On September 28, 2000 Israel’s then defense minister Ariel Sharon made a historic visit along with armed guards to the Nobel Sanctuary in Jerusalem’s Old City, the holy sites complex that houses the al-Aqsa mosque and the Temple Mount. Sharon entered and exited the area amid protests from Palestinians, which continued into the following day with violent clashes between Palestinian youngsters and the Israeli military.
That day, the 29th of September, is marked as the first official day of the second Intifada.
The 2000 uprising began in Gaza a day after clashes broke out in Jerusalem. On September 30th Mohammed al-Dura slid under the protective grip of his father during a heated confrontation between Israelis and Palestinians. A journalist from France 2 recorded Mohammed’s father waving to soldiers as if to signal they were trapped civilians. Then a burst of dust clouded the frame and when the scene cleared, Mohammed lay dead on his father’s lap.
That image has become one of the most powerful memories in the Palestinian collective narrative of the losses, injuries, and deaths suffered during the years of the second Intifada. Every year, Palestinians in Gaza march to protest the Israeli shooting.
Last September, photographer Mohammed Asad captured young protesters as they entered the buffer zone with Israel near al-Bureij refugee camp. Demonstrators waved Palestinian flags, burned tires threw rocks in the direction of the Israeli army, and attempted to scale the wire military fence. Israeli soldiers responded with tear gas and live-fire, wounding six.
“We came here to prove to the Israeli occupying forces that the memory of the uprising is unforgettable,” said demonstrator Abu Falasteen, 23, while standing near the army fence cordoning off an eastern sliver of Gaza into a de-militarized zone. He said he was there in part to remember the killing of Mohammed al-Dura, and in part, to protest against the Israeli occupation of the territory.
“This wire is barbed wire. Does it mark a border?—Yes, but what we see is an imaginary line and it is fleeting with each passing day,” Abu Falasteen said.