On this day in 1987, the First Palestinian Intifada broke out across occupied Palestine. The uprising, which lasted for over six years, witnessed the deaths of thousands of Palestinians by Israeli occupation forces and the detention of tens of thousands.
On December 8, 1987, an Israeli settler identified as Herzel Boukiza rammed his vehicle into Palestinian workers returning home through Erez/Beit Hanoun checkpoint between Israel and Gaza. Four workers from Jabalya and Maghazi in the Gaza Strip were killed in the terror attack.
The next day, and following the funerals of the four martyrs, angry Palestinians took to the streets in Jabalya to protest the premeditated attack. As Palestinian leaders gathered to discuss the escalating situation, protests and clashes broke out within the refugee camps, spreading rapidly across the West Bank and East Jerusalem.
Palestinians took control of neighborhoods, barricading roads to prevent Israeli army vehicles from entering. Largely unarmed, they defended themselves only by throwing stones at the soldiers and their tanks. Shopkeepers closed their businesses and laborers refused to go to their workplaces in Israel.
After six years of daily confrontations and Israeli army breaking bones and killing of Palestinians, a total of 1550 Palestinians were killed, over 70,000 injured, between 100,000 to 200,000 were detained, among them over 18,000 were held under administrative detention for long periods of time without charge or trial.
The “stones Intifada” came to a halt only after the signing of the Palestinian-Israeli Oslo Accords in September 1993 which led to the creation of the Palestinian Authority, and which allowed thousands of Diaspora Palestinians to return home for the first time since they were forced out of Palestine in 1948.