Chronology of the Israeli-Palestinian Conflict
Palestine is a part of southern Greater Syria under Ottoman rule.
The first wave of Zionist mass immigration to Palestine begins. Baron Edmond de Rothschild of Paris provides financial support for Jewish colonization in Palestine.
Theodor Herzl, an Austrian Zionist leader, publishes “Der Judenstaat,” advocating the creation of a Jewish state. As to its location, Herzl wrote, “We shall take what is given us, and what is selected by public opinion."
The first Zionist Congress meets in Basel, Switzerland and establishes the World Zionist Organization (WZO).
August 1: World War I breaks out. The Ottoman Empire joins the war on Germany’s side.
Correspondence between Sherif Hussein of Mecca and Sir Henry McMahon, British High Commissioner in Egypt, concludes with the Arab understanding that postwar independence and the unity of Arab provinces of the Ottoman Empire, including Palestine, are ensured.
The British and French governments sign the secret Sykes-Picot Agreement, which divides Arab provinces under the Ottoman Empire into British and French governed areas.
The Balfour Declaration, a letter sent by British Foreign Secretary Arthur James Balfour to Baron de Rothschild, pledges British support for the establishment of a Jewish state in Palestine.
The San Remo Conference gives France control of the former Turkish territories of Syria and Lebanon and awards administration of Palestine, Transjordan and Mesopotamia (Iraq) to Great Britain.
The British government issues a white paper on Palestine to reaffirm the Balfour Declaration, but it limits Jewish immigration and excludes Transjordan from the scope of the declaration. The U.S. Congress endorses the Balfour Declaration.
The League of Nations approves the British Mandate of Palestine without the consent of Palestinians. The WZO succeeds in having the terms “historical connection” and “reconstitution” of the “national home” included in the final text of the mandate.
The first British census of Palestine reports a population of 757,182 (11% Jewish).
A second British census of Palestine reports a total population of 1,035,154 (16.9% Jewish).
The Peel Commission Report is published, recommending the partition of Palestine into Jewish and Arab states.
The “MacDonald” white paper proposes a limitation on Jewish immigration and land purchases, disclaims any intention of creating a Zionist state and limits power-sharing and independent Palestinian rule. There is strong opposition from both Jews and Palestinians.
September 3: World War II breaks out.
WZO President Dr. Chaim Weizmann urges the creation of a Jewish state in Palestine after the war.
The Zionist Biltmore Conference is held in New York. Delegates formulate a new policy, called the “Biltmore Program,” to create a “Jewish Commonwealth” in Palestine and to organize a Jewish army.
The Covenant of the League of Arab States, formed for the purpose of securing Arab unity and emphasizing the Arab character of Palestine, is signed in Cairo by Egypt, Iraq, Lebanon, Saudi Arabia, Syria, Transjordan and Yemen.
The United Nations (UN) is established.
U.S. President Truman asks British Prime Minister (PM) Clement Attlee to grant immigration certificates to allow 100,000 Jews into Palestine, but Attlee rejects the request.
The British government issues Defense (Emergency) Regulations, authorizing military rule in Palestine.
Great Britain submits the Palestinian problem to the UN, which appoints a Special Committee on Palestine (UNSCOP). The committee submits its report, recommending an agreement to terminate the mandate, but it provides no solution to the Palestine Question. A majority favors partitioning the land into two states with special international status for Jerusalem, but the minority proposes a federal state comprising of an Arab state and a Jewish state, with Jerusalem as the capital of the federation. The U.S. and Soviet Union endorse the partition plan, but the Arab League rejects it.
UN Partition Res. 181 is approved. It provides for the establishment of a Jewish and Arab state and recommends that Jaffa be a part of the proposed Palestinian state and that Jerusalem and Bethlehem be a corpus separatum under a special international regime administered by the Trusteeship Council on behalf of the UN.
April: On the 9th, Irgun and Stern Gangs, led by Menahem Begin and Yitzhag Shamir, massacre 245 Palestinians in the village of Deir Yassin, a western suburb of Jerusalem. Two days later, the Haganah destroy the village of Kalonia, and after driving out the Palestinians, they occupy all Palestinian quarters of west Jerusalem on April 30.
David Ben-Gurion, leader of the struggle to establish a Jewish State, orders the Jerusalem Haganah to conquer Arab districts around the city and resettle them with Jews.
The State of Israel is proclaimed on May 14, ending British Mandate.
The All-Palestine Government is formed at the Palestinian National Conference in Gaza.
The UN General Assembly Res. 194 supports the right of Palestinian refugees to return. During the Jewish invasion of Palestine, 737,166 Palestinians were forcibly evicted from their homes and land. Under this resolution the refugees and their descendants have a right to compensation and repatriation to their original homes and land, because they have suffered “loss of or damage to property, which, under principles of international law or in equity should be made good by the government or authorities responsible”
The Fourth Geneva Convention on Rules of War is adopted. This international treaty regulates the treatment of civilians during wartime, including hostages, diplomats, spies, bystanders and civilians in territory under military occupation. The convention outlaws torture, collective punishment and the resettlement by an occupying power of its own civilians on territory under its military control.
The West Bank is unified under the Kingdom of Jordan.
The Knesset (the parliament of Israel) passes the “Law of Return,” entitling any Jew to full Israeli citizenship.
The Law of Nationality affirms the Law of Return and legislates that resident non-Jews can acquire citizenship only on the basis of residence and if they can prove they are Palestinian. Because proving residence was almost impossible, Palestinian Arabs remaining under Israeli occupation literally became foreigners in their own country. Most Arab residents had no proof of citizenship because many surrendered their identity cards to the Israeli army during or after the war.
June 2: The Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) is founded at the first Palestinian Conference in Jerusalem. King Hussein of Jordan, Secretary-General of the Arab League Abdel-Khaliq Hassouna and high level Arab representatives from Tunisia, Algeria, Sudan, the Syrian Arab Republic, Iraq, the United Arab Republic (Egypt), Kuwait, Lebanon, Morocco and the Republic of Yemen were among the participants present. The participants in the conference represented Palestinian communities from all over the Middle East. The leading bodies of the PLO are the Palestine National Council (PNC), the Central Council and the Executive Committee. Political pluralism and democratic internal dialogue and decision-making are defining features of the organization. The PLO is an umbrella organization comprised of numerous organizations of the resistance movement, political parties and popular organizations, including Fateh, Hamas, Islamic Jihad and PFLP (Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine).
The June 5th War breaks out, and Israel begins its military occupation of the West Bank, including east Jerusalem, and the Gaza Strip of Palestine, Sinai of Egypt and the Golan Heights of Syria. During the course of the war, approximately 300,000 Palestinians are displaced from the West Bank and Gaza, many becoming refugees for a second time.
UN Res. 242 is adopted as a guideline for “just and lasting peace in the Middle East.” Stipulations include the inadmissibility of territorial acquisition by war; withdrawal of Israeli forces from areas occupied in the 1967 War; termination of all states of belligerency; acknowledgement of every State in the area within secure and recognized boundaries; navigational freedom through international waterways in the area; a just settlement of the refugee problem; and a guarantee of political independence to every State in the area.
WAFA, a Palestinian News Agency, reports that on the initiative of Knesset member Shalom Cohen, roughly 100 Palestinian notables and Israeli settlers met in Tel Aviv to discuss the establishment of a Palestinian state within the June 5, 1967 frontiers, under
UN supervision. But in a BBC interview, Israeli PM Golda Meir said that Israel has nothing to discuss with the Palestinians.
The U.S. and U.S.S.R. co-sponsor the Geneva Conference for Middle East peace with leaders from Syria, Egypt, Jordan and Israel in attendance.
In Res. 3210 the UN General Assembly recognizes the PLO as the representative of the Palestinian people.
UN Res. 3379 defines Zionism as a form of racism and racial discrimination.
The U.S. State Department releases its Human Rights Report, charging Israelis with the following crimes against the Palestinians: a) illegal expulsions from their homes and properties; b) detention without charge; c) destruction of properties; d) no judicial remedy for detainees.
A joint statement made by the U.S. and U.S.S.R. specifies the necessary steps needed to ensure peace in the Middle East and recognizes the legitimate rights of the Palestinians.
U.S. President Carter makes a statement, recognizing the Palestinian right to a homeland.
U.S. Pres. Carter, Israeli PM Menachem Begin and Egyptian Pres. Anwar al-Sadat sign the Camp David Accords which propose a settlement to the Middle East conflict. It bypasses the Palestinian people and their sole representative, the PLO.
UN Security Council Res. 449 resolves that Israel’s settlements in the territories occupied since 1967, including Jerusalem, are illegal and represent a serious obstacle to achieving peace in the region.
June 30: The Knesset adopts the Basic Law on Jerusalem in which it “officially” annexes the pre-1967 eastern (Palestinian) part of Jerusalem and illegally declares Jerusalem the eternal, undivided capital of Israel.
Jordan’s King Hussein visits Washington and reports that the PLO has agreed to accept all UN resolutions acknowledging Israel’s right to exist.
An article in “The Sunday Times” of London publishes a report quoting former Israeli nuclear arms technician Mordechai Vanunu as saying that Israel has been building and stockpiling atomic weapons at the Dimona nuclear facility for 20 years.
Israeli Foreign Minister Shimon Peres calls for the dismantling of existing settlements and the demilitarization of the Gaza Strip.
December 9: The Intifada, or “shaking off,” begins. After decades of occupation and human rights violations against them, the Palestinians rebelled and began a collective uprising against Israelis in the West Bank and Gaza Strip. Demonstrations, rock-throwing, strikes, a boycott of Israeli goods and general unrest would last for six years. The Israelis respond with harsher measures: travel restrictions are imposed, limitations are placed on the money that could be brought into the Occupied Territories, schools and universities close, mass arrests take place and Israeli soldiers shoot anyone who is a suspect.
Israeli Defense Minister Yitzhak Rabin announces a new policy for dealing with the Intifada: “force, might, beatings.”
U.S. officials propose a new peace plan to include U.S.-mediated negotiations between Israel and Jordan to achieve limited Palestinian self-rule in the occupied territories by September and direct negotiations in December to reach a final agreement.
A U.S. veto defeats a UN resolution that demands Israel to abide by the terms of the Fourth Geneva Convention. Israel rejects applying the Fourth Geneva Convention to Israeli settlements in the West Bank and Gaza Strip, stating that those territories were captured in 1967 as a result of a defensive war against countries which had illegally occupied them since 1948.
PLO Executive Chairman Yasser Arafat signs the first presidential resolution, allowing the PLO to take full responsibility for the occupied territories.
On the 10th anniversary of the Camp David Accords, U.S. Secretary of State George Shultz calls on Israel to end its military rule over the occupied territories and to give the Palestinian people “rapid control over political and economic decisions that affect their lives.”
November 15: At the 19th Palestinian National Council, two landmark documents are adopted: “The Political Communiqué of the Palestine National Council,” which affirms the PLO’s determination to reach a political settlement of the Arab-Israeli conflict based on the principles of international law; and the Palestinian “Declaration of Independence.” The new State of Palestine is recognized by over 20 countries.
A meeting between Palestinians and Israelis occur at the Notre Dame Hotel between east and west Jerusalem. The Israelis present included Deputy Finance Minister Yossi Beilin, FM Peres's adviser Nimrod Novik, former head of the Civil Administration in the West Bank Ephraim Sneh, MK Avraham Burg, Dr.Yair Hirschfeld from Haifa University, Boaz Carmi and Arye Ofri. The Palestinians present were Faisal Husseini, Sari Nusseibeh, Ziad Abu Zayyad, Hanan Ashrawi, Ghassan Khatib, Sam'an Khouri, Mamduh Aker and Khalil Mahshi.
Yasser Arafat is elected as the first President of the State of Palestine by the Central Council of the PLO in Tunis.
The Knesset approves the Likud and the Alignment plan for “regional elections” in the occupied territories. This would allow for a self-governing authority to serve as a negotiating partner for interim and permanent settlement.
The U.S. Senate adopts a resolution that recognizes undivided Jerusalem as the capital of Israel. The Knesset, as well, adopts a resolution that says united Jerusalem is under Israeli sovereignty, and there will be no negotiations on its unity and status.
The Israeli government imposes a new restriction on Palestinians: it is forbidden for workers to drive their own cars into Israel. The government also pledges to accelerate deportations of activists and affirms its policy of home demolitions.
October 30: The Middle East Peace Conference in Madrid, Spain takes place with delegations from Israel, Egypt, Syria, Lebanon and the joint-Palestinian-Jordanian delegation. Participants agreed to establish two tracks for negotiations: bilateral talks for direct negotiations between Israel and Syria, Israel and Lebanon and Israel and joint Palestinian-Jordanian delegation; and multilateral talks for region-wide negotiations on issues such as water, environment, refugees, arms control and economic development. It was the first time Israel entered into direct, face-to-face negotiations with these countries.
The Knesset approves a $46.5 billion budget for the year, including funds to build 5,500 new homes in the occupied territories, build roads and provide other services to settlers.
Israeli PM Yitzhak Shamir states that Israel is “not obligated to every word” of the 1979 Camp David Accords.
Israel imposes a military closure on the occupied territories, erects checkpoints and denies Palestinians entrance into Israel, including access to Jerusalem. It also prevents free movement between the southern and northern part of the West Bank.
In response to a U.S. statement on Palestinian refugees’ rights, Israeli PM Shamir states, “There is only a Jewish ‘right of return’ to the land of ‘Israel.’”
The U.S. Congress approves a foreign aid package for Israel, including a $10 billion loan guarantees.
U.S. Secretary of State Warren Christopher meets with Palestinian officials and presents a 6-point plan to resume peace talks: (1)U.S. calls for the expulsion of illegal and pressing UN Res. 799; (2) UN Res. 242 and 338 are bases for talks, and Jerusalem can be discussed; (3) Israel must be bound to its commitment against expulsions; (4) There is a speedy return of current deportees; (5) There is a return of many post 1967 deportees; and (6) Israel must commit to stop human rights violations in the occupied territories. Palestinians welcome the plan, but the U.S. withdraws the plan to end the deportee issue after Israel refuses to accept points one and two.
In a letter to Israeli PM Yitzhak Rabin, Arafat recognizes “the right of the state of Israel to exist in peace and security,” and he renounces “the use of terrorism and other acts of violence.” Rabin also formally signs a letter that recognizes the PLO as “the representative of the Palestinian people.”
September 13: Israeli Foreign Minister Shimon Peres and PLO official Mahmoud Abbas (Abu Mazen) sign the “Declaration of Principles,” also known as the Oslo Accords, at a White House ceremony. It contains a set of mutually agreed-upon, general principles regarding a five year interim period of Palestinian self-rule. A handshake between Arafat and Peres symbolically concludes the pact.
Chairman Arafat and Israeli PM Rabin sign the Cairo Agreement, in which the two sides agree on self-rule for Palestinians in Gaza and Jericho.
September 28: Israel and the PLO sign the “Oslo II” Agreement, the second stage of a three-step process toward Palestinian independence as agreed upon in the Declaration of Principles. In the pact, Israeli forces were scheduled to be removed from six Arab cities and 400 villages in the West Bank by early 1996, after which elections would be held for an 82-member Palestinian council, which would possess legislative and executive power in the West Bank and Gaza.
January 20: The first Palestinian presidential and parliamentary elections take place. The president is elected by simple majority, and the 88 members of the Parliament, known as the Palestinian Legislative Council (PLC), are elected by district. Each district has a certain number of seats, which generally go to the top vote-getters (In a few districts, seats are guaranteed to Christians and women).
Yasser Arafat is sworn in as the first elected President of Palestine on February 12.
January 21: Israel and Palestine sign the Hebron Agreement, which gives temporary international presence in the city of Hebron (TIPH) to 180 people from Denmark, Italy, Norway, Sweden, Switzerland and Turkey to monitor and report on misconduct from either side of the conflict without military or police functions.
Israeli and Palestinian leaders continue to refuse the resumption of peace talks for most of the year, but they finally meet in New York at the end of September.
A new crisis erupts in the deadlocked Middle East peace process, when a report stating that Israeli PM Binyamin Netanyahu plans to hand back less than 40% of the occupied West Bank to Palestinians is published.
UN General Assembly approves the “Participation of Palestine in the Work of the UN,” a resolution that upgrades the representation of Palestine at the UN. Its non-voting category as a “co-sponsor” recognizes the Palestinian National Authority’s (PNA) control of territory—a precursor to statehood.
October 23: Arafat and Netanyahu sign a deal negotiated at the Wye River Summit, in which the Palestinians agreed to increase efforts against violence, confiscate weapons according to a security plan and remove anti-Israel phrases from their national covenant. Israel, in turn, promises to withdraw from a further 13% of the West Bank, release several hundred of the 3,000 Palestinian political prisoners, allow the Palestinian airport in Gaza to open and provide safe passage for Palestinians to move between the West Bank and Gaza Strip. Both agree to establish a joint Israeli-Palestinian committee to discuss a third troop withdrawal.
The UN adopts Resolution 53/80, with 134 votes in favor and 2 (Israel and the U.S.) against, that calls on Israel to renounce nuclear weapons and join the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty.
Against the Wye Agreement that the Knesset ratifies, Israeli settlers seize tens of acres of Palestinian land to establish new makeshift settlements.
Israeli Foreign Minister Ariel Sharon says a final peace settlement would not mean the return of Palestinian refugees.
The U.S. House of Representatives approves a resolution that warns Arafat not to unilaterally declare a Palestinian state or the U.S. will relinquish its financial support for the PNA.
The PLO Central Council decides to postpone a Palestinian declaration of statehood until after a second round of Israeli elections on June 1.
Israeli PM Ehud Barak and PNA President Yasser Arafat sign the revised Wye Accord, which paves the way for talks on a permanent peace settlement. The Knesset approves the deal.
In the seven years between 1992 and 1999, the area occupied by Jewish settlements in the West Bank doubled from 77 km² (which represented 1.3% of the West Bank) to 150 km² (which represents 2.6% of the West Bank).
President Arafat and the PNA declare that this year will be the year that an independent Palestinian state will be declared. They set a deadline for September 2000, but in order to give peace another chance, they postpone it until November 15.
A Jewish media source, Ha’aretz, reports that although Israel will sign the convention establishing an international court for war crimes, it will not accede to its jurisdiction, mainly because it defines the establishment of civilian settlements in occupied territories as a crime.
The U.S.-sponsored Camp David Summit convenes. It suggests the division of Palestinian territory into four separate cantons entirely surrounded and controlled by Israel. Israel sought to annex almost 9% of the Occupied Palestinian Territories in exchange for only 1% of Israel’s own territory. The proposal denied Palestinians control over their own borders, airspace and water resources while legitimizing and expanding illegal Israeli colonies in Palestinian territory. Israel also proposed that Palestinians be required to give up any claim to the occupied portion of Jerusalem, forcing the recognition of Israel’s annexation of Arab-inhabited east Jerusalem. However, further talks suggested that Israel allow Palestinians sovereignty over isolated Palestinian neighborhoods but still remain surrounded by illegal Israeli colonies. The Camp David Summit ends without reaching an agreement, mainly because of the Jerusalem issue. [Arafat is widely criticized internationally for missing a “golden opportunity” for a final settlement].
September 28: The second Intifada, known as the Al-Aqsa Intifada, begins after Sharon’s incursion into the Al-Aqsa mosque [compound with a 1000 + police force]. Sharon states that Israel controls the area and will never give it to the Palestinians because it is built over a Jewish holy site. Within the days that followed, Israeli riot police stormed the Al-Aqsa compound and opened fire on worshippers, killing seven Palestinians and wounding 220. As the news spread, riots in all parts of the West Bank erupted.
Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Barak begins his crackdown on Palestinians, bombing PA facilities in the West Bank and Gaza with tank and airplane shells; begins installing numerous checkpoints throughout the West Bank that will later become permanent
On October 3, 12-year-old Mohammed Al Durra is killed by Israeli fire in Gaza. The image of the boy huddling behind his father was captured by French television and came to symbolize the Israeli-perpetuated violence against Palestinians throughout the Intifada.
Also in October, 13 Palestinian-Israelis are killed by Israeli law enforcement authorities during demonstrations in Arab villages against the Israeli crackdown in the West Bank and Gaza.
In November, Israel resumes its systematic assassination campaign of Palestinian activists.
If elected PM candidate Ariel Sharon vows not to dismantle any settlement in the West Bank or Gaza Strip. [He is elected in March.]
The U.S. vetoes UN Res. 270 which calls for the “total and immediate” stop of all acts of violence, a complete cessation of Israeli settlement activities and an end of the closures of the occupied territories.
After reaching a compromise at a summit meeting, called by U.S. President Bill Clinton, in Sharm El Sheikh, a commission was formed to investigate the causes of the violence and to make recommendations. It publishes its report, the Mitchell Report (named after Chairman George J. Mitchell, former member and Majority Leader for the U.S. Senate), which calls for an immediate cease fire, a freeze on Jewish settlements and a more determined action against violence by the PNA.
As a result of the violence, over 330 Palestinians have been killed since September 2000.
January 15: The Likud bureau unanimously decides to reject PM Sharon’s statements that support the eventual establishment of a Palestinian state.
The UN Security Council passes U.S.-drafted Res. 1397. For the first time, the resolution refers to a Palestinian state to exist side by side with Israel. The council also passes Resolutions 1402 and 1403, which call for Israel to withdraw from Palestinian cities “without delay.” Urging Israel to implement Res. 1402, U.S. Pres. George W. Bush says the root cause of the conflict is Israel’s illegal occupation of Palestinian territories and calls on Israel to stop all settlement activity in line with the Mitchell recommendations and international law and to halt incursions into Palestinian areas.
Israelis seize the Church of the Nativity in Bethlehem, which is inhabited by 150 Palestinians, including civilians that seek refuge in the church. The [standoff continues] for 38 days.
Throughout the year, Israel continues full scale invasions of Palestinian cities and reoccupy the territories. Among their incursions, they invade Ramallah, level the Jenin refugee camps, destroy the Old City of Nablus, impose long curfews, and attack human rights organizations and journalists. They also invade Arafat’s compound, eventually destroying four of the five buildings and leaving Arafat and a few of his aides confined to the second floor of the remaining building.
In April, Israeli army forces invade the Jenin refugee camp and level large parts of it; UN estimates put the number of killed Palestinians at 52 although Palestinian sources claim hundreds were killed directly or died under the rubble of demolished homes.
In June, Israel begins the construction of the Apartheid Wall in the West Bank, ostensibly for security reasons to bar suicide bombers from entering Israel; Palestinians and several international human rights organizations claim the wall is a collective punishment measure that will eventually delineate the final borders of Israel
The European Union (EU), Russia, the UN and the U.S. develop a plan, known as the “roadmap,” for peace. It is designed to occur in three phases: to end “violence and terrorism,” to reach a “final and comprehensive” settlement to the conflict by 2005 and to create an independent and democratic Palestinian state to live side by side with Israel. Palestinians accept it immediately.
One of the provisions of the “roadmap” is for Palestine to employ a Prime Minister, so Arafat appoints Mahmoud Abbas (Abu Mazen) the position to become the first Palestinian Prime Minister.
Israel accepts the “roadmap,” subject to 14 conditions, days before the Aqaba Summit in Jordan.
The Aqaba Summit convenes in Jordan between U.S. President Bush, Israeli PM Ariel Sharon and Palestinian PM Abu Mazen, in which Sharon says he will back the formation of a Palestinian state and will begin to remove “unauthorized outposts” in the occupied territories. However, according to the Fourth Geneva Convention, all settlements imposed by an occupying power are illegal. Furthermore, many of the outposts that are actually removed are in fact uninhabited or “dummy outposts” - empty outposts erected by the settler movement to use as a tool for negotiations or public relations. Israel has historically used the removal of “unauthorized” settlements to legitimize other settlements in a “trade-off” with settler groups.
In August, Hamas declares ceasefire of attacks against Israel dead after the Israeli assassination of top Hamas leader Ismail Abu Shanab.
On October 22, the UN General Assembly approved a resolution, which demands that Israel halt the construction of the wall and remove existing stretches; the resolution was passed when 144 of 191 nations voted in favor, four against, including the US and Israel, and twelve abstentions. The resolution, which is not legally binding, won the support of the European Union, which is part of the “Quartet” of mediators for reaching a Middle East peace and is a sponsor of the “roadmap” peace plan.
In November, President Yasser Arafat swears in Palestinian cabinet with Ahmad Qurei as Prime Minister.
February – Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon announces his intention to withdraw Jewish settlers from the Gaza Strip.
March 21 - Israeli helicopter gunships assassinate Hamas spiritual leader Sheikh Ahmed Yassin after dawn prayers in a Gaza mosque, killing him and six others.
Just one month after being assigned head of Hamas, Abdel Aziz Rantisi is assassinated by Israeli troops in Gaza.
International Court of Justice passes an advisory ruling on Israel’s separation barrier in the West Bank, deeming it illegal and calling for its dismantlement
November 11 – President Arafat passes away in a Paris hospital; many Palestinians believed the president’s death was foul play although Israel maintained it was not responsible.
In January, longtime PLO veteran and former Prime Minister Mahmoud Abbas wins landslide presidential elections. In February, Abbas and Sharon declare a truce and Palestinian resistance movements agree to a “period of calm” until the end of 2005 on condition that Israel halts its attacks and assassinations.
In August Israel completes the withdrawal of 15,000 settlers from the Gaza Strip and three minor settlements in the northern West Bank. After 38 years of military presence in the Gaza Strip, Israel leaves but resumes bombing of Gaza areas in September.
In January, Palestinians hold Palestinian Legislative Council elections in which Hamas wins majority of votes and 74 parliament seats. Fateh refuses to join the government and becomes the opposition although Abbas maintains position as president.
Ariel Sharon remains in comatose state after suffering from a massive stroke in early January and only months after breaking away from Likud and forming the Kadima Party. Kadima won 29 parliament seats in Israel’s March 28 Knesset elections, placing former Jerusalem mayor Ehud Olmert as prime minister.
The US and EU cut direct financial aid to the Palestinian Authority after Hamas officially forms the new Palestinian government at the end of March. Israel considers the new formation as a “terrorist government” and refuses to hold talks with it.
Hamas and Fateh sign the Mecca Agreement in January in which they agree to form a national unity government and end the infighting that has claimed several hundred lives in the West Bank and Gaza.
In February, Israeli authorities begin excavation works around the Aqsa Mosque Compound, ostensibly to renovate the bridge connecting between the Magharba Gate and the Western Wall. Waqf officials claim the works are compromising the foundations of the Aqsa’s western wall and causing damage to ancient Muslim artifacts beneath a hill over which the bridge is being built.
In June, Hamas forces attack and force out Fateh from the Gaza Strip. Abbas dissolves the unity government.
In November, the Annapolis conference was held, in which Israeli Prime Minister Olmert and Palestinian President Abbas agreed to follow a “road map” to peace, under US monitoring, and to carry out negotiations with the goal of finding a solution by the end of the next year.
On February 29, Israel launched Operation “Hot Winter” against Gaza to target “terrorist infrastructure.” The casualties were 110 Palestinians, half of whom were civilians, including 24 children.
On December 27, Israel launched Operation “Cast Lead” against Gaza, with the goal of preventing further rockets from Hamas.
On January 17th, Israel declares a ceasefire on Operation “Cast Lead.” The operation led to 1,300 Palestinian deaths, over 900 of whom were civilians. 13 Israelis died, 3 of whom were civilians.
In February, right-wing parties win the majority in Israeli elections. Netanyahu forms a coalition government; the Likud Party, Israel Labor party, and Yisrael Beitenyu Party.
In June, Obama expressed his support for a two-state solution and voiced his opposition to Israeli settlements in a speech given in Cairo.
On January 5th, Israel approves the building of a new settlement neighborhood in Jerusalem on the Mount of Olives, completely surrounding the Old City with settlements.
In May, A flotilla, organized by the Turkish Foundation for Human rights and Freedoms and Humanitarian relief and the Free Gaza Movement, set off to Gaza, carrying construction materials and humanitarian aid. Their intention was to break the Israeli blockade on the Gaza Strip. Israeli troops boarded the flotilla of ships, and killed 9 activists and injured 30.
In September, the US sponsored negotiations between the PA and Israel in DC.
On May 4th, Fateh and Hamas signed a reconciliation pact.
In September, President Abbas submitted an application to the UN for Palestine to be accepted and recognized as a member state.
November 14th- Israel launches another attack against the Gaza Strip, striking weapon depots, government buildings, apartments, and rocket launchpads. 133 Palestinians were killed, including 53 civilians, and 840 were wounded. Hamas retaliated, by launching rockets, killing 6 Israelis.
November 29th- Palestine becomes a non-member observer state in the UN.
January- 250 Palestinians and foreign activists camped out in an encampment they called Bab al-Shams, in the E1 area where Israel had planned to construct over 3500 housing units. They camped out in 25 tents, but were forcibly evacuated 2 days later. Around 500 members of Israeli security forces tore down the tents and beat many of the activists. 100 individuals were arrested.
July- Palestinian and Israeli negotiators resume peace talks in DC.
June 12- Three Israeli teenagers, with US passports, were kidnapped and killed.
June 30- Their bodies were found near Hebron. After they were found, Israeli helicopters and jets launched air strikes on Gaza. The air strikes and ground invasions continued regularly until August 26th when both parties agreed to a ceasefire. There was a total of 2,251 Palestinian casualties, 1,462 of whom were civilians. There were 67 IDF soldiers killed, and 4 civilians.
January 1st- Mahmoud Abbas filed a request asking the ICC to investigate Israel for war crimes. In response, Israel froze the transfer of $127.6m in tax revenues to the Palestinian Authority.
July 31st - Israeli settlers firebombed two homes in Duma. The 18-month old Sa’ad Dawabsheh burnt to death, while his father died a few days later, and his mother, Reham Dawabsheh, 5 weeks later. His 4-year old brother Ahmad Dawabsheh survived the attack.
September 13th- Israeli police raided the courtyard outside al-Aqsa. They used tear gas, rubber bullets, and stun grenades on Palestinians who stayed inside the mosque and threw stones.
September 22nd- 18-year old Hadeel Al-Hashlamon was shot at a checkpoint in Hebron while on her journey to school. Israeli officials claimed Hadeel had a knife and was shot during her attempt to stab an Israeli soldier. However, multiple eyewitnesses denied these claims, and Israel has rejected all requests asking them to make the video records of the shooting public.
All these events eventually led to a great increase in clashes in the Occupied Territories. There Palestinian attackers were civilians, while the Israeli attackers were soldiers, police, or other Israeli security. There were at least 120 Palestinians killed, and at least 17 Israelis killed. Many official bodies and leaders said that the Israeli shooting of alleged Palestinian attackers was extrajudicial killing. B’tselem said Netanyahu was creating a reality in which police officers were encouraged to shoot to kill any suspected Palestinian attackers.
September- United States signs new security agreement with Israel that promises the Israeli military $38 billion over 10 years, compared with $3.1 billion Israel got under the last security agreement.
December 23- UN Security Council adopts resolution which condemns and demands the halt of Israeli settlements in the occupied territories. This was able to pass due to the US abstaining to veto the resolution.
April 17th- Palestinian prisoners launch hunger strike in order to get a public landline to communicate with their families, relax regulations on family visitation, improve medical care of prisoners, allow prisoners to take matriculation exams, and many other requests in a list of demands. The strike lasted for 40 days until the Israelis agreed to grant the prisoners their demands, but not after many of the prisoners’ health was in dangerous conditions.