AprilThe IDF conducts a massive exercise dubbed First Gear in preparation for violent clashes that the army thinks might occur if Palestinians lose hope in the peace process. During the exercise, reserve soldiers simulate the reoccupation of Qalqiliya. The exercise results from a thought process carried out by the IDF's Operational Theory Research Institute, which develops combat techniques for low-intensity conflict based in part on postmodern theory.
May 22–24Unilaterally and hastily, the IDF withdraws from southern Lebanon.
July 27The Camp David summit ends in failure. Although both sides agree to significant concessions with respect to their previous positions, they do not reach agreement on Jerusalem, the right of return, and security arrangements. Both sides prepare for an escalation of the military conflict while negotiations are still underway. In advance of the summit, the Judge Advocate General’s Office prepared new open-fire regulations, allowing soldiers to shoot to kill armed Palestinians in the case fighting breaks out in the territories.
September 28The head of the opposition in Israel, Ariel Sharon, makes a provocative and controversial visit to the Temple Mount, despite intelligence warnings that a “bloodbath” might result from the visit. Immediately after the visit, Palestinian demonstrators assault police forces, who respond with rubber-coated metal bullets and tear gas, killing four Palestinians and injuring more than two hundred. BTselem contends that the police reacted with excessive force.
September 29The second intifada (the al-Aqsa intifada) breaks out. The army overreacts, firing 1.3 million live bullets in the first month of the intifada.
October 1–8Twelve Palestinian citizens of Israel and another Palestinian from the Gaza Strip are shot to death by Israeli police forces during protests and demonstrations held in Palestinian towns in the north of Israel in solidarity with the Palestinians in the Occupied Territories.
October 5The OC Central Command issues an order prohibiting Israelis from entering Area A. The order also applies to residents of East Jerusalem having blue (Israeli) identity cards.
October 8Israel places an absolute prohibition on Palestinians from entering Israel and closes the “safe passage” between the West Bank and Gaza, the Rafah crossing, and the international airport in Gaza.
November 9The first “targeted killing” in the second intifada: Hussein Abiyat, a member of Tanzim, a military faction of the Fatah who was responsible for protracted gunfire at Jerusalem’s Gilo neighborhood, is killed in Beit Sahur by a helicopter missile. In the same attack, two women are killed and three other persons are injured. For the first time, Israel officially admits it carries out targeted killings. Killings of this kind will result, as of December 2007, in the death of 225 Palestinian activists and 147 civilians.
December 13Settlers declare a “roadblock operation” under the slogan,“Get the Murderers Off the Roads” in protest against the failure to enforce the General Staff’s directive to prohibit the movement of Palestinian vehicles that are carrying only males, a directive that caused much criticism within the army.
Israel defines the events in the territories as an armed conflict short of war, which brings with it an easing of the open-fire regulations. The judge advocate general decides to freeze the permanent command to open a Military Police Investigation Unit investigation in every case involving civilian casualties and instead to open MPIU investigations only in special cases.
The organization Ta'ayush (Living Together) is founded. The field organization, composed of Arabs and Jews, focuses on solidarity actions in the Occupied Territories.
Following the outbreak of the second intifada and the significant deterioration of living conditions in the Occupied Territories, the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) opens an office in the Occupied Territories. Its objective is to coordinate the aid agencies operating in the Occupied Territories and to distribute information and analyses on humanitarian matters. OCHA will serve as the main source of information on the closure regime in the Occupied Territories, document the layout of the checkpoints and roadblocks, and periodically prepare and publish maps reflecting the current situation.