Fanack Home / Palestine / Past to Present / The Second Intifada

The Second Intifada

Soldiers in Nablus during second intifada

On 28 September 2000, accompanied by hundreds of police officers, former (notorious) general and politician Ariel Sharon paid a visit to the Haram al-Sharif – for Muslims, the third most holy site after Mecca and Medina. It was a deliberate provocation, and occurred at a time when tensions were already high, especially in light of the fact that Sharon had found common ground with radical israeli settlers who believed that the Aqsa Mosque and Dome of the Rock should make room for the Third Temple. Earlier, they had already provoked incidents on the Haram al-Sharif in the hope of triggering such events. In September 1996, serious riots had erupted after the Israeli government opened up a tunnel to the public which ran under the complex.

The Palestinians were quick to react to Sharon’s actions, taking to the streets in various places. From day one, the Second Intifada had a strong military character. This was in contrast to the First Intifada, which was supported by local committees and in which civil disobedience and demonstrations were the focus. In the first few days, for example, the Israeli police shot dead fourteen Palestinians of Israel. They had taken to the streets in order to proclaim their solidarity with the Palestinians in Palestine. Armed groups of Palestinians – tied to Hamas and the Islamic Jihad, but also belonging to al-Aqsa Martyrs Brigade, which was linked to Fatah – joined the fray in a confrontation with the Israeli occupying forces and the Israeli settlers.

Israel’s reaction

Thus Israeli politicians managed to convey to the West the impression that it was Arafat who was the obstruction to a political agreement between Israel and the Palestinians – and not, for example, the continuance of the occupation or the on-going settlement in Palestine. At the end of March 2002, the Israeli army besieged the PNA headquarters in Ramallah (the Mukataa or al-Muqata’a), and the building was heavily damaged. Afterwards, the Israeli army continuously laid siege to the complex, in effect placing Arafat under house arrest.

Further Reading

Fanack’s Palestine country file provides a comprehensive overview about Palestine, its history, politics, culture, eco...
Palestinians have been waging a bitter struggle to establish their independent state and implement international legitim...
With the humiliating security measures at checkpoints, restriction of movement for Palestinians and the numerous other p...

© Copyright Notice

Please contact us in case of omissions concerning copyright-protected work. The acquired copyright protected images used on/as featured image of this page are: Israel Defense Force ©WIKIMEDIA COMMONS

"The heritage of knowledge is more valuable than gold."
Yahya ibn Abi Kathir (769-848)

We are a Dutch not for profit organisation (NGO), financed solely by individuals who share our belief in the importance of publishing and disseminating reliable, unbiased information on the Middle East & North Africa region. To represent the voice of the region’s people, we carefully echo the region’s heartbeat by offering fact-checked and therefore credible information.

Your support is greatly appreciated and helpful!