The Al-Aqsa Intifada, also known as the Second Intifada, is a significant chapter in the Palestinian history.
The Al-Aqsa Intifada erupted in September 2000, sparked by a controversial visit by Ariel Sharon, then an Israeli opposition leader, to the Al-Aqsa Mosque compound.
Palestinians were protesting against years of occupation, frustration with the peace process, and economic hardships.
The intifada continued for several years and resulted in substantial loss of life and property.
During the Al-Aqsa Intifada, thousands of Palestinians lost their lives. It’s estimated that the Israeli occupation killed over 4,412 Palestinians and injured 48,322 others.
The intifada witnessed extensive destruction of infrastructure, homes, and public facilities in Palestinian territories.
Tens of thousands of Palestinians were detained by Israeli occupation authorities during this period, often without trial.
The Al-Aqsa Intifada, while officially ended in 2005, has left a lasting impact on the Palestinian people, with a continued cycle of Israeli violence.
There has been a worrying increase in crimes committed by the Israeli occupation forces:
1. Settlement Expansion: Israeli settlements in the West Bank continue to expand, in violation of international law, displacing Palestinians and fragmenting their territories.
2. Demolitions: Palestinian homes and structures are regularly demolished, ostensibly for lacking permits that are often difficult or impossible to obtain.
3. Restrictions on Movement: Palestinians face numerous restrictions on their movement, affecting their daily lives, including access to education, healthcare, and work.
4. Gaza Blockade: The blockade of Gaza persists, leading to a humanitarian crisis with limited access to basic necessities.
The Al-Aqsa Intifada: A symbol of Palestinian resistance against occupation
Later, the city of Jerusalem witnessed violent clashes that resulted in dozens of injuries, quickly spreading to all cities in the West Bank and Gaza Strip.
One of the prominent events during the Second Intifada was the execution of the 12-year-old Palestinian child, Mohammed Ad-Dura.
Two days after Ariel Sharon’s invasion of Al-Aqsa Mosque, a video captured by a French TV correspondent showed the execution of Ad-Dura, who was taking cover with his father behind a cement barrel on Salah al-Din Street, south of Gaza City.
The execution of Ad-Dura sparked outrage among Palestinians, leading to angry protests and confrontations with the Israeli army.
The “Al-Aqsa Intifada” came to a halt on February 8, 2005, following a “ceasefire” agreement between Israelis and the Palestinian people at the Sharm El-Sheikh summit.
Despite many years passing since the Second Intifada, Al-Aqsa Mosque remains the compass for Palestinians and the driving force in any confrontation with the occupation, whether in the form of popular protests in Jerusalem and the West Bank or military confrontations with resistance factions in Gaza.