From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
- The correct title of this article is al-Aqsa Intifada. The initial letter is shown capitalized due to technical restrictions.
|Part of the Arab-Israeli conflict|
|1,021 Israelis killed||4,070 Palestinians killed
307 more killed by Palestinians
|Noah’s Ark – Defensive Shield – Ain es Saheb – Rainbow – Days of Penitence – Summer Rains – Autumn Clouds|
The al-Aqsa Intifada (Arabic: انتفاضة الأقصى, Intifāḍat El Aqṣa or Intifāḍat Al Aqṣa; Hebrew: אינתיפאדת אל אקצה (or hyphenated אינתיפאדת אל-אקצה), Intifādat El-Aqtzah) is the wave of violence that began in September 2000 between Palestinians and Israelis; it is also called the Second Intifada (see also First Intifada). "Intifada" is an Arabic word for "uprising" (literally translated as "shaking off"). "Al-Aqsa" refers to a prominent mosque on the Temple Mount. Many Palestinians consider the Intifada to be a war of national liberation against foreign occupation, whereas many Israelis consider it to be a terrorist campaign.
The Israel Defense Forces (IDF) codenamed the events (prior to their outbreak) אירועי גאות ושפל ("Ebb and Tide events"). This name remained internal code in the Israeli Security Forces, but the Intifada is mostly called Al-Aqsa Intifada in Israel.
It is also called the Oslo War (מלחמת אוסלו) by those[attribution needed] who consider it a result of concessions made by Israel following the Oslo Accords, and Arafat's War, after the late Palestinian leader whom many blame for starting it. Both groups have blamed the other for the fall of the Oslo peace process.
The Intifada never ended officially. However, the relative success of the Sharm el-Sheikh Summit, the truce agreed on by President Mahmoud Abbas and the Palestinian militant organizations, and the relatively low levels of violence during 2005, were considered by many to mark its effective end, commonly attributed to the change in Palestinian government following the death of Yasser Arafat and the Israeli unilateral withdrawal from the Gaza Strip and northern Samaria in the West Bank.
The death toll, both military and civilian, of the entire conflict in 2000-2006 is estimated to be over 4,000 Palestinians and over 1,000 Israelis, although this number is criticized by some sources for not differentiating between combatants and civilians. Between September 2000 and January 2005, 69 percent of Israeli fatalities were male, while over 95 percent of the Palestinian fatalities were male. To date 63 foreign citizens have been killed (53 by Palestinians, and 10 by Israeli security forces).
 Prior events
By signing the Oslo Accords, the Palestine Liberation Organization committed to curbing violence in exchange for phased withdrawal of Israeli forces from parts of the Gaza Strip and the West Bank, and Palestinian self-government within those areas through the creation of the Palestinian National Authority. However, both sides ended up deeply disappointed in the results of the Oslo Accords.
In the immediate five years following the Oslo signing, 405 Palestinians were killed; 256 Israelis were killed, more than the number slain in the previous fifteen years (216, 172 of which were slain during the First Intifada).
In 1995, Shimon Peres took the place of Yitzhak Rabin, assassinated by Yigal Amir, a Jewish extremist opposed to the Oslo peace agreement. In the 1996 elections, Israelis elected the Likud candidate, Benjamin Netanyahu, who promised to restore safety for Israelis by conditioning every step in the peace process on Israel's assessment of the Palestinian Authority's fulfillment of its obligations in curbing violence as outlined in the Oslo agreement. Netanyahu continued the policy of construction within and expansion of existing Israeli settlements, in the West Bank and the Gaza Strip. Though construction within the settlements was not explicitly prohibited in the Oslo agreement, many Palestinians believed that the continuing construction was contrary to the spirit of the Oslo agreement.
Some have claimed that Yasser Arafat and the Palestinian Authority (PA) had pre-planned the Intifada. They often quote a speech made in December 2000 by Imad Falouji, the PA Communications Minister at the time, where he explains that the violence had been planned since Arafat's return from the Camp David Summit in July, far in advance of Sharon's visit (view video of the speech). He stated that the Intifada "was carefully planned since the return of (Palestinian President) Yasser Arafat from Camp David negotiations rejecting the U.S. conditions." David Samuels quotes Mamduh Nofal, former military commander of the Democratic Front for the Liberation of Palestine, who supplies more evidence of pre-September 28 military preparations. Nofal recounts that Arafat "told us, Now we are going to the fight, so we must be ready". According to Yossef Bodansky,
Clinton's proposal... included explicit guarantees that Jews would have the right to visit and pray in and around the Temple Mount... Once Sharon was convinced that Jews had free access to the Temple Mount, there would be little the Israeli religious and nationalist Right could do to stall the peace process. When Sharon expressed interest in visiting the Temple Mount, Barak ordered GSS chief Ami Ayalon to approach Jibril Rajoub with a special request to facilitate a smooth and friendly visit... Rajoub promised it would be smooth as long as Sharon would refrain from entering any of the mosques or praying publicly... Just to be on the safe side, Barak personally approached Arafat and once again got assurances that Sharon's visit would be smooth as long as he did not attempt to enter the Holy Mosques... A group of Palestinian dignitaries came to protest the visit, as did three Arab Knesset Members. With the dignitaries watching from a safe distance, the Shahab (youth mob) threw stones and attempted to get past the Israeli security personnel and reach Sharon and his entourage... Still, Sharon's deportment was quiet and dignified. He did not pray, did not make any statement, or do anything else that might be interpreted as offensive to the sensitivities of Muslims. Even after he came back near the Wailing Wall under the hail of stones, he remained calm. "I came here as one who believes in coexistence between Jews and Arabs," Sharon told the waiting reporters. "I believe that we can build and develop together. This was a peaceful visit. Is it an instigation for Israeli Jews to come to the Jewish people's holiest site?"
Following Israel's pullout from Lebanon in May 2000, the PLO official Farouk Kaddoumi told reporters: "We are optimistic. Hezbollah's resistance can be used as an example for other Arabs seeking to regain their rights."
Starting as early as September 13, 2000, members of Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat's Fatah movement carried out a number of attacks on Israeli military and civilian targets, in violation of Oslo Accords. In addition, the Israeli agency Palestinian Media Watch alleged that the Palestinian official TV broadcasts became increasingly militant during the summer of 2000, as Camp David negotiations faltered.
According to the Mitchell Report, (the investigatory committee set up to look into the cause of the violence and named after the chairman of the committee, former U.S. Senator George Mitchell), the government of Israel asserted that
the immediate catalyst for the violence was the breakdown of the Camp David negotiations on 25 July 2000 and the "widespread appreciation in the international community of Palestinian responsibility for the impasse." In this view, Palestinian violence was planned by the PA leadership, and was aimed at "provoking and incurring Palestinian casualties as a means of regaining the diplomatic initiative."
The Palestine Liberation Organization, according to the same report, denied that the Intifada was planned, and asserted that "Camp David represented nothing less than an attempt by Israel to extend the force it exercises on the ground to negotiations." The report also stated:
From the perspective of the PLO, Israel responded to the disturbances with excessive and illegal use of deadly force against demonstrators; behavior which, in the PLO’s view, reflected Israel’s contempt for the lives and safety of Palestinians. For Palestinians, the widely seen images of Muhammad al-Durrah in Gaza on September 30, shot as he huddled behind his father, reinforced that perception.
On September 27, Sgt. David Biri was killed; some Israeli sources view this as the start of the Intifada. Others, however, view Sharon's visit to the Temple Mount/Al-Haram Al-Sharif mosque on September 28 as the initiating event. While others believe it started a day later, due to the introduction of police and military presence the day following Sharon's visit, the day of prayers.
 Sharon visits the Temple Mount
On September 28, the Israeli opposition leader Ariel Sharon, with a Likud party delegation, and surrounded by hundreds of Israeli riot police, visited the mosque compound of the Temple Mount in the Old City of Jerusalem. The compound is the holiest site in Judaism, and the third holiest site in Islam for the majority of Muslims. The stated purpose for Sharon's visit of the mosque compound was to check complaints by Israeli archeologists that Muslim religious authorities had vandalized archeological remains beneath the surface of the mount during the conversion of the Solomon's Stables area into a mosque.
Sharon's impending visit was officially announced and approved in advance with many Palestinian officials including Arafat himself, though prior to it some people on both sides protested, because of his controversial political stance. His visit was condemned by the Palestinians as a provocation and an incursion, as were his armed bodyguards that arrived on the scene with him. Critics claim that Sharon knew that the visit could trigger violence, and that the purpose of his visit was political; Sharon won the February 2001 elections in a landslide.
On September 29, 2000, the day after Sharon's visit, following Friday prayers, large riots broke out around Old Jerusalem during which at least five people were shot dead by Israeli security forces, and 200 others were wounded after Palestinians on the Temple Mount threw stones over the Western Wall at Jews and tourists below. About 70 policemen were also reportedly injured in the clashes.
The same day, demonstrations and riots broke out in the West Bank. In the days that followed, demonstrations erupted all over the West Bank and Gaza. In the West Bank city of Qalqilyah, a Palestinian police officer working with Israeli police on a joint patrol opened fire and killed his Israeli counterpart Supt. Yosef Tabeja, an Israel Border Police officer.
The violence quickly escalated and in the first six days of the Intifada, 61 Palestinians were killed and 2,657 were injured by the Israeli army and police.
 October 2000 events
The 'October 2000 events' refers to several days of disturbances and clashes inside Israel, mostly between Arab citizens and Israel Police. 13 Arab citizens of Israel and a Palestinian from the Gaza Strip were killed by the Police, while a Jewish citizen was killed when his car was hit by a stone on the Tel-Aviv-Haifa freeway.
A general strike and demonstrations across northern Israel began on October 1 and continued for several days. In some cases, the demonstrations escalated into clashes with the Israeli Police involving stone-throwing, firebombing, and live-fire. Policemen used tear-gas and opened fire with rubber-coated bullets and later live ammunition in some instances, many times in contravention with police protocol governing riot-dispersion, which was directly linked with many of the deaths by the Or Commission.
Following the riots, there was a high degree of tension between Jewish and Arab citizens and distrust between the Arab citizens and police. An investigation committee, headed by Supreme Court Justice Theodor Or, reviewed the violent riots and found that the police were poorly prepared to handle such riots and charged major officers with bad conduct. The Or Commission reprimanded Prime Minister Ehud Barak and recommended Shlomo Ben-Ami (then the Internal Security Minister) not serve again as Minister of Public Security. The committee also blamed Arab leaders and Knesset members for contributing to inflaming the atmosphere and making the violence more severe.
 Ramallah Lynchings and Israeli Response
On October 12, two Israeli reservists who entered Ramallah were arrested by the PA police. An agitated Palestinian mob stormed the police station, beat the soldiers to death, and threw their mutilated bodies into the street. The killings were captured on video by an Italian TV crew and broadcast on TV; . The brutality of the killings shocked the Israeli public and were condemned by Palestinian leaders.
In response, Israel launched a series of retaliatory air strikes against the Palestinian Authority.
Ariel Sharon, at the time from the Likud party, ran against Ehud Barak from the Labour party. Sharon was elected Israeli Prime Minister in February in the 2001 special election to the Prime Ministership.
On May 7, 2001, the IDF naval commandos captured the vessel Santorini, which sailed in international waters towards Palestinian Authority-controlled Gaza. The ship was laden with weaponry. The Israeli investigation that followed alleged that the shipment had been purchased by Ahmed Jibril's Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine - General Command (PFLP-GC). The ship's value and that of its cargo was estimated at $10 million. The crew was reportedly planning to unload the cargo of weapons filled barrels — carefully sealed and waterproofed along with their contents — at a prearranged location off the Gaza coast, where the Palestinian Authority would recover them.
On June 1, 2001, a Hamas suicide bomber detonated himself in the Tel Aviv coastline Dolphinarium dancing club. Twenty-one Israelis, most of them high school students, were killed. The attack significantly hampered American attempts to negotiate cease-fire.
In January, 2002, the IDF Shayetet 13 naval commando captured the Karine A, a large boat carrying weapons from Iran presumably intended to be used by Palestinian militants against Israel. It was discovered that top officials in the Palestinian Authority were involved in the smuggling. Israel claims that Yasser Arafat also was involved, a claim accepted by the Bush Administration.
A spate of suicide bombings launched against Israel elicited a military response. A suicide bombing dubbed the Passover Massacre (30 Israeli civilians were killed at Park hotel, Netanya) climaxed a bloody month of April 2002 (more than 130 Israelis, mostly civilians, killed in attacks). Israel launched Operation Defensive Shield. The operation led to the apprehension of many members of militant groups, as well as their weaponry and equipment.
The UN estimated that 497 Palestinians were killed and 1,447 wounded during the IDF reoccupation of Palestinian areas between 1 March through 7 May and in the immediate aftermath. An estimated 70-80 Palestinians, including approximately 50 civilians, were killed in Nablus. Four IDF soldiers were killed there.
Especially fierce battles took place at Jenin: 32 Palestinian militants, 22 Palestinian civilians, and 23 Israeli soldiers were killed in the fighting. The battle remains a flashpoint for both sides, due to false allegations of a massacre of thousands of Palestinians that surfaced during the IDF's operations in the camp. These allegations were disproved by international agencies that placed the actual death toll at below 55.
In late April 2 to May 10, a stand-off developed between armed Fatah militants and the IDF at the Church of the Nativity in Bethlehem. Despite the code of conduct demanding respect for holy sites and a great deal of care taken to exercise the code the stand-off could not be resolved and after much delay, IDF snipers killed 7 people inside the church and wounded more than 40 people. The stand-off was resolved by the deportation of 13 Palestinian militants which the IDF has identified as terrorists to Europe and the IDF ended its 38 day stand-off with the Muslims inside the church.
Following an Israeli intelligence report stating that Yasir Arafat paid $20,000 to Al-Aqsa Martyrs' Brigades, the United States demanded democratic reforms in the Palestinian Authority, as well the appointment of a prime minister independent of Arafat. On 13 March 2003, following U.S. pressure, Arafat appointed the moderate Mahmoud Abbas as Palestinian prime minister.
Following the appointment of Abbas, the U.S. administration promoted the Road map for peace — the Quartet's plan to end the Israeli-Palestinian conflict by disbanding militant organizations, halting settlement activity and establishing a democratic and peaceful Palestinian state. The first phase of the plan demanded that the PA suppress guerrilla and terrorist attacks and confiscate illegal weapons. Unable or unwilling to confront militant organizations and risk civil war, Abbas tried to reach a temporary cease-fire agreement with the militant factions and asked them to halt attacks on Israeli civilians.
On May 20, Israeli naval commandos intercepted another vessel, the Abu Hassan, on course to the Gaza Strip from Lebanon. It was loaded with rockets, weapons, and ammunition. Eight crew members on board were arrested including a senior Hezbollah member.
In June 2003, a so-called Hudna (truce) was unilaterally declared by Hamas and Islamic Jihad, which declared a ceasefire and halt to all attacks against Israel for a period of 45 days. Although violence decreased in the following month, there were several suicide bombings against Israeli civilians as well as Israeli operations against militants.
Four Palestinians, three of them militants, were killed in gun battles during an IDF raid of Askar near Nablus involving tanks and Armoured personnel carriers (APCs); an Israeli soldier was killed by one of the militants. Nearby Palestinians claimed a squad of Israeli police disguised as Palestinian labourers opened fire on Abbedullah Qawasameh as he left a Hebron mosque. YAMAM, the Israeli counter-terrorism police unit which performed the operation stated that Qawasemah opened fire on them as they attempted to arrest him.
On August 19, Hamas coordinated a suicide attack on a crowded bus in Jerusalem killing 23 Israeli civilians, including 7 children. Hamas claimed it was a retaliation for the killing of five Palestinians (including Hamas leader Abbedullah Qawasameh) earlier in the week. U.S. and Israeli media outlets frequently referred to the bus bombing as shattering the quiet and bringing an end to the ceasefire.
Following the Hamas bus attack, Israeli Defence Forces were ordered to kill or capture all Hamas leaders in Hebron and the Gaza Strip. The plotters of the bus suicide bombing were all captured or killed and Hamas leadership in Hebron was badly damaged by the IDF. Strict curfews were enforced in Nablus, Jenin, and Tulkarem; the Nablus lockdown lasted for over 100 days. In Nazlet 'Issa, over 60 shops were destroyed by Israeli civil administration bulldozers. The Israeli civil administration explained that the shops were demolished because they were built without a permit. Palestinians consider Israeli military curfews and property destruction to constitute collective punishment against innocent Palestinians.
Unable to rule effectively under Arafat, Abbas resigned in September 2003. Ahmed Qurei (Abu Ala) was appointed to replace him. The Israeli government gave up hope for negotiated settlement to the conflict and pursued a unilateral policy of physically separating Israel from Palestinian communities by beginning construction on the Israeli West Bank barrier. Israel claims the barrier is necessary to prevent Palestinian attackers from entering Israeli cities. Palestinians claim the barrier separates Palestinian communities from each other and that the construction plan is a de facto annexation of Palestinian territory.
Following an October 4 suicide bombing in Maxim restaurant, Haifa, which claimed the lives of 21 Israelis, Israel claimed that Syria and Iran sponsored the Islamic Jihad and Hezbollah, and were responsible for the terrorist attack. The day after the Maxim massacre, IAF warplanes bombed an alleged former terrorist training base at Ein-Saheb, Syria (abandoned since the early 80s).
In response to a repeated shelling of Israeli communities with Qassam rockets and mortar shells from Gaza, the IDF operated mainly in Rafah — to search and destroy smuggling tunnels used by militants to obtain weapons, ammunition, fugitives, cigarettes, car parts, electrical goods, foreign currency, gold, drugs, and cloth from Egypt. Between September 2000 and May 2004, ninety tunnels connecting Egypt and the Gaza Strip were found and destroyed. Raids in Rafah left many families homeless. Israel's official stance is that their houses were captured by militants and were destroyed during battles with IDF forces. Many of these houses are abandoned due to Israeli incursions and later destroyed. According to Human Rights Watch, over 1,500 houses were destroyed to create a large buffer zone in the city, many "in the absence of military necessity", displacing around sixteen thousand people.
On 2 February 2004, Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon announced his plan to transfer all the Jewish settlers from the Gaza Strip. The Israeli opposition dismissed his announcement as "media spin" but the Israeli Labour Party said it would support such a move. Sharon's right-wing coalition partners National Religious Party and National Union rejected the plan and vowed to quit the government if it were implemented. Surprisingly, Yossi Beilin, peace advocate and architect of the Oslo Accords and the Geneva Accord, also rejected the proposed withdrawal plan. He claimed that withdrawing from the Gaza Strip without a peace agreement would reward terror.
Following the declaration of the disengagement plan by Ariel Sharon and as a response to suicide attacks on Erez crossing and Ashdod seaport (10 people were killed), the IDF launched a series of armored raids on the Gaza Strip (mainly Rafah and refugee camps around Gaza), killing about 70 Hamas militants. On March 22, 2004, an Israeli helicopter gunship killed Hamas leader Sheikh Ahmed Yassin and on April 17, after several failed attempts by Hamas to commit suicide bombings, his successor, Abdel Aziz al-Rantissi was killed by IDF helicopter gunship strike.
The fighting in Gaza Strip escalated severely in May 2004 after several failed attempts to attack Israeli checkpoints such as Erez crossing and Karni crossing. However, on May 11 and May 12, Palestinian militants destroyed two IDF M-113 APCs, killing 13 soldiers and mutilating their bodies. The IDF launched two raids to recover the bodies in which about 20-40 Palestinians were killed and great damage was caused to structures in the Zaitoun neighbourhood in Gaza and in south-west Rafah.
Subsequently, on May 18 the IDF launched Operation Rainbow with a stated aim of striking the terror infrastructure of Rafah, destroying smuggling tunnels, and stopping a shipment of SA-7 missiles and improved anti-tank weapons. The operation ended after the IDF killed 40 Palestinian militants and 12 civilians and demolished about 45-56 structures. The great destruction and killing of 10 protesters led to a worldwide outcry against the operation.
On September 29, after a Qassam rocket hit the Israeli town of Sderot and killed two Israeli children, the IDF launched Operation Days of Penitence in the north of the Gaza Strip. The operation's stated aim was to remove the threat of Qassam rockets from Sderot and kill the Hamas militants launching them. The operation ended on October 16, leaving widespread destruction and more than 100 Palestinians dead, at least 20 of whom were under the age of 16. Thirteen-year-old Iman Darweesh Al Hams was killed by the IDF; some reports claimed a commander had deliberately fired his automatic weapon at her dead body, but the soldier was cleared of all charges. According to Palestinian medics, Israeli forces killed at least 62 militants and 42 other Palestinians believed to be civilians. According to a count performed by Haaretz, 87 combatants and 42 non-combatants were killed. Palestinian refugee camps were heavily damaged by the Israeli assault. The IDF announced that at least 12 Qassam launchings had been thwarted and many terrorists hit during the operation. Three Israelis also were killed, including one civilian.
Escalation in Gaza began amid the visit of Mahmoud Abbas to Syria in order to achieve a Hudna between Palestinian factions and convince Hamas leadership to halt attacks against Israelis. Hamas vowed to continue the armed struggle, while numerous Qassam rockets hit open fields near Nahal Oz and an anti-tank missile hit a kindergarten in Kfar Darom.
On December 9 five weapon smugglers were killed and two were arrested in the border between Rafah and Egypt. Later that day, Jamal Abu Samhadana and two of his bodyguards were injured by a missile strike. In the first Israeli airstrike against militants in weeks, an unmanned Israeli drone plane launched one missile at Abu Samahdna's car as it traveled between Rafah and Khan Younis in the southern Gaza Strip. It was the fourth attempt on Samhadana's life by Israel. Samhadana is one of two leaders of the Popular Resistance Committees and one of the main forces behind the smuggling tunnels. Samhadana is believed to be responsible for the blast against an American diplomatic convoy in Gaza that killed three Americans.
On December 10, in response to Hamas firing mortar rounds into the Neveh Dekalim settlement in the Gaza Strip and wounding four Israelis (including an 8 year old boy), Israeli soldiers fired at the Khan Younis refugee camp (the origin of the mortars) killing a 7-year-old girl. An IDF source confirmed troops opened fire at Khan Younis, but said they aimed at Hamas mortar crews. The IDF insisted that it does its utmost to avoid civilian casualties.
The largest attack since the death of Yasser Arafat claimed the lives of five Israeli soldiers on December 12, wounding ten others. Approximately 1.5 tons of explosives were detonated in a tunnel under an Israeli military-controlled border crossing on the Egyptian border with Gaza near Rafah, collapsing several structures and damaging others. The explosion destroyed part of the outpost and killed three soldiers. Two Palestinian militants then penetrated the outpost and killed two other Israeli soldiers with gunfire. It is believed that Hamas and a new Fatah faction, the "Fatah Hawks," conducted the highly organized and coordinated attack. A spokesman, "Abu Majad," claimed responsibility for the attack in the name of the Fatah Hawks claiming it was in retaliation for "the assassination" of Yasser Arafat, charging he was poisoned by Israel.
Palestinian presidential elections were held on January 9, and Mahmoud Abbas (Abu Mazen) was elected as the president of the PA. His platform was of a peaceful negotiation with Israel and non-violence to achieve Palestinian objectives. Although Abbas called on militants to halt attacks against Israel, he promised them protection from Israeli incursions and did not advocate disarmament by force.
Violence continued in the Gaza Strip, and Ariel Sharon froze all diplomatic and security contacts with the Palestinian National Authority. Spokesman Assaf Shariv declared that "Israel informed international leaders today that there will be no meetings with Abbas until he makes a real effort to stop the terror". The freezing of contacts came less than one week after Mahmoud Abbas was elected, and the day before his inauguration. Palestinian negotiator Saeb Erekat, confirming the news, declared "You cannot hold Mahmoud Abbas accountable when he hasn't even been inaugurated yet".
Following international pressure and Israeli threat of wide military operation in the Gaza Strip, Abbas ordered Palestinian police to deploy in the northern Gaza Strip to prevent Qassam rocket and mortar shelling over Israeli settlement. Although attacks on Israeli did not stop completely, they decreased sharply. On February 8, 2005, at the Sharm el-Sheikh Summit of 2005, Sharon and Abbas declared a mutual truce between Israel and the Palestinian National Authority. They shook hands at a four-way summit which also included Jordan and Egypt at Sharm al-Sheikh. However, Hamas and Islamic Jihad said the truce is not binding for their members. Israel has not withdrawn its demand to dismantle terrorist infrastructure before moving ahead in the Road map for peace.
Many warned that truce is fragile, and progress must be done slowly while observing that the truce and quiet are kept. On February 9-February 10 night, a barrage of 25-50 Qassam rockets and mortar shells hit Neve Dekalim settlement, and another barrage hit at noon. Hamas said it was in retaliation for an attack in which one Palestinian was killed near an Israeli settlement. As a response to the mortar attack, Abbas ordered the Palestinian security forces to stop such attacks in the future. He also fired senior commanders in the Palestinian security apparatus. On February 10, Israeli security forces arrested Maharan Omar Shucat Abu Hamis, a Palestinian resident of Nablus, who was about to launch a bus suicide attack in the French Hill in Jerusalem.
On February 13 2005, Abbas entered into talks with the leaders of the Islamic Jihad and the Hamas, for them to rally behind him and respect the truce. Ismail Haniyah, a senior leader of the group Hamas said that "its position regarding calm will continue unchanged and Israel will bear responsibility for any new violation or aggression".
In the middle of June, Palestinian factions intensified bombardment over the city of Sderot with improvised Qassam rockets. Palestinian attacks resulted in 2 Palestinians and a Chinese killed by a Qassam, and 2 Israelis were killed. The wave of attacks lessened support for the disengagement plan among the Israeli public. Attacks on Israel by the Islamic Jihad and the al-Aqsa Martyrs' Brigades increased in July, and on July 12 a suicide bombing hit the coastal city of Netanya, killing 5 people. On July 14, Hamas started to shell Israeli settlements inside and outside the Gaza Strip with dozens of Qassam rockets, killing an Israeli woman. On July 15 Israel resumed its "targeted killing" policy, killing 7 Hamas militants and bombing about 4 Hamas facilities. The continuation of shelling rockets over Israeli settlements, and street battles between Hamas militants and Palestinian policemen, threatened to shatter the truce agreed in the Sharm el-Sheikh Summit of 2005. The Israeli Defence Force also started to build-up armored forces around the Gaza Strip in response to the shelling.
On January 25, 2006, the Palestinians held general elections for the Palestinian Legislative Council. The Islamist group Hamas won with an unexpected majority of 74 seats, compared to 45 seats for Fatah and 13 for other parties and independents. Hamas is officially declared as a terrorist organization by the United States and the European Union and its gaining control over the Palestinian Authority (such as by forming the government) would jeopardize international funds to the PA, by laws which forbid sponsoring of terrorist group.
On February 4 Israel launched a series of attacks against Islamic Jihad and al-Aqsa Martyrs' Brigades Qassam rocket-launcher squads, killing 9 Palestinians. The air strikes came after Qassam rockets hit southern Ashkelon and Kibbutz Carmia, seriously wounding a 7-month-old baby.
On June 9, seven members of the Ghalia family were killed on a Gaza beach. The cause of the explosion remains uncertain. Nevertheless, in response, Hamas declared an end to its commitment to a ceasefire declared in 2005 and announced the resumption of attacks on Israelis. Palestinians blame an Israeli artillery shelling of nearby locations in the northern Gaza Strip for the deaths, while an Israeli military inquiry cleared itself from the charges.
On June 25 a military outpost was attacked by Palestinian militants and a gunbattle followed that left 2 Israeli soldiers and 3 Palestinian militants dead. Corporal Gilad Shalit, an Israeli soldier, was captured and Israel warned of an imminent military response if the soldier was not returned unharmed. In the early hours of June 28 Israeli tanks, APCs and troops entered the Gaza strip just hours after the air force had taken out two main bridges and the only powerstation in the strip, effectively shutting down electricity and water.
On November 26, 2006 a truce was implemented between Israel and the Palestinian Authority. A January 10, 2007 Reuters article reports: "Hamas has largely abided by a November 26 truce which has calmed Israeli-Palestinian violence in Gaza." 
The tactics of the two sides in the conflict are largely based upon their resources and goals.
Militant groups involved in violence include Hamas, Islamic Jihad and the Al-Aqsa Martyrs' Brigades. They have waged a high-intensity campaign of guerrilla warfare and suicide bombings against Israel. Military equipment is mostly imported light arms and homemade weapons, such as hand grenades and explosive belts, assault rifles, and the Qassam rockets. They also have increased use of remote-controlled landmines, a tactic which has become increasingly popular among the poorly armed groups. Car bombs were often used against "lightly hardened" targets such as Israeli armored jeeps and checkpoints.
Palestinians also adopted the tactic of suicide bombing. Conducted as a single or double bombing, suicide bombings are generally conducted against "soft" targets (civilians) or "lightly hardened" targets (such as checkpoints) to try to raise the cost of the war to Israelis and demoralize the Israeli society. Most suicide bombing attacks (although not all) are targeted against civilians, and conducted on crowded places in Israeli cities, such as public transportation (buses), restaurants and markets.
One recent development is the use of suicide bombs carried by children. Unlike most suicide bombings, the use of these not only earned condemnation from the United States and from human rights groups such as Amnesty International, but also from many Palestinians and much of the Middle East press. The youngest Palestinian suicide bomber was 16-year-old Issa Bdeir, a high school student from the village of Al Doha, who shocked his friends and family when he blew himself up in a park in Rishon LeZion, killing a teenage boy and an elderly man. The youngest attempted suicide bombing was by a 14 year old captured by soldiers at the Huwwara checkpoint before managing to do any harm.
In May 2004, Israel Defence minister Shaul Mofaz claimed that United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East's ambulances were used to take the bodies of dead Israeli soldiers in order to prevent the Israel Defense Forces from recovering their dead. Reuters has provided video of healthy armed men entering ambulance with UN markings for transport. UNRWA initially denied that its ambulances carry militants but later reported that the driver was forced to comply with threats from armed men. UNRWA still denies that their ambulances carried body parts of dead Israeli soldiers.
In August 2004, Israel said that an advanced explosives-detection device employed by the IDF at the Hawara checkpoint near Nablus discovered a Palestinian ambulance had transported explosive material.
Some of the Palestinian reaction to Israeli policy in the West Bank and Gaza Strip has consisted of non-violent protest.. Groups such as the Palestinian Centre for Rapprochement which works out of Beit Sahour formally encourage and organize non-violent resistance . Other groups, such as the International Solidarity Movement openly advocate for both violent and non-violent resistance. Some of these activities are done in cooperation with internationals and Israelis, such as the weekly protests against the Israeli West Bank Barrier carried out in villages like Bi'lin, , Biddu  and Budrus  . This model of resistance has spread to other villages like Beit Sira , Hebron, Saffa, and Ni'lein . Even during the Israeli reinvasion of Jenin and Nablus, "A Call for a Non-violent Resistance Strategy in Palestine" was issued by two Palestinian Christians in May 2002 .
Non-violent tactics have sometimes been met with Israeli military force. For example, Amnesty International notes that "10-year-old Walid Naji Abu Qamar, 11-year old Mubarak Salim al-Hashash and 13-year-old Mahmoud Tariq Mansour were among eight unarmed demonstrators killed in the early afternoon of 19 May 2004 in Rafah, in the Gaza Strip, when the Israeli army open fire on a non-violent demonstration with tank shells and a missile launched from a helicopter gunship. Dozens of other unarmed demonstrators were wounded in the attack.". According to Israeli army and government officials, the tanks shelled a nearby empty building and a helicopter fired a missile in a nearby open space in order to deter the demonstrators from proceeding towards Israeli army positions.
The IDF adopted tactics appropriate to the enclosed, urban environment in which the IDF is frequently fighting. The Israeli Defense Forces stress the safety of their troops, using such heavily armored equipment as the Merkava tank and various military aircraft including F-16s, drone aircraft and helicopter gunships that can often lead to civilian casualties when used in urban areas. Sniper towers were used extensively in the Gaza Strip before the Israeli pullout and are being increasingly employed in the West Bank. Heavily armored Caterpillar D9 bulldozers were routinely employed to detonate booby traps and IEDs, and clear houses along the border with Egypt used to fire at Israeli troops, in "buffer zones", and during military operations in the West Bank. Until February 2005, Israel had in place a policy to demolish the family homes of suicide bombers. Due to the considerable number of Palestinians living in single homes, the large quantity of homes destroyed, and collateral damage from home demolitions, it become an increasingly controversial tactic. Families have provided timely information to Israeli forces regarding suicide bombing activities in order to prevent the demolition of their houses, although families doing so risk being executed or otherwise punished for collaboration, either by the Palestinian Authority or extra-judicially by Palestinian militants. The IDF committee studying the issue recommended ending the practice because the policy was not effective enough to justify its costs to Israel's image internationally and the backlash it created among Palestinians.
With complete ground and air superiority, mass detentions are regularly conducted; at any given time, there are about 6,000 Palestinian prisoners in Israeli jails, about half of them held temporarily without a final indictment, in accordance with Israeli law. Security Checkpoints divide most Palestinian cities and interconnections between cities. The Israeli position is that those checkpoints are necessary to stop militants and limit the ability to move weapons around, while Palestinians and Israeli and International observers and organizations perceive those checkpoints as excessive, humiliating, and a major cause of the severe humanitarian situation in the Occupied Territories. Transit across checkpoints can take several hours, depending on the current security situation in Israel. Palestinian metalworking shops and other business facilities suspected by Israel of being used to manufacture weapons are regularly destroyed by airstrikes. The tactic of military "curfew" - long-term lockdown of civilian areas - has been used routinely. Nablus was kept under curfew for over 100 consecutive days, with generally under two hours per day allowed for people to get food or conduct other business.
Although these tactics also have been condemned internationally, Israel insists they are vital for security reasons in order to thwart terrorist attacks. Some cite figures, such as those published in Haaretz newspaper, to prove the effectiveness of these methods (Graph 1: Thwarted attacks (yellow) vs successful attacks (red) - Graph 2: Suicide bombing within the "green line" per quarter). The Israeli secret services Shabak enable the Israeli Security Forces (IDF, Magav, police YAMAM and Mistaravim SF units) to thwart suicide bombings by providing real-time warnings and reliable intelligence reports.
Israel also pursues a policy of "targeted killings", a euphemism for the assassination of militants and especially prominent leaders. Such killings are used to single out as a target those involved in perpetrating attacks against Israelis, and to intimidate others from following suit. This tactic has been condemned as extra-judicial assassination by some international human rights organizations and the United Nations, while others (such as the United States) see it as a legitimate measure of self-defense against terrorism. Many criticize the targeted killings for placing civilians at risk, though its supporters believe it reduces civilian casualties on both sides. Israel has been criticized for the use of helicopter gunship missiles in urban assassinations which often results in civilian casualties. Israel in turn has criticized what it describes as a practice of militant leaders hiding among civilians in densely populated areas, thus turning them into unwitting human shields. Regardless of the would be ethical problems, targeted assassinations have been extensively employed by the United States, the United Kingdom, Russia and some other armies in Chechnya, Afghanistan and Iraq since Israel has begun using this technique.
 Allegations of war crimes
In regards to the Battle of Jenin in 2002, in which 30 Palestinian militants, 22 Palestinian civilians, and 23 Israeli soldiers were killed, Human Rights Watch stated, "Israeli forces committed serious violations of international humanitarian law, some amounting prima facie to war crimes," while Amnesty International similarly alleged evidence that Israel had committed war crimes. The Anti-Defamation League questioned how HRW and AI could both acknowledge the lack of a supposed Israeli massacre and the endangerment of Palestinian civilians by Palestinian gunmen and still maintain its accusation of Israel, and they and NGO Monitor criticised the report prejudiced.
 International Involvement
The international community has long taken an involvement in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, and this involvement has only increased during the Al-Aqsa Intifada. Israel annually receives $1.2 billion in economic aid and $1.8 billion in military aid from the United States, excluding loan guarantees. To put this figure in a regional context, the U.S. gives Egypt about 2 billion dollars in foreign aid, each year, much of which is military aid. Much of this is as a result of the Camp David Accords and the associated peace treaty between Egypt and Israel. The Palestinian Authority generally receives about $100 million in economic aid from the United States, and the Palestinian territories are major humanitarian aid recipients.
Additionally, private groups have become increasingly involved in the conflict, such as the International Solidarity Movement on the side of the Palestinians, and the American Israel Public Affairs Committee on the side of the Israelis.
 Effects on Oslo Accords
Since the start of the Al-Aqsa Intifada and its emphasis on suicide bombers deliberately targeting civilians riding public transportation (buses), the Oslo Accords are viewed with increasing disfavor by the Israeli public.
In May 2000, seven years after the Oslo Accords and five months before the start of the Al-Aqsa Intifada, a survey by the Tami Steinmetz Center for Peace Research at the Tel Aviv University found that 39% of all Israelis support the Accords and that 32% believe that the Accords will result in peace in the next few years. In contrast, the May 2004 survey found that 26% of all Israelis support the Accords and 18% believe that the Accords will result in peace in the next few years; decreases of 13% and 16% respectively. Furthermore, later survey found that 80% of all Israelis believe the Israel Defense Forces have succeeded in dealing with the Al-Aqsa Intifada militarily.
A survey of Palestinian political attitudes conducted by the Jerusalem Media and Communication Centre in August 1998 found that over 60% of Palestinians either cautiously (50%+) or strongly (about 10%) supported the Oslo peace process. In 2006, 51.7% thought a government headed by Hamas should continue with the Oslo Agreement, while 42% said Hamas does not have to. When asked if a Hamas led government should continue with the political negotiations that the PA is committed to, 66.3% agreed and 29.6% disagreed.
About 1,000 Israelis were killed (up to September 2004) and 6,700 were wounded in Palestinian attacks.
A "Statistical Report Summary"  for September 27, 2000 through January 1, 2005 by the International Policy Institute for Counter-Terrorism indicates that 56% (1542) of the 2773 Palestinians killed by Israelis were combatants. According to their data, an additional 406 Palestinians were killed by actions of their own side. 22% (215) of the 988 Israelis killed by Palestinians were combatants. An additional 22 Israelis were killed by actions of their own side. There is detailed info through September 2002 found here: 
Concerning the killing of Palestinians by other Palestinians a January 2003 Humanist magazine article reports:
- According to Freedom House's annual survey of political rights and civil liberties, Freedom in the World 2001-2002, the chaotic nature of the Intifada along with strong Israeli reprisals has resulted in a deterioration of living conditions for Palestinians in Israeli-administered areas. The survey states:
- Civil liberties declined due to: shooting deaths of Palestinian civilians by Palestinian security personnel; the summary trial and executions of alleged collaborators by the Palestinian Authority (PA); extra-judicial killings of suspected collaborators by militias; and the apparent official encouragement of Palestinian youth to confront Israeli soldiers, thus placing them directly in harm's way.
The Humanist article also reports: "For over a decade the PA has violated Palestinian human rights and civil liberties by routinely killing civilians—including collaborators, demonstrators, journalists, and others—without charge or fair trial. Of the total number of Palestinian civilians killed during this period by both Israeli and Palestinian security forces, 16 percent were the victims of Palestinian security forces."
Internal Palestinian violence has been called an ‘Intra’fada during this Intifada and the previous one.
- Over 1,000 Israelis were killed by Palestinian attacks in the al-Aqsa Intifada.
- Palestinians sources claim 2,736 Palestinians killed in the Intifada.
- The Shin Bet has the names of 2,124 Palestinian dead.
- Out of the figure of 2,124 dead, Shin Bet assigned them to these organizations:
As a response to IDF statistics about Palestinian casualties in the West Bank, the Israeli human rights organization B'Tselem released press release stating that two thirds of the Palestinians killed in 2004 did not participate in the fighting. B'Tselem's statistics have in turn been criticised for not differentiating between combatants and non-combatants and for defining as "civilian" Palestinians killed while engaged in attacks on Israelis.
Others argue that the Palestinian National Authority throughout the Intifada has sought to place unarmed men, women, children and the elderly in the line of fire between Israeli forces and armed Palestinians, and that television, radio, sermons, and calls from mosque loudspeaker systems are used for this purpose.
The wave of violence continued on both sides throughout 2006. On December 27 the Israeli Human Rights Organization B'Tselem released its annual report on the Intifada. According to which, 660 Palestinians, a figure more than three times the number of Palestinians killed in 2005, and 23 Israelis, have been killed in 2006. From a December 28 Haaretz article: "According to the report, about half of the Palestinians killed, 322, did not take part in the hostilities at the time they were killed. 22 of those killed were targets of assassinations, and 141 were minors." 405 of 660 Palestinians were killed in the 2006 Israel-Gaza conflict, which lasted from 28 June till 26 November.
 Economic costs
The Israeli commerce has experienced much hardship, in particular because of the sharp drop in tourism. A representative of Israel's Chamber of Commerce has estimated the cumulative economic damage caused by the crisis at 150 to 200 billion Shekels, or 35 to 45 billion US $ - against an annual GDP of 122 billion dollars in 2002.
Sixteen square kilometers of land in the Gaza Strip, most of it agricultural, was razed by Israeli military forces and more than 601 houses were completely destroyed. The Office of the United Nations Special Coordinator in the Occupied Territories (UNSCO) estimates the damage done to the Palestinian economy at over 1.1 billion dollars in the first quarter of 2002, compared to an annual GDP of 4.5 billion dollars.
- ^ a b c d e f "B'Tselem - Statistics - Fatalities". Intifada deaths since September 29, 2000.
- ^ a b "ICT Middleastern Conflict Statistics Project". Breakdown of Fatalities: 27 September 2000 through 1 January 2005. International Policy Institute for Counter-Terrorism.
- ^ a b "An Engineered Tragedy". Statistical Analysis of Casualties in the Palestinian - Israeli Conflict, September 2000 - September 2002. International Policy Institute for Counter-Terrorism. Article is here also.
- ^ Khaled Abu Toameh. How the war began. Retrieved on 2006-03-29.
- ^ "PA: Intifada Was Planned", The Jewish Week, 2000-12-20.
- ^ "In a Ruined Country", The Atlantic Online, September 2005.
- ^ Yossef Bodansky, The High Cost of Peace (Prima Publishing, 2002) ISBN 0-7615-3579-9 pp.353-354
- ^ HUSSEIN DAKROUB, Associated Press Writer. Associated Press. New York: March 26, 2002. pg. 1
- ^ Rape, Murder, Violence and War for Allah Against the Jews: Summer 2000 on Palestinian Television. Retrieved on 2000-03-29.
- ^ a b "Sharm El-Sheikh Fact-Finding Committee Report". The George J. Mitchell (et al) report. April 30, 2001.
- ^ "Sgt. David Biri", Israeli Ministry of Foreign Affairs, 2000-09-27.
- ^ "Myths & Facts Online: The “al-Aksa Intifada”", Myths and Facts, 2002.
- ^ "2000: 'Provocative' mosque visit sparks riots", BBC News, 2000-09-28.
- ^ What America wants - Noam Chomsky
- ^ PALESTINE: Why Palestinians hate Sharon - Margaret Allum
- ^ 
- ^ "Border Police Supt. Yosef Tabeja", Israel Ministry of Foreign Affairs, 2000-09-29.
- ^ The Or Inquiry - Summary of Events. Haaretz. Retrieved on 9 April, 2006.
- ^ Asser, Martin. "Lynch mob's brutal attack", BBC News, October 13, 2000. Retrieved on 2006-09-03.
- ^ "Interview with Ramallah's chief of police", Haaretz, 2000-10-20.
- ^ Feldman, Shai. The October Violence: An Interim Assessment, Jaffes Center for Strategic Studies, Strategic Assessment, Vol. 3 No. 3, November 2000.
- ^ "Report of Secretary-General on recent events in Jenin, other Palestinian cities", UN, 2002-08-01.
- ^ Report of the Secretary-General prepared pursuant to General Assembly resolution ES-10/10. United Nations. Retrieved on 2006-03-29.
- ^ Jenin: IDF Military Operation (PDF). Human Rights Watch. Retrieved on 2006-03-29.
- ^ B'Tselem log of Palestinians killed
- ^ "Israel defends Hamas death", The Telegraph, 2003-06-23.
- ^ "Israelis flatten West Bank shops", BBC News, 2003-01-21.
- ^ Razing Rafah: Mass Home Demolitions in the Gaza Strip. Human Rights Watch. Retrieved on 2006-03-29.
- ^ "Army pulls back from Gaza leaving 100 Palestinians dead", The Guardian, 2004-10-16.
- ^ "Moral Quagmire", The Jewish Week, 2004-12-03.
- ^ "Israeli army under fire after killing girl", Christian Science Monitor, 2004-11-26.
- ^ "Palestinians sift rubble after Israel's Gaza assault", Reuters, 2004-10-16.
- ^ "Sharon suspends contacts with Palestinian Authority", CNN, 2005-01-14.
- ^ "Israel cuts Palestinian contacts", BBC News, 2005-01-14.
- ^ "Mid-East leaders announce truce", BBC News, 2005-02-08.
- ^ "Abbas orders security crackdown", BBC News, 2005-02-10.
- ^ "Hamas leader says Israel's existence is a reality". By Sean Maguire and Khaled Oweis. Reuters. Jan. 10, 2007.
- ^ "Terrorist organizations exploit UNRWA vehicles: during the Israeli army operation in the Zeitun quarter of Gaza, UNWRA vehicles were used to smuggle armed terrorists out of the area and in all probability remains of Israeli soldiers as well", Intelligence and Terrorism Information Center at the Center for Special Studies (C.S.S), 2004-05.
- ^ http://www0.un.org/apps/news/story.asp?NewsID=8060&Cr=middle&Cr1=east]
- ^ http://hrw.org/reports/2002/israel3/israel0502-01.htm#P49_1774
- ^ Anatomy of Anti-Israel Incitement: Jenin,Anti-Defamation League
- ^ The Peace Index Project conducted at the Tami Steinmetz Center for Peace
- ^ 
- ^ 
- ^ "Table of Figures". Intifada casualties chart. Palestine Red Crescent Society.
- ^ "Violence among the Palestinians". By Erika Waak. Humanist. Jan-Feb 2003.
- ^ "The ‘Intra’fada. An Analysis of Internal Palestinian Violence". By Leonie Schultens. April 2004. The Palestinian Human Rights Monitor. A bi-monthly publication of the Palestinian Human Rights Monitoring Group.
- ^ "Israeli death toll in Intifada higher than last two wars", Haaretz, September 24, 2004.
- ^ "Two-thirds of Palestinians Killed in the West Bank This Year Did not Participate in the Fighting", B'Tselem, 2004-12-08.
- ^ Alexander A. Weinreb and Avi Weinreb. "Has Israel Used Indiscriminate Force?", The Middle East Quarterly.
- ^ http://frontpagemag.com/Articles/Printable.asp?ID=8792
- ^ "Engineering civilian casualties", Jerusalem Post, 2004-06-02.
- ^ "B'Tselem: Israeli security forces killed 660 Palestinians during 2006". Haaretz. Dec. 28, 2006.
 See also
- Israeli-Palestinian conflict
- Violence in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict: 2000, 2001, 2002, 2003, 2004, 2005 and 2006
- List of massacres committed during the Al-Aqsa Intifada
- Accusations against Israel of war crimes during the Al-Aqsa Intifada
- Child suicide bombers in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict
- Israel's unilateral disengagement plan
- The shooting on Gilo neighborhood
- Israeli West Bank barrier
- The lynch in Ramallah
 External links
- Palestinian Military Performance and the 2000 Intifada
- Has Israel beaten the suicide bombers? The Telegraph
- "There must be peace between symbols" and "Monsters in the shadows of a Palestinian plebiscite" - Thinking-East analyses
- (Hebrew) Or Commission report
- Harvest-time Killing Fuels Hatred Between Palestinians and Jewish Settlers
- BBC News: Analysis: Palestinian suicide attacks
- BBC News: "Al-Aqsa Intifada timeline"
- The Palestinian Red Crescent Society - Includes weekly reports of injuries, deaths, military detention of ambulances, and many other statistics.
- Ariel Sharon's Visit to the Temple Mount - From Ariel Sharon's Life Story, a biography
- Lessons from the Palestinian 'War' against Israel, by Lt. Gen. (ret.) Moshe Yaalon, Washington Institute for Near East Policy, January 2007
- Palestinian Center For Human Rights
- Palestinian casualties of the Intifada up to 2004
- The Electronic Intifada
- Jewish Settlers Receive Hundreds of Thousands in Compensation for Leaving Gaza While Palestinians Working for Them Get Nothing
- Israel must end the hatred now
- Israeli Settler Violence Exposes Jewish Fundamentalism
- "Helplessness, deprivation and hatred"
- Committee on economic, social, and cultural rights hears from NGOs on conditions in Israel and Brazil
- Palestine Since the Intifada began video
- Jerusalem Newswire
- Victims of Palestinian Violence and Terrorism since September 2000
- Jewish Virtual Library: Myths & Facts Online
- Israel War against Terror
- Intelligence and Terrorism Information Center
- Who shot Mohammed al-Dura?
- The Second Draft
- Special: Gaza kidnapping Israeli News - Ynetnews English version of Yedioth Ahronoth