The Memorial Days and the Persistence of the Movement: A Study on the Palestinian Mass Mobilization from 1987 to 1993

Tuesday, 12 July 2016: 11:15
Location: Hörsaal 21 (Main Building)
Oral Presentation
Hiroyuki SUZUKI, Japan Society for the Promotion of Science, Japan
Many studies exist on the reason for the occurrence of mass mobilization, as well as it successes and failures, but there currently exists a research gap on the persistence of this movement. This presentation analyzes why Palestinians succeeded in maintaining their mass movement for five years, called the Intifada, from 1987 to 1993. The Intifada is very rare because of its length. By analyzing the background of its persistence, this presentation highlights the important role of the memorial days in this mobilization.

Previous studies illustrate the importance of the newly formed United National Leadership (UNL) in the Intifada, which issued the leaflets to mobilize the people. Conversely, there are other studies suggesting the diminishing influence of the UNL during the dispute with a new Islamic organization, Hamas. However, this confusion among leaderships did not lead to the de-mobilization of Palestinians; rather, Intifada continued for five years. This presentation suggests that the similarity in the strategies of the UNL and Hamas, which invoke the collective memory of former movements. By referring to their Arabic leaflets, it is clear that the UNL and Hamas easily match their mobilization commands by utilizing memorial days in Palestine. For example, they both called a general strike each March 30th, which is the Palestinian “Land Day.” This mobilization strategy seems to be working very well, as there are at least 10 notable memorial days in addition to the monthly anniversary of the occurrence of the Intifada. People are familiar with these memorial days and have personally experienced action on those days each year.

In conclusion, this presentation shows that the memorial days work positively for the persistence of the mass mobilization movement.