History of The Arab–Israeli Conflict - Intifada of 2000

Intifada of 2000

The al-Aqsa Intifada, or Second Intifada, began in late September 2000, around the time Israeli opposition leader Ariel Sharon and a large contingent of armed bodyguards visited the Temple Mount/Al-Haram As-Sharif complex in Jerusalem and declared the area as an eternal Israeli territory. Widespread riots and attacks broke out among Palestinians and Arab citizens of Israel in Jerusalem and many major Israeli cities, and spread throughout the West Bank and Gaza Strip. The Palestinian Authority (PA) involvement in the Intifada was handled by the Tanzim (Organization), which was the secret armed branch of Arafat's Fatah party within the PLO. In January 2002, the "PA's direct involvement in the Intifada was confirmed ... when the IDF intercepted a cargo ship in the Red Sea carrying tons of rockets, mortars, and other weapons and ammunition from Iran, earmarked for smuggling into PA areas." In March 2002, just prior to the Arab Peace Initiative, suicide bombings committed by Palestinians against Israeli civilians "intensified ... in buses, restaurants, coffee shops, and other public places in Israel." An Israeli human rights group, B'Tselem, estimated the death toll to be 3,396 Palestinians and 994 Israelis, although this number is criticized for not showing the whole picture, and not differentiating between combatants and civilians (suicide bombers, for example, are counted in that death toll). The Intifada also created "heavy economic losses to both sides" of the conflict.

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