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An intifada (Arabic: انتفاضة intifāḍah) is a rebellion or uprising, or a resistance movement. It is a key concept in contemporary Arabic usage referring to a legitimate uprising against oppression.[1]


Intifada is an Arabic word literally meaning, as a noun, "tremor", "shivering", "shuddering".[2][3] It is derived from an Arabic term nafada meaning "to shake", "shake off", "get rid of",[2] as a dog might shrug off water, or as one might shake off sleep,[4] or dirt from one's sandals.[5]


The concept intifada was first used in modern times in 1952 within the Kingdom of Iraq, when socialist and communist parties took to the streets to protest the Hashemite monarchy, with inspiration of the 1952 Egyptian Revolution.

The concept was adopted in Western Sahara, with the gradual withdrawal of Spanish forces in the 1970s as the Zemla Intifada, but was essentially rooted into the Western Sahara conflict with the First Sahrawi Intifada – protests by Sahrawi activists in the Western Sahara, south of Morocco (1999–2004), Independence Intifada (Western Sahara) or Second Sahrawi Intifada and finally the Gdeim Izik protests in 2011.

In the Palestinian context, the word refers to attempts to "shake off" the Israeli occupation of the West Bank and Gaza Strip in the First and Second Intifadas,[1][6] where it was originally chosen to connote "aggressive nonviolent resistance",[2] a meaning it bore among Palestinian students in struggles in the 1980s and which they adopted as less confrontational than terms in earlier militant rhetoric since it bore no nuance of violence.[5]

List of events named Intifada

Intifada may refer to these events:

See also

  • The Electronic Intifada, an online publication which covers the Israeli–Palestinian conflict from a Palestinian perspective


  1. ^ a b Ute Meinel, Die Intifada im Ölscheichtum Bahrain: Hintergründe des Aufbegehrens von 1994-1998, LIT Verlag Münster, 2003 p.10: 'Der Begriff der Intifada, der die Vorstellung eines legitimen Ausbebegehrens gegen Unterdrückung enthält, ist gegenwärtig ein Schlüsselbegriff in der arabischen Welt, von dem eine grosse emotionale Anziehungskraft ausgeht.'
  2. ^ a b c Mary K.Roberson, 'Birth, Transformation, and Death of Refugee Identity: Women and Girls of the Intifada,' in Ellen Cole,Esther D Rothblum,Oliva M Espin (eds.) Refugee Women and Their Mental Health: Shattered Societies, Shattered Lives, Routledge, 2013 p.42.
  3. ^ Ellen Canterow, 'Beita,' in Zachary Lockman, Joel Beinin, (eds), Intifada: The Palestinian Uprising Against Israeli Occupation, South End Press, 1989 pp.81-98 p.81
  4. ^ David Pratt, Intifada, Casemate Publishers, 2009 p.20
  5. ^ a b Mary Elizabeth King, A Quiet Revolution: The First Palestinian Intifada and Nonviolent Resistance, Nation Books 2007 p.208
  6. ^ Sharif Kanana, 'Women in the Legends of the Intifada,' in Suha Sabbagh (ed.), Palestinian Women of Gaza and the West Bank, Indiana University Press, 1998 p.114.
  7. ^ NGO: Israeli army has killed 49 children since October Archived 2016-02-18 at the Wayback Machine. MEMO, 17 February 2016

External links