Saturday, August 8, 2015

The History of Israel - A Chronological Presentation

The History of Israel
- A Chronological Presentation

In order to understand the Arab-Israeli conflict, as it unfolds today, it is necessary to have an accurate picture of the historic circumstances that led to the establishment of the Jewish state and the Arab world's rejection of it, as well as the developments that have since then shaped the conflict.
This historic presentation covers the most important events in the history of Israel, from the Jewish kingdoms of David and Solomon to the collapse of the Oslo peace process in the fall of 2000. The remaining period from the turn of the millennium until today will be added as soon as possible.
It is not the intention to dig into and analyse every detail and contentious issue, but rather to provide the reader with a basic historic knowledge and understanding of the conflict's causes and effects.
The material can be read chronologically from beginning to end, or may be used as a work of reference, allowing the reader to select any specific period of interest. If, for instance, you want to focus on the establishment of the modern state of Israel, you may want to skip the first chapter, "Early Times", and move directly toChapter Two.

Let's start by placing Israel on the map. Israel is located at the eastern end of the Mediterranean Sea, where Europe, Africa and Asia meet. The country borders on Lebanon and Syria in the north, Jordan to the east and Egypt to the south.
The conflict between Israel and its Arab neighbors seems to claim a lot of attention in the world media, but the area that includes both Israel, Gaza and the West Bank actually only comprises about 28.000 square kilometers - or approximately the size of Belgium or Hawaii. On the map you can see Israel (in red) compared to the surrounding Arab or Muslim countries that make up the rest of the Middle East and North Africa.
Follow the chronological presentation by clicking the link below, or go directly to a certain period by using the menu on the left.

Continue: Chapter 1 - Early Times

1. Early Times (1000 BCE - 135 CE)
Ca. 1000 (BCE) - The Jewish Kingdoms
King David ruled with Jerusalem as his capital over Judea, the first united kingdom in an area, which roughly corresponds to today's Israel including the West Bank. After the death of David's son, Solomon, in 931 BCE the kingdom was divided into a southern part, Judea, and Israel in the north.
722 (BCE) - The Assyrians
The Assyrians, a powerful people from northern Mesopotamia
(today northern Iraq), invaded the northern Kingdom of Israel and deported the Jews to other parts of the Assyrian Empire. The Kingdom of Israel perished.
586 (BCE) - The BabyloniansAfter the fall of the Assyrian Empire the Babylonian king, Nebuchadnezzar II, conquered Jerusalem. The most influential Jews of Judea were deported to Babylon (in southern Mesopotamia, today Iraq). The first Jewish temple in Jerusalem was destroyed.
The Kingdom of Solomon, the divided kingdom and Judea at the time of the Maccabees (the exact borders are subject to some uncertainty). The red line describes Israel's current borders incl. Gaza, the West Bank and the Golan Heights.
538 (BCE) - The PersiansKing Cyrus of Persia (today Iran) conquered the entire Babylonian Empire, allowed the exiled Jews to return from Babylon, and accepted a form of Jewish home rule in Jerusalem. The Jewish temple was rebuilt.
332 (BCE) - The GreeksThe Greek-Macedonian ruler Alexander the Great destroyed the Persian Empire, thereby gaining control over Judea. After the death of Alexander his Hellenistic (Greek) Empire was divided into three parts, and the Jews got squeezed between the competing Greek rulers.
164 (BCE) - The MaccabeesA Jewish tribe, the "Maccabees", revolted against the Hellenistic occupiers, and from 142 BCE and the following 80 years Judea once again was an independent, Jewish state.
63 (BCE) - The Roman ConquestThe Romans invaded Greece and also conquered the Hellenistic Seleucid Empire in the Middle East. Though the Jews were granted some measure of autonomy in Jerusalem, Judea was in reality ruled from Rome.

A model of Jerusalem at the time of the Second Temple.
37 (BCE) - Herod The GreatFollowing a failed Jewish rebellion, the Romans turned Judea into a regular Roman province, and installed the Jewish King Herod the Great as administrator. After his death in 4 BCE the province was divided between Herod's sons. One of them, Herod Antipas, who is best known for his role in the New Testament, administered Galilee in the north and Perea to the east (the east bank of the Jordan River, today part of the Kingdom of Jordan).
70 - The Destruction of JerusalemThe Roman Emperor Titus quashed yet another Jewish rebellion. The Jewish temple and the rest of Jerusalem were reduced to rubble. A group of especially persistent Jews sought refuge on the mountain of Masada in the desert near the Dead Sea, but were three years later defeated by the Romans.
135 - Judea Renamed PalestineDuring a final Jewish uprising against the Romans (the Bar Kochva Revolt) Jerusalem was once again, for a short, three-year period, under Jewish control. After the Romans' inevitable, crushing victory many hundreds of thousands of Jews were either deported, sold as slaves or killed. The Roman Emperor Hadrian leveled Jerusalem to the ground, and barred Jews from entering the city.
In an attempt at definitively eliminating the Jewish connection to the land, the Romans renamed Judea to "Palaestina", a word believed to be derived from the "Philistines", a people from Crete, which a thousand years earlier roamed the Mediterranean coast of Judea. Jews still lived in the area, though, and less than 100 years later they were once again allowed access to Jerusalem.

The destruction of the Second Temple, 70 AD (by Francesco Hayez, 1867).
Continue: Chapter 1 - Early Times - Page 2

1. Early Times (313 - 1917)
313 - The Byzantine EraThe Roman Emperor Constantine decreed that Christianity would henceforth be the official religion of the Roman Empire, and in 331 AD he moved its capital from Rome to Byzantium, which he then renamed Constantinople (today Istanbul in Turkey). At the end of the century Judea too, now known as Palestine, was a mainly Christian area. Churches and monasteries were being built in the holy places in Jerusalem, Bethlehem and Galilee, and Jews again were denied access to Jerusalem.
614 - The Persians ReturnThe Persians (from today's Iran) briefly gained control over Jerusalem. But when the Byzantine emperor, Heraclius, repulsed the Persian invasion, and in 629 reconquered the city, he ordered all Jews killed and all synagogues burned. Many Jews seek refuge in Egypt or other parts of the empire.
637 - Arab RuleIn the 630's a new religion, Islam, bagan spreading from the Arabian peninsula, and within only a few years both the Persian and Byzantine empires were defeated. In 638 Jerusalem fell to the Arab caliph Omar and became part of the Muslim empire, which was ruled from the caliphate in the city of Medina (in today's Saudi-Arabia). Omar founded the first mosque at the site in Jerusalem, where the Jewish temple had previously been located.
The following centuries were caracterized by internal strife in the Muslim world. Changing caliphs ruled over most of the Middle East from Damascus (from 661) and Baghdad (from 750). Jews and Christians were tolerated, but subject to special restrictions, which led many to either emigrate or convert to Islam. In 969 Jerusalem was conquered by the Fatimid dynasty, the rivaling caliphate in Cairo, and in 1071 the Arab dominance ended, when the Fatimids were ejected by the Seljuk Turks.

Jerusalem (painted by David Roberts, 1842).
1099 - The CrusadersPope Urban II called for a crusade against the Muslims in order to reclaim the Holy Land for the Christians, and in 1099 the first crusaders conquered Jerusalem, while massacring a large number of Jews and Muslims. During the following two centuries the European crusaders fought various Muslim rulers for control of the area. In 1187 Saladin, a Kurdish general who ruled over both Egypt and Syria, succeeded in recapturing Jerusalem for the Muslims.
1291 - The Mamelukes
In 1250 the Mamelukes (originally an army of slaves mainly from Turkey and northern Caucasia) seized power in Egypt from Saladin's Ayyubid dynasty. The Crusaders' last bastion in the Holy Land, the port city of Acre, fell to the Mamelukes in 1291. In the next 200 years, with Palestine being ruled from Damascus, the province ceased to function as a centre for trade from the Far East, and the population, including the few thousand Jewish families that are left, lives in extreme poverty. Several towns lay in ruins, and even Jerusalem was almost deserted. In 1351 Palestine was struck by the plague, and around 1500 the area's population numbered a mere 200.000 souls. The Mamelukes ruled the area from Egypt to Syria until they were defeated by the Ottoman Turks.
1517-1917 - The Ottoman EmpireIn 1517 Kairo fell to the Ottoman Turks, who then ruled the entire Middle East from Constantinople (now Istanbul) for the next 400 years. The area known as Judea or Palestine was no longer considered a province of its own, but became part of the Ottoman Empire's Syrian province with Damascus as its local, administrative capital. The region remained neglected and underdeveloped, and largely isolated from the outside world.

One of the earliest photos of Jerusalem, 1844.
Continue: Chapter 2 - The Establishment of Israel

2. The Establishment of Israel (1880 - 1920)
1880 - The Jews in Palestine
The Turks had ruled Palestine as part of the Ottoman Empire's Syrian province since conquering the entire Middle East in the early 1500's. During all these years a Jewish presence had continued to exist in the area, mainly in the four holy cities of Safed, Tiberias, Hebron and Jerusalem. The size of the Jewish community had varied, in 1880 numbering around 25.000, comprising about 1/10 of the total population.
The Ottoman Empire, 1914.
1880 - First Wave of Immigration from Europe
Oppression and persecution in 1880's Europe lead many Jews to emigrate, especially from the Russian controlled Eastern European provinces. One of the targets was Palestine. In the first major wave of immigration an estimated 25.000 Jews arrived. Thus, at the turn of the century there were about 50.000 Jews in Palestine, of a total population of 350.000.
Theodor Herzl.
1897 - Herzl and the Zionist Idea
In respons to European anti-Semitism the Austrian-Jewish journalist and writer Theodor Herzl in 1896 published the book "Der Judenstaat" (The Jewish State). He described a modern social-democratic soceity, in which Jews would be able to live in peace and self-detrmination. One year later at the first Zionist Congress (Zion is another word for Israel) a world-wide organization was founded with the explicit aim of "establishing a home for the Jewish people in Palestine, guaranteed under international law". Herzl and the other Zionist leaders sought backing for the project with the leadears of the major powers - the Ottoman Empire, Germany and England. Only the latter showed any interest in the idea.
Tel Aviv is founded on the sand dunes along
the Mediterranian coast, 1909.

1904-14 - Second Wave of Immigration
Renewed Russian pogroms at the start of the century spurred another wave of immigration to Palestine. Jewish organisations collected funds all over the world and purchased land, on which the newly arrived Jews established farms and towns. In 1909 the first kibbutz (socialist aggrecultural community) was established, and the same year the city of Tel Aviv was founded close to the Arab port of Jaffa. Many Arabs also found their way to Palestine during these days. In 1914 the Jewish popolation had grown to 85.000, the Arab to 500.000.
1915-17 - Promises and Alliances
As Britain planned its invasion of the Ottoman Empire, of which Palestine was a part, it tried to build alliances in several directions. In 1915, in a secret correspondance with the Emir of Mecca, Britain promised support for Arab independence in the Middle East. In 1916 a secret deal to divide the spoils of war was struck with France, and in 1917 the British government issued the "Balfour Declaration" promising the Zionist Organization support for the establishment of "a national home for the Jewish people" in Palestine.
The British General Allenby enters Jerusalem, December 1917.
1917 - The British Invasion
As the Ottoman Empire entered World War I on the side of the Central Powers it was now at war with England, and soon after British troops invaded all of the Ottoman Middle East. In 1917 General Allenby conquered Jerusalem, and one year after Damascus.
1920 - The Establishment of "Mandates"After the war the victors divided the Middle East into a number of "mandate" areas, under French and British administration. Syria (today Syria and Lebanon) was awarded to France, while Palestine (today's Jordan and Israel including Gaza and the West Bank) and Mesopotamia (Iraq) came under British control. The promise of the establishment of a national home for the Jews in Palestine was integrated into the mandate agreement.
The mandates for Syria, Palestine and Mesopotamia.

2. The Establishment of Israel (1920 - 1939)
1920 - Arab Nationalism in Palestine During and immediately after World War I Arab nationalism awakened. Feisal Ibn-Hussein, a son of the emir of Mecca, and the Zionist leader, Chaim Weizmann, tried to work out a plan to realize the national aspirations of both Jews and Arabs. But with the loss of Damascus, the base of the Arab nationalists, to France, cooperation with the Jews ended, and the focus of Arab nationalism was instead directed towards Jerusalem and Palestine.
1920-21 - The first Arab Riots Arab Nationalist leaders arranged demonstrations against the Jewish National Home. In april 1920 rioters attacked the Jewish population in Jerusalem. Many, both Jews and Arabs were killed or wounded. In May 1921 Arab nationalists attacked Jews in the port city of Jaffa, and soon the violence spread to other parts of the country with several Jewish farming communities coming under attack. After a week of fighting 47 Jews were killed and almost 150 wounded. Many Arabs were also killed and wounded, mostly in clashes with the British troops that quelled the uprising. As a consequence of the Arab violence the British administration tightened the rules of Jewish immigration to Palestine.
1922 - The League of Nations and the Palestine Mandate
On July 24th, 1922 the agreement on the mandates for Syria, Palestine and Mesopotamia was confirmed by the League of Nations - the predecessor of the United Nations. At the same time the League of Nations approved the wording of the Balfour Declaration. Thereby the international community charged Britain with securing "the establishment of a Jewish homeland" in Palestine.
Transjordan is severed from Palestine.
1922 - Jordan Severed
from Palestine
In September 1922 Britain and the League og Nations decided that the 3/4 of Palestine east of the Jordan River would be excluded from the area, in which the Jewish homeland was to be established. The area was initially awarded limited autonomy under the name of Transjordan, but was later granted full independence as The Kingdom of Jordan. As leader of this new state the British installed Abdullah, another son of the emir of Mecca.
1922-23 - Failed Attemps at Arab-Jewish Power Sharing
Several attempts were made by the British High Commissioner to Palestine at establishing various kinds of home-rule for the mandate, in which both Jews and Arabs were to participate. But the Palestinian Arabs rejected any proposal that included power-sharing with the Jews.
1920's - Development of the "Yishuv"
The Jewish community in Palestine (the "Yishuv") developed rapidly in the 1920's. A Jewish parliament, "Knesset Israel", was established, for which also women could both run and vote. Responsibility for Jewish religious, culturel and social affairs was transferred to the Knesset. Later, in 1927, it was also authorized to collect taxes from the Jewish community, and became responsible for education, health and social welfare within the Jewish sector. Unproductive and arid land areas were cultivated, industrial businesses were founded, and power plants and other infrastructure were being built. Hebrew was used as a business language, there was a Hebrew press, and in 1925 The Hebrew University was inaugurated just outside Jerusalem.

Herzl Street, Tel Aviv, 1920.
The Arabs also benefitted from the economic growth of the Jewish sector. In 1925 the Jews made up only about 15% of the population, while accounting for 45% of the mandate's total tax revenues. Conversely, most of the money was spent on the Arab sector, which, contrary to the Jewish sector, didn't have any functioning welfare system. All through the mandate period, in addition to the massive Jewish immigration, there was a substantial influx of Arabs from the surrounding countries.
Mufti Haj Amin al-Husseini.
1929 - Renewed Arab Attacks on Jews
The Muslim leader in Palestine, the Mufti of Jerusalem, Haj Amin al-Husseini, initiated a campaign of false rumors about Jewish threats against Muslim holy places, followed by calls for attacks on Jews. Soon Jewish communities all over Palestine were under attack. In some cities Jews succeeded in defending themselves, but in other areas regular massacres on Jews took place. In Hebron 67 Jews were murdered, and the rest of the Jewish inhabitants driven out, ending two thousand years of uninterrupted Jewish presence in the town.
1930-31 - Uncertainty about the Jewish National HomeIn reaction to the Arab violence of 1929 the British leadership in Palestine tightened the rules for Jewish immigration and the sale of land to Jews. But after protests from both The Zionist Organization and The League of Nations, and an intense debate about Britain's continued support for the Jewish National Home, the provisions were annulled.
1933 - Jewish Immigration Increasing
Hitler's rise to power in Germany in 1933 resulted in renewed Jewish emigration from Europe, and Palestine experienced the largest wave of Jewish immigration yet. In the period of 1933-36 an estimated 175.000 Jews arrived, bringing the Jewish population up to around 370.000. The Arab population too, experienced massive growth during the mandate period, since 1914 almost doubling to 950.000.
1935 - Nazi and Arab Anti-Jewish Propaganda
Arab scepticism towards Jewish immigration from Europe was further exacerbated through German and Italian anti-Jewish propaganda in the Arab World. Arab political commentators disseminated myths of Zionist plans to kill Arabs and desecrate mosques, and called for a Palestinian "Jihad" against both Jews and the British. In 1935 the powerful Arab Al-Husseini clan founded the "Palestine Arab Party", along with an armed militia, "al-Futuwwa", for battle against the infidels.

British forces engage Arab demonstrators, Jaffa 1936.
1936 - The Arab Revolt
In April 1936, as a protest against the immigration policy of the British mandate, the Mufti of Jerusalem, Haj Amin al-Husseini, organized an general strike and total Arab boykott of the mandate. Spontaneous violence erupted, followed by organized attacks on Jewish farming communities by Arab gangs. Civilian Jews were murdered, livestock killed and crops destroyed. The British accepted a Jewish demand for the arming of 3000 Jewish guards ("ghaffirs"), which, together with the Jewish underground organization, Haganah, established in reaction to the Arab riots of the 1920's, partly succeeded in defending Jewish settlements against the Arab attacks. The revolt and the accompanying strike was quite costly for the Arab community, and by autumn the strike was called off, and the violence died out.
The Peel Plan, 1937.
1937 - The Peel Commission's Partition Plan
A British commission of inquiry, led by Lord Robert Peel, was sent to Palestine in order to find a solution to the conflict. It suggested that the remaining part of the mandate (after the detachment of Transjordan) be partitioned into two states, one Jewish and one Arab. The north-western fifth of the area would constitute a Jewish state, the remaining, much larger part, would be Arab, while a strip from Jerusalem to the port city of Jafffa would remain an international zone. The plan included a "population swap" in order to make the proposed states as ethnically homogeneous as possible. Opinions on the issue were divided among the Jews of Palestine, but the general sentiment pointed towards hesitant acceptance. The Palestinian Arabs, on the other hand, along with the rest of the Arab World, rejected the plan, which was then abandoned.
Mufti Haj Amin al-Husseini in conversa-
tion with Hitler.
1937 - Arab-German AllianceNazi-Germany also rejected any partition of Palestine, which could lead to "a Jewish position of power", and intensified its efforts to strengthen its position among the Arabs. In July 1937 the Mufti of Jerusalem, Haj Amin al-Husseini, expressed his personal admiration of the new Germany. The Arab press in Palestine too, showed support for the European Nazism and fascism, and copied energetically from the European anti-Semitic propaganda. In exchange the Nazis supplied weapons for the Palestinian Arabs' fight against the Jews.
1937 - The Arab Revolt ResumedIn the autumn of 1937 the Arab revolt was resumed, and attacks on Jewish settlements and murders of Jewish civilians reached a new high. In 1938 the Haganah adopted a more offensive strategy and organized mobile units, which staged nightly attacks against Arab guerrilla bases, inflicting heavy losses on the Mufti's rebels. Also British soldiers were victims of Arab attacks, prompting Britain to clamp down on the Arab leadership. Mufti Haj Amin escaped to Lebanon, from where he continued to direct the fighting - not only against Britain and the Jews, but also against his Arab opponents in Palestine. When the revolt was finally suppressed in August 1939 the number of dead had reached 2.394 Jews, 610 British og 3.764 Arabs, including hundreds of Arab victims of the Mufti's terror.

2. The Establishment of Israel (1938 - 1947)
1938 - Britain's Last Partition Plan
In November 1938 the British Woodhead Commission issued a report recommending a partition plan uniting a Jewish and an Arab state in a common economic union, allowing the Arabs to enjoy the benefits of progress within the Jewish community. The partition was modified (compared to the Peel-plan) so that the Jewish state would cover only 1/20 of Palestine, or about 1/100 of the original mandate. The Jews rejected the plan, arguing that the proposed Jewish state was too small. The Arabs rejected the plan, ruling out any form of Jewish independence or national self-determination.
David Ben-Gurion. 
1939 - British Abandonment of the Jewish National Home
The British government presented a plan severely restricting Jewish immigration to Palestine, while proposing the establishment of a single Arab majority state, with no specific protection of the Jewish minority. The leader of the Palestinian Jews, David Ben-Gurion, warned the British that a Jewish uprising in Palestine could be in every way as destructive as the recently ended Arab revolt.
1939 - Jewish-British Alliance
As tensions mounted between Britain and the Jews of Palestine, the latter were forced to make a fateful decision: To be with or against Britain in the impending war against Germany. The choice wasn't difficult. Jewish welfare and security depended on the democratic world. British-Zionist quarrels had to be suspended for the greater cause. The Jewish community in Palestine threw itself wholeheartedly into the war on the side of Great Britain.
The British Army's "Jewish Brigade," Italy 1945.
1939-45 - Palestine during World War IIDuring World War II many Palestinian Jews were mobilized as soldiers on the side of the allies, e.g. under the British East Kent Regiment ("The Buffs"), and later in the "Jewish Brigade," while the rest of the Jewish commumity in Palestine employed all available resources in the production of equipment, foods and other necessities in support of the allied war effort. The leaders of the Palestinian Arabs, on the other hand, supported the Nazis. The highest Muslim authority, the Mufti of Jerusalem, Haj Amin al-Husseini, was especially active, and travelled several times to Berlin in order to persuade the Nazis to extend their program for the extermination of European Jewry to also include the Jews of Palestine. In addition al-Husseini helped organize Bosnian Muslims into the special "Hanzar" SS-division.
The refugee ship 'Exodus', 1947.
1945-48 - Refugees from Europe
Despite Jewish support for the victory against Nazi Germany, and the enormous pressure from refugees in the wake of the Nazi Holocaust, Great Britain, in an attempt to appease the Palestinian Arabs, continued to enforce strict quotas for Jewish immigration. Some Jews were smuggled into Palestine, while many perished at sea or ended up in refugee camps in Cyprus. In respons to Britain's policy on Palestine the Jewish military underground organization, Haganah, launched a campaign of sabotage against the mandate's installations. Some smaller, but more radical, Jewish groups carried out regular terror attacks against the British administration in Palestine.
UN partition plan, 1947.
1947 - The UN Partition PlanIn February 1947 Britain decided to turn over the problem of Palestine to the United Nations, which had just been established following the end of World War II. A commission appointed by the UN recommended a partition of the remainder of Palestine into two states, one Jewish and one Arab, with Jerusalem as an international zone controlled by the UN. On November 29, 1947 the UN's General Assembly adopted resolution 181, thus approving the partition plan.
The Jews of Palestine, who by 1947 made up one third of the population, or 600.000, were unhappy with the area allotted to them (most of it was desert), and regretted the separation of Jerusalem with its Jewish majority from the proposed Jewish state. Never the less they accepted the compromise. The leaders of the 1.2 million Palestinian Arabs, on the other hand, along with the rest of the Arab World, rejected the plan, and declared its intention to attack and destroy the Jewish state, the moment the last British soldier had left Palestine.

3. The New State (1947 - 1957)
David Ben-Gurion reads Israel's
Declaration of Independence,
May 14. 1948.
1947-48 - Preparation for War
Immediately after the UN's decision on the partition of Palestine into one Jewish and one Arab state in November 1947 Arab gangs began attacking Jewish communities all over Palestine. The Arab World made clear its intention of destroying the Jewish state, the moment it was declared. As Britain prepared to pull out its last troops, Jewish and Arab underground militia fought to position themselves most favorably in anticipation of the imminent Arab invasion.
The prospect of war made tens of thousands of Palestinian Arabs, including most of the Arab elite, leave Palestine. The intensification of the fighting, as the expiration of the mandate approached, along with circulation of rumors of both actual and fictitious Jewish attacks on Arab villages, further accelerated the flow of refugees. Before the war itself had really begun, around 175.000 Arabs had already left Palestine.
Israel's borders after the
armistice agreements of
1948 - Israel's Independence War
On May 14, 1948 Israel's first prime minister, David Ben-Gurion, proclamed the establishment of the new Jewish republic. The next day the joint armies of Egypt, Jordan, Syria, Lebanon and Iraq invaded the Jewish state. Measured by firepower and military equipment at the outset of war the Arabs were by far superior to the Israelis. But lack of co-ordination and internal strife between the Arab governments, along with the higher morale and better organization of the Israeli troops, caused the war to turn in Israel's favor.
When the final cease-fire came into force in the spring of 1949, the Israelis con-trolled about 40% more land than proposed by the UN partition plan. Egypt and Jordan occupied the Gaza Strip and the West Bank, respectively. The projected Arab, Palestinian state never materialized, but was also never requested, neither by the Palestinian Arabs, nor by the rest of the Arab World. Even though Israel's Arab neighbors all signed armistice agreements with Israel, they didn't recognize the Jewish state's right to exist.
Palestinian civilians flee from their
homes during the fighting in 1948.
1948-53 - Arab and Jewish Refugees
During the fighting many Palestinian Arabs fled or were driven from the areas, which came under Israeli control. Around 300.000 fled to the neighboring Arab countries, while approximately 420.000 ended up in refugee camps in the Arab occupied parts of Palestine. The vast majority fled out of fear of the advancing Israeli forces. But in certain places Arabs were forced from their homes by Israeli troops. The Egyptian and Jordanian controlled areas - including the Old City of Jerusalem - were ethnically cleansed of Jews.
The moment the Jewish State had been proclamed in May 1948, the door was opened for the hundreds of thousands of
Jewish refugees, who had
Tent camp for Jewish refugees near
Tel Aviv, 1948.
survived the European Holocaust. In reaction to the founding of Israel, Jews in Arab countries were subjected to a previously unknown level of violence and persecution. Israel launched a series of spectacular operations, evacuating hundreds of thousands of Jews from Yemen and Iraq. Most of Syria's and Lebanon's Jews also fled to Israel, and later Jews arrived from Egypt, Tunesia, Algeria, Libya, Morocco, Iran og Turkey. A total of around 650.000 Jews fled from various Muslim countries to Israel.
In stark contrast to Israel's reception of over a million Jewish refugees, the Arab countries - with their far greater capacity for absorption - made no effort whatsoever of integrating the roughly 720.000 Palestinian Arab refugees. To the contrary, they were left in refugee camps, serving as a political tool in the ongoing fight against Israel.
An Arab attack on a bus in the
Negev Desert leave 11 Israelis
killed, 1954.
1950-55 - Borderskirmishes
In the years following Israel's first war both Egypt and Jordan supported attacks by irregular forces across the borders from the Gaza Strip and the West Bank into Israel. The targets were usually Israeli civilians. In respons Israel conducted systematic retaliatory raids against the bases in Gaza and the West Bank, from where the attacks were launched.
1956 - The Sinai CrisisFrom early 1954 Egypt took over Jordan's role as the primary sponsor of terror against Israel, and during the summer of 1955 Egyptian trained guerillas intensified their attacks from Gaza. In the fall of the same year the Egyptian naval blockade that denied Israeli shipping access to both the Suez Canal and the Red Sea was expanded to include the passage of foreign ships to the Israeli Red Sea port of Eilat. The Egyptian president Nasser entered into 
Israel's occupation of Gaza and the
Sinai peninsula, 1956-57.
a defense alliance with Syria, and the Soviet Union supplied both countries with large amounts of modern weaponry, far exceeding Israel's military capabilities. In an official declaration Nasser now claimed to posess sufficient military power to destroy Israel.
Under pressure, both militarily and financially, Israel wished to extract itself from the Egyptian stranglehold. And when Nasser in 1956 threatened British and French interests by nationalizing the Suez Canal, the two great powers supported Israel's invasion of Gaza and the Sinai Desert, hereby putting an end to both the terror attacks and the blockade of Eilat. British and French forces bombed Egyptian airfields and occupied the area around the Suez Canal. The international community, headed by the United States pressured England, France and Israel to withdraw its forces. A UN force was established in order to monitor the demilitarization of the Sinai and Gaza, and the US guaranteed Israel's future access to the Red Sea. The last Israeli troops were pulled out in March 1957.

3. The New State (1964 - 1974)
1964 - The Establishment of the PLOThe Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) was established in 1964 as an umbrella organization for the various Palestinian armed groups, with the explicit aim of achieving, through armed struggle, the "liberation of Palestine" from "The Zionist Entity." The West Bank and Gaza, occupied by Jordan and Egypt respectively, were at this time not targets of the PLO's struggle for liberation. In the 1960's, with Egypt's loss of Gaza as a base for guerilla operations into Israel, Jordan (the West Bank) and the Syrian Golan Heights became the preferred launching grounds for attacks on Israel. Israel reacted with attacks of retribution across the borders into Jordan and Syria.
Egyptian aircraft destroyed on the
runway, June 5, 1967.

1967 - The Six Day War
In 1966 the Syrian attacks on northern Israel from the Golan Heights intensified, and in the spring of 1967 the armed clashes between the two countries escalated further. Fabricated Soviet reports of alleged concentrations of Israeli troops near the Syrian border made the Arab leaders step up their threats against Israel, and on May 15, 1967 the Egyptian president Nasser ordered his troops across the Suez Canal, into the Sinai Desert. In the following days Nasser expelled the UN peace-keeping force and reimposed the blockade of Eilat.
Israel's Defence Minister,
Moshe Dayan (center), and
Chef of Staff, Yitzchak Rabin
(right), arrive in Jerusalem
after the fall of the city i 1967.
Israel sought support for the lifting of the blockade with its Western allies, but was rejected. The Israeli Prime Minister Levi Eshkol stated in a speech that Israel did not seek a military confrontation with its Arab neighbors. With Israel completely isolated, Jordan and Iraq joined the Egyptian-Syrian defense pact, while several other Arab countries promised support for the coming war against Israel. Nasser declares that the Arab's objective is the complete annihilation of Israel.
Surrounded by the Arab forces, which measured by troops and equipment outnumbered the Israeli armed forces more than two to one, and with the prospect of being
attacked from all sides, the Israelis chose to strike first. On June 5, 1967 Israeli warplanes bombed Egyptian airfields and in a matter of a few hours eradicated almost the entire Egyptian air force. Israel appealed to Jordan to stay out of the fighting, and promised that if it did, Israel too would refrain from attacking Jordan.
Israel and the occupied territories
after the Six Day War in June 1967.
But when the Egyptians reported of their allegedly successful attack on Israel, Jordan that same morning initiated a massive shelling of West Jerusalem and other Israeli population centres. Syria bombarded northern Israel from the Golan Heights, and Jordanian, Syrian and Iraqi planes attacked other Israeli targets.
Israeli jets were dispatched against Jordan and Syria, and quickly destroyed both countries' entire air forces. Left completely without air support, already on the first day, the Arab armies were doomed, and within only six days Israel conquered the Gaza Strip, the Sinai desert, the Golan Heights and the West Bank including the Old City of Jerusalem.
1967 - UN-Resolution 242 and the "Three Noes"In the wake of Israel's overwhelming victory in June 1967, the United Nations Security Council on November 22 the same year adopted resolution 242, setting the guidelines for future peace negotiations. The resolution called for a peaceful solution, negotiated between the parties, and based on the following principle: Israeli withdrawal from an unspecified part (to be negotiated) of the territory occupied in June 1967, in exchange for which Israel's neighbors must recognize the Jewish state, guarantee its security and respect its borders.
Israel accepted resolution 242, having from the outset shown willingness to negotiate a withdrawal from most of the territories in exchange for peace. The entire Arab World rejected the resolution. At a summit of the Arab League in Khartoum, already in September 1967, a resolution was adopted containing the following "three noes": no to peace with Israel, no to recognition of Israel, no to negotiations with Israel. Subsequently, a number of Arab states have accepted resolution 242, however in a somewhat liberal interpretation, according to which, Israel must unconditionally surrender all the territories conquered in 1967.
Gamal Abdel Nasser.
1969 - The War of Attrition
The Six Day War had only just ended, when Egyptian forces started shelling Israeli positions along the Suez Canal. Israel's answer was to conduct air and commando raids accross the canal against Egyptian targets. The Soviet Union sent large amounts of advanced weaponry accompanied by Soviet military advisors to Egypt, and in the summer of 1969 Nasser declared a "war of attrition", aiming to inflict on Israel the highest possible amount of losses, and thereby breaking the will of the Israelis to maintain the occupation of the Sinai Desert. But the strategy failed, the crisis escalated, climaxing in the summer of 1970, when Israeli fighter jets downed four MiGs flown by Soviet pilotes. The US pushed for a cease-fire, which then came into effect on August 7, 1970. The War of Attrition ended up claiming several thousand lives on either side of the Suez Canal.
1970-72 - PLO and International Terrorism
After the Six Day War various Palestinian armed groups under the umbrella organization, PLO, continued their attacks on Israel. However, the Israelis managed fairly quickly to crush the PLO's infrastructure in the occupied territories, after which the organization, under its new 
PFLP blows up a hijacked passenger
plane, Jordan, September 1970.
leader, Yasser Arafat, estab-lished itself in neighboring Jordan. The PLO became an influential power in Jordan, even threatening King Hussein's regime itself, and fighting broke out between the PLO and the Jordanian army. When PFLP, a subgroup of the PLO, hijacked four Western airliners and brought them to Jordan, Hussein had enough, and ordered his army to attack the refugee camps that served as bases for the PLO. 2000 guerrillas and many more innocent civillians were killed.
The surviving guerrillas escaped to Syria, where they received training and equipment from the Syrian army. Subsequently, the PLO established itself in neighboring Lebanon, from where they were able to launch attacks against residential areas in northern Israel. Following an attack by PLO on an Israeli school bus, in which 12 people, children and their teachers, were killed, Israel in May 1970 launched a large military operation in southern Lebanon, creating a 3 kilometer (2 mile) wide buffer zone, which temporarily reduced the Palestinian attacks.
A masked Palestinian terrorist
during the hostage crisis in
Munich, September 1972.

Meanwhile, the PLO developed a new way of placing its cause on the international agenda. In 1968-72 Palestinian terrorists directed a string of attacks against international targets. Hijackings
of passenger planes became a specialty, but also other targets related to Israel or Jews were attacked. One of the most spec-tacular attacks was the hostage crisis at the 1972 Olympics in Munich, which ended with the massacre of 11 Israeli athletes.
Golda Meir.
1973 - The Yom Kippur WarThe cease-fire agreement of August 7, 1970, which ended the War of Attrition, was broken that very same day, when the Egyptians moved advanced Soviet weapons systems all the way up to the Suez Canal. The preparations for the next all-out war against Israel had begun, and were, after Nasser's death the same year, taken over by his successor, Anwar sadat. Syria, like Egypt, received enormous quantities of weaponry from the Soviet Union, and in January 1973 the armies of the two countries were placed under joint command. The Israeli prime minister, Golda Meir, and her advisors chose 
An Israeli pontoon bridge crossing the
Suez Canal, Oktober 1973.

to ignore warnings from the Israeli intelligence community that something was in the offing. The country was therefore completely unprepared, when Egyptian and Syrian forces on October 6, 1973, on the Jewish holiday of "Yom Kippur", initiated a coordinated surprise attack in the Sinai and the Golan.

During the first days of the war, the Arabs made significant progress. But as the Israeli forces were mobilized, the fortunes of war turned. Having halted the Arab advance, Israel succeeded in breaking through enemy lines on both fronts. When the fighting ended on October 25, Israeli artillery was within firing range of both 
A lightly wounded General Ariel Sharon
meet with Defense Minister Moshe
Dayan, the Yom Kippur War, 1973.
Kairo and Damascus. Militarily, Israel emerged victorious from the war. But the Arabs had proved that they still posed a real threat to Israel, and therefor regarded themselves as victors. Almost 2700 Israelis were killed in the Yom Kippur War, and after public protests the Golda Meir government in April 1974 was forces to resign. 

4. Peace With The Arabs? (1977 - 1993)
Sadat, Begin og Carter at the signing
ceremony of the peace treaty between
Israel and Egypt, 1979.

1979 - Peace with EgyptAfter four years of unsuccessful peace negotiations in the wake of the Yom Kippur War the Egyptian president, Anwar Sadat, took an unpresidented step and accepted the Israeli prime minister, Menahem Begin's, invitation and travelled to Jerusalem in order to discuss the prospects of peace between the two countries. It was a captivated Israeli public, who watched Sadat's televised address to the Israeli parliament, the Knesset.
The ensuing negotiations were hosted by the American presi-dent, Jimmy Carter, at his summer residence, Camp David. In 1979 the parties signed a peace treaty, which included a total Israeli withdrawal from the Sinai Desert, in return for Egyptian recognition of Israel's right to exist along with respect for the agreed borders. Regaining control 
Jewish settlers are evacuated
from a rooftop during the dis-
mantlement of the town of
Yamit i Sinai, 1982.
of the Gaza Strip, also conquered by Israel during the Six Day War twelve years earlier, was not in Egypt's interest.

The withdrawal from Sinai was completed in stages during the following three years, and included the dismantlement in 1982 of one larger and several smaller Jewish settlements established since 1967. The peace treaty with Israel was met with great resistance in the Arab World, and in 1979 Egypt was excluded from the Arab League. In 1981 Sadat was murdered by a 
member of an Egyptian fundamentalist Muslim organization.
1982 - The Lebanon WarIn 1982 there was quiet on most of Israel's borders. Only from Lebanon the PLO frequently mounted attacks against northern Israel. Israel's defense minister, Ariel Sharon, worked out a plan in cooperation with Bashir Gemayel, the leader of a Christian militia in Lebanon, to put an end to PLO's power base in the country. Israel undertook the task of neutralizing PLO's forces all the way to Beirut, after which Gemayel's "Phalangist" militia was to deal with the PLO guerrillas that had entrenched themselves in the capital. When Gemayel had taken over power in Lebanon, a peace deal was to be worked out between the two countries.
Lebanon and northern Israel. 
The Israeli forces invaded Lebanon on June 6, 1982, and defeated both the PLO guerrillas and the Syrian army, which had occupied eastern Lebanon, and on June 13 reached southern Beirut. But Gemayel refused to send his militia into the streets of West Beirut. Instead the Israelis besieged West Beirut and initiated a massive bombardment of PLO's positions in the city. After two months the guerrillas gave up, and were by agreement evacuated from Lebanon to other Arab countries. PLO's leader, Yasser Arafat, went into exile in Tunesia.
Gemayel was elected president in Lebanon, but Israel's subsequent attempt to reach a peace agreement with him failed. In September Gemayel was killed in a bomb attack. Two days later his Christian Phalangists massacred at least 700 Palestinians in the refugees camps of Sabra and Shatila outside Beirut. The Israeli army, which controlled the area, did not intervene. After public protests in Israel, an Israeli commission of inquiry found that Sharon indirectly shared responsibility for the massacre, and he was forced to leave the post of defense minister. In January 1985 Israel pulled its forces out of Lebanon, with the exeption of a 10 km (6 mile) wide security buffer north of the Israeli border.
1987 - The First "Intifada"In December 1987 spontaneous riots broke out in Gaza and the West Bank, with Palestinian youth attacking Israeli soldiers and civilians with stones and Molotov cocktails. The disturban-ces quickly developed into a regular uprising with a general strike, boycott of Israeli products and burning barricades in the
Palestinian youth throw stones against
Israeli soldiers, 1987.
streets. PLO's attempt to direct the uprising from its headquarters in Tunesia succeeded only to a limited extend, while local groups, including the Islamic organization Hamas, had more influence on the events. The Israeli police and military tried to sup-press the demonstrations, and there were many victims. When the "intifada" died out in 1991, 160 Israelis had been killed. Of the 2100 Palestinians that lost their lives, almost half had been executed by fellow Palestinians due to internal strife or suspicion of cooperation with Israel.

1991 - The Gulf WarWhen Iraq invaded Kuwait in the summer of 1990, Yasser Arafat and the Palestinians chose 
Tel Aviv under attack. Iraq
launched 39 Scud missiles
against Israel during the
Gulf War.
to side with Saddam Hussein. Many Palestinians cheered as Iraqi Scud missiles rained down on Israel, while its entire population was crammed into sealed bomb shelters for fear of chemical and biological weapons. The missiles caused only limited damage, however, and Israel avoided being dragged further into the conflict. Due to the Palestinian support for Saddam Hussein, the 200.000 Palestinians that had used to work in Kuwait, were expelled. Saudi Arabia and other Gulf states in opposition to Saddam Hussein completely halted their financial support for the PLO.
1991 - The Madrid ConferenceOn American initiative a peace conference was arranged with the participation of Israel, Syria, Lebanon and a Jordanian-Palestinian delegation. The parties met in Madrid on November 1st, 1991, and both Israelis and Palestinians expressed willingness to negotiate a compromise on a transitional arrangement with Palestinian self-government. The negotiations continued in Washington, but even though the parties met frequently throughout the following year, the differences only grew. The Palestinian organization, Hamas, in December of 1992 committed a string of terror attacks against Israel, the latter responding by deporting 400 Hamas members to Lebanon. The Palestinian delegation withdrew from the meetings in Washington, and though they were resumed in the spring of 1993, the negotiations lead nowhere.

4. Peace With The Arabs? (1993 - 1996)
1993 - The Oslo Process
Behind the scenes the Israeli leadership was informed, via a Norwegian mediator, that the PLO, which since the Gulf War had been internationally marginalized, and whose influence also was declining in the Palestinian territories, had expressed willingness to negotiate with Israel. Secret meetings between Israeli representatives and PLO members began in Oslo in January 1993. Significant progress was made, and in August that year a "declaration of principles" began to take shape.
The document described the principles for a 5-year transitional period with Palestinian self-government, starting with Gaza and Jericho, aiming to eventually include all major Palestinian population centres on the West Bank. After the transitional period the parties were to negotiate a final status agreement. The questions of final borders, the future status of Jerusalem and the Palestinian refugee problem were deferred to a later phase.
Israeli prime minister Yitzhak Rabin
shakes PLO leader Yasser Arafat's
hand at the White House, 1993.

In order to achieve the PLO's approval of the document, the Israeli prime minister, Yitzhak Rabin, offered to recognize the PLO, under Yasser Arafat's leadership, as the rightful representative of the Palestinian people.

Arafat accepted the gesture and reciprocated by recognizing Israel's right to exist in peace and security, and declared that the PLO would give up the use of terrorism and violence. On september 13, 1993 Arafat and Rabin, at a ceremony hosted by the American president, Bill Clinton, shook hands on the "Declaration of Principles on Interim Self-Government", also known as the Oslo Agreement, outlining the guidelines for the coming peace process.
1994 - Establishment of the Palestinian Authority
The implementation of the agreement on Palestinian self-government went anything but smoothly. While Israel and the PLO were negotiating the details of the arrangement, Palestinians from Hamas, Islamic Jihad and Yasser Arafat's own Fatah organization were trying to derail the process. During the autumn of 1993 fifteen terror attacks cost the lives of 19 Israelis.
In February 1994 a member of the radical, Jewish organization, Kach, gunned down 29 Arabs at the "Tomb of the Patriarchs" in Hebron. Over a hundred were wounded, before the assailant himself was overpowered and killed. 
Most of Gaza and an area
around the town of Jericho are
transferred to Palestinian
control, May 1994.
The Israeli government condemned the massacre, offered financial compensation to the families of the victims, and declared the Kach movement a terrorist organization. Israel and the PLO subsequently agreed on the stationing of interna-tional observers in Hebron, the only town in the West Bank that houses both Jews and Arabs.
In the months of March and April Hamas directed a series of terror attacks against Israeli busses and similar targets, claiming a total of 17 Israeli lives. Despite the setbacks the negotiations between Israel and the PLO continued, and on May 4, 1994 the parties signed an agreement detailing the conditions for the establishment of a "Palestinian Authority", and the implementation of the first phase of the peace proccess, called "Gaza and Jericho First". Israel pulled its troops out of the agreed areas, which were transferred to Palestinian control. Shortly after Arafat arrived at Gaza Airport as chairman of the Palestinian Authority.
1994 - Peace with JordanSince Jordan had already relinquished all claims to the West Bank, it was in reality only pressure from other Arab states that had prevented it from making a separate peace with 
King Hussein, Clinton and Rabin at
the presentation of the peace treaty
between Israel and Jordan, 1994.
Israel. So when the general atmosphere in the region allowed, the two countries seized the opportunity to negotiate a peace treaty, which only involved marginal territorial adjustments. The deal was concluded on July 25, 1994, and signed at an official ceremony on October 26, 1994. Jordan thus became the second Arab country to make peace with Israel.

1995 - The Oslo II Agreement
During the summer of 1994 the Palestinian terror intensified, and the follwing year almost 100 Israelis (mainly civilians)
were killed in suicide bombings and other attacks. The 
Area A: territory under Pale-
stinian control, Area B: terri-
tory under joint Palestinian-
Israeli control.
Islamic organizations, Hamas and Islamic Jihad were responsible for the majority of the attacks.
Despite the Palestinian Authority's poor performance on preventing terror, Israel and the PLO on September 28, 1995 signed the so-called "Oslo II Agreement", outlining further Israeli withdrawals from the West Bank. In return the agreement, like its predecessor, contained a series of demands to be met by the Palestinian Authority. It soon became clear, however, that the Palestinian Authority was still not honoring its side of the agreement. Nevertheless Israel did - with some delay - carry out the projected withdrawals.
The moment when Rabin is shot,
Novem-ber 4, 1995 (from Israeli TV).
1995 - The Murder of Rabin
In yet another assault on the peace process the Israeli prime minister, Yitzhak Rabin, was murdered by a right-wing radical, Orthodox Jew during a peace rally in Tel Aviv. The assassin was caught and later sentenced to life inprisonment. Deputy prime minister Shimon Peres took over the post as prime minister. The peace pro-cess continued, and in the following three months Israeli forces were withdrawn from most of the larger Palestinian cities.
At the May 1996 Israeli general election Shimon Peres and the Labor Party sought a renewed mandate to continue the peace process with Yasser Arafat and the Palestinian Authority. But a fresh wave of suicide attacks committed by Hamas, in which 57 Israelis were killed in a single week in March-April 1996, sent tremors through the Israeli public, and Benjamin Netanyahu from the right-wing Likud Party, who were opposed to the negotiations with the PLO, won the election.

4. Peace With The Arabs? (1997 - 2000)
1997-1999 - Hebron, Wye River and Sharm el-Sheikh
In August 1996 the peace negotiations were resumed, if at a somewhat slower pace. On January 15, 1997 Netanyahu and Arafat signed the "Hebron Agreement" about Israeli withdrawal from most of Hebron, the last major Palestinian city under Israeli control.
Arafat and Netanya-
hu, Wye River, 1998.
During 1997 Palestinian suicide bombing attacks, mainly committed by Hamas, claimed the lives of 44 Israeli civilians, while wounding some 400. But after a period of relative calm, Netanyahu and Arafat in October 1998 met under the auspices of US president Bill Clinton in order to negotiate the implementation of the Oslo II Agreement from 1995. They signed the so-called "Wye River Memorandum", which once again stressed the Palestinian obligations regarding security and prevention of terror. That autumn Hamas and Islamic Jihad conducted a string of terror attacks that claimed few deaths, while wounding nearly a hundred. Still Israel initiated the first of three land handovers described in the Wye agreement, after which the process again ground to a halt.
Areas transferred to Palesti-
nian control
 according to the
Wye River agreement.
In May 1999 Ehud Barak and the Labor Party came to power in Israel, and in September the same year Barak and Arafat signed yet another agreement, the "Sharm el-Sheikh Memorandum", the main theme once again being the Palestinians' noncompliance with their security obligations, and the consequent Israeli delays of planned troop withdrawals.
In the spring of 2000 Israel carried out some additional withdrawals, leaving 18% of the total area of the West Bank under the control of the Palestinian Authority (Area A), while 21% was under joint control (Area B). Even though the agreements were still not fully implemented, more than 95% of the Palestinians in Gaza and the West Bank now lived under the administration of the Palestinian Authority.
Israeli soldiers rejoicing, as they
cross the border from Lebanon,
March 2000.
2000 - Israel Leaves Lebanon
Ehud Barak's election promise of 1999 to bring back all the troops from the Israeli security zone in southern Lebanon was fulfilled on March 24, 2000, when the last tank under cover of darkness rolled across the internationally recognized border into Israel. The United Nations subsequently declared the withdrawal complete.
2000 - The Oslo Process in Difficulty
The Israeli withdrawals according to the Oslo agreements were never fully implemented. The reason was not only the Palestinians' lack of will or ability to prevent terror against Israeli civilians. On a number of additional points Arafat and the Palestinian Authority failed to honor their obligations.
Generally, the Oslo agreements called for the establishment of a democratic Palestinian society, and there were specific provisions demanding the introduction of a Palestinian legal system, operating independently of the political leadership. In reality, Arafat had created yet another Arab dictatorship, in which ordinary Palestinians had no basic democratic rights. The police force of the Authority, which, according to the agreements, were to be limited to 24.000, numbered at the end of the decade at around twice that number. Moreover, the many different military factions, rather than being under the control of the Interior Ministry, to a large extend answered directly to Yasser Arafat.
The Jew, portrayed in classi-
cal anti-Semitic style, holds
the key to the US coffers,
alestinian newspaper, March
The Oslo II Agreement from 1995 also included a clause, which obligated the parties to contribute, through educational institutions and media, to the peace between the two peoples, and to fight the spread of propaganda against the other party. While Israel complied fully with this requirement, the Palestinian Authority continued, through its educational and religious institutions as well as the media, which were under Arafat's control, to promote an endless stream of anti-Israeli propaganda.
The demanded removal of the passages in the PLO charter, which denied Israel's right to exist and called for the destruction of Israel, was also never carried out.
On the other hand, the Palestinians claimed that the ongoing expansions of the Jewish settlements on the West Bank, not only sent a less than constructive message vis-a-vis the peace process, but were also inconsistent with the signed agreements. The latter claim was made with reference to a stipulation, which prohibited the parties from taking actions that could change the status of the territories before reaching a final peace deal. Conversely, Israel pointed out that there nowhere in the agreements were any limitations regarding the settlements, the issue of which were explicitly deferred to the upcoming final status negotiations.
2000 - Camp David, Breakdown of the Peace ProcessIn the Sharm el-Sheikh Memorandum of 1999, the date of September 13, 2000 was set as the deadline for a final peace agreement, and as this date drew nearer, the pressure on the political leaders to find a solution intensified. Arafat even threatened to unilaterally declare a Palestinian state, if no results emerged at the negotiating table.
Barak, Clinton and Arafat at Camp
David, July 2000.

In the months of March-May 2000 four suicide bombings claimed the lives of 8 Israelis and wounded more than 170. Still, the hope for a peaceful solution with the Palestinians was at its highest, when Ehud Barak and Yasser Arafat in July headed off to Bill Clinton's summer residence, Camp David, in order to participate in negotiations about a final peace deal.
After a few weeks of intense negotiations behind closed doors Clinton achieved Barak's acceptance of a proposal, according to which, a Palestinian state would encompass all of Gaza plus some 95% of the West Bank, with East Jerusalem as its capital and Palestinian control over parts of the Old City, including the Temple Mount (where Muslim religious buildings are situated atop the ruins of the ancient Jewish temple). In addition it was suggested that the Palestinians, as compensation for the inclusion of the largest 
Bill Clinton's vision for a Pale-
stinian state in Gaza and most
of the West Bank (additional
land swaps not shown).

blocks into Israel, would receive a similar amount of land from Israel proper. In return Arafat was asked to declare an end to the conflict with Israel, and accept that no further demands would be made of Israel in the future.
But Arafat rejected the proposed solution, and then chose to leave the negotiations without making any counterproposal.
The deadline of September 13 passed, and the disappointment was great on both sides of the conflict. The atmosphere among the Palestinians was particularly tense, and on September 28, 2000 a visit by the Israeli oppositon leader, Ariel Sharon, to the Temple Mount in Jerusalem became the catalyst for Palestinian riots that soon developed into a regular, violent uprising under the name of "the Al-Aqsa Intifada" or "the Second Intifada".
In the fall of 2000 and January 2001, as the violence was raging, another few attempts were made at getting the negotiations back on track, with meetings in Washington and the Egyptian holiday resort of Taba. But the efforts proved unsuccessful, and the Oslo process had in reality broken irreversibly down.
Chapter 5, which is under development, will cover the period from September 2000 until today and include, among other subjects, the following: The Second Intifada, Operation "Defensive Shield", Israel's Security Barrier, "The Roadmap for Peace", Withdrawal from Gaza, Hamas' Rise to Power, The Second Lebanon War, Hamas' Takeover of Gaza and The Gaza War.

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