The leader of Hamas called Thursday for a third “intifada,” a day after President Trump said the United States would recognize Jerusalem as Israel’s capital and begin moving its embassy to the city.
Israeli authorities welcomed the announcement, but Palestinians and other world leaders say the move would spark violence and unhinge prospects for a Middle East peace accord.
Israel regards Jerusalem as its capital, but the international community says the city’s status should be determined through peace talks. Palestinians seek East Jerusalem as the capital of a future, independent state.
What is an intifada?
The Arabic word intifada means “shake”, “shaking” or “shake off.” In this case, intifada refers to an uprising against Israel.
The first intifada began in 1987 after Israeli troops killed four Palestinians at a checkpoint in Gaza and an Israeli soldier opened fire on protesting Palestinians, killing a 17-year-old. Images of Palestinian youths throwing rocks and stones at Israeli soldiers were published worldwide. Israeli troops responded with deadly force. The Oslo Accords between the Israeli government and the Palestine Liberation Organization, the setting up of the Palestinian Authority and Israeli withdrawals from the West Bank brought an end to that intifada in 1993.
The second intifada began in September 2000 after Ariel Sharon, who went on to serve as Israel’s prime minister from 2001-2006, visited the disputed holy site in Jerusalem known as the Temple Mount to Jews and the Noble Sanctuary (Haram al-Sharif) to Muslims. Palestinians feared Israel was preparing to retake the site, which is home to the Al Aqsa mosque. Two days after Sharon’s visit, Muhammad Durrah, 12, was killed in a firefight between Israeli troops and Palestinians on the Gaza strip, stoking more Palestinian anger. This Hamas-led intifada was characterized by deadly violence, including shootings and suicide bombings. It ended months after the death of Palestinian Authority chairman Yasser Arafat in November 2004.
What could a third intifada mean for the troubled region?
“We want the uprising to last and continue to let Trump and the occupation regret this decision,” said Hamas leader Ismail Haniya at a news conference in the Gaza Strip Thursday.
However some believe a third intifada will not occur.
Muhammad Shehada, an activist from the Gaza Strip, wrote in the Israeli newspaper Haaretz that the likelihood of another mass uprising was at an “all-time low” because it is not in the interests of the Palestinian Authority or Hamas.
Contributing: Oren Dorell and Kim Hjelmgaard