In October 2000, demonstrations exploded throughout 1948-occupied Palestinian lands in protest against the Israeli occupation’s brutal practices against Palestinians following Ariel Sharon’s, Israel’s prime minister from 2001 to 2006, storming of sacred Al-Aqsa mosque courtyards in occupied Jerusalem.
The demonstrations which are known locally as the “October ignition” continued during the first days of Octobar 2000.
Between 1 and 8 October 2000, Israeli occupation forces shot dead 13 Palestinians, injured and detained dozens of others across 1948-occupied Palestinian lands.
Repercussions and Reasons
On the morning of 28 September 2000, Ariel Sharon along with Israeli Kennest members stormed the blessed Al-Aqsa mosque courtyards under the protection of well-armed Israeli occupation forces, in a provocative move ignited the anger of the Palestinian people.
Dozens of Palestinians including Palestinian leaders and members of the Knesset stoop up to defend the holy Al-Aqsa mosque.
Protests flashed between Palestinian youths and the Israeli occupation forces who suppressed the peaceful demonstrations with excessive force, including firing live, rubber bullets, and tear gas bombs.
As a consequence, Israeli occupation snipers shot dead 7 Palestinians, injured and detained hundreds of others.
The next days, 1-3 octobar 2000, a wave of anger spread all over the occupied Palestinian lands in tandem with raising the Palestinian flags and black banners.
Planned and orchestrated Israeli repression
During the protests, Israeli special sniper units used live ammunition, rubber-coated steel bullets, and tear gas against the Palestinian protestors in a flagrant violation of international law. Most of the Palestinians killed or seriously wounded by Israeli military troops were shot in the upper parts of the body, in the head, neck, or chest.
It’s worth mentioning that the Israeli occupation repression came in implementation of the orders of the Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Barak, who instructed the Israeli occupation forces during a meeting on the night of October 1, not to hesitate to use all excessive force means to repress Palestinian demonstrators across 1948-occupied Palestinian lands.
The Israeli actions of repression were not limited to the Israeli occupation forces only, but rather include armed colonial settlers who attacked Palestinian villages under the protection of the Israeli forces.
The Or Commission of Inquiry: No justification for lethal fire
On 8 November 2000, following enormous public pressure, an official commission of inquiry was established into the October 2000 events. Its primary mandate was to “investigate the sequence of events and determine its findings and conclusions regarding what occurred during these events and regarding the causes leading to their occurrence at that time.”
The commission found that there had been no justification whatsoever for the gunfire that murdered the 13 Palestinian. It discovered that Israeli occupation snipers had been used to disperse demonstrations and that lethal sniper fire was illegal and breached even the internal police regulations governing the use of live fire.
It similarly determined that the firing of rubber-coated steel bullets, which had fatal consequences, was against police regulations.
It concluded that in none of the 13 murder cases had there been a genuine threat justifying the deadly Israeli gunfire.
The Or Commission issued recommendations to the political leadership concerning their involvement in the events. Nonetheless, while the commission found Israeli officers and commanders responsible for individual deaths through orders to use snipers and live ammunition, the report lacked conclusive recommendations to indict those accountable for the slayings at all levels.
In September 2005, about five years after the October uprising, Mahash, Israel’s Police Investigation Unit, published a report stating that there is no way to file an indictment in any of the 13 killings committed by Israeli officers.
On January 2, 2008, the Attorney General of the Israeli occupation adopted Mahash’s recommendations and closed the investigation files and none of the Israeli officers were brought to trial.
Steadiness and Resistance
October uprising 2000 revived memories of the Palestinian youth’s steadfastness and valor in confronting the Israeli occupation forces and settelers mobs and defending Al-Aqsa mosque during Haifa’s uprising in May 2021 which is known locally as the “Karamah Uprising.”
October uprising across 1948-occupied Palestinian lands raised political awareness among the public which was clearly reflected in the decline in the percentage of participation in the Israeli Knesset elections.
Israeli occupation’s use of excessive force against peaceful Palestinian protesters exposed the real face of the Israeli occupation’s brutality and refuted their propaganda.
The 13 Palestinians massacred by Israeli occupation forces in October 2000