"The earliest known human society that we see in process of developing an economy based first on the systematic gathering of wild cereals and then on their artificial production was to be found in Palestine, Transjordan, and Lebanon between about 10,000 and 8000 B.C. Dubbed by prehistorians 'Natufian' after the type site just north of Jerusalem, this culture was the product of a human type of slight build with long heads (dolichocephalic) that can confidently be classified as Homo sapiens." Donald B. Redford, Egypt, Canaan and Israel in Ancient Times p. 6, Princeton University Press, 1992
8000 - 6000 BC
"For the period about 8,000 to 6,000 B.C., the so-called Prepottery Neolithic, the culture of Palestine and Syria shows a progressive development of farming techniques, including the domestication of animals, and sedentarization in permanent towns." Donald B. Redford, Egypt, Canaan and Israel in Ancient Times p. 11, Princeton University Press, 1992
6000 - 4000 BC
"The three principal Pottery Neolithic cultures known to us in the Holy Land-Yarmukian, Coastal and Jerichoan-were contemporary to some degree. The Yarmukian culture, in particular, settled down in the central Jordan Valley, the Coastal in the coastal plain and the Jezreel Valley, and the Jerichoan in the lower Jordan Valley and other southern parts. All three were well-advanced in the making of pottery on their first arrival, some time in the sixth millennium." Emmanuel Anati, "The Prehistory of the Holy Land (until 3200 B.C.," A History of Israel and the Holy Land, p. 32, The Continuum Publishing Group, 2001
4000 - 3000 BC
"Towards the end of the fifth millennium, new regions in the south and the mountain areas were peopled...Some hamlets grew into real villages, and material culture in is several aspects -- pottery, flint implements, bone tools, art and so on -- underwent gradual changes. The transition from Neolithic to Chalcolithic is not abrupt; the division was made by archaeologists on the basis of differences in material culture.
It is not yet clear how the Chalcolithic cultures came to an end. Late in the fourth millennium, important northern cultural influences penetrated the holy Land, and a new culture was born. But the old traditions did not perish overnight, and co-existed with the new ones in the earliest levels of the Bronze Age." Emmanuel Anati, "The Prehistory of the Holy Land (until 3200 B.C.," A History of Israel and the Holy Land, p. 32, 34, The Continuum Publishing Group, 2001
"It was the destiny of the Holy Land, situated at the south-west end of the Fertile Crescent, to be a bridge between the two cradles of civilization, Mesopotamia (Babylonia-Assyria) and Egypt, at is extremities. It lay astride the principal land routes between the great powers of antiquity, with all the advantages and disadvantages that this involved. It was to be expected that it would be coveted by both." Hanoch Reviv, "The Canaanite and Israelite Periods (3200-332 B.C.)," A History of Israel and the Holy Land, p. 36, The Continuum Publishing Group, 2001
"Evidence of Egyptian involvement in the affairs of Palestine and Syria during the 1st and 2nd Dynasties [3080 - 2687 B.C.] is unmistakable. In the surviving fragments of annals from the reigns of the immediate successors of Menes [1st ruler of unified Egypt], one often encounters an entry such as 'smiting the Asiatics,' or 'first occasion of smiting the east,' as an identifying event by which to designate a year." Donald B. Redford, Egypt, Canaan, and Israel in Ancient Times, p. 33, Princeton University Press, 1992
2700 - 2200 BC
"The Egyptians could, and frequently did, resort to naked force in gaining their ends in Palestine...The few surviving texts from the Old Kingdom [3rd -6th Dynasties 2688 - 2191 B.C.] that deal with the subject do not equivocate. The most common verb used is 'to smite,' referring to mortal combat. The enemy are 'slaughtered,' 'put to flight,' or 'cowed,' and the survivors brought off to Egypt as prisoners." Donald B. Redford, Egypt, Canaan, and Israel in Ancient Times, p. 53-54, Princeton University Press, 1992
2200 - 2000 BC
"In place of the semi-industrialized society of Early Bronze III [2688 - 2191 B.C.], which could indulge in international trade, nought is left but rustic pastoralism in which stockbreeding looms large at the expense of agriculture...The increase of nonurban, transhumant economy in post-Early Bronze III Palestine could be put down in large measure to the depredations of the Egyptian armed forces." Donald B. Redford, Egypt, Canaan, and Israel in Ancient Times, p. 63-64, Princeton University Press, 1992
1950 - 1850 BC
"Following the impoverished Middle Bronze I [2200 - 1950 B.C.], with its sparse population of elusive transhumants, there comes the birth of a new cultural phase, which is not descended from Middle Bronze I. Middle Bronze IIA [1950 - 1750 B.C.] represents the introduction into the Levant of a culture with contacts with the north [Amorite states]. Donald B. Redford, Egypt, Canaan, and Israel in Ancient Times, p. 94, Princeton University Press, 1992
"By the mid-nineteenth century Amorite communities were in the ascendancy...Hazor dominated southern Syria and northern Palestine from its optimum position in the Upper Jordan Valley...
The warlike tendencies of the Amorite successor states are clearly reflected in the town architecture of MB IIA and B. To accommodate an increase in population -- the population of Palestine in MB IIA [1950 - 1750 B.C.] has been estimated at 100,000, that of MB IIB [1750 - 1600 B.C.] at 140,000 -- cities were enlarged and fortifications introduced...
On gains the distinct impression that by the end of MBIIA [1750 B.C.] Palestine and southern Syria had been irrevocably drawn into the ambit of the warring Amorite states of the north and east, and hence obliged to adopt a more hostile stance toward Egypt." Donald B. Redford, Egypt, Canaan, and Israel in Ancient Times, p. 94-96, Princeton University Press, 1992
1650 - 1550 BC
"Around 1650 an Asiatic military leader and his group seized power at Avaris [Egypt]. This may have been the result of a peaceful infiltration that ended in a coup d'etat, or the result of a takeover by a newly arrived military group. This is the beginning of the Hyksos rule first over the [Egyptian] Delta and then extending south, making also Thebes a vassal to the ruler at Avaris." Gosta W. Ahlstrom, The History of Ancient Palestine, p. 189, Sheffield Academic Press, 1993
"The degree of Hyksos control over the land whence they had emerged remains problematical. Design scarabs dubbed 'Hyksos' simply because they are ubiquitous in Egypt and Palestine during the period of the 15th Dynasty [1664 - 1555 B.C.] may or may not be proof of political rule: at most they attest to the presence of a sort of cultural penumbra." Donald B. Redford, Egypt, Canaan, and Israel in Ancient Times, p. 119, Princeton University Press, 1992
"Whether anything more than a sphere of interest should be postulated beyond the Sinai for the Hyksos dynasty is difficult to say at present…The Hazor regime [Amorites] would have maintained its powerful position through most, if not all, the Hyksos period…We can only assume Hazor's continued hegemony would have blocked Hyksos attempts to expand their control northward [into Palestine]." Donald B. Redford, Egypt, Canaan, and Israel in Ancient Times, p. 121, Princeton University Press, 1992
1550 - 1500 BC
"Unfortunately no cache of texts has been unearthed to date that could shed light on the Political history and demographic shifts of the second half of the sixteenth century, and one has the sinking feeling in approaching this period that a most significant page is missing in the record... The gap in our written sources is doubly maddening in view of the upheaval attested in the archaeological record. Nearly every major town in Palestine and southern Syria is found, upon excavation, to have undergone a violent destruction sometime after the close of Middle Bronze IIC [1600 - 1550 B.C.] -- that is, the cultural phase roughly contemporary with the last stage in the Hyksos occupation of Egypt." Donald B. Redford, Egypt, Canaan, and Israel in Ancient Times, p. 137-138, Princeton University Press, 1992
"The expulsion of the Hyksos from Egypt marks the end of the Middle Bronze Age. With the emergence of the Mitanni kingdom as well as the growing power of the Egyptian Eighteenth Dynasty, a new era began in the history of Syria-Palestine." Gosta W. Ahlstrom, The History of Ancient Palestine, p. 217, Sheffield Academic Press, 1993
"Egypt's chief rival in the struggle for hegemony over Syria at this time was the country of the Mittanni, in north-west Mesopotamia. The contest between the two powers was only decided in 1490 B.C. when Thutmose III (1504 - 1452 B.C.) defeated a confederation of kings of 'Huru' (Canaan and Syria), allies of Mitanni, at Megiddo. The victory set the stage for Egypt's subjugation of the entire Fertile Crescent." Hanoch Reviv, "The Canaanite and Israelite Periods (3200-332 B.C.)," The History of Israel and the Holy Land, p. 44 The Continuum Publishing Group Inc. 2001
"The immediate aftermath of the Egyptian conquest involved the intentional demolition of Canaanite towns and the deportation of a sizable segment of the population. Thutmose III [1504 - 1452 B.C.] carried off in excess of 7,300, while his son Amenophis II [1454 - 1419 B.C.] uprooted by his own account 89,600." Donald B. Redford, Egypt, Canaan, and Israel in Ancient Times, p. 208, Princeton University Press, 1992
"Ever since the great deportations of Thutmose III and Amenophis II, the northern empire and Palestine especially had suffered a weakening brought on by under population. Not only did the 'apiru banditry now take advantage of the vacuum in the highlands, but nomads from Transjordan also began to move north into Galilee and Syria and west across the Negev to Gaza, Ashkelon, and the highway linking Egypt with Palestine." Donald B. Redford, Egypt, Canaan, and Israel in Ancient Times, p. 179, Princeton University Press, 1992
"The 'apiru and the nomads (Shasu) are the people that the Egyptians, according to the inscriptions of the Eighteenth and Nineteenth dynasties, met in Palestine. These are therefore the ancestors of many of the 'tribes' of the central hill country that we later meet in the biblical narratives about the period of the so-called Judges." Gosta W. Ahlstrom, The History of Ancient Palestine, p. 236, Sheffield Academic Press, 1993
1320 - 1260 BC
"In the sixty-year period, from about 1320 to 1260 B.C., the Shasu are chronicled as continuing to foment trouble in their native habitat of the steppe, and as pressing westward through the Negeb toward major towns along the Via Maris. It is not, in my opinion, an unrelated phenomenon that a generation later under Merneptah [1237-1226] an entity called 'Israel' with all the character of a Shasu enclave makes its appearance probably in the Ephraimitic highlands." Donald B. Redford, Egypt, Canaan, and Israel in Ancient Times, p. 275, Princeton University Press, 1992
Late 13th Century BC
"No one can prove (or disprove, for that matter) that the tribal federation 'Israel' originated on Palestinian soil. No one can prove that the major components of that federation had always existed on Palestinian soil. All that is known for certain is that, some time during the fourth quarter of the thirteenth century B.C., Egypt knew of a group, or political entity, called 'Israel' and occupying part of the land of the land of Canaan; but whether the group had recently arrived or taken shape is not stated in our sources. That the Hebrew language is closely related to the West Semitic dialect (s) that we subsume under the catchall 'Canaanite' is a fact; but then, it is equally closely related to the dialects of Transjordan as well." Donald B. Redford, Egypt, Canaan, and Israel in Ancient Times, p. 266, Princeton University Press, 1992
"After 1200 B.C. when the Sea Peoples overwhelmed the coast, and 'Israel' is firmly attested, the Canaanites as a political force were dead. And so, effectually, was the Egyptian empire of the New Kingdom." Donald B. Redford, Egypt, Canaan, and Israel in Ancient Times, p. 280, Princeton University Press, 1992
"After the Sea Peoples stormed the Levant around 1200 B.C. a catastrophe which is still not clear in many of its details, all traditions were extinguished for a long time. For Palestine we are thrown back almost exclusively on the historical books of the Old Testament, which provide only incomplete information on the newly immigrated Israelite tribes and their more cultured opponents in the land." Wolfram von Soden, The Ancient Orient: An Introduction to the Study of the Ancient Near East, p. 55, William B. Eardmans Publishing Co, 1994
1200 - 1000 BC
"The Philistine menace put Israelite survival into constant jeopardy at the time of the judges. The Philistines were one of the 'Peoples of the Sea' which had invaded the Fertile Crescent from the north, along the coast of Anatolia, and descended through Syria and Canaan all the way to Egypt...In addition to them, a people called the Tjeker or Tjekel, but belonging to the same 'Peoples of the Sea', settled along the coast of Dor in the northern Sharon." Hanoch Reviv, "The Canaanite and Israelite Periods (3200-332 B.C.)," A History of Israel and the Holy Land, p. 67, G.G. The Jerusalem Publishing House Ltd., 2001
"Along the southern coast, from Gaza to Mount Carmel, enclaves of the Philistines and Teukrians (now partly Semitized) maintained a firm hold of the broad coastal plains and, as the Egyptians had done before them, exercised a tentative but preemptive influence over the inland mountains. In response to the Philistine presence, Israel and Judah in the uplands were moving toward the creation of a state." Donald B. Redford, Egypt, Canaan, and Israel in Ancient Times, p. 298, Princeton University Press, 1992
"A judicious reading of both the archaeological and the textual record militates in favor of the eleventh to the tenth centuries for the settlement and the early monarchic period…Extensive occupation of the region is not attested before the close of the second millennium or the early monarchic period." Donald B. Redford, Egypt, Canaan, and Israel in Ancient Times, p. 295-296, Princeton University Press, 1992
"The Hebrew-Philistine rivalry for the possession of the land provided the occasion for the creation of the Hebrew monarchy... Saul's anointment (c. 1020 B.C.) as the first king was tantamount to a challenge to Philistine suzerainty." Philip K. Hitti, The Near East in History, p. 96, D. Van Nostrand Company, Inc., 1961
"With most of Transjordan and the central hills of Cisjordan [land west of the Jordan river] north of the Jebusite city state of Jerusalem under his control, Saul had created a territorial state that the greater Palestinian region had never seen before. Saul can therefore be regarded as the first state-builder in Palestine." Gosta W. Ahlstrom, The History of Ancient Palestine, p. 449, Sheffield Academic Press, 1993
"The real founder of the monarchy was David (c. 1004 - 960 B.C.)... David inaugurated a series of campaigns which lifted the Philistine yoke from Hebrew necks, brought Edom, Moab and Ammon under his rule and what is more amazing, netted him Aramaean Hollow Syria [Aram]... His conquest of Edom brought under his control the great trade route between Syria and Arabia." Philip K. Hitti, History of Syria, p. 187, Macmillan & Co. LTD., 1951
In 999 B.C., Jerusalem, a mountain stronghold of the Jebusites is conquered and David relocates his capital there -- possibly to avoid internecine tribal squabbles based on city-state politics in the more established Judean cities, and because Jerusalem is more ideally situated geographically to rule over an extended kingdom. Meir Ben-Dov, Historical Atlas of Jerusalem, p. 44, Continuum Press, 2000
King Solomon built the First Temple in 952 B.C. Dilip Hiro, The Essential Middle East, "Jerusalem", Carroll & Graf Publishers, 2003
"Palestine was not a country that encouraged the creation of larger political unites... David's kingdom represents an exception, a parenthesis in the history of the ancient Near East. The achievements of David were possible because there was a power vacuum at this time. The Hittite kingdom went out of existence around 1200 B.C. Egypt's rule over Palestine ended sometime in the mid-twelfth century B.C. and was itself split into two kingdoms... Their 'successors' in Palestine, the Philistines, had filled the power gap for a short time, until David put an end to their political and economic hegemony... David's kingdom, was, however, short-lived. It dissolved naturally when Solomon died." Gosta W. Ahlstrom, The History of Ancient Palestine, p. 487-488, Sheffield Academic Press, 1993
"Upon Solomon's death at about 923 B.C., the united monarchy split into a northern kingdom, Israel, based on ten tribes and having Shechem (near the modern village of al-Balatah) as its capitol [and later Samaria c. 880], and a southern one, Judah, based on the remaining two tribes and using Jerusalem as capital." Philip K. Hitti, The Near East in History, p. 97, 99, D. Van Nostrand Company, Inc., 1961
"The little southern state [Judah] was more or less limited to the tribal portions of Judah, Simean and Benjamin, with some possessions in Edom in the east and along the coastal plain in the west. In the north there was the kingdom of Israel, with Shechem as its fist capital, larger than Judah both in population and in size. Encompassing the portions of a majority of the tribes and the most fertile parts of the country, including the Sharon, it retained Moab, and apparently Ammon as well, as vassal-states." Hanoch Reviv, "The Canaanite and Israelite Periods (3200-332 B.C.)," A History of Israel and the Holy Land, p. 81, The Continuum Publishing Group Inc. 2001
"The two tiny kingdoms fell into the complex political and belligerent developments of the general area and became rivals, at times enemies. Repeated uprisings and mounting intrigues in both states contributed to their final undoing. Israel experienced nine dynastic changes, involving nineteen kings, in its two-century existence. The throne of Judah was occupied by twenty kings, but the southern kingdom out lived the northern by about a century and a third. The way was paved for their final destruction one by Assyria and the other by Neo-Babylonia." Philip K. Hitti, The Near East in History, p. 97, 99, D. Van Nostrand Company, Inc., 1961
"The year 745 B.C. marks one of those major turning points in history the significance of which is often lost on layman and scholar alike…For it was in 745 that a civil war in Assyria unseated the royal family and catapulted a general named 'Pul' known to history as Tiglath-pileser III, to the throne of the empire. This usurper proved to be an organizational genius and a master strategist, worthy of comparison with Hannibal or Scipio. By relentless campaigning and indiscriminate use of mass deportation, he encompassed the destruction of Damascus and Israel and by 732 B.C." Donald B. Redford, Egypt, Canaan and Israel in Ancient Times, p. 340-341, Princeton University Press, 1992
734 - 732 BC
"The goal of the Assyrian campaign to Syria-Palestine in 734 B.C. should be seen in the light of Assyria's intentions to control the commerce of the Mediterranean ports...With the reduction of the territory of Israel and the destruction of the Damascus kingdom in 733-732, Tiglath-pileser reached his goal of commercial control of Syria-Palestine." Gosta W. Ahlstrom, The History of Ancient Palestine, p. 630-631, Sheffield Academic Press, 1993
"For Palestine the result of the Assyrian campaign in 734-732 B.C. was a greatly devastated country. Its population had been decimated not only through war casualties but also through deportations… Another result was that the Assyrian empire now reached down through the Galilee and the Jezreel and Beth-shan valleys to the Philistine coast in Palestine, and in Transjordan down to the border of Ammon. The map of greater Palestine had been drastically redrawn. Almost half of the greater Palestinian area was now part of the kingdom of Assyria. The other half was part of the Assyrian political system in that it consisted of several vassal states." Gosta W. Ahlstrom, The History of Ancient Palestine, p. 665-666, Sheffield Academic Press, 1993
724 - 722 BC
"The political situation was stable for almost a decade after 732 B.C., and Tiglath-pileser never had to return to this area. However, when he died in 727 and was followed by Shalmaneser V, some vassals rebelled as usual, and it is possible that Hosea of Israel did the same…This brought about the subjugation of the country. Most of the cities were 'probably overrun and destroyed quickly' during the early part of Shalmaneser's campaign (724 B.C.), and the king, Hosea, was taken prisoner. After a three year siege the capital of Samaria was finally taken (722 B.C.)… The nation Israel ceased to exist…" Gosta W. Ahlstrom, The History of Ancient Palestine, p. 669-670, Sheffield Academic Press, 1993
720 - 716 BC
"Sargon II deported 27,290 Israelites, setting Babylonians, Aramaens, Cutheans and others in Samaria around 720 B.C. In 716 he also settled some Arabs there. Other settlers were moved in by Esarhaddon and Ashurbanipal. Nevertheless, the majority of the people of Samerina were still Israelites; the whole population had not been deported." Gosta W. Ahlstrom, The History of Ancient Palestine, p. 899-900, Sheffield Academic Press, 1993
late 7th Century BC
"The end of the seventh century B.C. saw the rapid fading away of the Assyrian power structure and the attempts of the Egyptians to fill the vacuum." Philip K. Hitti, The Near East in History, p. 100, D. Van Nostrand Company, Inc., 1961
"In 609 B.C. Pharaoh Necho tried to march through Palestine, to help the survivors of the Assyrian empire to defend themselves, in their last stronghold on the Euphrates, against the newly rising empire of Babylon under Nabopolassar. Necho hoped to prevent the emergence of a Babylonian power in Mesopotamia and at the same time to achieve suzerainty over Syria and Palestine... All that lay west of the Euphrates was now ruled by Egypt." Hanoch Reviv, "The Canaanite and Israelite Periods (3200-332 B.C.)" The History of Ancient Palestine, p. 101, The Continuum Publishing Group Inc., 2001
"The picture quickly changed, however...Nebuchadrezzar, was given command over the Babylonian forces in the west. Necho and his forces were completely defeated at Carchemish, and those who managed to escape were pursued and killed in the territory of Hamath...
The battle at Carchemish, like the fall of Nineveh, changed the political picture of the Near East. A new imperial ruler had emerged: Babylonia." Gosta W. Ahlstrom, The History of Ancient Palestine, p. 760, Sheffield Academic Press, 1993
"Nebrchadrezzar terminated the Egyptian supremacy over Palestine after the battle at Carchemish in 605 B.C.... In the following year Nebuchadrezzar, who in September of 605 had succeeded his father on the throne, marched with his army through Syria-Palestine (Hatti) down to the Philistine coast without any military opposition. It is easy to imagine the fear and shattered illusions of the petty rulers of Syria-Palestine in the aftermath of the battle at Carchemish. With the Egyptian army destroyed, they had no other choice than to accept Babylon's rule." Gosta W. Ahlstrom, The History of Ancient Palestine, p. 781, Sheffield Academic Press, 1993
597 - 586 BC
"Jehoiakim [King of Judah] was no match for Nebuchadnezzar, whose army entered Jerusalem in 597 and bound the rebel king with chains to carry him to Babylon. But he either died or was murdered and his body was cast off beyond the gates of Jerusalem... The son and successor Jehoiachin was no wiser than the father. He occupied the throne three months in 597, when Nebuchadnezzar appeared in person at the gates of his capital [Jerusalem]. After a brief siege the city surrendered... Jehoiachin's uncle Zedekiah was appointed king by Nebuchadnezzar.
The twenty-one-year-old Zedekiah (597-586 B.C.) remained professedly loyal to Nebuchadnezzar for a number of years, after which he yielded to the chronic temptation to the urge of his nationalist leaders and as usual counted on Egyptian aid. Exasperated, Nebuchadnezzar dispatched an army intent upon the destruction of Jerusalem, which was put under siege." Philip K. Hitti, The History of Syria, p. 201-202, Macmillan & Co. LTD., 1951
"In 586 B.C. Nebuchadnezzar, King of Babylon, in the course of a series of wars of conquest, captured Jerusalem, destroyed the kingdom of Judah and the Jewish Temple, and, in accordance with the custom of the time, sent the conquered people into captivity in Babylonia." Bernard Lewis, The Middle East, p. 27, Scribner, 1995
"With the capture and destruction of Jerusalem, the kingdom of Judah went out of existence. The land was devastated, and several of the leading classes of the population were killed either in the war or after the capture of Jerusalem." Gosta W. Ahlstrom, The History of Ancient Palestine, p. 798, Sheffield Academic Press, 1993
586 - 539 BC
"The greater Palestinian area during the period of 582-539 B.C. is poorly documented. Babylonian inscriptions do not provide much insight. The Palestinian material is either fragmentary, such as that provided by archaeological remains, or it presents a religio-politically tendentious picture, such as that contained in the biblical books of Ezra and Nehemiah and 2 Chron. 36.17-23...The history of this country in the period after Nebuchadrezzar's campaigns and until the Persian takeover comprises a dark age." Gosta W. Ahlstrom, The History of Ancient Palestine, p. 804, Sheffield Academic Press, 1993
539 - 538 BC
"The end of that rule [Babylonian] came in 538 B.C., when a new people farther east, the Persians, rose under Cyrus and attacked their neighbor Babylon...The blow fell on Babylon in 539 B.C. but the citadel and royal palace held out until March 538. Thereupon the whole Babylonian empire, including Syria-Palestine, acknowledged the new Persian rule." Philip K. Hitti, History of Syria, p. 217-218, Macmillan & Co. LTD., 1951
"When Cyrus had taken Babylon he declared himself its new king. He proclaimed himself the protector of the peoples of the kingdom and announced freedom for the prisoners. After this he gave an order that the gods that had been taken to Babylon as prisoner or those Babylonian gods that Nabuna'id had taken there should be returned to their home cities. Their temples should be restored. Together with the gods, their people were also allowed to return to their countries." Gosta W. Ahlstrom, The History of Ancient Palestine, p. 815, Sheffield Academic Press, 1993
"The administrative organization of the empire into satrapies (provinces) started under Cyrus…What is of interest here is the fifth satrapy, Babylonia-Abr Nahara. Palestine was part of this satrapy, which included Mesopotamia and the Babylonian holdings west of the Euphrates. Cyprus was also included in this satrapy…The Persian king often appointed as satraps a member of the country's royal family or some high official well acquainted with the administration and laws of the former nation. The king could also appoint a special commissioner or 'sub-governor' for a certain district, something that happened for Judah. Zerubbabel is an example, and so are Ezra and Nehemiah." Gosta W. Ahlstrom, The History of Ancient Palestine, p. 821, Sheffield Academic Press, 1993
538 - 515 BC
"The leader of the restored Jews was Zerubbabel, a descendant of King Jehoiachin. Zerubbabel brought back the Temple treasures looted by Nebuchadnezzar and became for a time the recognized governor of the restored community. After many difficulties the rebuilding of the Temple was completed about 515 B.C. under [Persian King] Darius." Philip K. Hitti, History of Syria, p. 222, Macmillan & Co. LTD., 1951
"There is really no firm piece of information about conditions in Jerusalem and the life of the returnees after c. 515 B.C… This period is virtually unknown, not only in Jerusalem but also in Palestine in general." Gosta W. Ahlstrom, The History of Ancient Palestine, p. 851-852, Sheffield Academic Press, 1993
"Increased Arab presence, especially in the southern parts of the country, can be discerned in Palestine in the later Persian period. It should be remembered that Arabs in Palestine were nothing new... Nevertheless, the great influx of Arabs into Transjordan and southern Palestine belongs rather to the so-called Hellenistic period. When the Persian Empire collapsed, the Nabateans of Transjordan and other Arab tribes had the opportunity to expand, and the Nabateans did so, replacing the Edomites." Gosta W. Ahlstrom, The History of Ancient Palestine, p. 904, Sheffield Academic Press, 1993
"The remaining years of the Persian Empire were marked by a series of court intrigues and the murders of two puppet kings followed by that of the murderer, leaving Darius III on the throne in 336, the same year that his eventual conqueror, Alexander, came to the throne of Macedonia." Andrew Duncan, War in the Holy Land, p. 25, Sutton Publishing Limited, 1998
"In the spring of 334 B.C. a twenty-one-year-old Macedonian, at the head of some 30,000 foot and 5000 horse...routed the Persian satrap near the mouth of the Granicus River...setting off a chain reaction destined to change the course of Near Eastern history. Western Asia and Egypt were ushered into the European sphere of political and cultural influence -- Macedonian, Greek, Roman, and Byzantine -- and there remained until the rise of Islam a thousand years later." Philip K. Hitti, The Near East in History p.113, D. Van Nostrand Company, Inc., 1961
"The decisive battle was at Issus (333 B.C.), whereafter the victorious Greeks occupied Damascus, the Persian headquarters west of the Euphrates. Alexander was, it is true, held up for several months by the obstinate resistance of Tyre, but the pause only gave local rulers an opportunity to pay homage to the conqueror. Among them were the Jewish High Priest, Juddua, and Sanballat, leader of the Samaritans. Alexander does not seem himself to have visited the inland cities, legends to the contrary notwithstanding. After the capitulation of Tyre, and after it had overcome the briefer resistance of Gaza, the Macedonian army advanced directly on Egypt. It returned the following spring on its way to Mesopotamia, where the Persians were finally vanquished. Within two, years, power had changed hands completely." Michael Avi-Yonah, "The Second Temple (332 B.C. - 70 A.D.)," A History of Israel and the Holy Land, p. 116-117, The Continuum Publishing Group Inc., 2001
301 - 164 BC
"After Alexander's death, his generals divided -- and subsequently fought over -- his empire. In 301 B.C., Ptolemy I took direct control of the Jewish homeland but made no serious efforts to intervene in its religious affairs. Ptolemy's successors were in turn supplanted by the Seleucids [c.200 B.C.], and in 175 B.C. Antiochus IV seized power. He launched a campaign to crush Judaism, and in 167 B.C. he sacked the [Jewish] Temple. The violation of the Second Temple, which had been built about 520-515 B.C., provoked a successful Jewish rebellion under the generalship of Judas (Judah) Maccabaeus." Country Studies Handbook, Israel, Library of Congress Federal Research Division, Helen Chapin Metz, Editor, 1988
"In Judas of the priestly Hasmonaean family, the Jews found a hero-rebel who, with his brothers, succeeded in capturing Jerusalem and cleansing the temple. Judas was surnamed Maccabeus, which probably means 'the hammerer,' in allusion to the telling blows he inflicted on the Syrian army. In 164 the Jewish community attained religious freedom and in 140 political independence. Under the Maccabean dynasty of priest-kings, the realm expanded and lasted until the advent of the Romans about eighty years later." Philip K. Hitti, The Near East in History, p. 121, D. Van Nostrand Company, Inc., 1961
130 - 76 BC
"Alexander Jannaeus (Jonathan)...in the course of his long reign (130-76 B.C.), he realized the almost complete unification of the Holy Land for the first time since King David, an achievement for which he had to battle practically without interruption. In a series of expeditions directed north-west, north-east, south-west and south-east, the Jewish State was extended to encompass the Carmel and its coast, the Jordan Valley up to the sources at Dan and Paneas, and nearly the whole of the Transjordan mountains, excepting Rabbath-ammon. In order to extinguish Nabataean economic competition, Jannaeus occupied the eastern banks of the Dead Sea, making it a domestic -- and very valuable -- lake of Judaea; he took Gaza and the lands as far as the River of Egypt (Wadi el-Arish)." Michael Avi-Yonah, "The Second Temple (332 B.C. - 70 A.D.)," A History of Israel and the Holy Land, p. 140, The Continuum Publishing Group Inc., 2001
76 - 64 BC
"After the death of Jannaeus in 76 his widow Alexandra reigned until 67 when her two sons fought each other until the Romans under Pompey intervened." Andrew Duncan, War in the Holy Land, p. 35, Sutton Publishing Limited, 1998
"Under the reign of the Hasmoneans the Jewish state was largely composed of Jews. But in 63 B.C. when Pompey came to Jerusalem he began to reverse this process. He allowed the Jews to rule the south and Galilee, but non-Jews ruled the rest of the kingdom...Julius Caesar was Pompey's rival, and when Pompey was killed in 48 B.C. Caesar prepared new territorial arrangements. He left Antipater, an Idumean, as administrator of the Jewish state...But Caesar's new arrangements did not last for long. He was assassinated on the Ides of March 44 B.C...In Rome the Senate proclaimed Herod King of Judea." John Wilkinson, "Jerusalem Under Rome and Byzantium 63-637 A.D.," Jerusalem in History, p. 78, Olive Branch Press, 2000
37 BC -
"Herod was confirmed by the Roman Senate as king of Judah in 37 B.C. and reigned until his death in 4 B.C. Nominally independent, Judah was actually in bondage to Rome, and the land was formally annexed in 6 B.C. as part of the province of Syria Palestina. Rome did, however, grant the Jews religious autonomy and some judicial and legislative rights through the Sanhedrin. The Sanhedrin, which traces its origins to a council of elders established under Persian rule (333 B.C. to 165 B.C.) was the highest Jewish legal and religious body under Rome." Country Studies Handbook, Israel, Library of Congress Federal Research Division, Helen Chapin Metz, Editor, 1988
"Of all the multitudinous peoples who constituted the Roman world, the Jews were undoubtedly the most difficult for the Romans to govern. Herod repressed the outbreaks against his authority with bloody fury...After Herod the Judeans continued restive under Roman rule.
In A.D. 67 Vespasian, future emperor, moved against them from Syria at the head of 50,000 troops and dealt them telling blows. His son Titus carried on the operations against Jerusalem, which after a few month's siege was starved to surrender (A.D. 70). The Judean capital was razed and thousands of its inhabitants were slaughtered." Philip K. Hitti, The Near East in History, p. 149-150 D. Van Nostrand Company, Inc., 1961
70 - 135
"In 70 A.D., the Romans captured Jerusalem and destroyed the second Temple, which had been built [515 B.C.] by the exiles returning from Babylon. Even this did not end Jewish resistance. After the revolt of Bar-Kokhba in 135 A.D., the Romans...like the Babylonians before them, sent a large part of the Jewish population into captivity and exile...Even the historic nomenclature of the Jews was to be obliterated. Jerusalem was renamed Aelia Capitolina, and a temple to Jupiter built on the site of the destroyed Jewish Temple. The names Judea and Samaria were abolished, and the country renamed Palestine, after the long-forgotten Philistines." Bernard Lewis, The Middle East, p. 31, Scribner, 1995
2nd - 3rd Century
"The process of urbanization which had begun in the Hellenistic period went on under Herod and the Romans, until, by the end of the second century, practically the whole coastal region, and almost all of the central mountain ridge of the lands east of the Jordan, had been transformed into municipal areas. Only, Upper Galilee, the Golan, Bashan and Hauran, in which there was a preponderance of Jews, proved intractable and resistant to city culture." Michael Avi-Yonah, "Jews, Romans and Byzantines (70-633)," A History of Israel and the Holy Land, p. 175, The Continuum Publishing Group Inc., 2001
"The Jews gave up their attempts to throw off the Roman yoke, while the Roman government acknowledged Judaism as a religio licita, its communities enjoying the right to certain exemptions (from military service, for example) and being allowed to exist as juridical entities, to own property, to have their own courts (disguised as tribunals of arbitration), to levy taxes and so on. But, despite these concessions, on two points there was no giving way: the Romans still declined to permit Jews to live in Jerusalem, although restrictions on visits were relaxed, and proselytizing was frowned upon. Within this loosely outlined nexus of official relations, normative Judaism could go on developing." Michael Avi-Yonah, "Jews, Romans and Byzantines (70-633)," A History of Israel and the Holy Land, p. 176, The Continuum Publishing Group Inc., 2001
"The last century of Roman rule in Palestine was marked, as elsewhere in the Roman world, by a political and economic crisis which shook Roman society to its foundations...The crisis in that empire was settled by the energetic measures of Diocletian, a rough soldier who put an end to civil wars and reorganized the administration...Diocletian was the last emperor to see in Christianity an enemy of Rome." Michael Avi-Yonah, "Jews, Romans and Byzantines (70-633)," A History of Israel and the Holy Land, p. 178 - 179, The Continuum Publishing Group Inc., 2001
"Emperor Constantine (ca. 280-337) shifted his capital from Rome to Constantinople in 330 and made Christianity the official religion. With Constantine's conversion to Christianity, a new era of prosperity came to Palestine, which attracted a flood of pilgrims from all over the empire." Country Studies Handbook, Israel, Library of Congress Federal Research Division, Helen Chapin Metz, Editor, 1988
"Constantine's policy was the same as Hadrian's towards the Jews. They were not allowed to live in Jerusalem, but they made pilgrimage to the western wall of the Temple, and once a year on 'The ninth of Ab' they were allowed into the Temple site to lament its destruction." John Wilkinson, Jerusalem under Rome and Byzantium, Jerusalem in History, p. 94-95, Olive Branch Press, 2000
"Politically, the country was affected by the trend, which began with Diocletian, towards splitting up the provinces. In his time, the whole southern part of the old Provincia Palaestina was joined to southern Transjordan to form a separate province. In the beginning of the fifth century, the remaining province was split up that there were thenceforth Palaestina Prima, Secunda and Tertia. The fist included Judaea and Samaria, with a part of Transjordan, the second Galilee and the Golan and Bashan regions, while the whole of the Negev, Sinai and Nabataea now became Palestinia Tertia. This civil division, to which, as elsewhere in the Roman empire, the ecclesiastical organization was made to correspond, lasted till the end of Byzantine rule and even beyond. " Michael Avi-Yonah, "Jews, Romans and Byzantines (70-633)," A History of Israel and the Holy Land, p. 180, 182, The Continuum Publishing Group Inc., 2001
"The adoption of Christianity as the dominant religion of the empire changed the status of Palestine radically. no longer just a tiny province, it became the Holy Land, on which emperors and believers lavished untold wealth; the former claimants to it, the Jews, were powerless to establish their right and were quickly relegated to second-class citizenship.
The principal aim of Byzantium was to make Jerusalem Christian. Pilgrimages were encouraged by the provision of hospices and infirmaries, churches rose on every spot connected in one way or another with Christian traditions. The building activity that ensued was one of the causes of the country's urprising prosperity at that time, which is evident from archaeological surveys. There were three to five times as many inhabited places in the fifth-sixth centuries A.D. as in any of the preceding periods." Michael Avi-Yonah, "Jews, Romans and Byzantines (70-633)," A History of Israel and the Holy Land, p. 179-180, The Continuum Publishing Group Inc., 2001
"In 610, Heraclius was crowned emperor... Many world-shaking events took place during his reign: the Persian victories, which also led to their temporary conquest of Palestine, changes within the empire, and the Muslim conquests, which deprived Byzantium of much of its Mediterranean lands." Moshe Gil, A History of Palestine 634-1099, p. 5, Cambridge University Press, 1992
"The Persian offensive had already begun in 611, and in the course of seven or eight years the Persians conquered Antioch, the major city of the Byzantine East, Damascus and all of Syria, Palestine, Asia Minor and also Egypt." Moshe Gil, A History of Palestine 634-1099, p. 5, Cambridge University Press, 1992
"Heraclius, who had been defending himself desperately in Constantinople against a simultaneous assault by Avars and Persians, embarded upon a daring strategy of attack. In 622 he left his capital and invaded the Armenian mountains; in 628, after six years of brilliant campaigning, he stood before the gates of Ctesiphon. The incursion, and the quarrels of successor after the death of Chosroes II, forced the Persians to sue for peace. They abandoned all their conquests, including Palestine...On 21 March 629, Heraclius entered the Holy City in triumph...It was the last great day of Byzantine Palestine.
Assault soon came from a different quarter. The Arab tribes, converted by Muhammad to his new creed of Islam, attacked Aila (Elath) in the lifetime of the Prophet. The early Caliphs renewed the onslaught, and the battles of Thedun, Ajnadain (both 634) and Yarmuk (636) were decisive. Jerusalem fell in 638 A.D., and within two years Byzantine overlordship in the Holy Land was at an end." Michael Avi-Yonah, "Jews, Romans and Byzantines (70-633)," A History of Israel and the Holy Land, p. 193, The Continuum Publishing Group Inc., 2001
"On a hot day of August 636, the two opposing armies faced each other on the banks of the Yarmuk, a Jordan tributary. The Arabians, 25,000 strong, were commanded by Khalid; the Byzantine army, twice as numerous and composed mosly Armenian and other mercenaries, was led by a brother of Empereor Heraclius. The day was an excessively hot one clouded by wind-blown dust and presumably purposely chosen for the encounter by the Arabian generalship. The Byzantine fighters were cleverly maneuvered into a position where the dust storm struck them in the face. Only a few managed to escape with their lives. The fate of Syria, on the fairest of the Eastern Roman provinces, was decided. 'Farewell, O Syria,' were Heraclius' parting words, 'and what an excellent country this is for the enemy!'" Philip K. Hitti, The Near East in History, p. 209, D. Van Nostrand Company, Inc., 1961
"By the end of the reign of the second caliph, 'Umar ibn al-Khattab (634-44), the whole of Arabia, part of the Sasanian Empire, and the Syrian [including Palestine] and Egyptian provinces of the Byzantine Empire had been conquered; the rest of the Sasanian lands were occupied soon afterwards." Albert Hourani, A History of the Arab Peoples, p. 22-23, Warner Books Edition, 1991
"After completing the occupation of Syria and Palestine the Arabs turned to organizing the administration of the newly occupied territories. As they were exclusively fighters and did not have any administrators capable of fitting themselves into the well-developed bureaucracy that the Byzantines had left behind them, they decided to leave the existing system of administration to carry on its work as in the past, with the same local functionaries...
Most of Palestine, up to the border of the valley of jezreel and Beth-shean, belonged to one district known as 'Jund Filatine' which was, in fact, the Palaestina Prima of the BGyzantine era together with part of Palaestina Tertia. Galilee, the southern part o the Lebanon and parts of the Golan fell within Jund Urdunn, which constituted the Palaestina Secunda of the Byzantines." Moshe Sharon, "The History of Palestine from the Arab Conquest until the Crusades (633-1099)," A History of Israel and the Holy Land, p. 207, The Continuum Publishing Group Inc., 2001
644 - 661
"The people of Madina saw power being drawn northwards towards the richer and more populous lands of Syria and Iraq, where governors tried to make their power more independent. Such tensions came to the surface in the reign of the third caliph, 'Uthman ibn 'Affan (644-56)...A movement of unrest in Madina, supported by soldiers from Egypt, led to 'Uthman's murder in 656. This opened the first period of civil war in the community. The claimant to the succession, 'Ali ibn Abi Talib (656-661) was...a cousin of Muhammad and married to his daughter Fatima. 'Ali's alliance grew weaker, and finally he was assassinated in his own city of Kufa. Mu'awiya [the first Umayyad] proclaimed himself caliph and 'Ali's elder son, Hasan, acquiesced in it." Albert Hourani, A History of the Arab Peoples, p. 24-25, Warner Books Edition, 1991
"The coming to power by Mu'awiya (661-80) has always been regarded as marking the end of one phase and the beginning of another. The first four caliphs, from Abu Bakr to 'Ali, are known to the majority of Muslims as the Rashidun or 'Rightly Guided'. Later caliphs were seen in a rather different light. From now on the position was virtually hereditary. Although some idea of choice, or at least formal recognition, by the leaders of the community remained, in fact from this time power was in the hands of a family, known from an ancestor, Umayya, as that of the Umayyads…
The change was more than one of rulers. The capital of the empire moved to Damascus, a city lying in a countryside abler to provide the surplus needed to maintain a court, government and army, and in a region from which the eastern Mediterranean coastlands and the land to the east of them could be controlled more easily than from Madina." Albert Hourani, A History of the Arab Peoples, p. 25-26, Warner Books Edition, 1991
"In the 690s there was erected the first great building which clearly asserted that Islam was distinct and would endure. This was the Dome of the Rock, built on the site of the Jewish Temple in Jerusalem, now turned into a Muslim haram; it was to be an ambulatory for pilgrims around the rock where, according to Rabbinic tradition, God had called upon Abraham to sacrifice Isaac." Albert Hourani, A History of the Arab Peoples, p. 28, Warner Books Edition, 1991
"Throughout the Umayyad period Palestine played no sinificant political role. Its population was partly composed of Jews and Christians, whose families had always lived there and towards whom the caliphs adopted a tolerant and lenient attitude. It is true that special taxes were imposed upon both Jews and Christians, but they were moderately light at the beginning. The government recognized the religious communities as socio-political entities and the rabbis and priests were responsible to the authorities for the members of their communities." Moshe Sharon, "The History of Palestine from the Arab Conquest until the Crusades (633-1099)," A History of Israel and the Holy Land, p. 222, The Continuum Publishing Group Inc., 2001
"Not least amongst the various causes which contributed to the downfall of the Umayyads was the fundamental split within islam, which produced the two dominant sects known as the Sunna (Orthodox) and the Shi'a. The Shiites, who maintained that the Prophet's cousin 'Ali and his descendants were the only legitimate candidates for the caliphate, rose many times in rebellion against Umayyad rule. Although these revolts proved to be abortive in themselves, they did help to undermine the strength of the empire from within." Moshe Sharon, "The History of Palestine from the Arab Conquest until the Crusades (633-1099)," A History of Israel and the Holy Land, p. 223, The Continuum Publishing Group Inc., 2001
700 - 749
"During the first decades of the eighth century, Umayyad rulers made a series of attempts to deal with movements of opposition...Then in the 740s their power suddenly collapsed in the face of yet another civil war and a coalition of movements with different aims but united by a common opposition to them... The Umayyads were defeated in a number of battles in 749-750, and the last caliph of the house, Marwan II, was pursued to Egypt and killed. In the meantime, the unnamed leader was proclaimed in Kufa; he was Abu'l-Abbas, a descendant not of 'Ali but of 'Abbas." Albert Hourani, A History of the Arab Peoples, p. 31-32, Warner Books Edition, 1991
"Syria was replaced as center of the Muslim caliphate by Iraq. The power of Abu'l-'Abbas (749-54) and his successors, known from their ancestor as 'Abbasids, lay less in the eastern Mediterranean countries, or in Hijaz which was an extension of them, than in the former Sasanian territories: southern Iraq and the oases and plateaux of Iran, Khurasan and the land stretching beyond it into central Asia." Albert Hourani, A History of the Arab Peoples, p. 32, Warner Books Edition, 1991
749 - 833
"With the transfer of the political centre to Iraq they [the Abbasids] succeeded in completing the slower, but major, process of shifting the international trade routes connecting the Middle East and the Far East from Syria to the valleys of the Tigris and the Euphrates. Almost overnight Palestine became a marginal land and began to deteriorate." Moshe Sharon, "The History of Palestine from the Arab Conquest until the Crusades (633-1099)," A History of Israel and the Holy Land, p. 224, The Continuum Publishing Group Inc., 2001
833 - 877
"The first sign of internal decay in the Abbasid regime was the rise of the Turkish bodyguard under the immediate successors of al-Ma'mun (d. 833)...Except for short intervals thereafter the Abbasid power was steadily on the decline...As it was disintegrating petty dynasties, mostly of Arab origin, were parcelling out its domains in the west...First among those with which Syria [including Palestine] was concerned was the Tulunid dynasty." Philip K. Hitti, History of Syria, p. 557, Macmillan & Co. LTD. 1951
"In 868 an officer called Ahmad ibn-Tulun, the son of a freed Turkish slave, was sent to Egypt to serve as lieutenant to the governor of the province. A year later he himself became the governor of the province, declared its independence [from the Abbasids] and put a stop to the remittance of annual taxes to the Baghdad treasury. In 877, exploiting the deaths of the governors of Syria and Palestine, he was able, without difficulty, to extend his authority over these provinces as well...
With the rule of ibn-Tulun a period of renewed political, social and cultural activity began in Palestine, after the long period of neglect that marked the hundred years of direct Abbasid rule..." Moshe Sharon, "The History of Palestine from the Arab Conquest until the Crusades (633-1099)," A History of Israel and the Holy Land, p. 226, The Continuum Publishing Group Inc., 2001
884 - 906
When ibn-Tulun died in 884 his son Khumawayh seized the reins of power. The Abbasid caliph made an attempt to regain control over Syria and Palestine, and despatched a strong expeditionary force from Iraq, which invaded Palestine in 892. Khumawayh, who was an able statesman as well as a very talented general, scored a decisive victory over this army in a battle near Abu Futrus. After this battle the Abbasids abandoned for a time their attempts to take Palestine from the Tulunids. However within a few years of the death of Khumawayh  they had managed to regain it with ease." Moshe Sharon, "The History of Palestine from the Arab Conquest until the Crusades (633-1099)," A History of Israel and the Holy Land, p. 226-227, The Continuum Publishing Group Inc., 2001
"For the following thirty years (906-935) Palestine remained under Abbasid rule. We have very little information as to what occurred there during that generation." Moshe Gil, A History of Palestine 634-1099, p. 315, Cambridge University Press, 1992
"In the year 935 a new independent dynasty was founded in Egypt by Muhammad ibn-Tughj (935-946 A.D.), a Turk who had been granted the ancient Persian princely title Ikhshid by the Abbasid caliph in 939. The new dynasty took its name from this title. Following in the footsteps of the Tulunids, Muhammad the Ikhshid made himself independent in Egypt and within a short time controlled not only Syria and Palestine but even Mecca and Medina, the two holy cities of Islam." Moshe Sharon, "The History of Palestine from the Arab Conquest until the Crusades (633-1099)," A History of Israel and the Holy Land, p. 227, The Continuum Publishing Group Inc., 2001
"The Ikhshidid dynasty (935-969), like its predecessor the Tulunid (868-905), had an ephemeral existence. They followed the same pattern of behavior, the pattern that typifies the case of many other states which, in this period of disintegration, broke off from the imperial government. Both made lavish use of state moneys to curry favor with their subjects and thereby ruined the treasuries." Philip K. Hitti, History of Syria, p. 564, Macmillan & Co. LTD. 1951
"A series of preparatory incursions into Egypt, which had gravely deteriorated under the rule of the Ikhshids, paved the way for a decisive attack, led by the Fatimid general Jawhar, in 969. Egypt was conquered easily and the Fatimid forces, sustaining the momentum of the attack, went on to take Syria and Palestine." Moshe Sharon, "The History of Palestine from the Arab Conquest until the Crusades (633-1099)," A History of Israel and the Holy Land, p. 231, The Continuum Publishing Group Inc., 2001
"At the beginning of summer of 970, the Fatimid army under Ja'far ibn al-Fallah, turned towards Palestine... Theoreticaly, this was the outset of about a century of Fatimid rule in Palestine. In fact, the Fatimids were compelled to join battle with not a few of the enemies who stood in their way: the Arabs, led by the Banu Tayy', who in turn were headed by the Banu'l-Jarrah family; the Qarmatis; a Turkish army under the command of Alptakin, who was based in Damascus; Arab tribes in Syria with the Banu Hamdan at their head; and in the background, the Byzantines were lurking, and about to continue their attempts to spearhead southward to Jerusalem. This war was waged in several stages and the enemies changed, but all in all, it was an almost unceasing war which destroyed Palestine." Moshe Gil, A History of Palestine 634-1099, p. 336, Cambridge University Press, 1992
1030 - 1079
"The year 1030 was the first year of peace in the country... Comparative calm and political and military stability existed in Palestine under Fatimid rule for only some forty years. The invasion of the Turkish tribes put an end to this near-stability at one blow." Moshe Gil, A History of Palestine 634-1099, p. 397, 420, Cambridge University Press, 1992
"By 1079, the Seljuks wrested Syria and Palestine from local rulers and from the declining Fatimids." Bernard Lewis, The Middle East p. 89 Scribner paperback, 1995
"We have very little knowledge of what happened in Palestine during the period of Turcoman [Seljuk] rule... By and large, however, the Turcoman period, which lasted less than thirty years, was one of slaughter and vandalism, of economic hardship and the uprooting of populations." Moshe Gil, A History of Palestine 634-1099, p. 414, 420, Cambridge University Press, 1992
1092 - 1996
"After the death of the third Great Sultan [of the Seljuk Empire] Malikshah, in 1092, civil war broke out between his sons, and the process of political fragmentation, which had been interrupted by the Seljuk conquest, was resumed... It was during this period of weakness and dissension that, in 1096, the Crusaders arrived in the Levant." Bernard Lewis, The Middle East p. 90 Scribner paperback, 1995
"In a speech delivered at the Council of Clermont, Pope Urban II gave a grim description of the plight of the Christians of the East under the Seljuk yoke. He called on the nobility of Europe to wrest the Holy Land, the Holy City and the Church of the Holy Sepulchre, cradle of Christianity and its rightful and eternal heritage, from beleaguerment by usurping infidels who sullied them by their very presence, if not by their deeds. Those who answered the call would be fighting a bellum sacrum, a holy war." Emmanuel Sivan, "Palestine During the Crusades (1099-1291)," A History of Israel and the Holy Land p. 240, The Continuum Publishing Group Inc., 2001
1098 - 1187
"For the first thirty years, the disunity of the Muslim world made things easy for the invaders, who advanced speedily down the coast of Syria into Palestine, and established a chain of Latin feudal principalities, based on Antioch [1098-1268], Edessa [1098-1146], Tripoli [1102-1146] and Jerusalem [1099-1187]. But even in this first period of success the Crusaders were limited in the main to the coastal plains and slopes, facing the Mediterranean and the Western world.
In the interior, looking eastwards to the desert and Iraq, the reaction was preparing. The Seljuk princes who held Aleppo and Damascus were unable to accomplish very much. In 1127, Zangi, a Turkish officer in the Seljuk service, seized Mosul, and in the following years gradually built up a powerful Muslim state in northern Mesopotamia and Syria. His son, Nur al-Din, took Damascus in 1154, creating a sigle Muslim power in Syria and confronting the Crusaders for the first time with a really formidable adversary. The issue before the two sides was now the control of Egypt, where the Fatimid caliphate was tottering towards final collapse." Bernard Lewis, The Middle East p. 90-91 Scribner paperback, 1995
"In Egypt, the Fatimids continued to rule until 1171, but were then replaced by Salah al-Din (Saladin) a military leader of Kurdish origin. The change of rulers brought with it a change of religious alliance. The Fatimids had belonged to the Isma'ili branch of the Shi'is, but Salah al-Din was a Sunni, and he was able to mobilize the strength and religious fervor of Egyptian and Strian Muslims in order to defeat the European Crusaders who had established Christian states in Palestine and on the Syrian coast at the end of the eleventh century. The dynasty founded by Salah al-Din, that of the Ayyubids, ruled Egypt from 1169 to 1252, Syria to 1260, and part of western Arabia to 1229." Albert Hourani, A History of the Arab Peoples, p. 84 Warner Books Edition, 1991
"A Kurdish officer called Salah al-Din -- better known in the West as Saladin -- launched a jihad against the Crusaders in 1187. By his death in 1193, he had recaptured Jerusalem and expelled the Crusaders from all but a narrow coastal strip. It was only the break-up of Saladin's Syro-Egyptian empire into a host of small states under his successors which permitted the Crusading states to drag out an attenuated existence for another century, until the reconstitution of a Syro-Egyptian state under the Mamluks in the thirteenth century brought about their final extinction." Bernard Lewis, The Middle East p. 91 Scribner paperback, 1995
"In the middle of the thirteenth century the power of the Turkish Mamluks in Cairo was supreme and a new regime emerged, the Mamluk Sultanate, which ruled Egypt and Syria until 1517. In 1260, after a period of confusion following the death of the last Ayyubid, a Qipchaq Turk called Baybars became Sultan. His career in many ways forms an interesting parallel with that of Saladin. He united Muslim Syria/Palestine and Egypt into a single state, this time more permanently. He defeated the external enemies of that state, repulsing Mongol invaders from the east and crushing all but the last remnants of the Crusaders in Syria." Bernard Lewis, The Arabs in History p. 169-170 Oxford University Press, 1993
"Palestine was divided mainly between two of the six provinces of Syria, the province of Damascus and that of Safed. Mameluk officers, appointed as governors, were independent of each other and directly responsible to the sultan, in Cairo... No details exist of the size and composition of Palestine's population under the mameluks." Moshe Sharon, "Palestine under the Mameluks and the Ottoman Empire (1291-1918)," The History of Israel and the Holy Land p. 278, The Continuum Publishing Group Inc., 2001
"In the 15th century, instability plagued Mamluk rule: internal corruption, the continued Mongol threat, Bedouin incusions, and bad economic policies all combined to deliver a blow to the Mamluk economy and military, from which they were not able to recover." Bernard Lewis, The Arabs in History p. 172 Oxford University Press, 1993
1516 - 1517
"In a short, sharp war in 1516-1517, the Ottomans overthrew the tottering Mamluk sultanate which had dominated Egypt, Syria, and western Arabia for two and a half centuries and brought these lands under their rule." Bernard Lewis, The Middle East p. 114 Scribner paperback, 1995
"In 1517 the Ottomans won their final victory over the Mamluks, and for four hundred years Syria and Egypt formed part of the Ottoman Empire. Soon the Barbary States [Morocco, Algiers, Tunis, and Tripoli] as far as the frontiers of Morocco accepted Ottoman suzerainty [overlord-ship], and with the Ottoman conquest of Iraq from Iran in 1534, almost the whole Arabic-speaking world was under Ottoman rule." Bernard Lewis, The Arabs in History p. 167 Oxford University Press, 1993
"Soon after the conquest, the Ottomans joined Palestine to the province of Syria, whose capital was Damascus. Palestine itself was divided into five districts, or Sanjaks, each named after its capital; the Sanjak of Gaza, which was the southernmost one, and to the north of it the Sanjaks of Jerusalem, Nablus, Lajjun, and Safed. A Turkish officer was placed at the head of each Sanjak, with the title of Sanjak Bey or Sanjak Beg. The Sanjak Beg of Gaza was the highest-ranking governor in Palestine...All the five Sanjak Begs of Palestine were subordinate to the Beilerbeg, the 'Beg of Begs', of Damascus." Moshe Sharon, "Palestine under the mameluks and the Ottoman Empire (1291-1918)," A History of Israel and the Holy Land, p. 283,286, Contunuum Publishing Group, 2001
16th - 19th Century
"The Ottoman historians date the decline of the Empire from the death of Suleyman the Magnificent, and it is indeed in the second half of the sixteenth century that the first signs of breakdown in the Ottoman institutional structure begin to appear." Bernard Lewis, The Middle East, p. 122, Scribner paperback edition, 2003
"In the last third of the 16th century serious cracks began to appear in the structure of the Ottoman empire. The empire embarked on a retrogressive movement which was to continue for more than two centuries. The decline gained momentum towards the end of the 17th century, and deepened in the 18th and 19th centuries. The feudal system, with the sipahis -- the feudal landlords -- as its prop was gradually detiorating. As the wars of expansion came to an end and spoils diminished, the landlords turned with increasing interest to the land, and tried to recoup the loss of spoils by merciless exploitation of the peasants. This naturally led to a sharp drop in agricultural production and ushered in the whole crisis of the empire." K.J. Asali, "Jerusalem under the Ottomans"Jerusalem in History, p. 207-208, Olive Branch Press, 2000
"The famous Muhammad 'Ali Psha, governor of Egypt from 1805 to 1848, conducted a diplomatic and even military struggle against the Ottoman sultan, and was prevented only by the intervention of the European powers from utterly defeating him. He was, however, able to make Egypt an autonomous and hereditary principality, and to launch it on the way to modernization." Bernard Lewis, The Middle East, p. 308, Scribner paperback edition, 2003
"Muhammad Ali and [his son] Ibrahim Pasha tried to win the support of the European powers for their control of Syria by a calculated policy of granting equality of status to members of religious minorities and by opening the country to European missionary and consular activities. This policy unleashed forces which were quickly to be felt in Jerusalem, as the Ottomans, upon their return to the city, could not reverse the Egyptian measures. Whereas before the Egyptian occupation, European consuls and Christian missions could not establish themselves in Jerusalem, and European pilgrims and visitors were not allowed to settle there permanently, the Ottomans had to continue the Egyptian open-door policy." Alexander Scholch, "Jerusaelm in the 19th Century," Jerusalem in History, p. 229, Olive Branch Press, 2000
"The Jewish population of Jerusalem increased from around 5,000 in 1839 to about 10,000 by the late 1850s." Ian J. Bickerton & Carla L. Klausner, A Concise History of the Arab-Israeli Conflict p. 21, fourth edition, Prentice Hall, 2002
1876 - 1909
"Under Sultan Abdul-Hamid II, who ruled the Ottoman Empire from 1876-1909, important changes took place in Palestine. Abdul-Hamid encouraged modernization in communications, education, and the military in order to strengthen his control. When he began his rule, Palestine had no railroad, hardly any carriage roads, and no developed port. There were few medical services, and disease and illiteracy were widespread. Within a few years of Abdul-Hamid's accession, new roads were opened, and European companies completed a railroad between Jerusalem and Jaffa in 1892 and another between Haifa and Deraa, Transjordan, in 1905. In reorganizing the Ottoman Empire and attempting to strengthen central control by using European engineers and investors, the sultans, paradoxically, encouraged the very European penetration of Palestine they were seeking to prevent." Ian J. Bickerton & Carla L. Klausner, A Concise History of the Arab-Israeli Conflict p. 19, fourth edition, Prentice Hall, 2002
"The first small group of the new movement, known as Chibbat -- or Chovenei-Zion (Lovers of Zion) -- numbering fourteen and including one woman, landed at Jaffa on July 7, 1882." Ian J. Bickerton & Carla L. Klausner, A Concise History of the Arab-Israeli Conflict p. 26, fourth edition, Prentice Hall, 2002
"The French philanthropist Baron Edmond de Rothschild bought land from the Arab effendis (landowners), now and then using bribes to do so, and drove the fellahin (peasants) off the land. They were then replaced by Jewish settlers. By 1900 he had subsidized over 350 families and 19 Jewish settlements." Ian J. Bickerton & Carla L. Klausner, A Concise History of the Arab-Israeli Conflict p. 26, fourth edition, Prentice Hall, 2002
"The second wave of Jewish immigration, which began in 1904, was made up of many young Russian pioneers who were committed to a return to the land. The new pioneers were strongly influenced by socialist ideas, and many belonged to the Poalei-Zion (Socialist or Labor Zionist) party that was formed between 1903 and 1906. Among the leaders of this group were David Ben-Gurion and Izhak Ben-Zvi." Ian J. Bickerton & Carla L. Klausner, A Concise History of the Arab-Israeli Conflict p. 26, fourth edition, Prentice Hall, 2002
"By 1914, there were about forty Jewish settlements in Palestine, owning about 100,000 acres. According to Justin McCarthy, in his study of the population of Palestine, the total population at that time was approximately 722,000, of whom approximately 60,000 were Jews." Ian J. Bickerton & Carla L. Klausner, A Concise History of the Arab-Israeli Conflict p. 27, fourth edition, Prentice Hall, 2002
"The Ottoman Empire entered WWI in November 1914 on the side of Germany and Austria, and against England, France and Russia." Albert Hourani, A History of the Arab Peoples, p. 315, Warner Books Inc, 1991
1915 - 1917
"In 1916 Husayn, the sharif of Mecca of the Hashimite family, came out in revolt against the Ottoman sultan, and an Arab force, recruited partly from beduin of western Arabia and partly from prisoners or deserters from the Ottoman army, fought alongside the allied forces in the occupation of Palestine and Syria. This movement had followed correspondence between the British and Hysayn, acting in contact with Arab nationalist groups, in which the British had encouraged Arab hopes of independence (the McMahon-Husayn correspondence, 1915-1916)." Albert Hourani, A History of the Arab Peoples, p. 316, Warner Books Inc, 1991
"An Anglo-French agreement of 1916, while accepting the principle of Arab independence laid down in the correspondence with the sharif Husayn, divided the area into zones of permanent influence (the Sykes-Picot Agreement, May 1916); and a British document of 1917, the Balfour Declaration, stated that the government viewed with favor the establishment of a Jewish national home in Palestine, provided this did not prejudice the civil and religious rights of the other inhabitants of the country." Albert Hourani, A History of the Arab Peoples, p. 318, Warner Books Inc, 1991
1917 - 1920
"On 28 June 1917, General Allenby was appointed commander of the British Army in the Middle East, and he mounted an attack aimed at breaking the Turkish lines in Palestine and Syria and arriving at the rear of the Turks in Anatolia. On 31 October 1917, he captured Beersheba and moved northwards, whilst the Germans and Turks were attempting to create a line of defence around Jerusalem. Allenby quickly pressed forward towards the north in two columns passing through the Judaean desert. He engaged the joint Turkish-German army in a fierce battle which took place to the west of Jerusalem on 8 and 9 December 1917 and, having defeated them, he approached Jerusalem, dismounted from his horse and entered the Holy City on foot, to be welcomed by its inhabitants. In September 1918 the other parts of Palestine were occupied.
A new era then began in Palestine. Taken out of Ottoman hands, it entered into the British Mandate period, which continued for the next thirty years." Moshe Sharon, "Palestine under the Mameluks and the Ottoman Empire (1291-1918)," A History of Israel and the Holy Land, p. 322, The Continuum Publishing Group Inc., 2001
"The League of Nations divided the territory [formerly under Ottoman rule] into new entities, called mandates. The mandates would be administered like trusts by the British and French, under supervision of the League, until such time as the inhabitants were believed by League members to be ready for independence and self-government...
The mandate territories were Syria and Lebanon, awarded to France; Iraq, awarded to Britian; and a new entity called Palestine, which was also placed under British control. Palestine, as defined for the first time in modern history...included the land on both sides of the Jordan River and encompassed the present-day countries of Israel and Jordan." Ian J. Bickerton & Carla L. Klausner, A Concise History of the Arab-Israeli Conflict p. 43-44, fourth edition, Prentice Hall, 2002
"Out of the broad region known as Palestine, Britian carved two political entities in 1921. One entity consisted of the rea of Palestine east of the Jordan River; it was named the 'Emirate of Transjordan,' and later simply 'Jordan'... In the western half of Palestine, between the Mediterranean Sea and the Jordan River, Palestinian Arabs and Zionist Jews wrestled for control under the British umbrella." Thomas L. Friedman, From Beirut to Jerusalem, p. 14, Anchor Books, 1995
"On February 14, 1947, the British cabinet decided, in effect, to wash its hands of Palestine and dump the problem in the lap of the United Nations." Benny Morris, Righteous Victims, p. 180, Vintage Books, 2001
"On November 29, 1947, the United Nations General Assembly voted 33 to 13 with 10 abstentions to partition western Palestine into two states -- one for the Jews, which would consist of the Negev Desert, the coastal plain between Tel Aviv and Haifa, and parts of the northern Galilee, and the other for the Palestinian Arabs, which would consist primarily of the West Bank of the Jordan, the Gaza District, Jaffa, and the Arav sectors of the Galilee. Jerusalem, cherished by both Muslims and Jews as a holy city, was to become an international enclave under U.N. trusteeship.
The Zionist, then led by David Ben-Gurion, accepted this partition plan, even though they had always dreamed of controlling all of western Palestine and Jerusalem. The Palestinian Arabs and the surrounding Arab states rejected the partition proposal. They felt that Palestine was all theirs, that the Jews were a foreign implant foisted upon them, and that they had the strength to drive them out." Thomas L. Friedman, From Beirut to Jerusalem, p. 14, Anchor Books, 1995
"In the course of that war, the Zionists not only managed to hold all the areas assigned to them by the United Nations [in 1947] but to seize part of the land designated for the Palestinian state as well. The other areas designated for the Palestinians by the United Nations were taken by Jordan and Egypt; Jordan annexed the West Bank, while Egypt assumed control of the Gaza District." Thomas L. Friedman, From Beirut to Jerusalem, p. 15, Anchor Books, 1995
"The armistice agreements were not peace treaties and did not provide for many of the features that normally govern the relations between neighboring states at peace with each other, such as diplomatic and trade ties. During the following years Arab leaders made abundantly clear their uniform view that the armistice accords were merely elaborate cease-fire agreements, implicitly temporary and qualitatively different from and well short of full peace treaties."
Benny Morris, Righteous Victims, p. 252, Vintage Books, 2001 "At the end of hostilities early in 1949, the United Nations estimated that there were 726,000 Arab refugees from Israeli-controlled territories, about 70 percent of the Arab population of Palestine. The exact number is difficult to determine because it is impossible to know the true number of Arab illegals living in Palestine when the war broke out and the number of Bedouin who had become refugees. A fugure of about 600,000 to 760,000 is probably more accurate." Ian J. Bickerton & Carla L. Klausner, A Concise History of the Arab-Israeli Conflict p. 104, fourth edition, Prentice Hall, 2002
1949 - 1956
"The essential reality of Israeli-Arab relations during 1949-1956 was...unremitting, if generally low-key, conflict. Leaders and news media on both sides regularly voiced propaganda and traded threats, and the Arab world closed ranks in waging massive political warfare against Israel, regarding it as a pariah state and attempting to persuade the rest of the world to follow suit. The Arabs refused to recognize Israel's existence or right to exist -- leaders and writers avoided using the word 'Israel'; maps left its area blank or called it Palestine...
A comprehensive Arab economic boycott was imposed, including the closure by Egypt of the Suez Canal [July 26, 1956] and the Straits of Tiran to Israeli shipping and to specific goods (such as oil) bound for Israel, carried on third-country vessels, and a ban on deals with companies doing business with Israel.
The most grinding and visible expressions of animosity were border clashes. Most of the tension along the frontiers resulted from Arab infiltration. The daily trespassing and shooting incidents, the occasional murder of Israelis, and the retaliations generated fresh hostility which gradually built up to a crescendo in the second Arab-Israeli war of 1956." Benny Morris, Righteous Victims, p. 269, Vintage Books Edition, 2001
"In October [29-30, 1956] Israeli forces invaded Egypt and moved towards the Suez Canal. In accordance with their previous agreement, Britain and France sent an ultimatum to both Israel and Egypt to withdraw from the Canal Zone, and [Egyptian President] 'Abd al-Nasir's refusal gave a pretext for British and French forces to attack and occupy part of the zone... Under American and Soviet pressure, and faced with worldwide hostility and the danger of financial collapse, the three forces [Britain, France and Israel] withdrew." Albert Hourani A History of the Arab Peoples, p. 367-368, Warner Books Edition, 1991
1956 - 1957
"The U.N. Emergency Force (UNEF), which was to supervise the truce, began arriving on 4 December . Britain and France completed their withdrawal by 23 December, handing over their positions to UNEF. Though Israel agreed to withdraw on 8 November it did not actually do so until 8 March 1957 -- and then only after the United States committed itself to standing by Israel's right of passage through the Gulf of Aqaba, ensuring that Gaza was not used again for launching guerrilla attacks against it. On Israel's insistence UNEF troops were posted exclusively in Gaza and the Gulf of Aqaba region to safeguard Israeli shipping. Egypt was allowed to return to Gaza to administer it." Dilip Hiro, The Essential Middle East, p. 498, Carroll & Graf Publishers, 2003
1957 - 1967
"The political outcome of the war was a clear and substantial radicalization of the conflict. Nasser and other Arab leaders began to speak openly of the need for a 'third round' [after 1948 & 1956], in which Israel would be destroyed. In a letter to Hussein [King of Jordan] on March 13, 1961, Nasser wrote: 'On...Israel, we believe that the evil introduced into the heart of the Arab world must be uprooted.'" Benny Morris, Righteous Victims, p. 300-301, Vintage Books, 2001
"[Egyptian President] Gamel Abdul Nasser asked the United Nations to withdraw the forces which had been stationed on the frontier with Israel since the Suez war of 1956, and when this was done he closed the straits of Aqaba to Israeli shipping... As tension mounted, Jordan and Syria made military agreements with Egypt." Albert Hourani, A History of the Arab Peoples, p. 413, Warner Books Inc, 1991
"In June 1967, Israel launched a preemptive strike against Egypt, Syria, and Jordan, after Nasser had declared his intention to annihilate the Jewish state and forged military alliances with Syria and Jordan for that purpose, building up troop concentrations along his border with Israel and blockading shipping to the Israeli port of Eilat. The six-day war that followed Israel's surprise attack ended with the Israeli army occupying Egypt's Sinai Peninsula, Syria's Golan Heights, and Jordan's West Bank." Thomas Friedman, From Beirut to Jerusalem, p. 15-16, Anchor Books Edition, 1995
"The most significant international pronouncement on the Arab-Israeli dispute after the Six-Day War was U.N. Security Council Resolution 242. The preamble to the resolution emphasized the inadmissibility of the acquisition of territory by force and the need to work for a just and lasting peace." Avi Shlaim, The Iron Wall, p. 259-260, W.W. Norton & Company, 2001
Khartoum Summit (Sudan)
"An Arab summit conference was held in Khartoum, the Sudanese capital, between 28 August and 2 September . It was the first meeting of the Arab leaders since their defeat in the June War. Israel's leaders watched with keen anticipation to see what conclusions the Arab leaders would draw from their military defeat. The conference ended with the adoption of the famous three noes of Khartoum: no recognition, no negotiation, and no peace with Israel." Avi Shlaim, The Iron Wall, p. 259-260, W.W. Norton & Company, 2001
1969 - 1970
War of Attrition
"In March 1969, Nasser announced that the cease-fire of June 1967 was null and void, and the 'War of Attrition' was officially launched. Nasser believed that he could inflict such a heavy toll [given the wide disparity in the populations of Israel and Egypt, Israel could not afford as many casualties as the Egyptians] that the Israelis would retreat back into the Sinai, and/or that they would become more amenable to a political solution on Egypt's terms...In August 1970, a cease fire along the canal came into effect." Ian J. Bickerton & Carla L. Klausner, A Concise History of the Arab-Israeli Conflict p. 168-169, fourth edition, Prentice Hall, 2002
"In Jordan the Palestinian guerrilla organizations created a state within a state that posed a challenge to the rule of King Hussein. The king ordered his army to disarm and break the power of these organizations. In the ensuing civil war thousands of Palestinians were killed, and many more left the country. At the height of the crisis, Syrian forces invaded Jordan in what looked like a bid to help the Palestinians overthrow the monarchy...Jordan's army went into action against the Syrian invaders. The crisis ended with a Palestinian defeat, a Syrian retreat, and King Hussein sitting firmly on his throne in Amman." Avi Shlaim, The Iron Wall, p. 298-299, W.W. Norton & Company, Inc., 2001
On October 6, 1973 the Egyptian Army "launched a sudden attack upon the Israeli forces on the east bank of the Suez Canal; at the same moment, and by agreement, the Syrian army attacks the Israelis from the Golan Heights. In the first rush of fighting, the Egyptian army succeeded in crossing the canal and establishing a bridgehead, and the Syrians occupied part of the Golan Heights; weapons supplied by the Russians enabled them to neutralize the Israeli air force, which had won the victory of 1967. In the next few days, however, the military tide turned. Israeli forces crossed the canal and established their own bridgehead on the west bank [of the Suez Canal] and drove the Syrians back towards Damascus." Albert Hourani, A History of the Arab Peoples, p. 418, Warner Books Inc, 1991
"Henry Kissinger [U.S. Secretary of State] persuaded Egypt and Israel to sign a disengagement accord, whereby Israel withdrew from the western bank of the Suez Canal, to about twenty miles from the east bank of the canal. Egypt agreed to a major reduction of troops east of Suez, the establishemtn of a U.N.-patrolled buffer zone, defensive missile emplacemetns only west of Suez, and the allowing of nonmilitary Israeli shipping through the canal (though not in Israeli vessels)." Ian J. Bickerton & Carla L. Klausner, A Concise History of the Arab-Israeli Conflict p. 185, fourth edition, Prentice Hall, 2002
"Henry Kissinger achieved a disengagement accord between Israel and Syria regarding the Golan Heights. Israel agreed to withdraw from some occupied territory in the Heights in return for the establishment of a U.N. buffer zone and defensive Arab missile placements. President Hafez al-Assad of Syria also agreed in a private memorandum to prevent any Palestinian terrorist groups from launching attacks from Syria. In return, the United States resumed diplomatic relations with Syria." Ian J. Bickerton & Carla L. Klausner, A Concise History of the Arab-Israeli Conflict p. 185, fourth edition, Prentice Hall, 2002
"The Arab League, meeting at Rabat in 1974, recognized the PLO [Palestine Liberation Organization] as the 'sole, legitimate representative of the Palestinian people,' undermining the role of King Hussein and his ability to speak for the Palestinians as envisaged by U.N. resolutions. King Hussein agreed to honor the PLO's claim to negotiate for the Palestinians (and was rewarded with an annual $300-million grant for four years from the Arab League). He further stated that it was 'totally inconceivable' that Jordan and a Palestinian entity could form a federation -- a suggestion he had floated earlier. Perhaps the real significance of the Rabat summit was that this decision meant that Hussein was forced to acknowledge Palestinian rights to what he had lost physically to the Israelis in 1967. It was a diplomatic triumph for the PLO that repaid the defeat of Black September in 1970. The Rabat decision also weakened the American position. Kissinger agreed with the Israelis that it was preferable to negotiate with Hussein rather than with the PLO." Ian J. Bickerton & Carla L. Klausner, A Concise History of the Arab-Israeli Conflict p. 176, fourth edition, Prentice Hall, 2002
"In the early 1970s, tension along the Israel-Lebanon border increased, especially after the relocation of Palestinian armed elements from Jordan to Lebanon. Palestinian commando operations against Israel and Israeli reprisals against Palestinian bases in Lebanon intensified. On 11 March 1978, a commando attack in Israel resulted in many dead and wounded among the Israeli population; the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) claimed responsibility for that raid. In response, Israeli forces invaded Lebanon on the night of 14/15 March , and in a few days occupied the entire southern part of the country except for the city of Tyre and its surrounding area.
On 15 March 1978, the Lebanese Government submitted a strong protest to the [U.N.] Security Council against the Israeli invasion, stating that it had no connection with the Palestinian commando operation. On 19 March , the Council adopted resolutions 425 (1978) and 426 (1978), in which it called upon Israel immediately to cease its military action and withdraw its forces from all Lebanese territory. It also decided on the immediate establishment of the United Nations Interim Force in Lebanon (UNIFIL). The first UNIFIL troops arrived in the area on 23 March 1978." UNIFIL, "Background," online, 2003
1979 - 1982
Treaty of Peace
"The Sinai Peninsula remained in Israeli hands until, in 1979, a peace agreement was signed between Israel and Egypt -- the first with any Arab country -- under the terms of which peace and normal diplomatic relations were established between the two states, and Israeli forces withdrew in agreed stages to the old, international frontier between mandatary Palestine and the Kingdom of Egypt." Bernard Lewis, The Middle East p. 365, Scribner, 1995
"With Egypt sidelined by the provisions of its treaty with Israel, the Begin government [Israel] was able to plan a major assault against the PLO in Lebanon relatively untroubled by the risk of an escalation into general war [with the surrounding Arab countries]." Benny Morris, Righteous Victims p. 494, Vintage Books, 2001
"Israel invaded Lebanon in June [6,] 1982. The invasion culminated in a long siege of the western part of Beirut, mainly inhabited by Muslims and dominated by the PLO. The siege ended with an agreement, negotiated through the U.S. government, by which the PLO would evacuate west Beirut." Albert Hourani, A History of the Arab Peoples p. 431, Warner Books Edition, 1991
"The PLO military infrastructure in southern Lebanon was destroyed, and the organization was driven out of Beirut [September 2, 1982]. Many PLO fighters were killed, and it lost most of its heavy equipment and ammunition stockpiles. Its headquarters was reestablished in faraway Tunisia, and its military units were dispersed in camps around the Middle East and North Africa, no longer posing a threat along or near Israel's borders. The PLO and Arafat emerged from the fray considerably weakened." Benny Morris, Righteous Victims p. 558, Vintage Books, 2001
1983 - 1985
"On 17 May 1983 Israel and Lebanon signed an agreement that formally terminated the state of war and recognized the international border between them as inviolable. The parties undertook to prevent the use of one country's territory for terrorist activity against the other country. Israel was to withdraw its forces to a distance of forty to forty-five kilometers from the international border to an area defined as a 'security zone.' The area north of the security zone was to be under the control of the United Nations Interim Force in Lebanon [UNIFIL]...There was one inherent flaw in the agreement: it was conditional on Syria's withdrawing its forces from Lebanon, and Syria did not oblige...
The withdrawal from Lebanon was carried out in stages between February and June . The bulk of the troops returned to their bases inside Israel. Small forces remained in the security zone and coordinated their activities with the SLA [South Lebanon Army]." Avi Shlaim, The Iron Wall p. 427, W.W. Norton & Company Inc., 2001
First Palestinian Intifada
"The intifada erupted on 9 December 1987, seventy years to the day from Allenby's [British Commander of the Egyptian Expeditionary Force WWI] entry into Jerusalem. Triggered by an incident in Gaza, the uprising was the product of an accumulation of Palestinian tensions and grievances...
In mid-January the intifada broke out in the heart of Arab Jerusalem itself, as Israeli security forces used tear gas around the two especially sacred mosques in the Haram al-Sharif, trying to disperse Palestinian demonstrators. Accustomed to thinking of Jerusalem and its Arab population as an integral part of Israel, Israelis were shocked by the solidariy with the intifada being demonstrated in East Jerusalem." Michael C. Hudson "The Transformation of Jerusalem 1917-1987," Jerusalem in History, 2000
"The Intifada ended in a stalemate, with the Palestinians unable to eject the Israelis from the territories and the Israelis unable to stop the violence. That made the occupation increasigly uncomfortable. As a result, both sides soon fundamentally revised their policies: Within months the P.L.O. agreed to recognize and make peace with Israel, and to establish a self-governing entity in a small part of Palestine. And Israel, some months later, agreed to recognize the P.L.O. and to evacuate much if not most of the West Bank and Gaza Strip.
In addition, the United States was to recognize the P.L.O. and reopen its dialogue with it, and Jordan finally severed all administrative links with the West Bank. Ultimately, the result of the Intifada was a basic restructuring of geopolitical realities in the region, one of which was the start of the emergence of a Palestinian state." Benny Morris, Richteous Victims, 2001
"On July 31, 1988, evidently despairing of success in setting up an international conference, perhaps seeing in the Intifada a threat to his own kingdom, and realizing that, indeed, the Palestinians, especially the younger generation, would never accept him as their spokesperson, King Hussein of Jordan renounced his claim to the West Bank, which in effect reversed the annexation decision made in 1950." Ian J. Bickerton & Carla L. Klausner, A Concise History of the Arab-Israeli Conflict p. 227, fourth edition, Prentice Hall, 2002
"In a somber broadcast, King Hussein announced that Jordan was severing its 'administrative and judicial' links with the West Bank, 'in deference to the will of the PLO' -- Jordan was washing its hands of the future of the territory and its inhabitants." Benny Morris, Richteous Victims, p. 605, Vintage Books, 2001
"On November 15, 1988, at the nineteenth meeting of the Palestine National Council (PNC), considered by the PLO to be its parliament in exile, the PNC proclaimed -- by a vote of 253 to 46 with 10 abstentions -- the establishment of an independent Palestinian state." Ian J. Bickerton & Carla L. Klausner, A Concise History of the Arab-Israeli Conflict p. 229, fourth edition, Prentice Hall, 2002
"As the world watched in wonder, on Thursday, September 9, Norwegian foreign minister Johan Joergan Holst carried a letter from Arafat to Rabin recognizing Israel, renouncing violence, and pledging support for repeal of clauses objectionable to Israel in the PLO charter. Rabin, for his part, signed a letter recognizing the PLO as the representative of the Palestinian people and accepting the PLO as a negotiating partner. On Monday, September 13, 1993, in a stunning event on the White House lawn in Washington, the Declaration of Principles on Interim Self-Government for the Palestinians (henceforth referred to as the Israel -- PLO peace accord) was signed by Foreign Minister [Shimon] Peres and PLO representative Mahmoud Abbas, with Warren Christopher and Russian foreign minister Andrei Kosyrev adding their signatures as witnesses, while President Clinton, Arafat, and Rabin looked on." Ian J. Bickerton & Carla L. Klausner, A Concise History of the Arab-Israeli Conflict p. 263-264, fourth edition, Prentice Hall, 2002
"The Paris Protocol is the framework establishing the interim-period economic relations between Israel and the Palestinian Authority. The Protocol was signed in April 1994 and is part of Oslo 1, which was signed a few days later. The model established in the Protocol is known as a 'customs union,' the primary characteristic of which is the absence of economic borders between members of the union. The practical effect of selecting this model was preservation of the economic relations that had existed until then..." B'Tselem, "The Paris Protocol," accessed on the B'Tselem Website, 7/6/07
"The 'Agreement on the Gaza Strip and the Jericho Area' (usually referred to as 'the Cairo agreement') was finally signed in the Egyptian capital by [Israeli Prime Minister] Rabin and Arafat, with American, Soviet, and Egyptian representatives as witnesses, on May 4, 1994...
The agreement effectively transferred control over the bulk of the Gaza Strip and a sixty-five-square-kilometer area encompassing Jericho and its environs to PA [Palestinian Authority] control, with Israel remaining in control of the borders between these now-autonomous areas and the outside world and of the Jewish settlements in the Strip." Benny Morris, Righteous Victims, p. 624-625, Vintage Books, 2001
Israel-Jordan Treaty of Peace
"Signed on October 26, 1994. An international boundary will be delimited within 9 months. Each party will refrain from threats or use of force against the other and from joining alliances hostile to the other and will remove restrictions from normal economic relations and terminate economic boycotts. Problems of displaced persons (from 1967) will be resolved with Egypt and the Palestinians and of refugees (from 1948) in the multilateral framework. Israel respects Jordan’s role in the mosques in Jerusalem and will give it high priority in permanent status negotiations. Annexes called for Jordan to lease one sq. mi. to Israelis for a renewable 25-year period and for Israel to provide Yarmuk River water and desalinized water to Jordan; dams will be built on the Yarmuk and Jordan Rivers to yield more water." The United States Congressional Research Service (CRS), "The Middle East Peace Talks," Issue Brief for Congress, 9/8/03
Under the terms of this agreement, Israel yielded to the Palestinians civilian control over nearly a third of the West Bank. Four percent of the West Bank (including the towns of Jenin, Nablus, Kalkilya, Tulkarem, Ramallah, Bethlehem, and Hebron) was turned over to exclusive Palestinian control and another 25 percent to administrative-civilian control. In the Gaza Strip Israel retained control over 35 percent of the land, containing the Jewish settlements and the roads leading to them, and the rest was turned over to the Palestinian Authority." Avi Shlaim, The Iron Wall, p. 528, W.W. Norton & Co. 2001
Protocol Concerning the Redeployment in Hebron
"This agreement, signed on 15 January 1997, divided the city of Hebron into two parts: H1 and H2. Israel retained full security control over the Israeli settlement enclaves in downtown Hebron (H2), over another settlement (Kiryat Arba) just outside the city, and, in order to facilitate movement by the settlers and the IDF, over the surrounding area. The agreement gave the PA security responsibility for the rest of Hebron (H1), although this responsibility remained closely monitored by Israeli authorities." Geoffrey Aronson, "Recapitulating the Redeployments: The Israel-PLO ‘Interim Agreements’," article posted on the website of the Center for Policy Analysis on Palestine, 4/27/2000
"On November 20 , Israel withdrew from two percent of the West Bank included in Area C, which then became part of Area B, while 7.1 percent in Area B now joined Area A. Most of the areas evacuated were around Jenin, in northern Samaria [the northern part of the West Bank]." Benny Morris, Righteous Victims, p. 648, Vintage Books, 2001
"The Sharm al-Sheikh agreement [signed by Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Barak and Palestinian Chairman Yasser Arafat on October 4, 1999] set out a timetable for a permanent peace settlement. A declaration of principles on final status issues was to be reached by February 13, 2000 and a permanent settlement reached by September 13, 2000. Israel accepted the remaining 11 percent redeployment agreed upon at Wye [October 3, 1998], and Arafat compromised by accepting the release of 350 prisoners, rather than the 400 the Palestinians had requested." Ian J. Bickerton & Carla L. Klausner, A Concise History of the Arab-Israeli Conflict, fourth edition, Prentice Hall, 2002
"On the night of May 23-24, in a well-orchestrated operation, backed by columns of heavy Merkava tanks and helicopter gunships, the last Israeli troops pulled out [of Lebanon] under sporadic Hizbullah fire." Benny Morris, Righteous Victims, p. 656, Vintage Books, 2001
Camp David II
"On July 5, 2000, President Clinton had announced that Barak and Arafat would meet at Camp David, starting on July 11, for the 'make or break' summit. During July 11-26, Barak and Arafat, with Clinton (assisted by Albright) playing a crucial mediating role, tackled the major issues dividing Israel and the Palestinians: The refugees, Jerusalem, the borders between a future Palestinian state and Israel, the Israeli settlements, and the problem of water supplies and pollution." Benny Morris, Righteous Victims, p. 656, Vintage Books, 2001
"Years of accumulated mistrust and loss of faith in the peace process, political circumstances in Israel and among the Palestinians, the history of prior agreements, perceptions of the United States' role, the relationship (or lack thereof) between [Ehud] Barak and Arafat, the mechanics of the negotiations—all these contributed to a situation in which each side's actions were interpreted by the other in the most damaging way." Robert Malley and Hussein Agha, "Camp David: An Exchange," New York Times, Review, 09/20/01
Sep. - Oct.
"The spark to what began as a spontaneous, ground-up rebellion was provided by a visit on September 28, 2000 to the Temple Mount compound by Knesset member Ariel Sharon, who had succeeded [Benjamin] Netanyahu as Likud Party chairman in May 1999. Though a few days before Arafat had cautioned Barak against allowing the visit, his head of the security service in the West Bank, Jibril Rajoub, had promised-predicted that the visit would pass quietly; so had Israel's internal security service, the G.S.S. [General Security Service]. Besides, there was no legal bar to the M.K. [Member of the Knesset] visiting the Temple Mount, so long as he did not act or speak provocatively. So Barak had given the visit the green light. Sharon, accompanied by many dozens of policemen, smiling broadly, spent 24 minutes strolling about the compound, then left; he did not approach or enter either of the mosques [Dome of the Rock and Al-Aqsa]."
Benny Morris, Righteous Victims, 2001 "From the perspective of the PLO, Israel responded to the disturbances with excessive and illegal use of deadly force against demonstrators; behavior which, in the PLO's view, reflected Israel's contempt for the lives and safety of Palestinians. For Palestinians, the widely seen images of the killing of 12-year-old Muhammad al Durra in Gaza on September 30, shot as he huddled behind his father, reinforced that perception.
From the perspective of the GOI [Government of Israel], the demonstrations were organized and directed by the Palestinian leadership to create sympathy for their cause around the world by provoking Israeli security forces to fire upon demonstrators, especially young people. For Israelis, the lynching of two military reservists, First Sgt. Vadim Novesche and First Cpl. Yosef Avrahami, in Ramallah on October 12, reflected a deep-seated Palestinian hatred of Israel and Jews." George Mitchell, "Sharm El-Sheikh Fact-Finding Committee 'Mitchell Report', 5/20/01
"The Taba negotiation began on Sunday evening, January 21, and ended on Saturday afternoon, January 27. At the closing press conference, the parties issued this joint statement: 'The sides declare that they have never been closer to reaching an agreement and it is thus our shared belief that the remaining gaps could be bridged with the resumption of negotiations following the Israeli election...'
...As Taba ended, there was general talk about further steps. One proposal was a meeting of Barak and Arafat, before the election, to achieve an undefined breakthrough or to agree on a framework. Another suggested reconvening the negotiators after the election, with the goal of reaching agreement by April 30." David Matz, "Trying to Understand the Taba Talks (Part I)," Palestine-Israel Journal, 2003
Feb. 6, 2001
Election of Ariel Sharon
"In a special election held February 6, 2001, Ariel Sharon was elected Prime Minister, decisively defeating Ehud Barak. He presented his government to the Knesset on March 7, 2001. He pursued an uncompromising line against Palestinian terror groups and Yasser Arafat, and insisted that Arafat was an obstacle to peace and personally responsible for much of the violence of the Intifada." Ami Isseroff, "Biography of Ariel Sharon," MidEast Web For Coexistence website, 2005
"Former Senator George Mitchell headed an international commission that assessed the causes of the [al-Aqsa] Intifada and made a series of recommendations for transforming the situation. The findings were privately conveyed to the administration on April 30, 2001, and released to the public on May 21. They specified steps that both Palestinians and Israelis needed to take: the Palestinians on security, including specific action against the groups and the infrastructure responsible for terror; and Israelis on restoring normal life to Palestinians, including the removal of barriers to Palestinian movement of people and goods and a freeze on settlement activity." Dennis Ross, The Missing Peace: The Inside Story of the Fight for Middle East Peace, 2004
June 13, 2001
"Following the failure of the Mitchell Plan to end the Palestinian-Israeli violence begun in September, 2000, US CIA Director George Tenet worked out a detailed plan for ending the violence and resuming negotiations, with the consent of the parties. The plan went into effect June 13, 2001, but resumption of negotiations was conditional on there being a single week free of violence. No such week occurred. By March 2002, Israeli PM Sharon said he would be willing to forego the week of quiet. However, Israeli forces had invaded Palestinian areas by this time, and Palestinians refused to negotiate until Israel withdrew its forces." Ami Isseroff, "The Tenet Plan," MidEast Web For Coexistence website, 2002
Aug. 27, 2001
Israel Assassinates PFLP Leader
"The leader of the radical Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine has been killed in an Israeli attack. Palestinian sources say Abu Ali Mustafa died when at least two missiles struck his office in the West Bank town of Ramallah, not far from the offices of Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat. Israeli military forces confirmed that they had carried out the attack, saying the missiles were fired by a helicopter gunship. Mustafa is the highest-ranking Palestinian official to be assassinated by the Israelis since the start of the 11-month Palestinian uprising." BBC, "Israel Kills Key Palestinian Leader," Aug. 27, 2001
Oct. 17, 2001
PFLP Assassinates Israeli Minister
"A rightwing Israeli minister was shot dead in a Jerusalem hotel today [October 17, 2001] by a suspected Palestinian gunman... The Syria-based Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine immediately claimed responsibility for murder of the far-right tourism minister, Rehavam Ze'evi. Mr Ze'evi was shot three times in the head and neck at close range in the Hyatt Hotel, which is close to Palestinian areas in east Jerusalem, police said... In statements to Arab television stations, the group said the shooting was in retaliation for the death of the PFLP leader, Mustafa Zibri, who died in an Israeli rocket attack on August 27." Guardian Unlimited, "Israeli Minister Assassinated," Oct. 17, 2001
Jan. 5, 2002
Israel Captures the Karin-A
"The Israeli Army said today [Jan. 5, 2002] that it had seized a ship carrying 50 tons of rockets, mines, antitank missiles and other munitions meant for Yasir Arafat's Palestinian Authority, even as the Bush administration's envoy met with Mr. Arafat in the hope of strengthening his declared cease-fire with Israel. Palestinian officials denied any link to the ship, the Karine A, and dismissed the announcement a day after the seizure as propaganda timed to undermine Mr. Arafat. But Lt. Gen. Shaul Mofaz, chief of staff of the Israeli Army, said that the Karine A was owned by the Palestinian Authority, which governs Palestinians in the West Bank and Gaza Strip, and that its captain and several of its officers were members of the Palestinian naval police... Most of the military equipment found aboard the ship was from Iran, General Mofaz said." New York Times, "Israel Seizes Ship It Says Was Arming Palestinians," Jan. 5, 2002
Mar. 13, 2002
U.S. & U.N. Security Council Officially Call
"The United States ended years of resistance to Security Council action on the Middle East conflict late tonight [Mar. 13, 2002] when it sponsored and helped pass a resolution formally endorsing the concept of a Palestinian state and calling for 'the immediate cessation of all acts of violence.' The American resolution, which passed by a vote of 14 to 0 with Syria abstaining, affirmed 'a vision of a region where two states, Israel and Palestine, live side by side within secure and recognized borders.' It also called on the Palestinians and Israelis to restart negotiations on a political settlement." Washington Post, "U.N. Council Backs A Palestinian State; U.S.-Sponsored Resolution Calls for Truce," Mar. 13, 2002
The plan, in its broadest terms, offers Israel security and 'normal relations' in exchange for a withdrawal from occupied Arab territories, creation of an independent Palestinian state with al-Quds al-Shareef (East Jerusalem) as its capital, and the 'return of refugees...' Asked how 'normal relations' are defined, Prince Saud al Faisal, Saudi Arabia's foreign minister, said, 'We envision a relationship between the Arab countries and Israel that is exactly like the relationship between the Arab countries and any other state...'" CNN, "Arab Summit Adopts Saudi Peace," Mar. 28, 2002
Mar. - Apr., 2002
Operation Defensive Shield
"In late March 2002, as the Saudi 'peace plan' made headway among the Americans, Europeans and UN delegates (in the form of resolution 1397), and the Arab League adopted it at the Beirut summit, Sharon was once again momentarily cornered. Almost immediately, the revenge attack long expected from the 'camps war' of early March came on March 27, in the form of a Hamas suicide bombing in Netanya in which 29 Israelis were killed at Passover celebrations. The pretext for Operation Defensive Shield, the last but probably not the final round of Sharon's campaign against the PA, was now in place.
In the largest call-up of Israeli reservists since 1967, from March 28 to April 4 all of the major West Bank towns except Hebron and Jericho, as well as a score of villages, were invaded and reoccupied. The ferocity and scale of the invasion was without precedent. But what was also different about Defensive Shield was the different nature of its targets. Three main towns, Ramallah, Nablus and Jenin, suffered the greatest devastation. The latter two had experienced the wrath of the Israel Defense Forces (IDF) in early March and once again the target was the resistance forces based in their refugee camps. But in Ramallah, the target was openly the infrastructure of the PA.
Prior to Defensive Shield, Israeli destruction of PA institutions had remained limited to security installations, as well as infrastructure that had the trappings of future sovereignty such as the Gaza airport and [sea] port. Now, for the first time, the PA's civilian infrastructure was targeted. From the second week onward, the invasion saw daily rounds of blasting entrances followed by ransacking, aimed at everything from the Legislative Council offices to the Ministries of Education, Finance, Agriculture, Trade and Industry to municipal buildings and Chambers of Commerce. In some cases, the attacks included "expert teams" brought in to find incriminating material -- some of it likely destined for the vaunted "Arafat dossier" Sharon took to his meeting with Bush in Washington in early May...
By April 21, Israeli tanks had pulled out of the cities they had occupied save for two critical sites of standoff: Arafat's compound in Ramallah and the Church of the Nativity in Bethlehem, where roughly 30 fighters had taken refuge along with scores of town residents. The siege on Arafat, for the umpteenth time, was a symbol of Sharon's power to impose house arrest on him in full view of the international community... Ostensibly, Sharon's siege on Arafat aimed to compel him to turn over six fugitives being held inside: four men implicated in the assassination of former Minister of Tourism Rehavam Zeevi, plus Ahmad Saadat, secretary general of the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine, and Fuad Shobaki, the alleged paymaster for the Karine A weapons ship intercepted by Israel in January ." Middle East Report (U.K.), "Interregnum: Palestine After Operation Defensive Shield," Summer, 2002
July 22, 2002
Israel Assassinates Military Leader
"Israeli F-16 warplanes bombed the house of the military commander of Hamas in Gaza City last night, burying him and at least 11 other Palestinians, including seven children, beneath the rubble of a four-storey block of flats, and wounding 120 others. Last night's assassination of Sheikh Salah Shehadeh is the most serious blow to the military wing of Hamas since the start of the Palestinian uprising nearly two years ago." Guardian Unlimited, "12 Dead in Attack on Hamas: Seven Children Killed as Israelis Assassinate Military Chief," July 23, 2002
Aug. 1, 2002
U.N. Report Disputes Claim
of Jenin "Massacre"
"The United Nations has released its long-awaited report on Israeli- Palestinian fighting in the Jenin refugee camp last spring. The report rejects Palestinian claims of a massacre, but blames both sides for endangering civilians." National Public Radio (NPR), "Analysis: UN Releases Long-awaited Report on Israeli-Palestinian Fighting in Jenin Refugee Camp Last Spring," Aug. 1, 2002
Mar. 19, 2003
Arafat Names Mahmoud Abbas Prime Minister
"Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat has officially asked his moderate deputy, Mahmud Abbas, to share power with him. His elevation to Prime Minister comes a day after Parliament approved the creation of the post.Mahmud Abbas (Abu Mazen) to be the Prime Minister of the Palestinian Authority." Australian Broadcasting Corporation (ABC), "Arafat Asks Deputy to Assume PM's Role," Mar. 19, 2003
Apr. 30, 2003
U.S. Publishes "Road Map"
"The United States yesterday [Apr. 30, 2003] released the long-awaited 'road map' towards a Middle East peace settlement with the creation of an independent and viable Palestinian state by 2005. The move came hours after a new Palestinian prime minister, Mahmoud Abbas, popularly known as Abu Mazen, was sworn in and made a public commitment to curb attacks on Israeli civilians." Guardian Unlimited, "US Releases 'Road Map' Amid Underlying Tensions," May 1, 2003
June 4, 2003
Bush, Sharon, Abbas Meet at Aqaba, Jordan, Peace Summit
"At a Mideast peace summit [Aqaba, Jordan] convened by President Bush, the Israeli and Palestinian prime ministers promised Wednesday [June 4, 2003] to take real, if limited, steps toward ending their bloody conflict. Israeli Prime Minister Sharon promised to immediately begin dismantling unauthorized Jewish outposts on the West Bank, while Palestinian Prime Minister Mahmod Abbas explicitly asserted that the 'armed intefadeh must end,' referring to the Palestinians' 32-month uprising against Israel." CBS News, "On The Road To Mideast Peace?," June 4, 2003
June 19, 2003
Israel Begins Construction of West Bank Security Wall/Fence
"[T]he Israelis have started building a fence that eventually will continue for more than 200 miles -- roughly coinciding with Israel's 1967 border with the West Bank. But there are several major detours to ensure that Ariel, Immanuel and other major Jewish settlement communities on the West Bank are on the Israeli side of the fence. Surveyed from the air, it's a massive project. It's eventual cost: an estimated $220 million." CNN, "Israel Begins Construction of Fence on West Bank Border," June 19, 2003
June 30, 2003
Hamas, Islamic Jihad, Fatah Agree to
Three Month Ceasefire with Israel
"... Palestinian PM Mahmoud Abbas, with Egyptian help, has succeeded in getting Islamic Jihad, Hamas and Fatah to agree to a ceasefire, or in Arabic, 'Hudna', in order to facilitate implementing the Roadmap peace plan. In response, Israel overnight withdrew forces from an area of the Northern Gaza strip they had been controlling, and handed it over to Palestinian security forces." Australia/Israel & Jewish Affairs Council (AIJAC), "Ceasefire and Withdrawal in Gaza," June 30, 2003
Aug. 21, 2003
Israeli Cease-fire Declared Dead
"A senior Hamas official declared a cease-fire dead on Thursday [Aug. 21, 2003] shortly after Israeli helicopter missiles killed Ismail Abu Shanab, a leader of the militant Islamic group." Esam Shashaa, "History Timeline - 2003," PalestineHistory.com, Aug. 21, 2003
Oct. 14, 2003
Geneva Accord Unveiled
"A group of prominent Israeli and Palestinian politicians, working outside official channels, have written a symbolic peace agreement that they hope could be a foundation for future negotiations... The proposal, dubbed the Geneva Accords, will be formally signed at a ceremony planned for next month in that Swiss city. The Israeli delegation was led by Yossi Beilin, a former justice minister. The most prominent Palestinian was Yasir Abed Rabbo, a former information minister. Under the proposal, a Palestinian state would be created that would include the entire Gaza Strip and almost all of the West Bank. The capital would be in the Arab neighborhoods of East Jerusalem." New York Times, "Israelis and Palestinians Join in Peace Draft," Oct. 14, 2003
Nov. 18, 2003
E.U. Formally Condemns Israeli West Bank Wall/Fence
"The European Union is to formally condemn Israel's controversial 'security fence' in the occupied West Bank. With relations strained anew by alleged anti-semitism in Europe, the Israeli foreign minister, Silvan Shalom, yesterday demanded a 'more balanced' EU stance on the Middle East conflict. Meeting EU foreign ministers in Brussels, he insisted the fence was intended to keep out Palestinian suicide bombers and would be dismantled in the event of a peace settlement. But in a strongly worded statement to be issued today [Nov. 18, 2003], the EU says the fence could prevent the creation of a viable Palestinian state alongside Israel. It recognises Israel's right to protect itself from terrorist attacks, but urges it to avoid civilian casualties and to end extra-judicial killings." Guardian Unlimited, "EU Hits Out at Israeli Fence," Nov. 18, 2003
Dec. 16, 2003
Sharon Announces Gaza
"At the Herzliya Conference [Dec. 16, 2003], Sharon announces his 'disengagement plan,' which he says will include 'the redeployment of IDF forces along new security lines and a change in the deployment of settlements ... In the framework of a future agreement, Israel will not remain in all the places where it is today.'" Ha'aretz, "Disengagement Timeline," (accessed online Sep. 17, 2007)
Feb. 2, 2004
Sharon Announces Complete Gaza Withdrawal
"The Israeli prime minister, Ariel Sharon, told his dismayed Likud Party today [Feb. 2, 2004] that he plans to dismantle the Israeli settlements in the Gaza Strip, his most direct commitment yet on unilateral steps if peace talks fail, participants in the meeting said. Mr Sharon spoke to his fellow party members just hours after telling the Ha'aretz daily he had 'given an order to plan for the evacuation' of the 17 Gaza settlements, which are home to about 7,500 Israelis. 'I don't know if it will be done in one go, or gradually, but over the course of time, it will not be right to continue Jewish settlement in Gaza,' a Likud official quoted him as telling the meeting. Mr Sharon referred to the Jewish settlements in Gaza as 'a security burden and a source of continuous friction,' said the official, speaking on condition of anonymity. He had earlier told Ha'aretz that he envisaged a future where there would be 'no Jews in Gaza', but warned that the extraction of so many communities could prove to be a long process." Guardian Unlimited, "Sharon Orders Relocation of Gaza Settlements," Feb. 2, 2004
Mar. 22, 2004
Hamas Founder and Spiritual Leader, Sheikh Ahmed Yassin, Killed by
"Hamas founder and spiritual leader Sheikh Ahmed Yassin was killed in an Israeli airstrike Monday morning [Mar. 22, 2004] as he was leaving a Gaza City mosque. Seven others were killed in the strike, Palestinian officials said. Sixteen people were wounded in the attack, including two of Yassin's sons; seven of the wounded were in critical condition, hospital spokesmen said. Palestinian security sources told CNN that Yassin's car and vehicles carrying his bodyguards were hit by three rockets as he was leaving a mosque after morning prayers." CNN, "Hamas Founder Killed in Israeli Airstrike," Mar. 22, 2004
Apr. 17, 2004
Abdel Aziz al Rantissi, Killed by Israeli Airstrike
"The head of the Hamas militant Islamic movement in Gaza, Abdel Aziz al-Rantissi, has been killed in a targeted Israeli missile strike on his car [Apr. 17, 2004]... Two other people in Rantissi's car died and several passers-by were hurt." BBC, "Hamas Chief Killed in Air Strike," Apr. 18, 2004
July 9, 2004
World Court Rules Against West Bank Fence/Wall
"The International Court of Justice ruled Friday [July 9, 2004] in The Hague that the separation fence being built by Israel in the West Bank was in breach of international law, and called on Israel to tear it down and compensate Palestinians harmed by its construction. The court's non-binding advisory on the legality of the fence called on the United Nations Security Council to consider 'further action' to stop the construction of the barrier." Ha'aretz, "ICJ: West Bank Fence is Illegal, Israel Must Tear It Down," July 10, 2004
Oct. 26, 2004
Israel's Parliament Votes in Support of Dismantling all Jewish Settlements in Gaza
"Israel's parliament voted Tuesday night [Oct. 26, 2004] to close all 21 Jewish settlements in the Gaza Strip, evacuate their 8,100 residents and withdraw thousands of Israeli troops that protect them, handing Prime Minister Ariel Sharon a major political victory on an issue that has created a deep rupture in Israeli politics and society. Sharon's Gaza disengagement plan was approved by a 67 to 45 vote in the 120-member parliament, or Knesset, even though almost half the members of his Likud Party and most of his traditional allies in ultranationalist and religious parties abandoned him. Sharon was supported instead by longtime opponents in more dovish parties who historically have viewed him as their archenemy." Washington Post, "Sharon Wins Vote for Gaza Pullout; Israeli Parliament Is Bitterly Divided; Likud Ministers Demand Referendum," Oct. 27, 2004
Nov. 11, 2004
Yasser Arafat Dies in Paris
"For the last several years of his [Yasser Arafat] life he was in failing health and rumored to have Parkinson's Disease. His conditioned worsened in October 2004. Israel agreed to allow him to be transferred to a hospital in Paris on October 29 where his wife stayed by his side. He died November 11, 2004, at age 75... After his death, Arafat’s body was flown from Paris to Cairo, where a ceremony was held in his honor attended by numerous foreign dignitaries. Arafat’s remains were then flown to Ramallah where he was interred in a grave near his headquarters." Jewish Virtual Library, "International News," Nov. 4, 2004
Jan. 10, 2005
Abbas Elected as Successor to Arafat
"Mahmoud Abbas was elected Palestinian Authority president by a landslide, results showed Monday, giving the pragmatist a mandate to resume peace talks with Israel - but also leaving him with the tough task of reining in powerful armed groups. Israeli leaders welcomed Abbas' victory, but said they will watch closely how hard he tries to subdue militants... Abbas said the Palestinians were 'ready for peace' with Israel, and he was eager to resume talks based on the internationally backed 'road map' peace plan." Associated Press, "Abbas Wins Palestinian Vote in Landslide," Jan. 10, 2005
Jan. 24, 2005
Palestinian Militants Agree to Ceasefire
"Hamas and Islamic Jihad have agreed to suspend attacks on Israel in order to give the new Palestinian leader, Mahmoud Abbas, time to secure international guarantees for a comprehensive ceasefire that would end more than four years of intifada. Mr. Abbas told Palestinian television yesterday that it was 'essential' that Israel reciprocate by ending its targeting of armed Islamist groups. He said he had made 'significant' progress in talks with Hamas and Islamic Jihad and expected to reach a comprehensive agreement with them soon on an array of political and security issues that would effectively end their war on Israel." Guardian Unlimited, "Islamists Halt Attacks on Israel: Abbas Seeks Pledge from Sharon to Win Lasting Ceasefire," Jan. 24, 2005
Feb. 8, 2005
Sharon and Abbas Agree to Wide-Ranging Ceasefire
"Mahmoud Abbas, the Palestinian president, and Ariel Sharon, prime minister of Israel, held summit talks at this Egyptian resort on Tuesday -- the highest-level meeting between the sides in four years -- and declared a truce in hostilities. Mr. Abbas said he and Mr. Sharon 'have jointly agreed to cease all acts of violence against Israelis and Palestinians everywhere,' while Mr. Sharon said they 'agreed that all Palestinians will stop all acts of violence against all Israelis everywhere, and in parallel, Israel will cease all its military activity against all Palestinians everywhere.' Officials said Israel would also pull back its troops from five West Bank cities -- Jericho, Bethlehem, Ramallah, Tulkarm and Qalqilya -- in the next three weeks and stop the arrests and assassinations of top militants if they agree to put down their weapons." New York Times, "Urging New Path, Sharon and Abbas Declare Truce," Feb. 8, 2005
DISENGAGEMENT, HAMAS & OCCUPATION OF GAZA
2005 - PRESENT Back to Top
Mar. 10, 2005
"In March of 2005, Talia Sasson prepared a report at the request of the Prime Minister's Office, which identified 24 outposts established after March 2001, 71 established before that date, and ten outposts established at an uncertain date. The report created a sensation by documenting the fact that outposts had been creating [sic] in contravention of the laws, often on land of dubious ownership, both before and after the March 2001 cutoff date. Most of the facts have been known for a long time, but this was the first time they had been admitted in an official report. Sasson's report did not discuss the legality of settlements, though some have tried to claim that the report showed that all settlements are illegal according to Israeli law. Prime Minister Sharon vowed to dismantle the outposts. However, a cabinet meeting, a ministerial committee was appointed to study the report, and no action was taken to evacuate settlements. Sasson prepared a summary of the report, which is the only version made public as of March 18. The translation of the summary that is below is the version posted at the Web site of the Prime Minister's office." Ami Isseroff, "The Sasson Report about Illegal Outposts," Mar. 2005
Aug. 22, 2005
"Israeli soldiers removed the last Jewish settlers and protesters from the Gaza Strip August 22 and have moved on to the final stages of the withdrawal: clearing out four small settlements in the West Bank. Prime Minister Ariel Sharon's Likud Party-led government proceeded with the unilateral withdrawal throughout a week of emotional protests and mostly nonviolent confrontations between settlers and soldiers. Israel has controlled the Gaza Strip and the West Bank since it won the territory during the 1967 Arab-Israeli War, also known as the Six-Day War. Some parts of Gaza and the West Bank were under Palestinian control before the withdrawal; after the Israelis leave, the area formerly occupied by the settlements will fall under Palestinian control." Council on Foreign Relations (CFR), "MIDDLE EAST: The Gaza Withdrawal," CFR website (accessed Oct. 18, 2007)
Nov. 21, 2005
Sharon Leaves Likud, Establishes Kadima
"Ariel Sharon caused the biggest upheaval in Israeli politics in nearly three decades by resigning as leader of the ruling Likud party yesterday [Nov. 21, 2005], saying that it was unfit to run the country. The prime minister announced the launch of a new party, National Responsibility [Kadima], to compete in the general election in March. Opinion polls suggest it will drive the once dominant Likud to the margins of Israeli politics, because of infighting in the ruling party over the removal of Jewish settlers from the Gaza strip, and compete with the Labour party for power." Guardian Unlimited, "Sharon Alters Political Landscape by Leaving Likud," Nov. 22, 2007
Jan. 5, 2006
Sharon Replaced After Stroke
"Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon was in 'serious' condition and was expected to undergo several more hours of brain surgery after suffering a major stroke, a hospital official said Thursday [Jan. 5, 2006] morning...
With Sharon in surgery, under anesthesia and on a respirator, his powers were transferred to Deputy Prime Minister Ehud Olmert, a key ally who followed Sharon in bolting from the Likud bloc to form a new centrist party and shake up Israeli politics. Sharon's stroke plunged the country into political uncertainty less than three months before a pivotal election." CNN, "Sharon Fights for Life After Stroke," Jan. 5, 2006 [Editors Note: As of Dec. 26, 2007, Ariel Sharon remains in a coma from this incident]
Jan. 26, 2006
Hamas Wins Palestinian Parliamentary Election
"The radical Islamic movement Hamas won a large majority in the new Palestinian parliament, according to official election results announced Thursday [Jan. 26, 2006], trouncing the governing Fatah party in a contest that could dramatically reshape the Palestinians' relations with Israel and the rest of the world. In Wednesday's voting, Hamas claimed 76 of the 132 parliamentary seats, giving the party at war with Israel the right to form the next cabinet under the Palestinian Authority's president, Mahmoud Abbas, the leader of Fatah." Washington Post, "Hamas Sweeps Palestinian Elections, Complicating Peace Efforts in Mideast," Jan. 27, 2006
Mar. 28, 2006
New Israeli Centrist Party, Kadima, Wins Israeli Parliamentary Election
"Israelis voted Tuesday [Mar. 28, 2006] to bring to power a new centrist party, Kadima, which is committed to a further pullout from the occupied West Bank. Kadima's leader, Ehud Olmert, will become prime minister, but his support proved tepid and he will find it harder than expected to impose his agenda on a larger coalition. Kadima, founded in November by Ariel Sharon when he broke with the Likud Party, won the most seats in the 120-member Knesset, or Parliament. But with 99.7 percent of the vote counted Wednesday morning, Kadima is expected to win only 28 seats, fewer than voter polls had suggested. At the same time, Israelis turned away from the right, and Mr. Olmert should be able to carry out his plan for another withdrawal, unilaterally if necessary, from the West Bank to reduce the costs of the continuing occupation." New York Times, "Israeli Voters, by Thin Margin, Support Parties Vowing Pullout," Mar. 29, 2006
July - Aug. 2006
July 12, 2006
"Hezbollah fires a pair of rockets into northern Israel from southern Lebanon, and guerrillas capture two Israeli soldiers during an attack along the Lebanese border between the Israeli towns of Zar'it and Shtula. Eight Israeli soldiers also die in fighting that day. In response, Israeli ground, air and naval forces attack at least eight Hezbollah bases and five bridges in southern Lebanon."
July 22, 2006
"Israeli ground forces enter southern Lebanon and take control of Maroun Al-Ras... Hezbollah rockets fall in Haifa, Safed, Nahariya, Carmiel and the area around Avivim."
Aug 14, 2006
"A cease-fire takes effect at 8 a.m. (1 a.m. ET). Israeli forces kill four Hezbollah fighters during four clashes, one in Farun and another near Hadata, the Israeli military says. About 10 rockets are fired inside Lebanon, but land in Lebanese territory. Thousands of displaced residents of southern Lebanon begin returning to their homes, jamming roads and bridges with traffic, despite Israeli military warnings that the region is not safe. More than 908 Lebanese and 159 Israelis have been killed since fighting began July 12, officials say. The IDF says about 4,000 rockets were fired into northern Israel during 34 days of fighting." CNN, "Special Report: Crisis in the Middle East ('Background: Mideast Conflict Timeline')," (accessed Oct. 23, 2007)
June 10-15, 2007
Hamas Takes Over Gaza Strip
"An uneasy calm has returned to the Gaza Strip where Hamas is in full control following a series of attacks on key strongholds of its rival, Fatah. Hamas militants seized the presidential compound in Gaza City overnight after a week of factional fighting, which has left more than 100 people dead. Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas sacked the Hamas-led government on Thursday [June 14, 2007] and declared an emergency." BBC, "Hamas Takes Full Control of Gaza," June 15, 2007
June 17, 2007
Abbas Names New Caretaker Government
"The Palestinian president, Mahmoud Abbas of Fatah, swore in an emergency government Sunday, reasserting his authority over the West Bank days after the rival group Hamas routed his forces in Gaza and seized power there... Under the circumstances, the Palestinian swearing-in ceremony in Ramallah was a somber affair. Salam Fayyad, an internationally respected economist, will serve as prime minister, finance minister and foreign minister in the 12-member cabinet... Hamas has dismissed the emergency government as illegitimate, insisting that the Hamas-dominated unity government, which Abbas dissolved, is still in charge." International Herald Tribune, "Abbas Names New Cabinet in Bid to Restore Order," June 17, 2007
Nov. 27, 2007
Annapolis Peace Conference
"President Bush today announced an agreement by Israeli and Palestinian leaders to work toward a peace pact by the end of 2008. Flanked by the two leaders, Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert and Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas, Mr. Bush congratulated them for agreeing to follow a 'road map to a permanent two-state solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict...'
The gathering at the United States Naval Academy included delegations representing 49 countries and international organizations, and it brought about the highest-level official contacts between Israel and Saudi Arabia, which do not have diplomatic relations." New York Times, "Framework for Mideast Peace Talks Set at Conference," Nov. 27, 2007
June 19, 2008
"The start of a six-month truce between Israel and Hamas, the Palestinian militant group, took effect as scheduled on the Gaza border at 6 a.m. Thursday... If it holds, Israel hopes the cease-fire will halt the recurrent rocket and mortar fire from Gaza that has killed four Israeli civilians this year and caused widespread trauma and disruption of life in Israeli towns and villages close to the Gaza border. For its part, Hamas wants to end the frequent Israeli military strikes and incursions into Gaza. It also wants an easing of the economic blockade that Israel has imposed since Hamas took over the area a year ago." New York Times, "Gaza Cease-Fire Takes Hold," June 19, 2008
July 16, 2008
Israel-Lebanon Prisoner Swap
"Five Lebanese prisoners have been handed over to the Hezbollah movement by
Israel, as part of a swap for the bodies of two Israeli soldiers. The freed men arrived to a heroes' welcome at the Naqoura border crossing on Wednesday, just hours after
Israel received coffins containing the remains of Ehud Goldwasser and Eldad Regev, two Israeli army reservists captured in 2006. The prisoners released were Samir Kuntar, who was jailed for three murders in
Israel in 1979, and four men captured during the 34-day war sparked by the capture of Goldwasser and Regev… Hezbollah also received the bodies of almost 200 people, including the body of Dalal al-Maghrebi, a female fighter with the Palestinian Fatah movement…" Al Jazeera, "Israel Returns Lebanese Prisoners,”July 16, 2008
Dec. 27, 2008
Israeli Bombardment and Occupation of Gaza
"[A]fter seven days of aerial bombardment [that started Dec. 27, 2008]... Following an artillery barrage aimed at detonating buried explosives and mines, Israeli armored columns began moving into Gaza in an apparent attempt to take control of areas used by Palestinian militants to fire rockets into southern Israel. Israeli officials stressed that the objective was to deal further punishing blows to Hamas in the hope of deterring further rocket fire... Although the eight-day air campaign in Gaza has claimed some 450 Palestinian victims, and continues to inflict damage on Hamas fighters — as well as, inevitably, nearby civilians — the attacks have not kept Hamas from launching more missiles. At least 15 rockets fired from Gaza struck southern Israel on Saturday... [Israeli Minister of Defense Ehud] Barak and [Interim Israeli Prime Minister Ehud] Olmert have made clear that their objective is not to wipe out Hamas, but instead to force the radical group to accept a durable cease-fire on Israel's terms. While they hope to weaken Hamas, Israel's leaders are aware that a military campaign is unlikely to destroy the organization that remains the most popular political force in Gaza. Any attempt to do so would require not only a massive invasion of all of Gaza, but also an open-ended reoccupation of a hostile population, a trap Olmert and Barak want to avoid at all costs." CNN, "Israel Invades Gaza, Hoping to Pummel Hamas into a Truce,”Jan. 3, 2009
Jan. 21, 2009
Israel Announces a
Unilateral Ceasefire and Israeli Troops Leave Gaza
"The Israeli army says it has completed its withdrawal from the Gaza Strip, following a three-week assault against militants from the Hamas group... Earlier, the UN urged Israel to fully open all of Gaza's borders to allow reconstruction work to begin... A temporary ceasefire between Israeli troops and Hamas came into effect on Sunday - but it does not include any agreement on the opening of crossings, which are tightly controlled by Israel...
Overall, Palestinian medical sources in Gaza say at least 1,300 Palestinians were killed during the three-week conflict, which began on 27 December. Thirteen Israelis, including three civilians, were killed, the Israeli army says. Thousands of homes were destroyed, and the territory's infrastructure has been badly damaged." BBC, "Last Israeli Troops 'Leave Gaza'," Jan. 21, 2009
Mar. 26, 2009
Close Israeli Elections Results in Netanyahu Forming a Government
"Benjamin Netanyahu, leader of the right-leaning Likud party, became Israel's prime minister on March 31, 2009 following unusual parliamentary election results that saw the centrist Kadima party [led by Tzipi Livni] win the most seats but not enough to forge a coalition government.
Netanyahu, however, was able to form a coalition of about 70 seats in the 120-member Knesset and, in the process, created the largest Cabinet in Israel's history when he increased the number of ministers to 30 in order to satisfy his coalition partners' competing demands." PBS, "Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu," Apr. 16, 2009
June 4, 2009
Obama Supports Two-State Solution and Opposes Settlements in Cairo Speech
"In his long-anticipated Cairo address to the Muslim world, U.S. President Barack Obama reaffirmed Washington's strong backing for a Palestinian state, using the term 'Palestine' numerous times to highlight his administration's commitment to follow through on a two-state solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. While reaffirming Washington's 'unbreakable bond' with Israel, Obama said that there can be no denying of the right of 'Palestine' to exist, and that he would 'personally pursue' the realization of a Palestinian state 'with all the patience that the task requires.'
''Israelis must acknowledge that just as Israel's right to exist cannot be denied, neither can Palestine's,' Obama said. The president also issued a blunt repudiation of Israel's settlement enterprise in the West Bank, an issue that has strained Washington's ties with Jerusalem. Ha'aretz, "Obama in Cairo: Israelis Can't Deny Palestine's Right to Exist," June 4, 2009
June 14, 2009
Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu Conditionally Endorses Palestinian State
"Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu endorsed a Palestinian state beside Israel for the first time on Sunday, reversing himself under U.S. pressure but attaching conditions such as having no army that the Palestinians swiftly rejected. A week after President Barack Obama's address to the Muslim world, Netanyahu said the Palestinian state would also have to recognize Israel as the Jewish state - essentially saying Palestinian refugees must give up the goal of returning to Israel. With those conditions, he said, he could accept ‘a demilitarized Palestinian state alongside the Jewish state.’” Huffington Post, "Netanyahu Peace Speech: Israeli Prime Minister Appeals to Arab Leaders for Peace," June 14, 2009
Aug. 4, 2009
Fatah Holds First Party Congress in 20 Years
"Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas sought to reinvigorate his Fatah movement Tuesday, launching the party's first congress in 20 years -- and its first ever in the West Bank. More than 2,000 delegates from around the world have gathered here to choose a new party platform and hold elections for Fatah institutions. 'Although peace is our choice, we reserve the right to resistance, legitimate under international law,' Abbas told the delegates in an animated two-hour speech. The Palestinian leader made it clear that by 'resistance,' he meant nonviolent protests rather than armed confrontation, praising peaceful weekly demonstrations against a controversial barrier Israel is building in and around the West Bank. Abbas also said that Palestinians remain committed to the goal of establishing an independent state in the West Bank and the Gaza Strip, with Jerusalem as its capital." Washington Post, "Abbas's Party Holds Convention," Aug. 5, 2009
Aug. 26, 2009
Palestinian Authority Issues Plan to Create Palestinian State within Two Years
"The government of Salam Fayyad, Prime Minister of the Palestinian Authority issued a detailed plan to establish a de-facto Palestinian state within two years, outside the framework of the Roadmap and of the Oslo Interim Agreement. The Palestinian Authority had rejected a proviso of the roadmap that would allow them to declare a state within the framework of the second stage of the roadmap. The state program would bring them into direct conflict with Israel, especially since the borders of the state are declared as including all of the land occupied by Israel in Gaza, the West Bank and Jerusalem. The Hamas, which rules the Gaza strip, objected. The European Union expressed support for the plan, but Israel's foreign minister Avigdor Lieberman warned that Israel would prevent unilateral declaration of a Palestinian state." Ami Isseroff, "Palestine: Ending the Occupation, Establishing the State," MidEast Web, Aug. 31, 2009
May. 31, 2010
Israeli Commandos Board a Flotilla of Ships Carrying Aid for Gaza and Kill Nine Activists
"At least nine people died, and 30 were wounded, when Israeli troops boarded a flotilla of ships carrying aid for Gaza on Monday, 31 May 2010. It was the ninth attempt since 2008 to break an Israeli and Egyptian blockade of the Gaza Strip by sea, but the first that has resulted in bloodshed. The six ships were boarded in international waters, about 80 miles from the Israeli coast. Commandos landed on the largest ship, the Turkish-owned Mavi Marmara, by descending on ropes from helicopters. They were attacked by the activists on board and opened fire....
The activists say the commandos started shooting as soon as they hit the deck. Israeli officials say the commandos fired in self-defence... There has been widespread condemnation of the violence. The UN Security Council has issued a statement calling for a 'prompt, impartial, credible and transparent' inquiry into the raid." BBC, "Q&A: Israeli Deadly Raid on Aid Flotilla," June 6, 2010
Jan. 23, 2011
Leaked Documents Show Palestinians Willing to Make Major Concessions to Cut a Peace Deal
On Jan. 23, 2011, Al Jazeera television began leaking hundreds of pages of documents belonging to the Palestinian negotiating team. "For one thing, the documents show that Palestinian leaders appeared to be far more willing to cut a peace deal than most Israelis, and even many Palestinians, believed.
In contrast with Israelis' portrayal of Palestinian leaders as rejectionists, the Palestinians come across in the papers as the side better-prepared, with maps, charts and compromises, even broaching controversial trade-offs that went beyond what their own people were probably ready to accept.
Though publicly Palestinians have insisted on a full right of return for refugees, Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas acknowledged in March 2009 that deep concessions would have to be made. 'It is illogical to ask Israel to take 5 million [refugees] or, indeed, 1 million,' Abbas is quoted as telling his team…
As well, the Palestinians offered in 2008 to allow Israel to annex most of the large Jewish housing developments built around Jerusalem on land seized during the 1967 Middle East War. As part of the offer, Israel would have had to give up comparable land around Jerusalem and agree to evacuate several large West Bank settlements." Los Angeles Times, "Leaked Documents Show Palestinians Ready to Deal," Jan. 26, 2011
May 4, 2011
Palestinian Rivals Fatah and Hamas Sign Reconciliation Pact
"The rival Palestinian factions Fatah and Hamas have signed a landmark reconciliation pact aimed at ending their bitter four-year rift.
A ceremony marking the deal, which was mediated by Egypt, took place on Wednesday [May 4, 2011] at the Egyptian intelligence headquarters in Cairo...
The pact provides for the creation of a joint caretaker Palestinian government before national elections next year…
The deal calls for the formation of an interim government to run the occupied West Bank, where Abbas is based, and Hamas-controlled Gaza Strip and prepare for parliamentary and presidential elections within a year.
Palestinians see this reconciliation as crucial for their drive to establish an independent state in the territories captured by Israel in the 1967 war." Guardian Unlimited, "Palestinian Rivals Hamas and Fatah Sign Reconciliation Deal," May 4, 2011
May 19, 2011
President Obama Calls for Negotiations to Begin for a Palestinian State Based on Israel's Pre-1967 Borders
In a May 19, 2011 speech at the US State Department, President Obama "pressed Israel, in unusually frank terms, to reach a final peace agreement with the Palestinians, citing the boundaries in place on the eve of the June 1967 Arab-Israeli War as the starting point for negotiation about borders.
The formulation goes beyond principles outlined by President George W. Bush, who stated during his first term that ‘it is unrealistic to expect’ Israel to pull back to the 1967 boundaries, which were based on cease-fire lines established in 1949. Obama said the negotiations about final borders, which he indicated may include land swaps to accommodate Israel’s large settlement blocs, should result in ‘a viable Palestine, a secure Israel.’
The president said a ‘full and phased withdrawal of Israeli military forces’ from the West Bank should be carried out in coordination with Palestinian security forces. He described a future Palestinian state as ‘nonmilitarized,’ a key Israeli demand.” Washington Post, "Obama Prods Mideast Allies to Embrace Reform, Make Peace," May 19, 2011
Sep. 20, 2011
Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas Seeks Full UN Membership for a Palestinian State
"President Mahmoud Abbas told the U.N. chief on Monday he would seek full membership for a Palestinian state at the United Nations, a move the United States and Israel warn could dash hopes of resuming peace talks.
Abbas told U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon he would press ahead with plans to ask for a Security Council vote on Friday on Palestinian membership. Washington has threatened to veto any such move. Ban told Abbas he would send any application submitted to the Security Council and called for the Israelis and the Palestinians to resume talks 'within a legitimate and balanced framework,' U.N. spokesman Martin Nesirky said...
The White House underscored its threat to veto any Palestinian move at the Security Council and said it would focus on trying to nudge the two sides back to negotiations. 'We've made our position clear, which is that we oppose actions to achieve a Palestinian state through the United Nations,' Obama's deputy national security advisor Ben Rhodes told reporters..." Reuters, "Abbas Presses Palestinian UN Bid, Despite Warnings," Sep. 20, 2011
Oct. 31, 2011
Palestine Becomes 195th Full Member of UNESCO, US Pulls Annual $70 Million Contribution
"Palestine became the 195th full member of Unesco on Monday, as the United Nations organization defied a mandated cutoff of American funds under federal legislation from the 1990s. The vote of Unesco’s full membership was 107 to 14, with 52 abstentions.
The step will cost the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization one-quarter of its yearly budget — the 22 percent contributed by the United States (about $70 million) plus another 3 percent contributed by Israel. Victoria Nuland, a State Department spokeswoman, said that American contributions to Unesco, including $60 million scheduled for this month, would not be paid.
Cheers filled the hall at Unesco’s headquarters here after the vote, with one delegate shouting, 'Long live Palestine!' in French. The Palestinian foreign minister, Riad al-Malki, praised the organization, saying that 'this vote will help erase a tiny part of the injustice done to the Palestinian people' and that it would help protect world heritage sites in Israeli-occupied territory. In a long speech, Mr. Malki said that 'this membership will be the best step toward peace and stability,' insisting that the Palestinian request for membership in Unesco was 'linked in no way to our request to join the United Nations." New York Times, "Unesco Accepts Palestinians as Full Members," Oct. 31, 2011
Nov. 11, 2011
Palestinian Statehood Bid Stalls after UN Security Council Fails to Vote
"The Palestinian bid for statehood at the United Nations was effectively stalled Friday after the Security Council approved a report stating its inability 'to make a unanimous recommendation.'
'We knew from the beginning ... that we might not be able to succeed in the Security Council because there is a powerful country that has the veto power,' said Riyad Mansour, the Palestinian envoy to the United Nations. He said that he believed the report was 'objective.' The United States has been vocal about its intention to veto any Palestinian bid for statehood. Last week, France and the United Kingdom said they would abstain from the vote. Those three nations, along with China and Russia, have veto power in the Security Council...
Were a council resolution to pass, the membership bid would be forwarded to the General Assembly, where passage is all but assured. A vote in the near term does not seem likely. But should it take place, diplomats say that the Palestinians are unlikely to get even the nine votes necessary for a resolution to pass, because of a large number of abstentions. The U.S. veto would effectively be moot...
The next step for the Palestinians remains unclear. They could sidestep the Security Council and go straight to the General Assembly, where they would get an upgraded observer status, matching that of the Vatican, but not full membership. Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas, however, has said that they will not pursue that option." CNN, "With Security Council Report, Palestinian Statehood Bid Stalled at UN," Nov. 11, 2011
Jan. 25, 2012
Israeli-Palestinian Peace Talks in Jordan End Without Progress
"The Palestinian Authority president has said the exploratory talks with Israel on resuming full peace negotiations have concluded, without any progress...
Palestinian and Israeli negotiators met five times in recent weeks in the Jordanian capital for what were termed ‘exploratory talks.’… The Quartet of Middle East peace mediators - the US, UN, EU and Russia - said last autumn that they expected both sides to submit detailed proposals on borders and security arrangements, in the hope that the dialogue would encourage the resumption of direct peace talks…
Palestinian negotiators insist that building settlements on occupied land must stop before they agree to reopen talks. Israel says there can be no preconditions to talks and it continues to build in the settlements.” BBC, "Israel-Palestinian Exploratory Talks 'Over,'" Jan. 25, 2012
May 7, 2012
Israeli PM Netanyahu Forms New Coalition Government With OppositionLeader, Pledging a Renewal of Peace Process
"Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and the centrist opposition party Kadima formed a surprise unity government Tuesday, extinguishing plans for early elections and cementing Netanyahu’s position as the strongest Israeli leader in years.
The deal gives the governing coalition a vast parliamentary majority, fortifying Netanyahu’s mandate as he presses for possible military action against Iran’s nuclear sites, an idea that has faced growing domestic criticism. It could also shift the hawkish coalition toward the center, granting Netanyahu room to weather threats of revolt by right-wing factions and perhaps leeway to offer concessions to the Palestinian…
The unity deal also included a pledge to ‘renew the political process with the Palestinian Authority.’… New Vice Prime Minister Shaul Mofaz said Tuesday that he had drawn up an interim peace agreement based on borders and security. But he said he would need to discuss it further with Netanyahu, who reiterated his long-held stance that Israel is open to discussions without preconditions, such as a freeze on settlements."
Washington Post, "In Israel, Surprise Unity Government Consolidates Netanyahu's Strength," May 7, 2012
Nov. 12, 2012
Palestinian Authority to Seek Non-Member State Status at United Nations
On Nov. 12, 2012, "the Palestinians distributed a draft resolution to 193 [United Nations] member states in the first practical step of the campaign for international recognition of a future state in the West Bank, Gaza and East Jerusalem. They also seek to upgrade their status to that of a nonmember observer state in the United Nations system…
Israel’s Foreign Ministry has warned foreign governments that a successful Palestinian bid for enhanced status at the United Nations this month could lead Israel to cancel the Oslo peace accords and, possibly, to oust President Mahmoud Abbas and dismantle his Palestinian Authority, according to official documents made available to reporters on Wednesday.
The threats reflect the last-minute brinkmanship under way as the Palestinians forge ahead with plans for a vote on Nov. 29 in the United Nations General Assembly, having rejected a personal plea to hold off from President Obama as they and the Israelis focus their final lobbying efforts on a divided Europe."
New York Times, "Israel Heightens Warnings Over Palestinians' UN Bid," nytimes.com, Nov. 14, 2012
Nov. 14, 2012
Israel Launches Operation Pillar of Defense Against Hamas Militants in the Gaza Strip
"Israel launched its military offensive against Gaza on 14 November, marking the latest eruption in a conflict with Palestinian militants which has raged between the two sides for years. The latest violence has left dozens of people dead, many of them civilians, and shows no sign of ending soon.
Israel's offensive on Gaza began with an air strike that killed the commander of Hamas's military wing, Ahmed Jabari, whom it accused of responsibility for 'all terrorist activities against Israel from Gaza' over the past decade. The Israel Defense Forces (IDF) subsequently announced the start of Operation Pillar of Defense, which it said was intended to protect Israeli civilians from rockets and mortars fired by militants in Gaza, as well as cripple Hamas's capability to launch attacks. Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said the operation was launched because he could no longer ‘accept a situation in which Israeli citizens are threatened by the terror of rockets…' Although Jabari's killing signaled the start of Israel's offensive, it was preceded by spates of deadly cross-border violence which saw Palestinian militant groups, including Hamas's Qassam Brigades, firing hundreds of rockets into southern Israel and the Israeli military shelling Gaza and carrying out air strikes… Mr. Netanyahu has insisted that he is not seeking to topple Hamas.
On 18 November, the prime minister announced that the IDF had attacked more than 1,350 ‘terrorist targets' and had achieved 'significant hits on weapons aimed at Israeli citizens, as well as on those who use the weapons and those who dispatch them.' Israel has said it is doing its utmost to avoid civilian casualties, although more than half of those killed in Gaza have been women and children, according to Hamas officials. The Israeli government has approved the calling up of 75,000 army reservists in apparent preparation for a ground offensive. Some 31,000 have already been summoned…
Since the conflict began, 1128 rockets have been fired towards Israel, the IDF says, with 324 intercepted by the Iron Dome missile defense system. Before the recent offensive, Israel had repeatedly carried out air strikes on Gaza as Palestinian militants fired rockets across the border. But the aerial and naval bombardment is its most intense assault on the territory since Israel launched a full-scale invasion four years ago. Hamas seized control of Gaza in 2007, a year after winning a decisive victory in general elections. Israel withdrew from the strip in 2005 but maintains a blockade around it. Israel, as well as the United States and the European Union, regards Hamas as a terrorist organization."
BBC News, "Q&A: Israel-Gaza Violence," bbc.co.uk, Nov.19, 2012
July 29, 2013
Israeli-Palestinian Peace Talks Resume in Washington, DC
"Israeli and Palestinian negotiators will resume peace talks [in Washington, DC] on Monday night, the State Department said in a statement on Sunday afternoon. It will be the first time that the two have held direct talks since 2010. Clearing the last obstacle to resuming peace talks, the Israeli cabinet voted Sunday to approve the release of 104 Palestinian prisoners, an unpopular move with many Israelis. Secretary of State John Kerry then spoke with Mahmoud Abbas, the president of the Palestinian Authority, and Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu of Israel to formally invite them to send their negotiating teams to Washington…
The goal of the negotiations will be to establish a Palestinian state alongside Israel with agreed-upon borders and security arrangements. Officials said that talks are initially expected to focus on procedural issues, like the location, schedule and format of negotiating sessions, before moving on to tackle the core issues of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. The Israeli side will be represented by Israel’s justice minister, Tzipi Livni, and Isaac Molho, Mr. Netanyahu’s special envoy. On the Palestinian side will be Saeb Erekat, the chief negotiator, and Mohammed Shtayyeh, a close adviser to Mr. Abbas. The Monday evening session will be a working dinner at the State Department, hosted by Mr. Kerry, who has made an intensive effort to revive the moribund talks. The Israeli and Palestinian negotiating teams are to meet again on Tuesday before heading home. The next round of talks would be held in the Middle East. Martin Indyk, the former United States ambassador to Israel, whom Mr. Kerry is expected to name on Monday to manage the talks for the United States, would attend that round."
New York Times, "Israel and Palestinians Set to Resume Peace Talks, US Announces," nytimes.com, July 28, 2013
Apr. 23, 2014
Hamas and Fatah Announce Agreement to Form a Unity Government
"The rival Palestinian factions Hamas and Fatah on Wednesday agreed to form a unity government and hold new elections, making a new attempt to overcome a seven-year split that has left them divided between two governments.
While the announcement was greeted with smiles and celebrations, it remained unclear how the plan would succeed where previous attempts at unity have failed. It also added new complications to U.S. efforts to broker a peace deal between Israel and the Palestinians...
Earlier Wednesday, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu accused Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas of sabotaging peace efforts by seeking rapprochement with Hamas...
He said the sides planned to form an interim government within five weeks. Presidential and parliamentary elections should be held on the same date, 'at the earliest six months after forming the government.'" National Public Radio, "Abbas, Rival Hamas Give Reconciliation Another Try," npr.org, Apr. 23, 2014
July 9, 2014
Israel Launches Operation Protective Edge against Hamas Militants in Gaza Strip
"Israel launched a major air assault on the Gaza Strip on Tuesday, bombing hundreds of targets in what Israeli officials said was a bid to halt escalating cross-border attacks from Palestinian militants… who fired a new a salvo of more than 150 rockets toward major Israeli cities…
The Israeli military said it carried out airstrikes against more than 150 sites in Gaza, killing five alleged members of Hamas, the Islamist group that controls the enclave. Ashraf al-Qidrah, a spokesman for Gaza’s Health Ministry, said early Wednesday that 24 Palestinians had been killed in the Israeli attacks in the Gaza Strip and 152 wounded...
The Israeli operation against Hamas in Gaza… came against a backdrop of weeks of rising Israeli-Palestinian tensions after the kidnapping and killing of three Israeli teens in the occupied West Bank — which Israel has blamed on Hamas — and the suspected revenge killing of an Arab youth in East Jerusalem…
In a sign that the cross-border conflict could widen, Israel said Tuesday that it had called up 1,500 reservists and was mobilizing two infantry brigades, artillery, combat bulldozers and tanks along the Gaza border in preparation for a possible ground invasion. The Israeli cabinet subsequently approved the call-up of an additional 40,000 army reservists, according to the Defense Ministry...
Hours after Israel launched what it called 'Operation Protective Edge,' Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu instructed the army to 'take their gloves off' against Hamas and increase attacks on Gaza..." Washington Post, "Israel Presses Air Assault as Hamas Fires Salvo of Cross-Border Rockets," washingtonpost.com, July 8, 2014
Aug. 26, 2014
Egypt Brokers One-Month Ceasefire to Halt Violence Between Israel and Gaza
"Israel and Gaza's ruling Hamas agreed Tuesday to an open-ended ceasefire after seven weeks of fighting — an uneasy deal that halts the deadliest war the sides have fought in years, with more than 2,200 killed...
In the end, both sides settled for an ambiguous interim agreement in exchange for a period of calm. Hamas, though badly battered, remains in control of Gaza with part of its military arsenal intact. Israel and Egypt will continue to control access to blockaded Gaza, despite Hamas' long-running demand that the border closures imposed in 2007 be lifted…
Under the Egyptian-brokered deal, Israel is to ease imports into Gaza, including aid and material for reconstruction. It also agreed to a largely symbolic gesture, expanding a fishing zone for Gaza fishermen from three to six nautical miles into the Mediterranean…
The cease-fire went into effect at 7 p.m. local time (noon ET) Tuesday [Aug. 26, 2014], and violence persisted until the last minute." Associated Press, "Israel-Gaza Ceasefire: Negotiators Look to Next Phase for Peace," cbc.ca, Aug. 28, 2014
May 13, 2015
The Vatican Recognizes State of Palestine in New Treaty
"The Vatican officially recognized the state of Palestine in a new treaty finalized Wednesday, immediately sparking Israeli ire and accusations that the move hurt peace prospects.
The treaty, which concerns the activities of the Catholic Church in Palestinian territory, is both deeply symbolic and makes explicit that the Holy See has switched its diplomatic recognition from the Palestine Liberation Organization to the state of Palestine.
The Vatican had welcomed the decision by the U.N. General Assembly in 2012 to recognize a Palestinian state and had referred to the Palestine state since. But the treaty is the first legal document negotiated between the Holy See and the Palestinian state, giving the Vatican's former signs of recognition an unambiguous confirmation in a formal, bilateral treaty.
'Yes, it's a recognition that the state exists,' said the Vatican spokesman, the Rev. Federico Lombardi. The Israeli Foreign Ministry said it was 'disappointed'." Associated Press, "Vatican Recognizes State of Palestine in New Treaty," ap.org, May 13, 2015