also known as: Civil Uprising;

exact translation from Arabic means: Shaking off.

A Palestinian uprising against the Israeli occupation


Intifada is an Arabic word that literally means “shaking off”, and in the Palestinian context, it is understood to mean a civil uprising. The First Palestinian Intifada erupted in Gaza in December 1987, after four Palestinian were killed when an Israeli truck collided with two vans carrying Palestinian workers. Ensuing clashes spread rapidly to the rest of the Occupied Palestinian Territories. The Intifada was primarily carried out by youth, and was directed by the Unified National Leadership of the Uprising, a coalition of Palestinian political factions committed to ending the Israeli occupation and establishing Palestinian independence. Israel’s heavy-handed response included closing universities, deporting activists and destroying homes.


The Intifada also prompted the international community to search for a solution to the conflict. The Intifada ended with the signing of the Oslo Accords in 1993. Israel’s suppression of the Intifada left 1,500 Palestinian dead and tens of thousands injured.


The Second, or “Al-Aqsa”, Intifada began on September 28, 2000, when Likud opposition leader Ariel Sharon made a provocative visit to the Al-Aqsa Mosque with thousands of security forces deployed in and around the Old City of Jerusalem. Clashes between Palestinian protestors and Israeli forces left five Palestinians dead and a further 200 injured during the first two days. The incident sparked a widespread armed uprising in the Occupied Palestinian Territories. During the Al-Aqsa Intifada Israel caused unprecedented damage to the Palestinian economy and infrastructure. Israel reoccupied areas governed by the Palestinian Authority and began construction of its separation wall. By the end of 2008, the Palestinian death toll had reached almost 5,000, with over 50,000 injured.