The Second Intifada, also known as the Al-Aqsa Intifada, lasted from 28th September 2000 to 8th February 2005. This second mass resistance movement against the Israeli occupation was sparked by then-candidate for Prime Minister Ariel Sharon’s visit to the Al-Aqsa Mosque.1 This move was largely interpreted as a provocation to Palestinians due to Sharon’s support for maintaining Israel’s annexation of East Jerusalem and sparked protests, which were heavily repressed by Israel. Subsequent protests and clashes culminated into what is now referred to as the Second Intifada.2 The broader context behind the uprising was the failure of the Oslo process and corruption within the Palestinian Authority (PA).
Approximately 3,000 Palestinians and 1,000 Israelis were killed between September 2000 and February 2005.3 In 2001, there were more fatalities in the Occupied Palestinian Territory (OPT) than in any other year since 1967.4 This Intifada was significantly more violent than the first, with Israel adopting a heavily militarised response from the outset to prevent the kind of international sympathy from the first uprising from developing and a significant increase in Palestinian suicide bombings. During the Second Intifada, Israel also began the construction of the Separation Wall in the West Bank, which was ruled illegal by the International Court of Justice (ICJ). Two Hamas leaders were also killed in Israeli airstrikes during this period and the then-leader of the Palestine Liberation Organisation (PLO) Yasser Arafat’s headquarters were demolished and besieged by Israeli forces. After Arafat’s death in November 2004 in France, Mahmoud Abbas became the leader of the PLO. The Second Intifada culminated with a truce between Abbas and Sharon, then-Prime Minister of Israel, signed in Sharm al-Shaikh, Egypt.5
The Second Intifada starkly demonstrated the failure of years of negotiations, and marked a turning point in both internal Israeli and Palestinian politics.