The Palestinian intifada has now raged for a year and a half. During that time, periods of escalating violence have been punctuated by occasional attempts at diplomacy and short- lived cease-fires.
Following are some of the highlights of the seemingly intractable Israeli-Palestinian conflict:
Sept. 28, 2000 — Some 30 Israeli policemen are wounded on Jerusalem’s Temple Mount when angry Palestinian demonstrators attack them with stones. The confrontation follows a controversial visit to the site by Likud Party leader Ariel Sharon and a group of Likud Knesset members. Hours later, similar clashes erupt in the West Bank town of Ramallah.
Sept. 30, 2000 — A 12-year-old-boy, Mohammad al-Darrah, is killed in his father’s arms when they are caught in the middle of a firefight in the Gaza Strip. Video footage of the incident inflames rioting Palestinians in the West Bank and Gaza Strip, and prompts similar riots in October by Israeli Arabs living within Israel’s borders.
Oct. 4, 2000 — Israeli and Palestinian leaders agree to a limited cease-fire during 10 hours of talks in Paris that bring together Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Barak, Palestinian Authority President Yasser Arafat and U.S. Secretary of State Madeleine Albright. The cease-fire lasts only hours.
Oct. 7, 2000 — Israel’s army withdraws from Joseph’s Tomb in Nablus after Palestinian security officials give assurances that they will protect the site. Within hours, a Palestinian mob destroys the Jewish holy site. In another incident that day, Hezbollah gunmen kidnap three Israeli soldiers, Staff Sgt. Avraham Binyamin, Staff Sgt. Omar Suad and Sgt. Adi Avitan.
Oct. 12, 2000 — Two Israeli reservists are killed and their bodies disfigured by a Palestinian mob in the West Bank town of Ramallah. For the first time, Israel retaliates with helicopter strikes on Palestinian command posts in Ramallah and Gaza City.
Oct. 16-17, 2000 — President Clinton and U.N. Secretary-General Kofi Annan join leaders from the Middle East for a summit in the Egyptian resort of Sharm el-Sheik. Israeli and Palestinian leaders agree to a cease-fire, but it collapses within days.
Nov. 9, 2000 — Israeli helicopter gunships assassinate Hussein Abayad, a leading member of the Palestinians’ Tanzim militia, inaugurating the Israeli policy of “targeted killings.”
Dec. 10, 2000 — Barak resigns, following his surprise announcement the previous night that he would seek a new mandate from the people to pursue his peace policies with the Palestinians.
Dec. 11, 2000 — A U.S.-led panel under former Sen. George Mitchell begins probing the causes of the Israeli-Palestinian violence.
Jan. 21-27, 2001 — Israeli-Palestinian peace talks are held at the Egyptian Red Sea resort of Taba.
Feb. 6, 2001 — Ariel Sharon is elected prime minister by a landslide over Barak.
March 7, 2001 — Sharon’s Cabinet is sworn in during a special Knesset session.
May 18, 2001 — A suicide bomber kills five people in a crowded shopping mall in Netanya, and Israel responds by launching its first jet strikes on the West Bank and Gaza Strip.
May 21, 2001 — The U.S.-led Mitchell Commission formally issues its report, calling for an immediate cease-fire followed by a cooling-off period and a series of confidence-building steps, as Sharon announces a unilateral Israeli cease-fire.
June 1, 2001 — A suicide bomber kills 21 Israelis and wounds more than 100 others at a Tel Aviv beachside disco, and Sharon abandons the unilateral cease-fire.
June 12, 2001 — Israel and the Palestinian Authority accept CIA Director George Tenet’s proposal for a lasting cease-fire in the Middle East, but Palestinian attacks resume the following day.
Aug. 9, 2001 — Fifteen people are killed and more than 130 wounded in a suicide bombing at Sbarro’s pizzeria in downtown Jerusalem.
Sept. 11, 2001 — Thousands of Palestinians celebrate the terror attacks in the United States, chanting “God is great.”
Sept. 18, 2001– Following intense international pressure after the previous week’s terror attacks in New York and Washington, Arafat declares a cease-fire, and Israel responds by pulling its tanks from Palestinian cities in the West Bank.
Oct. 17, 2001 — Gunmen from the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestinian, a PLO faction, assassinate Israeli Tourism Minister Rehavam Ze’evi, and Israel responds by sending troops into six Palestinian cities in the West Bank.
Nov. 10, 2001 — President Bush speaks of “Palestine” as a future state during an address before the U.N. General Assembly in New York.
Nov. 19, 2001 — Powell signals reinvigorated U.S. involvement in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict during a speech at the University of Louisville in Kentucky.
Nov. 26, 2001 — U.S. mediator Anthony Zinni starts a visit to the Middle East in an effort to bring about an Israeli-Palestinian cease-fire.
Dec. 1-2, 2001 — Eleven people are killed when two suicide bombers detonate bombs on Ben Yehuda Street in Jerusalem, and 15 are killed when a suicide bomber blows up a bus in Haifa.
Dec. 12, 2001 — Israel’s Cabinet cuts off all contact with Arafat, saying his failure to take serious action to stop Palestinian terror renders him “no longer relevant” to Israel.
Dec. 16, 2001 — Zinni returns to the United States for consultations.
Dec. 17, 2001 — Palestinian gunmen ignore a call for a cease-fire issued a day earlier by Arafat.
Dec. 22, 2001 — Israel refuses to let Arafat attend Christmas services in Bethlehem unless he arrests those responsible for the October assassination of Ze’evi.
Jan. 6, 2002 — Israel displays a weapons cache it captured three days earlier aboard a ship, the Karine A, bound for the Palestinian Authority from Iran.
Jan. 7, 2002 — Zinni ends his second mission to the region.
Jan. 17, 2002 — Six Israelis are killed and 33 injured when a Palestinian terrorist attacks a Bat Mitzvah celebration in northern Israel.
Jan. 27, 2002 — For the first time, a female suicide bomber strikes in Jerusalem, killing one man and wounding more than 100 people.
Feb. 8, 2002 — During a meeting at the White House, Sharon and Bush say they envision a Palestinian state as the outcome of any Middle East peace process, but Sharon urges U.S. officials to seek an “alternative leadership” to Arafat.
Feb. 28, 2002 — Israeli troops enter Palestinian refugee camps near the West Bank cities of Jenin and Nablus in a search for terrorists.
March 2, 2002 — A suicide bomber kills 10 Israelis, among them six children, in Jerusalem’s fervently Orthodox neighborhood of Beit Israel.
March 9, 2002 — Fourteen people are killed in Palestinian terrorist attacks at the popular Cafe Moment in Jerusalem and in Netanya.
March 14, 2002 — Zinni arrives in Israel for his third attempt at peacemaking.
March 27, 2002 — Twenty-two people are killed at a Passover seder in a Netanya hotel. Israeli officials refer to the attack as the “Passover Massacre.”
March 29, 2002 — Israel declares Arafat an “enemy” and invades his presidential compound in Ramallah.