Second Intifada

(Arabic for "shaking off") Also known as the Al-Aqsa Intifada. It refers to the second Palestinian uprising against Israeli occupation. The intifada began on September 29 2000, two months after the failure of the Oslo Process (specifically the Camp David (II) Summit) and immediately following Ariel Sharon’s provocative visit (flanked by 1,000 police) to the politically and religiously charged Temple Mount/Haram al-Sharif in Jerusalem. In its first days, the intifada was characterized by large demonstrations, stone-throwing, and civil disobedience, starting in Jerusalem and quickly spreading to the West Bank and Gaza Strip. The riots were met with large-scale repression from Israeli forces, including rubber coated bullets and live ammunition, and soon thereafter, by helicopter gunships and tanks, followed later by targeted assassinations and military incursions into Area A of the Occupied Palestinian Territories. In the first five days of the Intifada, 47 Palestinians were killed and 1,885 were wounded, 80% of whom were (according to Amnesty International) posing no life-threatening danger to Israeli forces. Five Israelis were killed by Palestinians in the same period. In the first month, Israeli forces fired 1,300,000 bullets, averaging 40,000/day. Some analysts point to this overwhelming force by Israeli forces as the reason why the phase of popular protest in the Intifada ended quickly, and armed resistance took its place. Though suicide bombings characterize the Second Intifada for many Israelis, it was not until Nov 2 (more than a month after the Intifada began) before suicide bombings inside Israel began. Events/images from early in the Intifada seared in the memories of Israelis and Palestinians include (for Israelis) the Ramallah lynching of two Israeli soldiers and (for Palestinians) the killing of 12-year old Mohammad Al-Dura. Palestinian communities inside Israel also demonstrated, leading to the October 2000 Events, in which 12 Palestinian citizens of Israel were killed by Israeli forces. By the end of 2004, more than 3,000 Palestinians had been killed by Israelis, and nearly 1,000 Israelis had been killed by Palestinians. The Second Intifada also had a prominent unarmed character that was largely overlooked by mainstream media, with local Palestinian communities organizing predominantly nonviolent actions to combat the expropriation of Palestinian land by Israeli settlements and the Separation Barrier; Israeli and international civilians were also involved in many of these actions. Unlike the First Intifada, which ended at the signing of the Oslo Accords, there is no clear ending date to the Second Intifada. Some claim the uprising ended with Yasser Arafat’s death in November 2004, while others say it ended as late as 2008. See "Intifada toll 2000-2005," BBC, February 8, 2005; "Al-Aqsa Intifada timeline," BBC, Sept 29, 2004; and "Broken lives—a year of intifada," Amnesty International, 2001. See also "Remembering the second intifada," Jon Elmer, Al Jazeera English, October 31, 2010; and "Nonviolent Resistance in the Second Intifada: Activism and Advocacy," Maia Carter Hallward and Julie M. Norman, eds, Palgrave Macmillian, 2011.