The word intifada, in Arabic, means "awakening" or "shaking off". It has been used to describe two recent outbreaks of violence between the Palestinians and the Israelis.
The first Intifada, or the Intifada, began in 1987 and ended with the signing of the Oslo accords in 1993, although the violence had already decreased significantly two years earlier. This is the one described in TheLady's original writeup above.
The second and more violent Intifada, known as the Al-Aqsa Intifada, "officially" began in September 2000, when Ariel Sharon's visit to the Temple Mount (the historical site of the Temple of Jerusalem and the current site of the Al-Aqsa Mosque) sparked a series of increasingly violent protests by Palestinians. Things quickly escalated into the vicious circle we see today, of (mostly) suicide bombings and IDF retaliations repeated ad infinitum et nauseam. Nearly four years later, the end is still out of sight.
It should be noted that the years 1993-2000, while not nearly as violent (on average) as during the Intifadas, were not wholly peaceful. The Palestinian Authority had violated the Oslo accords (and lost its credibility) long before the Al Aqsa Intifada, one instance being the 1996 bus bombings in Tel Aviv.
Note: The ongoing Intifada deserves more elaboration, whether here or in its own node, but in the interest of objectivity, I will leave it to others.
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