What Is the Third Intifada?

third intifada


Across the the Internet, people are already beginning to mention the Third Intifada.

The call comes after 17 days of intense violence between Israel and Gaza, with Israel launching a ground invasion and shelling heavily populated areas, and Hamas militants sending rockets over the border toward Israeli civilian populations.

The death toll in the current conflict now sits at around 762 Palestinians and at least 32 Israeli soldiers.

But what is an intifada?

Intifada is an Arabic word literally translated as “shaking off” and popularly used to mean an uprising or resistance. On the ground in Palestine and Israel, an intifada means a time of increased violence as Palestinians revolt against Israel.

The First Intifada took place between 1987 and 1993 and began after decades of disputes over control of certain territory and mounting casualties on both sides from informal skirmishes and ambushes. The six years of on-and-off fighting claimed the lives of 94 Israeli civilians and 91 Israeli soldiers, as well as 1,376 Palestinians.

The First Intifada started winding down with the 1991 Madrid Peace Conference. By 1993, Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat recognized Israel as a nation and earned for Palestine limited autonomy.

third intifada

U.S. President Bill Clinton stands between PLO leader Yasser Arafat (right) and Israeli Prime Minister Yitzahk Rabin as they shake hands on September 13, 1993. (Getty)

The Second Intifada took place between 2000 and 2005 and began after former general, conservative politician and soon-to-be prime minister Ariel Sharon went to the Temple Mount with 1,000 soldiers despite Palestinian protest. What started as a large protest quickly turned into a multi-year violent conflict.

A peace agreement was met in 2005 after the death of Yasser Arafat and in-fighting amongst Palestinian factions decreased Israeli-Palestinian tensions. The conflict ended with a death toll of 3,135 Palestinians killed by Israeli soldiers, and 950 Israeli soldiers and civilians killed by Palestinians.

As tens of thousands of Palestinians in the West Bank take to the streets to protest the Israeli bombing of Gaza, could we be headed to the Third Intifada?

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