lasted from December 1987 until the Madrid Conference in 1991, though some date its conclusion to 1993, with the signing of the Oslo Accords; the intifada began on 9 December 1987, in the Jabalia refugee camp after an Israeli Defense Forces' truck collided with a civilian car, killing four Palestinians. Palestinians suspected collision was a deliberate response for the killing of a Jew in Gaza days earlier. Palestinians reacted by organizing efforts of resistance and civil disobedience, which were accompanied in a number of instances both by spontaneous and coordinated violent protests. There was graffiti and widespread throwing of stones and Molotov cocktails at the IDF and its infrastructure within the West Bank and Gaza Strip; these contrasted with civil efforts including general strikes, boycotts of Israeli Civil Administration institutions in the Gaza Strip and the West Bank, an economic boycott consisting of refusal to work in Israeli settlements on Israeli products, refusal to pay taxes, refusal to drive Palestinian cars with Israeli licenses.

Israel deployed some 80,000 soldiers in response. Israeli countermeasures, which included the use of live rounds in cases of riots, were criticized as disproportionate. Israel argued. However, the IDF's rules of engagement were criticized as too liberally employing lethal force. In the first 13 months, 332 Palestinians and 12 Israelis were killed. Images of soldiers beating adolescents with clubs led to the adoption of firing semi-lethal plastic bullets. In the intifada's first year, Israeli security forces killed 311 Palestinians, of which 53 were under the age of 17. Over six years the IDF killed an estimated 1,162–1,204 Palestinians. Among Israelis, 100 civilians and 60 IDF personnel were killed by militants outside the control of the Intifada's UNLU, more than 1,400 Israeli civilians and 1,700 soldiers were injured. Intra-Palestinian violence was a prominent feature of the Intifada, with widespread executions of an estimated 822 Palestinians killed as alleged Israeli collaborators. At the time Israel obtained information from some 18,000 Palestinians, compromised, although fewer than half had any proven contact with the Israeli authorities.

The ensuing Second Intifada took place from September 2000 to 2005. According to Mubarak Awad, a Palestinian American clinical psychologist, the Intifada was a protest against Israeli repression including "beatings, killings, house demolitions, uprooting of trees, extended imprisonments, detentions without trial". After Israel's capture of the West Bank, Sinai Peninsula and Gaza Strip from Jordan and Egypt in the Six-Day War in 1967, frustration grew among Palestinians in the Israeli-occupied territories. Israel opened its labor market to Palestinians in the newly occupied territories. Palestinians were recruited to do unskilled or semi-skilled labor jobs Israelis did not want. By the time of the Intifada, over 40 percent of the Palestinian work force worked in Israel daily. Additionally, Israeli confiscation of Palestinian land, high birth rates in the West Bank and Gaza Strip and the limited allocation of land for new building and agriculture created conditions marked by growing population density and rising unemployment for those with university degrees.

At the time of the Intifada, only one in eight college-educated Palestinians could find degree-related work. Couple this with an expansion of a Palestinian university system catering to people from refugee camps and small towns generating new Palestinian elite from a lower social strata, more activist and confrontational with Israel; the Israeli Labor Party's Yitzhak Rabin, the Defense Minister, added deportations in August 1985 to Israel's "Iron Fist" policy of cracking down on Palestinian nationalism. This, which led to 50 deportations in the following 4 years, was accompanied by economic integration and increasing Israeli settlements such that the Jewish settler population in the West Bank alone nearly doubled from 35,000 in 1984 to 64,000 in 1988, reaching 130,000 by the mid nineties. Referring to the developments, Israeli minister of Economics and Finance, Gad Ya'acobi, stated that "a creeping process of de facto annexation" contributed to a growing militancy in Palestinian society. During the 1980s a number of mainstream Israeli politicians referred to policies of transferring the Palestinian population out of the territories leading to Palestinian fears that Israel planned to evict them.

Public statements calling for transfer of the Palestinian population were made by Deputy Defense minister Michael Dekel, Cabinet Minister Mordechai Tzipori and government Minister Yosef Shapira among others. Describing the causes of the Intifada, Benny Morris refers to the "all-pervading element of humiliation", caused by the protracted occupation which he says was "always a brutal and mortifying experience for the occupied" and was "founded on brute force and fear, collaboration and treachery and torture chambers, daily intimidation and manipulation" While the immediate cause for the First Intifada is dated to a truck incident involving several Palestinian fatalities at the Erez Crossing in December 1987, Mazin Qumsiyeh argues, against Donald Neff, that it began with multiple youth demonstrations earlier in the preceding month; some sources consider that the perceived IDF failure in late November 1987 to st

Michelle D. Gavin

Michelle D. Gavin is senior fellow for Africa Studies at the Council on Foreign Relations, she was the managing director of The Africa Center and from 2011 to 2014, she was the United States Ambassador to Botswana, served concurrently as the United States representative to the Southern African Development Community. She has worked as a special assistant to President Obama and senior director for Africa on the National Security Council. While Ambassador, “the United States and Botswana launched the most ambitious HIV prevention study in the world, Botswana hosted the 1,400-strong joint military exercise Southern Accord, the U. S. embassy helped to found the first Botswana-American Chamber of Commerce.”Gavin was a Rhodes Scholar at Oxford University and received an MPhil in international relations and earned her BA from Georgetown University's School of Foreign Service, where she was a Truman Scholar

Bana Singh

Subedar Major and Honorary Captain Bana Singh, PVC is a retired Indian soldier and a recipient of the nation's highest military award, the Param Vir Chakra. He has held the ranks Naib Subedar, Subedar Major and Honorary Captain in the Indian Army; as a Naib Subedar, he led the team which conquered the highest peak in the Siachen area as part of Operation Rajiv. The peak was named as "Bana Post" in his honour. Bana Singh was born into a Sikh family in Kadyal in Jammu and Kashmir on 6 January 1949, his father was a farmer and his uncles were soldiers in the Indian Army. He enrolled in the Indian Army on 6 January 1969 into the 8th Battalion of the Jammu and Kashmir Light Infantry, he was trained at the High Altitude Warfare School in Gulmarg and at another school at Sonamarg. He was promoted to Naib Subedar from Havildar on 16 October 1985. In 1987, the strategically important Siachen area had been infiltrated by the Pakistani forces; the Pakistanis had captured an important position, which they called "Quaid post".

The post was located at a height of 6500 metres on the highest peak in the Siachen Glacier area. From this feature the Pakistanis could snipe at Indian army positions since the height gave a clear view of the entire Saltoro range and Siachen glacier; the enemy post was an impregnable glacier fortress with ice walls, 457 metres high, on either side. On 18 April 1987, the Pakistanis from Quaid Post fired on the Indian troops at Point Sonam, killing two soldiers; the Indian Army decided to evict the Pakistanis from the Post. Naib Subedar Bana Singh was posted in Siachen on 20 April 1987, as part of the 8th JAK LI regiment, given the task of capturing the Quaid Post. On 29 May, a JAK LI patrol led by Second lieutenant Rajiv Pande made at an unsuccessful attempt of capturing the post, resulting in deaths of 10 Indian soldiers. After a month of preparation, the Indian Army launched a fresh operation to capture the post; this operation, called "Operation Rajiv" in honour of 2/Lt Rajiv Pande, was headed by Major Varinder Singh.

Starting on 23 June 1987, Major Varinder Singh's task force launched multiple attacks to capture the post. After initial failures, the 5-member team led by Nb Sub Bana Singh captured the Quaid post on 26 June 1987. Nb Sub Bana Singh and his fellow soldiers, including Chuni Lal, climbed the steep 457 m high wall of ice; the team approached the Quaid Post from an unexpected direction, using a longer and more difficult approach than the other teams. There was a blizzard. After reaching the top, Nb Sub Bana Singh found, he closed the door, killing those inside. The two sides got involved in a hand-to-hand combat, in which the Indian soldiers bayoneted some of the Pakistani soldiers outside the bunker. A few Pakistani soldiers jumped off the peak; the Indians found six dead bodies of Pakistani soldiers. On 26 January 1988, Nb Sub Bana Singh was awarded the Param Vir Chakra, the highest wartime gallantry medal in India for his bravery during Operation Rajiv; the peak which he captured was renamed Bana Top in his honour.

At the time of the Kargil War, he was the only PVC awardee, still serving in the Army. The Param Vir Chakra citation on the Official Indian Army Website reads as follows: CITATIONNB SUB BANA SINGH8 JAK LI Naib Subedar Bana Singh volunteered to be a member of a task force constituted in June 1987 to clear an intrusion by an adversary in the Siachen Glacier area at an altitude of 21,000 feet; the post was an impregnable glacier fortress with ice walls, 1500 feet high, on both sides. Naib Subedar Bana Singh led his men through an difficult and hazardous route, he inspired them by his indomitable leadership. The brave Naib Subedar and his men closed in on the adversary. Moving from trench to trench, lobbing hand grenades and charging with the bayonet, he cleared the post all intruders. Nb Subedar Bana Singh displayed the most conspicuous gallantry and leadership under the most adverse conditions. Nb Sub Bana Singh was promoted Subedar on 1 December 1992, with promotion to Subedar Major on 20 October 1996.

He was given the honorary rank of Captain at his retirement. Hony Capt Bana Singh retired from service on 31 October 2000; the Jammu & Kashmir Government gave him a pension of ₹ 166 per month. Bana Singh protested against the low amount, pointing out that the neighbouring states of Punjab and Himachal Pradesh provided a monthly pension above ₹ 10,000 to the Param Vir Chakra awardees. In October 2006, the Punjab Government led by Captain Amarinder Singh announced a cash award of ₹ 1,000,000 for him; the cheque was presented to Bana Singh by Amarinder's successor Parkash Singh Badal in March 2007. The Punjab Government offered him ₹ 2,500,000, a monthly allowance of ₹ 15,000 and a 25-acre plot, if he moved to Punjab. However, he refused the offer, saying that he is a resident of J&K; the J&K Government named a stadium in the Ranbir Singh Pora area of Jammu after him, sanctioned an amount of Rs 5,000,000 for its development in 2010. However, in 2013, The Tribune reported that the funds had not been released, the Bana Singh Memorial Stadium was in a poor shape.

Bana Singh's son Rajinder Singh joined the Indian Army in 2008, at the age of 18. Naib Subedar Chuni Lal, with Bana Singh at the action on the Siachen and who went on to be awarded the Ashoka Chakra, Vir Chakra and Sena Medal Indo-Pakistani Wars Kargil War Military of India Param Vir Chakra