Skip to main content
Low-Intensity Conflict / Reference

Second Intifada (Al-Aqsa Intifada, 2000–2005?)

A period of low-intensity conflict between Israeli security forces on the one hand, and Palestinian militants and civilians on the other hand, that took place in the early 2000s. It began with violent confrontations seen by Palestinians as the result of Israeli opposition leader Ariel Sharon’s visit to the Temple Mount on 28 September 2000, and by Israelis as premeditated by the Palestinian leadership. Both claims were examined in the 2001 Mitchell Report. The conflict included widespread confrontations across the West Bank and Gaza Strip, attacks by Palestinian militant organizations against Israelis both in Israel and in the Palestinian Territories, and Israeli military operations against these organizations, including Hamas’ Izzedine Al-Qassam Brigades, Fatah’s Al-Aqsa Martyrs’ Brigades and Palestinian Islamic Jihad (PIJ). The most significant of these operations was the 2002 Operation Defensive Shield. Failed efforts to de-escalate the situation included the Sharm el-Sheikh and Taba Summits, as well as the Tenet and Zinni Plans. Palestinian attacks, especially suicide bombings, were a major motivation for Israel to begin construction on the West Bank Separation Barrier. The death toll in the Intifada amounted to about 1,000 on the Israeli side and 3,000-5,000 on the Palestinian side. The conflict is considered to have gradually come to an end concurrently with the negotiations revolving around the Road Map for Peace and the 2005 Sharm el-Sheikh Summit.