Intifada

The Columbia Encyclopedia, 6th ed.

Intifada

Intifada (Ĭntēfă´dĕ) [Arab.,=uprising, shaking off], the Palestinian uprising during the late 1980s and early 90s in the West Bank and Gaza Strip, areas that had been occupied by Israel since 1967. A vehicular accident that killed four Palestinians in the Gaza Strip in Dec., 1987, sparked immediate local protests that rapidly spread to the West Bank. The violence was marked by stone-throwing and the use of homemade explosive devices on behalf of the Arabs, and the use of tear gas, rubber bullets, and home demolition by Israeli troops attempting to quell the popular resistance. The conflict led to an Israeli military crackdown and the stagnation of the Arab economies in the occupied territories, but with the gradual establishment of Palestinian self-rule, beginning with the accord between Israel and the Palestine Liberation Organization in 1993, the violence eased significantly.

The term "intifada" has also been used to describe the anti-Israeli uprising that began after the Sept. 20, 2000, visit of the right-wing Israeli politician Ariel Sharon to the Jerusalem holy site known as (to Jews) the Temple Mount or (to Arabs) the Haram esh-Sherif. Arising out of Palestinian frustration with the slow progress since the since 1993, the fighting has had the character more of a guerrilla war and has been marked by the use of suicide bomb attacks by Hamas, the Islamic Jihad, and elements of the PLO and by Israeli attacks on official Palestinian installations and reoccupation of areas Israeli forces had left after 1993.

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