Israel/Palestine Definitions and Timeline

Posted by admin on October 15, 2023

I took most of the following from a BBC Timeline. filling in a little more and adding links to certain definitions. This is not definitive by any means—but it’s better than many of the slanted, time-lines I’ve seen others posting on social media.

Who Are the Palestinians?

Who Are the Jews?

Palestinian Jews

Who Are Israelis?

Zionism and Israel

Persecution of Jews

Hamas Covenant 1988

Hamas Covenant 2017

Land of Israel


1885: The term “Zionism” first coined by the Viennese writer, Nathan Birnbaum.

1895-1914: Ahad Ha’am publishes Al parashat derakhim (At the Crossroads)

1896:  Theodor Herzl, founder of the Zionist movement, calls for “restoration of the Jewish State”.

1897:  First Zionist congress takes place in Basel, Switzerland and the first Zionist organization is founded.

1907:  Zionist leader Chaim Weizmann visits Palestine.

1908:  First Palestinian anti-Zionist weekly newspaper is published by Arab Christian Najib Nassar.

1915:  British cabinet member Herbert Samuel calls for the British annexation of Palestine in memorandum “The Future of Palestine”.

1916:  European Powers conclude secret Sykes-Picot agreement dividing future spheres of influence in Ottoman Empire territories.

1917:  The Balfour Declaration promises a “national home for the Jewish people in Palestine”.

1919:  Emir Feisal presents a memorandum to the Paris Peace Conference, outlining the case for independence of Arab countries.

1920:  The mass expulsions of 900.000Jews from the Arab World begins and continues through 1970.

1922:  The League of Nations grants mandate over former Ottoman territory Palestine to UK. Provisions include terms of the Balfour Declaration, including a “Jewish national home”.

1933:  Palestinians riot amid sudden rise in Jewish immigration from Nazi persecution in Germany.

1936-1939:  Palestinian rebellion against the British Mandate and Jewish immigration.

1937:  UK Peel Commission Report publicly recognizes conflict’s irreconcilable terms and recommends partition of Palestine.

1939:  UK issues White Paper limiting Jewish immigration.

1941: Grand Mufti of Jerusalem Meets with Hitler.

1942:  US Zionists meet in NY and adopt the “Biltmore Programme“, calling for establishment of Palestine as a Jewish Commonwealth and for unlimited immigration.

1947:  In February, UK proposes to relinquish its mandatory role and places the question of Palestine before the UN.

In September, the UN Special Committee on Palestine (UNSCOP) issues a report to the General Assembly with plans for partition or a federal state in Palestine.

In November, the UN General Assembly adopts resolution 181(II) which called to divide Palestine into an un-named “Jewish State” and an un-named “Arab State” with Jerusalem under UN trusteeship.

1920-1948: List of Killings and Massacres in Mandatory Palestine.

MAY 1948:  Great Britain terminates the Mandate over Palestine and Israel declares independence on 15 May. Territorial expansion using force results in the first large-scale exodus of Palestinian refugees; 15 May becomes an official day to mark the Palestinian Nakba (“catastrophe”).

Count Folke Bernadotte appointed UN Mediator in Palestine by the UN General Assembly. He is assassinated four months later by a Zionist militant group.

Security Council establishes a group of military observers to supervise truce, which later became UNTSO.

NOVEMBER 1948:  UN establishes UNRPR special fund to provide relief to over 500,000 Palestine refugees.

DECEMBER 1948:  UN General Assembly passes resolution 194 calling for refugees to be allowed to return, Jerusalem to be under international regime, UN Conciliation Commission for Palestine (UNCCP) replaces UN mediator.

FEBRUARY-JULY 1949:  Israel signs armistice agreements with EgyptJordanLebanon and Syria.

APRIL 1949:  UN Conciliation Commission convenes Lausanne Conference to reconcile the parties.

MAY 1949: UNGA adopts Resolution 273 (III) admitting Israel as UN member.

DECEMBER 1949:  UN establishes UNRWA to replace UNRPR (GA Resolution 302 (IV)).

1950:  Israel moves its capital from Tel Aviv to the western part of Jerusalem, in defiance of UN resolutions, and the West Bank is brought formally under Jordanian control.

1964: Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) is founded in Cairo.

1967:  Six-day war: Israel occupies West Bank, including East Jerusalem, Gaza, Golan Heights, and Sinai Peninsula.

In November, the UN Security Council unanimously adopts Resolution 242 (Land for peace).

1968:  Establishment of UN Special Committee to Investigate Israeli Practices Affecting the Human Rights of the Palestinian People and Other Arabs of the Occupied Territories.

1973:  Following the Middle East war of October, the UN Security Council passes resolution 338 calling for ceasefire, implementation of res. 242, negotiations between parties.

1974:  The UN General Assembly and the Arab League recognize the PLO as the sole legitimate representative of the Palestinian people.

General Assembly reaffirms inalienable rights of Palestinian people to self-determination, independence and sovereignty, and refugee return (resolution 3236).

1975:  In 1975 the Committee on the Exercise of the Inalienable Rights of the Palestinian People (CEIRPP) is founded by Resolution 3376 of the UNGA.

1976: The CEIRPP submits its programme to the Security Council and General Assembly to enable Palestinians to exercise their inalienable rights.

1977:  Pursuant to UNGA Resolution 32/40 B, International Day of Solidarity with the Palestinian People is celebrated annually on 29 November.

1978:  Following two weeks of secret negotiations at Camp David (USA), the Egyptian President and the Israeli Prime Minister agree on a Framework for Peace in the Middle East.

1979:  The UNGA re-designates the Special Unit on Palestinian Rights as the Division for Palestinian Rights (Resolution 34/65 D).

1980:  Israeli Knesset enacts the so-called ‘Basic Law’ on Jerusalem, proclaiming that “Jerusalem, whole and united” is the capital of Israel; the Security Council and GA resolution 35/169 E censure this law.

1981:  UNESCO adds the Old City of Jerusalem to the UNESCO World Heritage Site list.

UN Security Council adopts resolution 497, calling on Israel to rescind action to annex the Golan Heights.

1982:  Israel invades Lebanon with the intention of eliminating the PLO. After a ceasefire, PLO forces withdraw to neighboring countries. Despite guarantees of safety for Palestine refugees left behind, there are massacres at Sabra and Shatila camps.

1987:  First “Intifada” begins in the Jabaliya Refugee Camp in the Gaza Strip.

1988:  In July, Jordan renounces claims to the West Bank and recognizes PLO as “the sole legitimate representative of the Palestinian people.”

In November, in Algiers, the Palestinian National Council adopts declaration of independence of the State of Palestine.

In December, PLO Chair Yasser Arafat addresses UN in Geneva; says Palestine National Council accepts UNSC Resolutions 242 and 338.

1991:  Middle East peace conference in Madrid brings together all the parties to the Arab-Israeli conflict.

1993:  Israel and the PLO sign the Declaration of Principles on Interim Self-Government Arrangements, also known the Oslo accords. Several “permanent status” issues are deferred for future negotiations.

1994:  The Office of the UN Special Coordinator in the Occupied Territories (UNSCO) is established, and Mr. Terje Roed-Larsen of Norway is appointed as the first UN Special Coordinator.

1995:  Israel and the PLO sign the Palestinian-Israeli Interim Agreement on the West Bank and the Gaza Strip (“Oslo II)”.

1996:  Palestinian general elections are held.

1997:  Israel and the PLO sign the Hebron Protocol.

1998:  Israel and the PLO sign the Wye River Memorandum, which consists of steps to facilitate implementation of previous agreements.

2000:  In July, the US President Clinton convenes a Middle East Peace Summit at Camp David which concludes without agreement.

Ariel Sharon’s al-Haram al-Sharif visit in September 2000 triggers the Second Palestinian Intifada.

2001:  Outgoing US President Clinton proposes the Clinton Parameters for a permanent status agreement to resolve the Israeli–Palestinian conflict.

Shortly afterwards, the Taba Summit is held between Israel and the Palestinian Authority but fails to resolve the “permanent status” issues.

2002:  The UN Security Council passes resolution 1397 affirming vision of a two-State solution to the conflict. The Quartet, consisting of the UN, the EU, the US, and Russia is established with a mandate to help mediate Israeli-Palestinian conflict and support Palestinian economic development and institution-building.

During a summit in Beirut, the League of Arab States adopts the Arab Peace Initiative.

2003:  Roadmap for Peace is published by the Quartet and is endorsed by the Security Council in resolution 1515.

2004:  The International Court of Justice (ICJ) issues Advisory Opinion on the legality of construction of a wall in the Occupied Palestinian Territory.

2006:  In January, Hamas wins Palestinian Legislative Elections; forms Palestinian Authority government. The Quartet responds with Quartet Principles.

In July, Israel goes to war with Hezbollah in Lebanon.

2007:  Israel imposes a blockade on the Gaza Strip after an armed takeover of Gaza by Hamas.

In November, the Annapolis Conference ends with parties issuing a joint statement committing to immediately implement their respective obligations under the Roadmap and working towards a peace treaty by the end of 2008.

2008:  Israel broadens its sanctions and completely seals off the Gaza Strip.

Later in the year, Israel launches Operation Cast Lead, a massive 22-day military assault on the Gaza Strip.

2009:  Security Council passes resolution 1860 calling for a ceasefire in Gaza. HRC creates the UN Fact Finding Mission on the Gaza conflict to investigate violations of international humanitarian and human rights law. Their findings are issued in the “Goldstone Report”.

2011 Goldstone Partial Retraction

2012:  In November, Israel launches ‘Pillar of Defense’ an 8-day military operation against the Gaza Strip.

Later that month, the General Assembly adopts resolution 67/19 granting Palestine the status of non-member observer State in the UN.

2013:  Direct negotiations between Israel and Palestine are held following an initiative by US Secretary of State John Kerry to restart the peace process.

2014:  Israel launches a large scale military operation codenamed “Protective Edge” on the Gaza Strip.

2016:  UN Security Council adopts resolution 2334, stating that Israel’s settlement activity constitutes a “flagrant violation” of international law and has “no legal validity”.

2017:  US President Donald Trump announces that the United States would recognize Jerusalem as the capital of Israel.

2018:  United States moves its embassy in Israel from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem.

2020:  US President Trump helps mediate Abraham Accords to normalize Israel’s relations with some Arab States and proposes a Peace Plan.

2022: General Assembly requests ICJ Advisory Opinion on the legal implications of the prolonged Israeli occupation.

2022: General Assembly adopts resolution A/RES/77/23 of 30 November 2022 requesting the Committee to Commemorate the 75th anniversary of the Nakba for the first time in the history of the UN.

2023: Hamas Massacre of Innocents set of Israel-Hamas War

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