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1900-1917 - Zionism and Early Jewish Immigration to Israel
"The conflict has been going on since the early 1900s, when the mostly-Arab, mostly-Muslim region was part of the Ottoman Empire and, starting in 1917, a 'mandate' run by the British Empire. Hundreds of thousands of Jews were moving into the area, as part of a movement called Zionism among mostly European Jews to escape persecution and establish their own state in their ancestral homeland. (Later, large numbers of Middle Eastern Jews also moved to Israel, either to escape anti-Semitic violence or because they were forcibly expelled.) Communal violence between Jews and Arabs in British Palestine began spiraling out of control."
Max Fisher, MA "9 Questions about the Israel-Palestine Conflict You Were Too Embarrassed to Ask," vox.com, July 17, 2014
[Editor's Note: In his book, Divided Jerusalem, author Bernard Wasserstein estimated that in 1910 the population of the city of Jerusalem was approximately 69,900. Of that total, 45,000 were Jews (64.4%), 12,000 were Muslims (17%), and 12,900 were Christians (18.4%).]
1915-1916 - Hussein-McMahon Letters: British Encourage Arab Uprising against Ottoman Empire
"The Hussein-McMahon correspondence between Sharif Hussein of Mecca, governor of the Hijaz province of Arabia, and Sir Henry McMahon, the British high commissioner to Egypt, represents one of the most controversial aspects of British involvement in the Middle East. In a series of eight letters written between 14 July 1915 and 30 January 1916, the two men negotiated the terms under which Hussein would encourage the Arabs to revolt against the Ottoman Empire and enter World War I on the side of the Allies. In particular, Hussein demanded British recognition of the independence of the Arab areas of the Ottoman Empire now known as Syria, Iraq, Jordan, Israel, the West Bank and Gaza, and Saudi Arabia."
"[O]n May 16, 1916, the Sykes-Picot Agreement, officially known as the Asia Minor Agreement, laid down the borders of the Middle East as we have known them for a century. The diplomats, Francois Georges-Picot for France and Sir Mark Sykes for Britain, had worked out the details in five months of negotiations, from November 1915 to March 1916.
The agreement was marked out on a map with grease pencil in a series of straight lines, most likely to create 'uncomplicated borders.' The agreement divided the land that had been under Ottoman rule since the early 16th century into new countries in two spheres of influence: Iraq, Transjordan and Palestine under British control; and Syria and Lebanon under French control."
June 1916 - Arab Revolt against the Ottoman Empire
"During the conflict [WWI], the Ottoman Empire sided with the Central Powers against the Allies. Seeing an opportunity to liberate Arab lands from Turkish oppression, and trusting the honor of British officials who promised their support for a unified kingdom for the Arab lands, Sharif Hussein bin Ali, Emir of Mecca and King of the Arabs (and great grandfather of King Hussein), launched the Great Arab Revolt...
In June 1916, as head of the Arab nationalists and in alliance with Britain and France, Sharif Hussein initiated the Great Arab Revolt against Ottoman rule. His sons, the emirs Abdullah and Faisal, led the Arab forces, with Emir Faisal’s forces liberating Damascus from Ottoman rule in 1918. At the end of the war, Arab forces controlled all of modern Jordan, most of the Arabian peninsula and much of southern Syria."
The Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan, "The Great Arab Revolt" (177 KB), kinghussein.gov.jo (accessed Sep. 30, 2015)
Nov. 2, 1917 - Balfour Declaration: British Government States Intent to Create a Jewish Homeland in Palestine
In Nov. 1917 the British Government stated its support for a Jewish homeland in Palestine when it released the "Balfour Declaration," which read in part:
"His Majesty's Government view with favour the establishment in Palestine of a national home for the Jewish people, and will use their best endeavours to facilitate the achievement of this object, it being clearly understood that nothing shall be done which may prejudice the civil and religious rights of existing non-Jewish communities in Palestine, or the rights and political status enjoyed by Jews in any other country."
1914-1918 - World War I and the Collapse of the Ottoman Empire
"World War I radically changed the political geography of the Middle East. The Ottoman Empire had long been the 'Sick Man of Europe,' hemorrhaging territory for nearly a century. It lost control of its European possessions prior to the war and, having allied with the defeated Central Powers, lost its Middle Eastern territories afterward. The victorious Allies transformed the Middle East into its current form, with its European-designed names, flags, and borders...
Ottoman provinces became Arab kingdoms, while Christian and Jewish enclaves were carved out in Lebanon and Palestine...
[T]he borders of the new states were determined neither by topography nor demography. The infamous 1916 Sykes-Picot Agreement, the secret Franco-British-Russian pact that allocated regional zones of control, became the blueprint."
"The first official U.S. foray into the politics of the post-Ottoman Middle East came about as the result of a suggestion made by President Woodrow Wilson to the Council of Four entente powers (France, Great Britain, the United States, and Italy) assembled in Paris to determine the terms of peace. In an attempt to resolve an acrimonious dispute between Britain and France over the future disposition of the Arab provinces of the Ottoman Empire, Wilson suggested the formation of an interallied commission on Syria. The commission would travel to the Middle East 'to elucidate the state of opinion and the soil to be worked on by any mandatory. They should be asked to come back and tell the Conference what they found with regard to these matters...'
Although both France and Britain acquiesced to the idea of the commission, neither power appointed delegates to participate in its activities. As a result, the commission became a U.S. commission and thus has been commonly referred to by the names of its two commissioners, Henry Churchill King, president of Oberlin College in Ohio, and Chicago businessman and Democratic Party activist Charles R. Crane. King and Crane traveled to Palestine, Syria Lebanon, and Anatolia in the summer of 1919 to meet with local representatives. Their findings, filed with the U.S. delegation at Paris, were subsequently ignored by the peace negotiators."
James Gelvin, PhD The Middle East and the United States: A Historical and Political Reassessment, 1999
1920-1922 - League of Nations Divides Former Ottoman Territories into Mandates
1920 Map of British and French Mandates. Source: "According to International Law: Is Israel Illegal?," maozisrael.org
"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 Britain; and a new entity called Palestine, which was also placed under British control."
"Out of the broad region known as Palestine, Britain carved two political entities in 1921. One entity consisted of the area 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."
1933-1936 - Mass Jewish Immigration to Palestine after Nazis Gain Power in Germany
"The Nazi assumption of power in 1933 triggered a massive refugee crisis as German Jews sought to find safe haven from persecution. Between 1933 and 1936, more Jews emigrated from Germany to Palestine than to anywhere else in the world. Around 154,300 Jews (including 34,700 from Germany) had entered Palestine legally and thousands more illegally, increasing the percentage of Jews in the Palestinian population from nearly 17 percent in 1931 to almost 30 percent in 1935."
"During the first six years of Hitler’s dictatorship, German Jews felt the effects of more than 400 decrees and regulations that restricted all aspects of their public and private lives...
The Holocaust took place in the broader context of World War II. On September 1, 1939, Germany invaded Poland. Over the next year, Nazi Germany and its allies conquered much of Europe.
In a period marked by intense fighting on both the eastern and western fronts of World War II [1942-1945], Nazi Germany also intensified its pursuit of the 'Final Solution.' These years saw systematic deportations of millions of Jews to increasingly efficient killing centers using poison gas...
By May 1945, the Germans and their collaborators had murdered six million European Jews as part of a systematic plan of genocide—the Holocaust. When Allied troops entered the concentration camps, they discovered piles of corpses, bones, and human ashes—testimony to Nazi mass murder. Soldiers also found thousands of survivors—Jews and non-Jews—suffering from starvation and disease."
1936-1939 - Arab Revolt in Palestine against British Mandate
"In 1936, the Palestinian resistance to foreign rule and to foreign colonization broke out into a major rebellion that lasted virtually until the outbreak of the Second World War...
In April 1936, what started as minor Arab-Jewish clashes quickly flared into a widespread revolt. A new union of Palestinian political parties was formed, the Arab Higher Committee, headed by the Mufti of Jerusalem, Al Hajj Amin al-Husseini. The Committee called for a general strike to support the demand for national government. Despite strong Palestinian resistance to Jewish immigration, the British Government issued permits for several thousand new immigrants, offering further provocation to Palestinian nationalists...
As the strike prolonged, violence increased. There were attacks on British troops and police posts as well as on Jewish settlements, sabotage of roads, railways, pipelines and so on...
During earlier Palestinian Arab uprisings, Jewish settlers often had restrained retaliation under the doctrine of the Havlaga, or restraint. But now, not unexpectedly, there were Jewish reprisals...
The failure of the Palestine authorities to suppress the revolt by military means led to political measures. The British Government announced the appointment of a Royal Commission to investigate the causes of the 'disturbances' and turned to the rulers of other Arab States for the mediation that eventually led to the calling off of the strike in October 1936. The official count of casualties was 275 dead and 1,112 wounded, but the Royal Commission's estimate was 1,000 deaths.
The end of the strike was to prove a lull in the rebellion. The issue of the Royal Commission's report brought an almost immediate renewal of violence, starting with the assassination of a British District Commissioner. Although it was not conclusively established that the assassins were Arab, the High Commissioner declared the Arab Higher Committee proscribed, arresting its prominent leaders and deporting them to the Seychelles Islands, while the Mufti of Jerusalem was able to escape to Lebanon, from where he continued to direct the rebellion."
United Nations (UN) "The Origins and Evolution of the Palestine Problem: 1917-1988, Part I 1917-1947," unispal.un.org, June 30, 1990
1939-1945 - World War II and Jewish Resistance to British Mandate
"At the outbreak of World War II, both Palestinians and Zionists enlisted in large numbers — 21,000 Jews and 8,000 Palestinians — to help the British in their hour of need. But both kept their long term objectives firmly in mind: both continued to regard British imperialism as the long-term enemy of freedom... the Muslim Mufti [of Jerusalem] Hajj Amin al-Husaini actively flirted with the Axis...
By 1944, Jewish attacks on British troops and police, raids on British arms and supply depots and bombings of British installations had become common, and military training camps were set up in various kibbutzim to train an army to fight the British."
1941-1945 - Grand Mufti of Jerusalem Haj Amin al-Husayni Collaborates with the Axis Powers
Image of Grand Mufti of Jerusalem Hajj Amin al-Husayni. Source: Library of Congress, "His Eminence the Grand Mufti," loc.gov (accessed Oct. 28, 2015)
"Grand Mufti of Jerusalem Haj Amin al-Husayni (Arab nationalist and prominent Muslim religious leader)—escaped to Berlin, where they broadcast appeals to their home countries in order to foment unrest, sabotage, and insurrection against the Allies. In exile in Europe from 1941 to 1945, al-Husayni's status was that of a prominent individual anti-Jewish Arab and Muslim leader...
[Haj Amin] al-Husayni sought public recognition from the Axis powers of his status as leader of a proposed Arab nation. He also sought public approval from the Axis powers for an independent Arab state or federation to 'remove' or 'eliminate' the proposed Jewish homeland in Palestine...
When he [Hitler] received al-Husayni on November 28, 1941, a meeting covered in the German press, Hitler was sympathetic, but declined to give al-Husayni the public declaration of support that he sought. Despite Hitler's response, al-Husayni still collaborated with Nazi Germany and Fascist Italy in several ways. He broadcast anti-Allied and anti-Jewish propaganda by radio to the Arab world and to Muslim communities under German control or influence. He sought to inspire and to indoctrinate Muslim men to serve in Axis military and auxiliary units. Even after he realized that the Germans would not give him what he sought and intended to use his Muslim recruits without regard to his advice, al-Husayni continued to work with both Fascist Italy and Nazi Germany until 1945."
Feb. 14, 1947 - British Government Refers the Question of the Future of Palestine to the United Nations
"In 1947, Great Britain, unable to reconcile its conflicting obligations to both Jews and Arabs, requested that the United Nations take up the question of Palestine. In May, the U.N. Special Committee on Palestine (UNSCOP) was created by a General Assembly resolution. UNSCOP's purpose was to investigate the situation in Palestine and ‘submit such proposals as it may consider appropriate for the solution of the problem of Palestine.'
At the time, the U.N. consisted of 55 members, including Egypt, Iraq, Lebanon, and Syria. Palestine by then remained the only one of the formerly Mandated Territories not to become an independent state. No representatives from any Arab nations, however, were included in UNSCOP. Egypt, Iraq, Syria, Lebanon, and Saudi Arabia requested that 'The termination of the Mandate over Palestine and the declaration of its independence' be placed on the agenda, but this motion was rejected. The Arab Higher Committee thus announced it would not collaborate, although individual Arab states did agree to meet with representatives from UNSCOP…
Two proposals emerged: a federal State plan and a partition plan. The latter passed by a vote of seven to three with one abstention, the dissenting votes being cast by India, Iran, and Yugoslavia, who all favored the federal state plan.
On September 3, UNSCOP submitted its report to the U.N. General Assembly. The report noted that the population of Palestine at the end of 1946 was estimated to be almost 1,846,000, with 1,203,000 Arabs (65 percent) and 608,000 Jews (33 percent)."
Jeremy Hammond "The UN Partition Plan and Arab 'Catastrophe,'" foreignpolicyjournal.com, Apr. 13, 2010
Nov. 29, 1947 - United Nations Partitions Palestine into Separate Jewish and Palestinian States
1947 UN General Assembly Session When Partition Vote Took Place. Source: Matti Friedman, "The Day That Never Ended," timesofisrael.com, Nov. 28, 2012
"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 Arab 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 Zionists, 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."
Apr. 9, 1948 - Jewish Forces Attack the Palestinian Village of Deir Yassin
"Dayr Yasin [sic]...would become the  war's symbol for the Palestinians. The village was one of several attacked by Jewish forces in April  in an attempt to clear the besieged roads leading to Jerusalem. That offensive was important in itself, since it marked the first time Jewish forces fought with the strategic goal of permanently ridding an area of Arab villages in order to insure the viability of their own settlements...
The Arab media used Dayr Yasin [sic] as the focus of their claim that Zionism was innately wicked, and to rally Arabs behind the impending Arab invasion. Broadcasts and newspaper stories prompted popular mass demonstrations in Damascus, Baghdad, Cairo, and Tripoli, including attacks on the local Jewish communities."
David Ben-Gurion Declares the Establishment of the State of Israel. Source: Ministry of Foreign Affairs, "Declaration of Establishment of State of Israel," mfa.gov.il (accessed Sep. 16, 2015)
"At four o'clock in the afternoon on 14 May 1948, in front of the leaders of the Yishuv [Jewish community in Palestine] in the Tel Aviv Art Museum, David Ben-Gurion read out the Declaration of Independence and proclaimed the establishment of the Jewish state in Palestine to be called Medinat Israel--the State of Israel.
The Declaration of Independence pledged that the State of Israel would be based on the principles of liberty, justice, and peace as conceived by the Prophets of Israel; would uphold the full social and political equality of all its citizens, without distinction of religion, race, or sex; and would loyally uphold the principles of the U.N. Charter. It specifically promised equal rights to the Arab inhabitants of the State of Israel and extended the hand of peace to all the neighboring Arab states."
Israeli Troops Raising Israeli Flag during 1948 Arab-Israeli War. Source: Find The Data, "1948 Arab-Israeli War," wars.findthedata.com
"The Arab-Israeli War of 1948 broke out when five Arab nations invaded territory in the former Palestinian mandate immediately following the announcement of the independence of the state of Israel on May 14, 1948...
On the eve of May 14, the Arabs launched an air attack on Tel Aviv, which the Israelis resisted. This action was followed by the invasion of the former Palestinian mandate by Arab armies from Lebanon, Syria, Iraq, and Egypt. Saudi Arabia sent a formation that fought under the Egyptian command. British trained forces from Transjordan eventually intervened in the conflict, but only in areas that had been designated as part of the Arab state under the United Nations Partition Plan and the corpus separatum of Jerusalem. After tense early fighting, Israeli forces, now under joint command, were able to gain the offensive."
"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."
"The Palestinian refugee problem originated as a result of the 1948 Arab-Israeli war, when five Arab armies invaded the State of Israel just hours after it was established. During the ensuing war, as many as 700,000 Palestinian Arabs fled their homes in the newly created state. Many of the Palestinian Arabs who fled did so voluntarily to avoid the ongoing war or at the urging of Arab leaders who promised that all who left would return after a quick Arab victory over the new Jewish state. Other Palestinians were forced to flee by individuals or groups fighting for Israel.
Of the Palestinians who left, one-third went to the West Bank (which was under Jordan’s control), one-third went to the Gaza Strip (under Egypt’s control), and the remainder to Jordan, Lebanon and Syria. The Arab nations refused to absorb these Palestinians into their population and they were instead settled into refugee camps. Only Jordan’s King Abdullah agreed to confer citizenship on the 200,000 Palestinian living in Jordan and the Jordan-controlled West Bank and East Jerusalem. In 1949, the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestinian Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA) was created to oversee the economic integration of the refugees into these Arab countries."
1949 - Israel Signs Armistice Agreements with Egypt, Jordan, Lebanon, and Syria
"On 24 February 1949, ten days after the First Knesset was convened for its opening sitting in Jerusalem, Israel signed its first Armistice Agreement, with Egypt, on the island of Rhodes. Its preamble stated that it should constitute a step towards peace. It determined armistice lines which, except in the Gaza Strip, were to coincide with the international boundary of the former Mandatory Territory of Palestine and Egypt...
On 23 March 1949, a second General armistice agreement was signed, this time with Lebanon. Here, too, the armistice line was to coincide with the previous international boundary.
The Agreement with Transjordan (now the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan) - far more complicated because of the nature of the armistice line, and its political implications - was signed on 3 April."
"In April 1949, talks started [with Syria] at Gesher B'not Yaacov, on the River Jordan. The major problem was areas occupied by the Syrian forces during the War of Independence. Israel demanded that Syria evacuate them. Syria in the end concurred, provided that certain areas were demilitarized. Israel accepted this and, on 20 July, the [armistice] agreement was signed."
1949-1956 - Conflict Continues Between Arabs and Israelis
Egypt Blockades Mouth of Suez Canal. Source: The Rt Hon Lord Owen CH, "The Effect of Prime Minister Anthony Eden's Illness...," qjmed.oxfordjournals.org, May 6, 2005
"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."
July 1956 - Suez Crisis / Second Arab-Israeli War Erupts
"In the early 1950s, Egypt violated the terms of the Egyptian-Israeli armistice agreement and blocked Israeli ships from passing through the Suez Canal, a major international waterway. It also began to block traffic through the Straits of Tiran, a narrow passage of water linking the Israeli port of Eilat to the Red Sea. This action effectively cut off the port of Eilat -- Israel's sole outlet to the Red Sea and Indian Ocean… At the same time, Palestinian Arab fedayeen launched cross-border infiltrations and attacks on Israeli civilian centers and military outposts from Egypt, Jordan and Syria. Arab infiltration and Israeli retaliation became a regular pattern of Arab-Israeli relations…
In July 1956, Egyptian President Gamal Abdel Nasser nationalized the Suez Canal, threatening British and French interests in oil supplies and western trade. Their interests converging, Israel, Britain and France planned an attack on Egypt, with the former seeking free navigation through international waters and an end to terrorist attacks and the latter two hoping to seize control of the Suez Canal.
On October 29, 1956, Israel began its assault on Egyptian military positions, capturing the whole of the Gaza Strip and the Sinai Peninsula. On October 31, France and Britain joined the fray and hostilities ended on November 5. The U.S. was caught completely by surprise and voiced strong opposition to the joint attack. The U.S. pressured Israel to withdraw from Egyptian territory. United Nations forces were stationed along the Egyptian-Israeli border to prevent an Egyptian blockade and deter cross-border infiltrations."
Dec. 4, 1956 - UN Emergency Force (UNEF) Arrives in Egypt to Supervise the Withdrawal of Britain, France, and Israel
United Nations Emergency Force Troops Patrolling Port Said, Egypt. Source: United Nations, "Visit to Units of the UN Emergency Force in Egypt," unmultimedia.org, Dec. 1, 1956
"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."
June 2, 1964 - Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) Formed
"The Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) was established in 1964 in Jerusalem. It was founded in response to a number of factors, including the growing salience of the Palestine question in inter-Arab politics; the increasing friction between the Arab states and Israel over water diversion projects and other issues; and the growth of underground, independent Palestinian nationalist activity, which Arab governments, notably that of Egypt, wanted to preempt.
The PLO quickly became the arena for much of this nationalist activity, which was increasingly directed at achieving independence of political action from the Arab regimes, in addition to the basic aim of liberating Palestine and securing the return of the approximately 700,000 Palestinians who had been made refugees in 1948...
The PLO's first leader, the lawyer Aḥmad Shuqayrī, was a close ally of Egyptian president Gamal Abdel Nasser, and the PLO was strongly influenced by Egypt during its early years."
May 1967 - Egypt Closes the Straits of Aqaba to Israeli Shipping after UN Emergency Force Troops Withdraw
"[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."
Israeli Tanks in Golan Heights during Six-Day War. Source: Britannica.com, "Six-Day War," britannica.com (accessed Aug. 5, 2015)
"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."
1967 - 250,000 Palestinians Become "Displaced" after Six-Day War
"During the 1967 Six Day War, another estimated 250,000 Palestinians fled the West Bank and Gaza Strip with the arrival of Israeli forces. Some of these were people who had left their homes in Israel in 1948. These individuals are considered by the international community to be displaced persons, not refugees."
Sep. 1, 1967 - Arab Summit Conference Held in Khartoum (Sudan) Declares That Israel Will Not Be Recognized
"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."
Nov. 22, 1967 - UN Security Council Passes Resolution 242
In response to the Six-Day War, the UN Security Council passed Resolution 242 emphasizing the "inadmissibility of the acquisition of territory by war and the need to work for a just and lasting peace in which every State in the area can live in security."
"The Palestinian National Council met in 1968 and revised the Charter, adopting Fatah's commitment to liberate Palestine by armed struggle alone. A year later, when the Council met again, [Yasser] Arafat was elected chairman of the PLO, a position he has held ever since. Over the next year, Arafat consolidated his power by bringing most of the militant Palestinian factions under the umbrella of the PLO."
Mar. 1969 - Aug. 1970 - War of Attrition with Egypt
"The War of Attrition, from mid-1968 and until August 1970, was continuous, static, local fighting along the ceasefire borders of the Six Day War, focused around the Suez Canal. Its name was established by Egyptian President Gamal Abdel Nasser, who stated on June 23rd 1969: 'I cannot take over Sinai, but I can break the spirit of Israel by attrition.' Egypt had superiority in strength, and Nasser, relying on weapon supply from the Soviet Union to deter Israel from a massive reciprocal attack, had hoped Israel will ultimately withdraw from the Suez Canal...
In October 1968, the IDF attacked for the first time in Upper Egypt and destroyed the power station in Nag Hammadi. In March 1969 the Egyptians opened heavy artillery fire towards Israeli targets by the Canal. The Israeli Air Force began attacking Egyptian settlements along the Canal in July 1969, causing heavy damage and the flight of approximately 750,000 Egyptian citizens. The Soviet Union shipped masses of weapons and operating technicians to Egypt in late January 1970, including rockets, anti-aircraft warfare and a radar. In addition, intercepting aircrafts were delivered to Egypt with 15,000 Soviet military men, among them pilots.
The first encounter between Israeli aircrafts and the Russian MiGs took place in April 1970. In July, following Egypt’s acceptance of the Rogers Plan, Israeli pilots shot down five of these planes. Following these incidents, Moscow applied pressure on Egypt to agree to a ceasefire [on Aug. 7, 1970]."
Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine Guerrillas in Mountains East of the Jordan River, 1969. Source: Thomas R. Koeniges, LOOK Magazine, May 13, 1969 (accessed Sep. 17, 2015)
"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."
1970-1971 - Palestinian Liberation Organization (PLO) Is Expelled from Jordan and Moves to Lebanon
Yasser Arafat, Chairman of the Palestinian Liberation Organization (PLO), at Press Conference in Amman, Jordan, June 1970. Source: Al Ahram Weekly, June 1970 (accessed Sep. 17, 2015)
"Following the showdown with Jordan's King Hussein in 1970 and 1971, and their expulsion from Jordan, the PLO leaders and many PLO fighters, eventually numbering 15,000, moved to Lebanon, joining the by now 200,000 or more Palestinian refugees already there living in camps. The PLO established bases and began to organize the refugees in the camps. They also began to dominate the Shiite areas of southern Lebanon. Israeli retaliatory strikes against refugee camps and into southern Lebanon began to affect the Shiites in the south, who also came to resent the Palestinian presence. Many of them began to migrate to the north, where they would eventually organize politically and become a significant new political factor in Lebanese politics.
With Lebanon being drawn increasingly into the Palestinian-Israeli situation, tension grew between those attempting to maintain Lebanese 'sovereignty' and those, especially among the Muslims, who supported the Arab and Palestinian cause against Israel and supported the activities of the PLO."
Sep. 1972 - Palestinian Members of Black September Murder 11 Israeli Athletes at 1972 Munich Olympics
"At 4:30 a.m. local time on Sept. 5, 1972, in Munich, Germany, Palestinian commandos armed with automatic rifles broke into the quarters of the Israeli team at the Olympic Village, killed two members of the team and took nine others hostage. Twenty-three hours later, the nine hostages had also been murdered. So was a German policeman. So were five of the Palestinian terrorists...
The Palestinian commandos were part of the then-unknown Black September movement—a band of Palestinian militants who broke away from Fatah, the Palestinian faction that controlled the Palestine Liberation Organization...
Black September’s demands in the Munich attack: the release of more than 200 Palestinian guerillas held in Israeli jails, along with the release of German Red Army members Andreas Baader and Ulrike Meinhof, held in German prison."
Pierre Tristam "Black September and the Murder of 11 Israelis at the 1972 Munich Olympics," middleeast.about.com (accessed Oct. 6, 2015)
Oct. 6, 1973 - "Yom Kippur War" (aka War of 1973) Begins
Egyptian Military Crosses Suez Canal, Oct. 7, 1973. Source: Central Intelligence Agency, flickr.com, Oct. 7, 1973 (accessed Sep. 17, 2015))
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 Jawlan; 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, and drove the Syrians back towards Damascus...They [the attacks] ended in a cease-fire imposed by the influence of the super-powers which showed that, while the U.S.A. would not allow Israel to be defeated, neither it nor the U.S.S.R. would allow Egypt to be defeated, and that they [the USA and USSR] did not wish to allow the war to escalate in a way which would draw them in."
When Kissinger returned to the United States, he agreed to a Soviet request to seek another ceasefire resolution, which the Security Council adopted on October 23. Yet the Israelis still refused to stop. On October 24, Brezhnev sent Nixon a hotline message suggesting that the United States and the Soviet Union send troops to Egypt to 'implement' the ceasefire. If Nixon chose not to do so, Brezhnev threatened, 'We should be faced with the necessity urgently to consider the question of taking appropriate steps unilaterally.' The United States responded by putting its nuclear forces on worldwide alert on October 25. By the end of the day, the crisis abated when the Security Council adopted Resolution 340, which called for a ceasefire, the withdrawal of all forces to their October 22 positions, and U.N. observers and peacekeepers to monitor the ceasefire. This time, the Israelis accepted the resolution.
Jan. 1974 - Israel and Egypt Sign Disengagement Accord over Suez
"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 establishment of a U.N.-patrolled buffer zone, defensive missile emplacements only west of Suez, and the allowing of nonmilitary Israeli shipping through the canal (though not in Israeli vessels)."
May 1974 - Israel and Syria Sign Disengagement Accord over Golan Heights
"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."
Oct. 28 1974 - Arab League Recognizes PLO as the Legitimate Representative of the Palestinian People
Yasser Arafat, President of the PLO, 1974. Source: Romanian National History Museum, comunismulinromania.ro, 1974
"The Rabat Summit conference in October 1974 brought together the leaders of twenty Arab states, including Hussein, and representatives of the PLO. PLO leaders threatened a walkout if their demands for unconditional recognition were not met. The PLO required a statement from the conference that any Palestinian territory liberated by Arab forces would be turned over to the 'Palestinian people' as represented by their organization. Jordan protested, pointing out that recognition on these terms would give the PLO sovereignty over half of the population in the East Bank and that in fact the annexation of the West Bank had been approved by popular vote.
A compromise solution was adopted that nonetheless favored PLO interests. The conference formally acknowledged the right of the Palestinian people to a separate homeland, but without specifying that its territory was restricted to the West Bank. Most important, the PLO was for the first time officially recognized by all the Arab states as the "sole legitimate representative of the Palestinian people."
Nov. 10, 1975 - UN General Assembly Passes Resolution Calling Zionism a Form of Racism
"THE GENERAL ASSEMBLY,
RECALLING its resolution 1904 (XVIII) of 20 November 1963, proclaiming the United Nations Declaration on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination, and in particular its affirmation that 'any doctrine of racial differentiation or superiority is scientifically false, morally condemnable, socially unjust and dangerous' and its expression of alarm at 'the manifestations of racial discrimination still in evidence in some areas in the world, some of which are imposed by certain Governments by means of legislative, administrative or other measures'...
TAKING NOTE ALSO of the Political Declaration and Strategy to Strengthen International Peace and Security and to Intensify Solidarity and Mutual Assistance among Non-Aligned Countries, adopted at the Conference of Ministers for Foreign Affairs of Non-Aligned Countries held at Lima from 25 to 30 August 1975, which most severely condemned Zionism as a threat to world peace and security and called upon all countries to oppose this racist and imperialist ideology,
DETERMINES that Zionism is a form of racism and racial discrimination."
Mar. 14-15, 1978 - Israel Invades Southern Lebanon in Response to PLO Attack
"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."
Mar. 26, 1979 - Egypt and Israel Sign Peace Treaty; Sinai Peninsula Reverts to Egyptian Sovereignty
Egyptian President Anwar Sadat, Israeli Prime Minister Menachem Begin, and President Jimmy Carter. Source: Library of Congress, "Egypt Israel Peace Treaty," loc.gov (accessed Aug. 6, 2015)
"On March 26, 1979, in a ceremony hosted by U.S. President Jimmy Carter at the White House, Israeli Prime Minister Menachem Begin and Egyptian President Anwar Sadat signed the Israel-Egypt Peace Treaty, the first peace treaty between Israel and an Arab country...
Under the treaty, the two nations agreed to end the state of war and to establish diplomatic relations. Egypt became the first Arab country to recognize Israel. Israel agreed to withdraw from the Sinai Peninsula, which it had seized from Egypt in the Six-Day War of 1967, while Egypt agreed to grant Israeli ships access to the Suez Canal...
The Arab world reacted angrily to the peace treaty, as it had to the Camp David Accords, which it saw as a 'betrayal of the Arab cause,'... As a result, the Arab League suspended Egypt. Sadat became unpopular among his fellow Arab leaders and his people; in 1981, he was assassinated by Islamic extremists."
New York Times "Israel and Egypt Sign Peace Treaty," learning.blogs.nytimes.com, Mar. 26, 2012
June 6, 1982 - Israel Invades Lebanon, Eventually Driving the PLO out of Beirut
"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."
"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."
1982 - Reagan Plan Rejects Creation of an Independent Palestinian State
"Following Israel's invasion of Lebanon in early June 1982, on September 1, 1982, President Reagan outlined what came to be called the Reagan Plan. This plan upheld the goals of the Camp David Accords regarding autonomy for the Palestinians of the West Bank and the Gaza Strip and disapproved of Israel's establishment of any new settlements in these areas. It further proposed that at the end of a transitional period, the best form of government for the West Bank and the Gaza Strip would be self-government by the resident Palestinian population in association with Jordan. Under the plan, Israel would be obliged to withdraw from the occupied territories in exchange for peace, and the city of Jerusalem would remain undivided; its final status would be decided through negotiations. The plan rejected the creation of an independent Palestinian state. Although Labor leader Peres expressed support for the plan, Prime Minister Menachem Begin and the Likud opposed it, as did the PLO and the Arab states. The plan was subsequently shelved. "
May 17, 1983 - Israel and Lebanon Sign Peace Agreement
"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]."
Image of Palestinian Youth during the First Intifada. Source: Association for Diplomatic Studies and Training, "Moments in US Diplomatic History," adst.org (accessed on Aug. 6, 2015
"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 solidarity 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 increasingly 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."
"A nationalist-Islamist spinoff of Egypt's Muslim Brotherhood, Hamas was founded in 1987, during the first intifada, and later emerged at the forefront of armed resistance to Israel...
Hamas, an acronym for Harakat al-Muqawama al-Islamiya ('Islamic Resistance Movement'), was founded by Sheikh Ahmed Yassin, a Palestinian cleric who became an activist in local branches of the Muslim Brotherhood after dedicating his early life to Islamic scholarship in Cairo. Beginning in the late 1960s, Yassin preached and performed charitable work in the West Bank and Gaza Strip, both of which were occupied by Israeli forces following the 1967 Six Day War.
Yassin established Hamas as the Brotherhood's local political arm in December 1987, following the outbreak of the first intifada, a Palestinian uprising against Israeli control of the West Bank, Gaza, and East Jerusalem. The following year, Hamas published its charter, calling for the destruction of Israel and the establishment of an Islamic society in historic Palestine."
July 31, 1988 - Jordan Renounces Its Claim to the West Bank and Severs All Administrative and Judicial Links
"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."
"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."
Nov. 15, 1988 - Palestine National Council (PNC) Proclaims the Establishment of a Palestinian State
PLO Adopts the Palestinian Declaration of Independence in Algiers, Nov. 15, 1988. Source: Tumblr, "Today in Palestinian History, November 15," goingbacktopali.tumblr.com (accessed Aug. 6, 2015)
"Yasir Arafat, the chairman of the Palestine Liberation Organization, early today declared the establishment of an independent Palestinian state as part of a broad political program that recognizes Israel, at least implicitly, for the first time...
He did not indicate the borders of such a state, although he said a 1947 United Nations partition plan, which provided for a Jewish state and an Arab state in Palestine, still offers a basis for 'international legitimacy.'...
The state envisioned by Mr. Arafat is assumed to include the West Bank of the Jordan River and the Gaza Strip, which are occupied by Israel, and the Arab sector of Jerusalem, which Israel considers its own. Thus, the announcement was mainly a political declaration of hope and intent without immediate practical meaning...
The council voted to endorse a crucial resolution adopted in 1967 by the United Nations Security Council that recognizes the sovereignty of all states in the Middle East, an implicit recognition of Israel, council members said.
By a vote of 253 to 46, the council approved its political platform making the Security Council document, Resolution 242, the main basis for an international peace conference."
New York Times "PLO Proclaims Palestine to Be an Independent State; Hints at Recognizing Israel," nytimes.com, Nov. 15, 1988
1991 - Madrid Conference: Israel Enters First Direct Negotiations with Syria, Lebanon, Jordan, and the Palestinians
"The Madrid Invitation, inviting Israel, Syria, Lebanon, Jordan and the Palestinians to an opening conference jointly sponsored by the US and the Soviet Union on October 30, 1991, represented the result of US Secretary of State James Baker's shuttle diplomacy in the eight months following the Gulf War. The Madrid peace conference was a watershed event. For the first time, Israel entered into direct, face-to-face negotiations with Syria, Lebanon, Jordan, and the Palestinians...
Two parallel negotiating tracks were established by Madrid: the bilateral track and the multilateral track. Four separate sets of bilateral negotiations put Israel together with Syria, Lebanon, Jordan and the Palestinian delegation, intended to resolve past conflicts and sign peace treaties. The first bilateral meetings took place in Madrid, on November 3 right after the formal conference ended. Over a dozen rounds of bilateral talks were subsequently hosted by the US Department of State in Washington."
Dec. 16, 1991 - UN General Assembly Revokes 1975 Resolution Calling Zionism a Form of Racism
On Dec. 16, 1991, the UN General Assembly passed resolution 46/86 which revoked Resolution 3379 by a vote of 111 to 25, with 13 abstentions. According to the Israeli Ministry of Foreign Affairs, "One of Israel's conditions for the participation of a UN observer in the Madrid Peace Conference [held on Oct. 30, 1991] was the revocation of the infamous resolution 3379 equaling Zionism with racism." UN resolution 46/86 stated:
"Elimination of racism and racial discrimination
The General Assembly Decides to revoke the determination contained in its resolution 3379 (XXX) of 10 November 1975."
Apr. 16, 1993 - Hamas Carries out First Suicide Bombing Attack within Israel
"On 16 April 1993, Tamam Nabulsi, a member of the Hamas organization (Islamic Resistance Movement) blew his car up beside an Israeli bus parked near the settlement of Mechola, in the Jordan Valley. Two passengers were killed and five wounded. This was the first suicide attack perpetrated within the borders of Israel by a Palestinian organization."
Shaul Kimhi and Shmuel Even "Who Are the Palestinian Suicide Bombers?," Terrorism and Political Violence, Winter 2004
"Between 1993 and the second Intifada in 2000, thirty-seven suicide bombers exploded in Israel. Most of them were identified as members of the Hamas organization, and a small proportion were identified as members of Islamic Jihad."
Revital Sela-Shayovitz "Suicide Bombers in Israel: Their Motives, Characteristics, and Prior Activity in Terrorist Organizations," ijcv.org, 2007
Sep. 13, 1993 - Oslo Peace Accord Is Signed by Israel and the PLO
Bill Clinton with Yasser Arafat and Yitzhak Rabin at the Whitehouse, Sep. 13, 1993 Source: US Government Publishing Office, "Public Papers of the Presidents of the United States," gpo.gov (accessed Aug. 6, 2015)
"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."
Feb. 25, 1994 - Massacre at the Tomb of the Patriarchs
"On February 25, 1994, Baruch Goldstein [an American immigrant to Israel and a member of the Jewish Defense League] walked into the Ibrahim Mosque at the Cave of the Patriarchs in Hebron... As he entered, Goldstein opened fire at the kneeling worshipers, killing 29 and wounding at least 125 unarmed Palestinians. After finally running out of ammunition, he was hit over the head with a fire extinguisher and beaten to death by survivors of the massacre.
Riots broke out across the West Bank after the massacre and continue for two days. More than 20 more Palestinians and nearly 10 Jews were killed in the unrest following the initial murders. In the months after, Hamas carried out two terror attacks, which it said were a response to the massacre in Hebron...
The massacre also had an effect on the peace process, which was in its most intense days in 1994 during the Yitzhak Rabin premiership. It quickly became the topic of international condemnation, including a United Nations Security Council resolution passed some weeks later, condemning the killings and calling on Israel to guarantee the safety of Palestinians in the territories.
Israel's government and leaders took great efforts to mitigate the emotional and physical scars created by the massacre. Then-president Ezer Weizman called the killings 'the worst thing that has happened to us in the history of Zionism.'"
Jerusalem Post "This Week in History: The Second Hebron Massacre," jpost.com, July 10, 2015
Apr. 1994 - Paris Protocol Is Signed by Israel and the Palestinian Authority
"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," B'Tselem website (accessed July 6, 2007)
May 4, 1994 - Cairo Agreement Is Signed between Israel and the PLO
"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 [PLO leader] 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."
Oct. 26, 1994 - Israel and Jordan Sign Peace Treaty
Hussein I of Jordan and Israeli Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin with Bill Clinton during the Israel-Jordan Peace Negotiations. Source: National Archives, "Historic Moments of the Presidency," clinton2.nara.gov (accessed Aug. 6, 2015)
"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."
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."
Nov. 5, 1995 - Prime Minister of Israel Yitzhak Rabin Assassinated
"Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin, who led Israel to victory in 1967 and began the march toward peace a generation later, was shot dead by a lone assassin this evening as he was leaving a vast rally in Tel Aviv.
Mr. Rabin, 73, was struck down by one or two bullets as he was entering his car. Police immediately seized a 27-year-old Israeli law student, Yigal Amir, who had been active in support of Israeli settlers but who told the police tonight that he had acted alone...
It was the first assassination of a prime minister in the 47-year history of the state of Israel...
Mr. Rabin, who rose to national prominence as commander of the victorious Israeli army in the 1967 Six-Day War, became the second Middle Eastern leader, after President Anwar el-Sadat of Egypt, to be killed by extremists from his own side for seeking an Arab-Israeli peace. Mr. Sadat, the first Arab to make peace with Israel, was assassinated in 1984."
Serge Schmemann, MA "Assassination in Israel: The Overview; Rabin Slain After Peace Rally in Tel Aviv; Israeli Gunman Held; Says He Acted Alone," nytimes.com, Nov. 5, 1995
Jan. 15, 1997 - West Bank City of Hebron Is Divided into Areas of Israeli and Palestinian Control
"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’," palestinecenter.org, Apr. 27, 2000
Oct.-Nov 1998 - Wye River Memorandum and Israeli Withdrawal from Portion of the West Bank
"The memorandum drafted at Wye was signed in Washington on 23 October 1998. It promised to restore momentum to the Israeli-Palestinian peace process begun at Oslo, after nineteen months of stagnation and mounting tension, and to pave the way for comprehensive negotiations aimed at a final peace settlement.
Israel undertook to withdraw its troops from a further 13 percent of the West Bank, in three stages over a period of three months, giving the Palestinian Authority full or partial control of 40 percent of the territory. In return, the Palestinians agreed to a detailed 'work plan' under which they were to cooperate with the CIA in tracking down and arresting extremists in the Hamas and Islamic Jihad groups. Arafat also undertook to summon a broad assembly of Palestinian delegates to review the 1968 Palestinian National Charter and to expunge the clauses calling for the destruction of Israel."
"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]."
Oct. 4, 1999 - Sharm al-Sheikh Agreement Sets a Timetable for Permanent Peace Settlement Between Israel and Palestine
Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Barak and Palestinian Chairman Yasser Arafat Sign Sharm al-Sheikh Agreement. Source: Israel Ministry of Foreign Affairs, "Sharm el-Sheikh Memorandum," mfa.gov.il, Sep. 4, 1999
"On September 4, 1999, the Sharm el-Sheikh Memorandum was signed by representatives of Israel and the PLO. Restating the commitment of the two sides to full implementation of all agreements reached since September 1993, the Memorandum sets out to resolve the outstanding issues of the present interim status, in particular those set out in the Wye Memorandum of October 23, 1998...
The Memorandum sets out a timetable for additional redeployments of Israeli forces in the West Bank and the transfer of areas to Palestinian control in several phases, to be completed by January 20, 2000. The first phase was carried out on September 10, 1999...
The Memorandum provides for the releases of 350 [Palestinian] prisoners in two stages (carried out on September 9 and October 15, 1999). The Israeli side will also aim to release additional Palestinian prisoners before next Ramadan."
May 23-24, 2000 - Israel Pulls Remaining Troops out of Lebanon
"On May 24, 2000, Israel completed the withdrawal of its forces from southern Lebanon in accordance with UN Security Council Resolution 425. Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Barak pledged during his March 1999 election campaign to withdraw Israeli troops from Lebanon by July 2000...
Israel began its unilateral withdrawal from Lebanon on May 22, 2000 and it was quickly completed by May 24 in accordance with U.N. Security Council Resolution 425. According to Resolution 425, the U.N. will take action to fill the vacuum that is created following the withdrawal of Israeli forces, and deploy appropriate armed forces to restore effective authority in the area...
As Israeli troops were withdrawing from southern Lebanon, members of the SLA [South Lebanon Army] and their families fled their homes in fear of advancing Hezbollah forces."
July 11-26, 2000 - Historic Camp David II Summit Fails to Resolve Conflict
"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."
"On July 24, 2000, after fourteen straight days of negotiations at the Camp David II presidential retreat, President Bill Clinton, Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Barak, and Palestinian Authority (PA) Chairman Yasir Arafat returned to their respective countries unable to reach a deal. Despite the summit's failure to produce a final settlement of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict in accordance with the 1993 Oslo Agreements, Arafat requested another meeting. Nearly five months later, the parties reconvened at the White House on December 19, 2000, and following separate meetings with both parties, Clinton offered his last proposal. Barak, who had wagered his political career on the potential deal, endorsed it. Arafat made no counteroffer and gave no explanation. Instead, he simply walked away."
At first called the 'al-Aqsa Intifada,' this new wave of violence resembled all-out warfare more than the 'shaking off' of the original intifada. Rock-throwing Palestinian youths were joined by armed Palestinian police against Israeli soldiers hurling tear gas and firing rubber-coated and sometimes live bullets, backed up by tanks and Blackhawk helicopter gunships. In Gaza, a twelve-year-old Palestinian boy [Muhammad al-Durrah] was caught in the crossfire and killed by Israeli soldiers; and in Ramallah, two Israeli reservists were murdered at a Palestinian police outpost, and one was thrown out a window and his body beaten and trampled upon by the crowd. Murders of Israelis were avenged by rockets and bombs hitting Palestinian offices and targets in Gaza and the West bank."
Oct. 2000 - Suicide Bombing Attacks against Israel Increase in Frequency
"Since the outbreak of the second Intifada in September 2000, 164 human bombs have exploded in Israel. Most of the terrorists were men, but a minority were women. In addition, 450 terrorists were arrested on their way to commit a suicide bombing (Israeli Intelligence and Terrorism Center 2006). Most of the suicide attacks in Israel have taken place in shopping malls, on buses, at street corners, and in places where people congregate...
The period of the second Intifada significantly differs from other historical periods in Israeli history, because it has been characterized by intensive and numerous suicide attacks."
Revital Sela-Shayovitz "Suicide Bombers in Israel: Their Motives, Characteristics, and Prior Activity in Terrorist Organizations," ijcv.org, 2007
"[According to the Israeli Army, between Oct. 2000 and Apr. 2006] Hamas carried out 51 suicide attacks, killing 272 Israelis. Islamic Jihad and the Al Aqsa Martyrs Brigade carried out 34 each, killing 98 and 80 Israelis respectively. Almost 5,000 people, mostly Palestinians, have been killed over that period."
Conal Urquhart "Hamas in Call to End Suicide Bombings," theguardian.com, Apr. 8, 2006
Jan. 21-27, 2001 - Taba Negotiations: Israelis and Palestinians Discuss Palestinian Refugees, Borders, Security, and the Future of Jerusalem
Israeli Foreign Minister Shlomo Ben-Ami and Palestinian Negotiator Ahmed Qurei Shake Hands at the Taba Negotiations. Source: Fanack Chronicle, "Taba Negotiations," chronicle.fanack.com, Sep. 4, 2010
"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, JD "Trying to Understand the Taba Talks (Part I)," Palestine-Israel Journal, 2003
Feb. 6, 2001 - Ariel Sharon Elected Prime Minister of Israel
"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."
May 21, 2001 - Mitchell Report: International Commission Releases Its Findings and Recommendations on the Causes of the Intifada
Israeli Barrier Near Bat Hefer during the Second Intifada. Source: AgadaUrbanit, "Barrier near Bat Hefer during the Second intifada October 2001," Oct. 2001
"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, PhD "The Missing Peace: The Inside Story of the Fight for Middle East Peace, 2004
Aug. 27, 2001 - Israel Assassinates the Leader of the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine
"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."
Oct. 17, 2001 - Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine Assassinates Israeli Minister of Tourism
"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."
Jan. 5, 2002 - Israel Seizes Ship Carrying 50 Tons of Military Equipment
Weapons and Military Equipment Confiscated from the Ship Karine A. Source: United States House of Representatives, "Karin A Weapons," house.gov, Jan. 2002
"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," nytimes.com, Jan. 5, 2002
Mar. 13, 2002 - United States Sponsors UN Security Council Resolution Calling for a Palestinian State alongside the State of Israel
"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," washingtonpost.com, Mar. 13, 2002
Mar. 28, 2002 - Arab League Adopts the Pan-Arab Initiative for Peace in the Middle East
"The Arab League adopted... the first 'pan-Arab initiative' for peace in the Middle East, Arab League Secretary-General Amr Moussa announced. The plan, offered by Saudi Crown Prince Abdullah, was adopted in a closed session following hours of wrangling over its final language.
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...'"
Mar. 27, 2002 - Hamas Suicide Attack Kills 30 Israeli Civilians during Passover Seder
"From September 2000 through the end of February 2002, nearly 300 Israeli's were murdered by Palestinian terrorists...
The final catalyst for action occurred on March 27 when a Palestinian terrorist detonated himself inside a hotel in the Israeli coastal city of Netanya during a 250-person Passover seder. Twenty-two civilians were killed instantly in the blast and another eight died of their wounds over the next few days; a further 150 were injured. Hamas claimed responsibility for the attack and Palestinian officials lauded the attack in Arabic media...
The following night, Prime Minister Ariel Sharon green-lighted Operation 'Defensive Shield,' explaining to his inner Cabinet members that, 'The Palestinians must be hit, and it must be very painful ... We must cause them losses, victims, so that they feel a heavy price.' With the operation okayed, the Israeli Defense Ministry proceeded to issue an emergency call-up for more than 20,000 reserve soldiers, the largest such action since the 1982 Lebanon War, and put the army and air force on high alert."
Mar. 29 - Apr. 21, 2002 - Israel Launches Operation Defensive Shield and Invades and Occupies Much of the West Bank
Israeli Defense Force Soldiers in Nablus during Operation Defensive Shield. Source: Israel Defense Forces, "Standing Guard in Nablus," flickr.com, Apr. 8, 2002
"Operation Defensive Shield began on March 29 with an incursion into Ramallah, during which the Israeli Defence Force (IDF) seized most of the buildings in the headquarters compound of Yasser Arafat. Operations followed in Tulkarem and Qalqilya on April 1, Bethlehem on April 2, and in Jenin and Nablus on April 3. By then, six of the largest cities in the West Bank, and their surrounding towns, villages and refugee camps, were occupied by the Israeli military. The IDF announced the official end of the operation on April 21...
Operation Defensive Shield involved Israeli troops and vehicles entering cities and imposing curfews. The incursions were accompanied by the entry into nearby villages and refugee camps...
The IDF arrested Palestinians who they believed were involved in armed action against Israel. In most of these incursions the IDF also destroyed infrastructure they believed to be part of the operating capacity of militant groups, and infrastructure of the Palestinian Authority security services...
According to local human rights groups, more than 8,500 Palestinians were arrested between February 27 and May 20. Reportedly, most of the 2,500 Palestinians arrested during the first wave of incursions in February and March were released within a week, whereas many of the more than 6,000 Palestinians arrested during Operation Defensive Shield after March 29 were held for longer periods without any outside contact...
A total of 497 Palestinians were killed in the IDF reoccupation of Palestinian area A from March 1 to May 7 2002 and immediately afterwards.
Palestinian health authorities and the Palestinian Red Crescent Society reported 1,447 wounded in the same period."
July 22, 2002 - Israel Assassinates Military Leader of Hamas
Image of the Bombed Home of Sheikh Salah Shehadeh. Source: "ISR. High Court to Rule on Targeted Killings Soon," flotillahyvesarchief.weebly.com, Dec. 11, 2005
"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. Shehadeh was among the founders of Hamas's Izzedine al-Qassem Brigades, and spent a decade in Israeli jails.
His killing may also prove to be one of the most lethal acts of assassination by the Israeli army since it embarked on a strategy of killing Palestinian militants."
Guardian Unlimited "12 Dead in Attack on Hamas: Seven Children Killed as Israelis Assassinate Military Chief," guardian.co.uk, July 23, 2002
Aug. 1, 2002 - United Nations Report Disputes Claim of Jenin "Massacre"
Image of the Bombed Section of Jenin Refugee Camp, 2002. Israeli Ministry of Foreign Affairs, "Aerial Photographs of Jenin," mfa.gov.il, Apr. 13, 2002
The report rejects Palestinian claims of a massacre, but blames both sides for endangering civilians.
The UN report notes up front that investigators were not able to visit Jenin and did not have the cooperation of Israel. The Israeli government blocked a fact-finding mission after the UN refused to meet its conditions."
National Public Radio (NPR) "Analysis: UN Releases Long-awaited Report on Israeli-Palestinian Fighting in Jenin Refugee Camp," npr.org, Aug. 1, 2002
Mar. 19, 2003 - Arafat Names Mahmoud Abbas Prime Minister of the Palestinian Authority
"Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat has officially asked his moderate deputy, Mahmoud 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."
Apr. 30, 2003 - US Publishes "Road Map" towards a Middle East Peace
"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."
June 4, 2003 - Mideast Peace Summit Convened in Jordan by President Bush and Prime Ministers Sharon and Abbas
President George W. Bush with Prime Minister Ariel Sharon of Israel, and Palestinian Prime Minister Mahmoud Abbas, June 4, 2003. Source: White House, photo by Paul Morse, "Sharon Bush Abbas," whitehouse.gov, June 4, 2003
"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."
June 19, 2003 - Israel Begins Construction of West Bank Security Wall/Fence
Image of a Section of the West Bank Wall in 2007. Source: Chris Yunker, "West Bank Wall," flicker.com, Nov. 21, 2007
"[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...
The Israelis say they need this fence to prevent Palestinian suicide bombers and other terrorists from crossing into populated Israeli centers. Most of the infiltrators, they say, have come from the West Bank.
Israel already has a fence encircling Gaza. Officials say there have been virtually no infiltrations from there...
Construction in this phase of the project began this week and is now on-going near Jenin, Bethlehem and other towns and cities along the Israeli-West Bank border. Once completed, the barrier will actually be a combination of fences, walls, ditches, patrol roads and electronic surveillance devices."
"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," nytimes.com, Oct. 14, 2003
Nov. 18, 2003 - European Union 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."
Feb. 2, 2004 - Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon Announces 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."
Mar. 14, 2004 - Hamas and Fatah Claim Responsibility for Suicide Bombing in Ashdod Port Killing 10
"[T]win suicide bombs in the Israeli port city of Ashdod killed 10 people and wounded at least 20 more.
The Islamic fundamentalist group Hamas and the Al Aqsa Martyrs Brigades - a military offshoot of Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat's Fatah movement - claimed joint responsibility for the terror attacks Sunday.
The bombings prompted Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon to cancel a meeting with his Palestinian counterpart Ahmed Qorei that had been tentatively scheduled for Tuesday...
The planned talks were an attempt to revive the so-called 'road map' to Mideast peace."
Mar. 22, 2004 - Hamas Founder and Spiritual Leader, Sheikh Ahmed Yassin, Killed by Israeli Airstrike
Funeral of Assassinated Hamas Leader Sheikh Ahmed Yassin. Source: Independent Media Center, "Israel Assassinates Hamas Leader," indymedia.org, Mar. 23, 2004
"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."
"This morning (22 March), in a security forces operation in the northern Gaza Strip, the IDF targeted a vehicle carrying the head of the Hamas terror organization, Ahmed Yassin and his aides. Yassin, who was personally responsible for numerous murderous terror attacks, resulting in the deaths of many civilians, both Israeli and foreign, was killed in the attack.
Yassin was the dominant authority of the Hamas leadership, which was directly involved in planning, orchestrating and launching terror attacks carried out by the organization.
In this capacity, Yassin personally gave his approval for the launching of Kassam rockets against Israeli cities, as well as for the numerous Hamas terrorist bombings and suicide operations."
Apr. 17, 2004 - Head of Hamas, 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."
June 28, 2004 - First Israeli Fatalities from Hamas Rockets
"During 2004 HAMAS was responsible for an increase in Qassam rocket attacks. A rocket attack on Sderot on June 28 was the first fatal attack against Israelis using Qassam rockets. Two Israelis died in the attack. In September, two Israeli children were killed in Sderot from another Qassam rocket attack. In response to the continued Qassam rocket fire, the IDF launched a three-week operation on September 28, in which 130 Palestinians (among them 68 HAMAS and Palestine Islamic Jihad militants) and five Israelis died, according to press reports."
John E. Pike, "HAMAS Rockets," globalsecurity.org (accessed Oct. 15, 2015)
July 9, 2004 - World Court Rules West Bank Fence/Wall Violates International Law
"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," haaretz.com, 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," washingtonpost.com, Oct. 27, 2004
Nov. 11, 2004 - Yasser Arafat Dies in Paris
Funeral of Yasser Arafat, Nov. 12, 2004 Source: Perealbiac, Funeral of Yasser Arafat, flickr.com, Nov. 12, 2004
"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."
Jan. 10, 2005 - Mahmoud Abbas Elected President of the Palestinian Authority
"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."
Jan. 24, 2005 - Hamas and Islamic Jihad Agree to Suspend Attacks on Israel
"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," guardian.co.uk, Jan. 24, 2005
Feb. 8, 2005 - Ariel Sharon and Mahmoud Abbas Agree to 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," nytimes.com, Feb. 8, 2005
Mar. 10, 2005 - Sasson Report Reveals Illegal Israeli Outposts in West Bank and Gaza Strip
"Following the conclusion of the Oslo Accords, Israeli undertook informally not to build any new settlements in the West Bank and Gaza strip. However, beginning in the administration of Benjamin Nethanyahu, the Israeli government began allowing the creation of "outposts" that had no government approval and were not legal... The quartet roadmap plan for peace required that during the first phase, Israel would evacuate outposts created after March 21, 2001..."
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 in contravention of the laws, often on land of dubious ownership, both before and after the March 2001 cutoff date."
Aug. 22, 2005 - Israel Removes the Last Jewish Settlements in Gaza
Israeli Residents of Kfar Darom Protest Forced Evacuation during Gaza Withdrawal. Source: Israel Defense Forces, "The Evacuation of Kfar Darom," flickr.com, Aug. 18, 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."
Nov. 21, 2005 - Arial Sharon Leaves Likud Party and Establishes Kadima Party
"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," guardian.co.uk, Nov. 22, 2007
Jan. 5, 2006 - Israeli Prime Minister 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."
Hamas Rally. Source: Israel Defense Forces, "When Hamas Tries to Establish a Terror Network – We Stop Them," idfblog.com, July 3, 2015
"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," washingtonpost.com, 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," nytimes.com, Mar. 29, 2006
July - Aug. 2006 - Israel-Lebanon War
Rocket From Lebanon Hits Hospital in Haifa, Israel, Aug. 12, 2006. Source: Tomer Gabel, "Final Day of the War Sees Katyusha Rockets in Haifa," flickr.com, Aug. 12, 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 (Cable News Network) "Special Report: Crisis in the Middle East 'Background: Mideast Conflict Timeline'," cnn.com (accessed Oct. 23, 2007)
June 10-18, 2007 - Hamas Takes over Gaza, Abbas Swears in New West Bank Government, and Israel Blockades Gaza
Image of Hamas Fighters after Capturing the Headquarters of Fatah in Gaza, June 15, 2007. Source: Sandy's Worlds, "The Capture of Fatah's Headquarters in Gaza," personal.umich.edu (accessed Sep. 17, 2015)
"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."
"[On June 17, 2007] 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."
"[June 18, 2015] Israel has ordered the blockade of all cargo shipments to the Hamas-controlled Gaza Strip...
A new Fatah-controlled Palestinian government in Ramallah, meanwhile, made its priorities clear on being sworn in. Its first act was to freeze all accounts connected to ministries in the disbanded unity government with Hamas."
"[Under the blockade, Israel] controls Gaza's airspace, territorial waters, and land borders... Israel is Gaza's primary supplier of electricity, which is essential for water availability and sewage treatment. In addition, Israel controls Gaza's telecommunications network, its population registry, and its customs and tax revenues."
Israel has made it exceedingly difficult for Palestinians to leave Gaza."]
Human Rights Watch "Israel/Gaza: Israeli Blockade Unlawful despite Gaza Border Breach," hrw.org, Jan. 25, 2008
Nov. 27, 2007 - Annapolis Peace Conference Takes Place
Image of President Bush, Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert, and Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas, at Annapolis Conference. Source: US Navy, photo by Gin Kai, "Olmert, Bush, Abbas in Annapolis Conference," defenselink.mil, Nov. 27, 2007
"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," nytimes.com, Nov. 27, 2007
Nov. 14, 2008 - Hamas Fires Barrage of Rockets into Israel
"Tensions between Hamas, the radical Palestinian rulers of Gaza, and Israel increased markedly on Friday after Hamas fired a barrage of rockets into southern Israel, sending 18 Israelis to the hospital with shock and mild injuries.
Hamas officials said the attack was revenge for the deaths over the past 11 days of 11 militants and the recent increased Israeli closing of Gaza crossings...
The confrontations, following five months of relative calm, began to spike this month when the Israeli military destroyed a tunnel being dug toward Israel."
New York Times "Hamas Fires Rockets into Israel," nytimes.com, Nov. 14, 2008
Dec. 27, 2008 - Operation Cast Lead: Israeli Bombardment and Occupation of Gaza
Image of a Bombed Mosque and School in Gaza. Source: ISM Palestine, "31 - Destroyed Mosque and Orphans School," flickr.com, Jan. 12, 2009
"[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."
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."
Mar. 26, 2009 - Close Israeli Elections Result in Netanyahu Forming a Coalition 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."
June 4, 2009 - Obama Supports Two-State Solution and Opposes Settlements in Cairo Speech
President Obama and Secretary of State Clinton at Sultan Hassan Mosque in Cairo, June 4, 2009. Source: The White House, "P060409PS-0276," flickr.com, June 4, 2009
"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," haaretz.com, 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," huffingtonpost.com, June 14, 2009
Aug. 4, 2009 - Fatah Holds First Party Congress in 20 Years
Delegates at the Fatah Congress, Aug. 4, 2009. Source: Sousan Hammad, "Smoke, Mirrors and Acrimony: The 2009 Fatah Congress," electronicintifada.net, Aug. 6, 2009
"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," washingtonpost.com, 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, DSc "Palestine: Ending the Occupation, Establishing the State," mideastweb.org, Aug. 31, 2009
May. 31, 2010 - Israeli Commandos Board a Flotilla of Ships Carrying Aid for Gaza and Kill Nine Activists
Turkish Ship Mavi Marmara after Returning to Port in Turkey. Source: NPR, "Rally for Aid Ship Bodes Ill for Turkey-Israel Ties," northcountypublicradio.org, Dec. 27, 2010
"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."
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," latimes.com, Jan. 26, 2011
Mar. 19, 2011 - Hamas Rocket Fire Barrage against Israel
"Members of the terrorist group Hamas launched attacks against Israel from their base in Gaza during this weekend’s Sabbath...
Terrorists launched more than 50 rockets which landed in southern Israel this Saturday morning...
This was the heaviest barrage in two years, Israeli officials said."
Jim Kouri, "Hamas Rocket Attacks on Israel Go Practically Unnoticed," aim.org, Mar. 21, 2011
"Since Operation Cast Lead... Thousands of rockets and mortars have been smuggled into Gaza, reviving the [Hamas] terror infrastructure that was nearly dismantled by Israel in 2008. In 2011 alone, 627 rockets and mortars were fired from Gaza into Israel."
May 4, 2011 - Palestinian Rivals Fatah and Hamas Sign Reconciliation Pact
Fatah Official Azzam al-Ahmad and Hamas Prime Minister Ismail Haniyeh Meeting in Gaza, Apr. 22, 2014. Source: Voice of America News, "Palestinians: Peace Talks Can Continue, despite Unity Deal," voanews.com, May 9, 2014
"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," guardian.co.uk, 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," washingtonpost.com, 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..."
Oct. 2011 - Hamas Releases Israeli Prisoner Gilad Shalit in Exchange for over 1,000 Palestinian Prisoners
"In an elaborate prisoner exchange... an Israeli soldier held for more than five years by the militant Palestinian group Hamas was swapped on Tuesday for hundreds of Palestinians who have spent many years in Israeli jails, all them freed to jubilant welcomes tinged with bitterness and grief.
Buses transporting the Palestinian prisoners — the first group of what will eventually number more than 1,000 — made their way into Egypt, which helped broker the exchange, and from there to the West Bank and Gaza Strip where relatives and celebrations awaited...
The soldier, Sgt. First Class Gilad Shalit, 25, was taken from Gaza, where he had been held since Palestinian militants abducted him in a cross-border raid in 2006, into Egypt and from there to Israel, where he was given a medical check and declared in good health."
New York Times "Israeli Soldier Swapped for Hundreds of Palestinians," nytimes.com, Oct. 18, 2011
Oct. 31, 2011 - Palestine Becomes 195th Full Member of UNESCO, United States Pulls Annual $70 Million Contribution
Palestinian Flag Raising at UNESCO Headquarters on Oct, Dec. 13, 2011. Source: UNESCO, "Photo Gallery: Palestine - Flag Raising Ceremony," unesco.org, Dec. 13, 2011
"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," nytimes.com, 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."
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."
May 7, 2012 - Israeli PM Netanyahu Forms New Coalition Government with Opposition Leader, 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," washingtonpost.com, May 7, 2012
Oct. 24, 2012 - Palestinians in Gaza Fire 60 Rockets into Israel
"Palestinian militants fired more than 60 rockets from Gaza into southern Israel overnight and early Wednesday, hitting several houses and wounding three Thai workers, two critically, in an Israeli border community, according to the Israeli military. Israel carried out several airstrikes against rocket-launching squads, killing four militants, Palestinian officials said. Three of the four belonged to Hamas, the Islamic militant group that controls Gaza...
The rocket fire began hours after a landmark visit to Gaza by the emir of Qatar, Sheik Hamad bin Khalifa al-Thani, the first head of state to visit Gaza since Hamas took full control there in 2007."
New York Times "Four Palestinian Militants Killed in Israeli Airstrikes," nytimes.com, Oct. 24, 2012
Nov. 12, 2012 - Palestinian Authority to Seek Non-Member State Status at United Nations
President of the Palestinian Authority Mahmoud Abbas at UN General Assembly, Sep. 27, 2012. Source: United Nations News Center, "Palestine to Seek UN Non-Member State Status," un.org, Sep. 27, 2012
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
Israeli Iron Dome System Intercepting Rockets during Operation Pillar of Defense. Source: Emanuel Yelliin, "Iron Dome during "Operation Pillar of Cloud," commons.wikimedia.org, Nov. 17, 2012
"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."
Nov. 29, 2012 - United Nations Votes to Accept Palestine as a Non-Member Observer State
"Voting by an overwhelming majority — 138 in favour to 9 against (Canada, Czech Republic, Israel, Marshall Islands, Micronesia (Federated States of), Nauru, Panama, Palau, United States), with 41 abstentions — the General Assembly today accorded Palestine non-Member Observer State status in the United Nations...
The text upgraded Palestine’s status without prejudice to the acquired rights, privileges and role of the Palestine Liberation Organization in the United Nations as the representative of the Palestinian people, in accordance with the relevant resolutions and practice. The Palestinian Liberation Organization was recognized as an observer entity in 1974."
United Nations (UN) "General Assembly Votes Overwhelmingly to Accord Palestine 'Non-Member Observer State' Status," un.org, Nov. 29, 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.''
June 13, 2014 - Palestinians in Gaza Begin Series of Rocket Attacks against Israel
"Palestinian armed groups in Gaza have launched scores of rockets into Israel since June 13, 2014...
Armed groups in Gaza launched 47 rockets that landed in Israel or were intercepted by Israel’s 'Iron Dome' anti-rocket system from June 13 to July 1, according to an Israeli source, and scores more since then. The UN reported 160 rocket launches from Gaza on July 7 and 8, though it was not clear how many hit Israel."
July 8, 2014 - Israel Launches Operation Protective Edge against Hamas Militants in Gaza
Image of a Building Bombed in Gaza During Operation Protective Edge. Source: B'Tselem, "Gaza Strip, July 2014: A Constant State of Emergency," btselem.org, July 2014
"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
"The conflict left a total of at least 2,189 Palestinians dead, including more than 1,486 civilians, according to the UN. On the Israeli side, 67 soldiers were killed along with the six civilians...
According to UN data, more than 4,800 rockets and 1,700 mortars were fired from Gaza towards Israel between 8 July and 26 August. Around 224 projectiles are believed to have struck Israeli residential areas."
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 (AP) "Israel-Gaza Ceasefire: Negotiators Look to Next Phase for Peace," cbc.ca, Aug. 28, 2014
Mar. 16, 2015 - Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu Says No to Two-State Solution on Eve of Election
"Under pressure on the eve of a surprisingly close election, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu of Israel on Monday doubled down on his appeal to right-wing voters, declaring definitively that if he was returned to office he would never establish a Palestinian state...
The statement reversed Mr. Netanyahu’s endorsement of a two-state solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict in a 2009 speech at Bar Ilan University, and fulfilled many world leaders’ suspicions that he was never really serious about peace negotiations."
New York Times "Netanyahu Says No to Statehood for Palestinians," nytimes.com, Mar. 16, 2015
[Editor's Note: In a Mar. 19 interview with NBC News Chief Foreign Affairs Correspondent Andrea Mitchell, Netanyahu claimed that his pre-election statement was not a reversal of policy, but rather a statement about what is realistically possible in the current situation. In the interview, Netanyahu said, "I don't want a one-state solution. I want a sustainable, peaceful two-state solution. But for that, circumstances have to change."]
May 13, 2015 - The Vatican Recognizes State of Palestine in New Treaty
Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas and Pope Francis. Source: Catholic Online, "Israel Incensed as the Vatican Recognizes the State of Palestine," catholic.org, May 14, 2015
"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'."
[Editor's Note: In 2012, 138 member states of the United Nations voted to recognize Palestine as a non-member observer state.]
Sep. – Oct. 2015 - Escalating Violence between Palestinians and Israelis
Sep. 15, 2015
"Violence engulfed the Temple Mount and the Muslim Quarter of Jerusalem’s Old City for a third consecutive day…
The spike in violence on the compound and Old City began days after Defense Minister Moshe Ya’alon signed a decree last Tuesday banning the Murabitun and Murabatat male and female Islamist activist groups, which gather on the Temple Mount to intimidate and shout at Jewish visitors on a daily basis."
Jerusalem Post "Riots Breaks out on Jerusalem's Temple Mount for Third Straight Day," jpost.com, Sep. 15, 2015
Sep. 16, 2015 "Mahmoud Abbas, Chairman of the Palestinian Authority, was interviewed on Palestinian television on Wednesday, 16 September about the violent riots on the Temple Mount in Jerusalem…
[Abbas stated] ‘We bless you; we bless the Mourabitoun and the Mourabitat. We welcome every drop of blood spilled in Jerusalem. This is pure blood, clean blood, blood on its way to Allah. With the help of Allah, every shaheed (martyr) will be in heaven, and every wounded will get his reward…
Al-Aqsa is ours, and the (Church of the) Holy Sepulcher is ours, everything is ours, all ours. They (the Jews) have no right to desecrate them with their filthy feet and we won't allow them to.’"
Oct. 19, 2015 "There have been daily clashes in the Occupied Palestinian Territories, across the West Bank and on the Gaza border in recent days, with tires being burned, rocks thrown and Israeli forces responding with tear gas, rubber bullets and live ammunition.
The Palestinian Red Crescent says nearly 2,000 Palestinians have been injured since the beginning of the month…
Since the beginning of the month, at least nine Israelis have been killed, along with 41 Palestinians, 20 of whom Israeli authorities have identified as attackers. The remaining 21 Palestinians died in clashes with Israeli troops…
The violence has been dominated by Palestinian teenagers stabbing Israelis in so-called ‘lone wolf’ attacks and without the political and organizational support that existed during the first and second intifadas."
Sep. 14, 2016 - United States Commits $38 Billion over Ten Years to Military Assistance for Israel
"The United States on Wednesday [Sep. 14, 2016] signed an unprecedented new security agreement with Israel that will give the Israeli military $38 billion over 10 years.
The deal, the largest such agreement the U.S. has ever had with any country, amounts to $3.8 billion a year beginning in budget year 2019, compared with $3.1 billion the U.S. gave Israel annually under the current 10-year deal that expires in 2018.
Under the agreement, Israel's ability to spend part of the funds on Israeli military products will be phased out and eventually all of the money must be spent on American military industries. Israel's preference for spending some internally had been a major sticking point in the deal."
Dec. 23, 2016 - US Abstains on United Nations Resolution Condemning Israeli Settlements Allowing Motion to Pass
"In an unprecedented diplomatic rebuke of Israel, the United States abstained Friday on a United Nations Security Council resolution demanding an end to Israeli settlements, allowing the highly charged measure to pass.
The resolution was approved 14-0 with the one abstention... The measure demands Israel 'immediately and completely cease all settlement activities in the occupied Palestinian territory, including East Jerusalem.' It declares the establishment of settlements by Israel has 'no legal validity and constitutes a flagrant violation under international law'...
U.S. Ambassador to the U.N. Samantha Power, in remarks to the council after the vote, said the U.S. position on the settlements has remained unchanged for five decades, and quoted a 1982 statement by then-President Ronald Reagan, which declared Washington 'will not support the use of any additional land for the purpose of settlements.'
'The U.S. has been sending the message that the settlements must stop, privately and publicly, for five decades,' Power said. Settlement activity, she added, 'harms the viability of a negotiated two-state outcome and erodes prospects for peace and stability in the region.' At the same time, she said, 'Our vote does not in any way diminish our steadfast and unparalleled commitment to the security of Israel.'"
USA Today "U.S. Abstains on U.N. Vote Condemning Israeli Settlements," usatoday.com, Dec. 23, 2016
Feb. 6, 2017 - Israel Passes Law Retroactively Legalizing Almost 4,000 Settler Homes Built on Palestinian Land
"Israel's parliament has passed a law that retroactively legalizes almost 4,000 settler homes built unlawfully on private Palestinian land in the West Bank, a move that critics say is a massive blow to any future peace deal.
The Knesset approved the legislation in a 60-52 vote Monday evening, at a time when Israel has ramped up plans for settlement expansion in the West Bank...
Settlements are broadly viewed as an obstacle to peace by Palestinians and the international community. The Israeli newspaper Haaretz describes the measure as a 'land-grab bill.' Rights groups have vowed to challenge it at the country's Supreme Court.
The vote is another major victory for Israeli hard-liners. According to The Associated Press, Israeli Cabinet Minister Yariv Levin called it 'a first step in a series of measures that we must take in order to make our presence in Judea and Samaria present for years, for decades, for ages.'"
Feb. 15, 2017 - US President Trump Open to One-State Solution, Change in Decades-Long US Policy of Advocating Two-State Solution
"President Donald Trump today said that he is keeping his options open about how best to reach a peaceful solution to the Israeli-Palestinian situation...
'I'm looking at a two state and one state, and I like the one that both parties like. I'm very happy with the one that both parties like. I could live with either one. I thought for a while the two state looked like it may be the easier of the two, but honestly if Bibi [Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu] and if the Palestinians, if Israel and the Palestinians are happy, I'm happy with the one they like the best,' Trump said while standing next to Netanyahu."
ABC News "Trump Says He 'Can Live With' Either One or Two State Solution in Israel," abcnews.go.com, Feb. 15, 2017
Apr. 6, 2017 - Russia Recognizes West Jerusalem as Future Capital of Israel and East Jerusalem as Capital of Future Palestinian State
"Russia recognizes west Jerusalem as Israel's capital, the Russian Foreign Ministry stated in a surprise announcement on Thursday...
The statement issued by the Russian Foreign Ministry reads, "We reaffirm our commitment to the UN-approved principles for a Palestinian-Israeli settlement [two-state solution], which include the status of east Jerusalem as the capital of the future Palestinian state. At the same time, we must state that in this context we view west Jerusalem as the capital of Israel."
This is a sharp shift in Russian policy, which until now has formally held that Jerusalem should eventually be under a permanent international regime…
[T]his would be the first recognition by any country of any part of Jerusalem as Israel's capital."
Jerusalem Post "JPost Exclusive: Moscow Surprisingly Says West Jerusalem Is Israel's Capital," jpost.com, Apr. 6, 2017
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