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The shooting of Gaza boy Muhammad al-Durrah shocked the world


28 September 2000: The BBC's Hilary Andersson reports on Ariel Sharon's visit to Jerusalem's holiest site
Second intifada

Initial optimism about the peacemaking prospects of a government led by Ehud Barak proved unfounded. A new Wye River accord was signed in September 1999 but further withdrawals from occupied land were hindered by disagreements and final status talks (on Jerusalem, refugees, settlements and borders) got nowhere. Frustration was building in the Palestinian population who had little to show for five years of the peace process.

Barak concentrated on peace with Syria - also unsuccessfully. But he did succeed in fulfilling a campaign pledge to end Israel's 21-year entanglement in Lebanon.

After the withdrawal from Lebanon in May 2000, attention turned back to Yasser Arafat, who was under pressure from Barak and US President Bill Clinton to abandon gradual negotiations and launch an all-out push for a final settlement at the presidential retreat at Camp David. Two weeks of talks failed to come up with acceptable solutions to the status of Jerusalem and the right of return of Palestinian refugees.

In the uncertainty of the ensuing impasse, Ariel Sharon, the veteran right-winger who succeeded Binyamin Netanyahu as Likud leader, toured the al-Aqsa/Temple Mount complex in Jerusalem on 28 September. Sharon's critics saw it as a highly provocative move. Palestinian demonstrations followed, quickly developing into what became known as the al-Aqsa intifada, or uprising.


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