According to Printerhall, the very long and troubled Israeli-Palestinian peace process knew, at the end of the 20th century, a new but illusory relaunch with the agreement of Šarm al-Šayẖ (September 1999), which should have led the parties to sign the a final and resolving treaty within one year, along the lines indicated by the 1993 Oslo accords. The progress of the negotiations, however, had highlighted the growing distrust of Palestinians in Israeli politics, aimed at postponing the implementation of the process begun in Oslo over time and avoiding opening a detailed negotiation on the future Palestinian state and on the controversial issues of the future of Jerusalem and the return of refugees. Immediately after the Šarm al-Šayẖ agreement, however, Israel initiated the first of three planned withdrawals from the Occupied Territories (the other two were scheduled for November 1999 and January 2000). The return of large swathes of West Bank territory to the Palestinian National Authority (PNA) followed the lines of the agreement signed in September 1995 in Washington, known as Oslo II., which had divided the West Bank, like a ‘patch of leopard’, into three types of zones: A, under the Palestinian authority (but in which Israel maintained control over movements in and out); B, under joint control (Palestinian civil administration, but Israeli military control for security issues); C, under Israeli authority. The withdrawal of September 1999 covered 7 % of the territory of the West Bank, which passed from zone C to zone B. On 25 October, a 44 km long connecting road between the Gaza Strip and the West Bank was opened (from Tar Kumiya, near Hebron, at the checkpoint of Erez, in the Strip); Israelis maintained absolute control (eg, transit permits for Palestinians, military checkpoints, and even traffic restrictions).
Although the negotiations on the definitive agreement were started in Ramallah at the beginning of November, the end of the year marked a deterioration in relations between the parties; the new stalemate, caused by the expansion of Israeli settlements in the West Bank and by the growing recourse to terrorism by the Palestinian fundamentalist organization Ḥ am ā s (Ḥarakat al-Muq ā wama al-Isl ā miyya, Islamic Resistance Movement, founded in Gaza in 1987), brought about yet another shift in the calendar of retreats from the West Bank. The influence of Ḥamās it had grown considerably during the 1990s; the organization, operating mostly in hiding but also heavily involved in welfare and support activities for the population, was expanding its roots in society, proclaiming in a priori way the rejection of any political solution to the conflict. Furthermore, its propaganda had been decisive in inciting the streets to fundamentalism and violence both against Israel and against members of more moderate Palestinian movements.
The 2000 was the year that marked somehow the end of the peace process begun in Oslo. The failure of the Camp David negotiations between Israel and the Palestine (July) brought to light the growing distance between the parties and the strong (and never cleared up) ambiguities of the whole negotiation. In fact, beyond the irreconcilable positions on Jerusalem and the refugees, the Israeli national security doctrine, thanks to which they, in consideration of their defense needs, had repeatedly suspended the withdrawal of the army from the Territories, had dramatically frustrated the expectations of the Palestinian population, which on the basis of those agreements expected to receive about 90 % of the Territories already in the transitional period of the agreement. At the beginning of 2000, however, only 12.1 % of the West Bank was under full Palestinian control (zone A), while 26.9 % were in zone B and 61 % in zone C. At Camp David Israel showed their intention to return between 91 and 97 % of the West Bank, but breaking it into three sections, devoid of any territorial continuity between them. Even the proposed security clauses appeared unacceptable to the Palestine negotiators: demilitarization of the Palestinian state, Israeli control along the Jordan and at the borders between the future state and the other Arab states. The rigidity shown at Camp David by Palestinian President Y. ̔Arafāt, firmly intending not to come to terms with the right of his people to the return of the Territories, can therefore find an explanation in the growing frustration of the Palestinian population, which never as it happened in the years 1993-2000 had seen their living conditions dramatically worsen: doubling the number of Israeli settlers in both Gaza and the West Bank; construction of 30 new settlements and related confiscation of over 160 km 2 of land; strangulation of the Palestinian economy through the expropriation of farms and pastures; uprooting of tens of thousands of olive and fruit trees; drainage of water resources; demolition of houses and infrastructure. According to Amnesty International, at the beginning of 2000 the Oslo accords had resulted in the creation in the West Bank of 227 areas under the total or partial control of the Palestine, geographically separated and mostly spread over less than 2 km 2, with Israeli checkpoints entering and outgoing. At the end of September 2000, in the days in which according to the calendar established between the parties the Palestinians should have declared the birth of their state, the West Bank was divided as follows: 17.2 % area A, 23.8 % area B, 59 % area C. period the second intif ā ḍa broke out in Jerusalem, called al-Aqṣā from the name of one of the mosques of East Jerusalem, located in the third holy place of Islam, al-Ḥaram al-Sharīf (the noble sanctuary, also known as Esplanade of the mosques). On September 29, the day following the visit of Likud leader A. Sharon at the religious site revered by both religions (for Jews the Esplanade is the Temple Mount), the first riots broke out: after the Friday prayers, some thousands of Muslim faithful flocked to the Esplanade, where violent clashes with the police took place Israelis (6 Palestinian victims and over 200 injured). The protest spread like wildfire, quickly turning into a generalized revolt for independence, and was severely suppressed by the Israeli government. But unlike the first intif ā ḍa, characterized by street clashes, popular demonstrations and non-violent acts of civil disobedience, the intif ā ḍa of al-Aqṣā immediately saw, by the Palestinians, a wide use of firearms and a massive use of bombings and suicide attacks against civilians and military.