A Brief History of Israel


Jewish immigration to the holy land, which had been going on since the 1880s, increased just before the second world war due to the persecution of European Jews by the Nazis. The local Arab population wanted to limit the number of Jews arriving. There were clashes between the Jewish immigrants and the Palestinians supported by the neighboring Arab states.

Britain gave up its mandate and United Nations took over supervision. The U.N.suggested two states: one Arab and one Jewish. The Jews accepted; the Arabs rejected the plan, David Ben-Durion declared the foundation of the state of Israel on May 15th 1948. Egypt, Syria, Lebanon and Jordan invaded but were beaten back.

The Jews had secured, and extended, the area proposed for them by the U.N.. In 1956 Gamel Abdel Nasser came to power in Egypt. Nasser integrated the armies of Egypt and Syria and nationalized the European own, Suez Canal.

Israel joined with Britain in France and on October 29th 1956, invaded the Sinai Peninsula in Egypt. International pressure forced Israel to give up the Sinai and the UK and France to remove their troops from the Suez Canal.

The Palestinian liberation organization was founded. After the debacle of the six they war, it reformed. Under the chairmanship of Yasser Arafat it claimed to be the sole representative of the Palestinian people and it vowed to reclaim their land and destroy the state of Israel.

The six day war. Hostilities between Israel and its neighbors continued and both sides built up their military strength. On June 5th 1967, Israel launched a 'preemptive strike' against the Arab troops along its borders. Israel seized the Sinai from Egypt, the Golan Heights from Syria, the West Bank and old city of Jerusalem from Jordan. Talks have centered around a return to 1967 borders ever sense. It was during this time the Israelies made a totally unprovoked attacked the USS Liberty, a lightly armed american spy vessel in international waters off the coast of Egypt.

The Yom Kipper War. On Oct. 6,  Syria and Egypt launched a surprise attack on Israeli held lands to coincide with the Jewish holiday of Yom Kipper. After initial losses, the Israelis gained nearly all of the territory they had occupied during the six day war.

The U.S. combined diplomacy and financial muscle to soften relations between Egypt and Israel. In 1979 the Egyptian President Anwar el_Sadat signed a mutual recognition pack with Israel and the Sinai was returned to Egypt.

Israel formally annexed the Golan Heights. In response to terrorist attacks on the northern towns, Israel invaded Lebanon as far north as Beirut on June 6, 1982. In 1985 Israel withdrew from most of Lebanon but maintained a "securities zone" along the border police by Israeli soldiers and members of the South Lebanese army. Serious stationed troops in Lebanon.

During the early 1980s the establishment of Jewish settlements on the Palestinian land on the West Bank continued systematically. In 1987 the Palestinians of the West Bank and Gaza launched the intifada (popular uprising) against the Israeli occupation.

The Oslo Accords were agreed which provided for mutual recognition between the PLO and the state of Israel, and limited Palestinian self rule in the West Bank and Gaza. Jordan signed a piece deal with Israel. May 2000: Israel withdrew from Lebanon but Hezbollah guerrillas harried the retreating Israelis, and members of the South Lebanese army had to flee to Israel with their families.

October 2000
Violence flared across the West Bank and Gaza Strip after Ariel Sharon made a provocative visit to the Harem Al-sherif mosque compound. Palestinian authority police exchanged fire with Israeli soldiers - many were killed, hundreds injured: most of the casualties were Arab. The death of 12 yr. old Palestinian Mohammad al-Durrah shot dead, apparently by Israeli soldiers, was broadcast around the world.

By the end of 2000 over 300 people were dead. Ariel Sharon became the prime minister of Israel in February 2001. After September 11th, violence escalated, as Israel pursued its 'own war on terrorism.' Tensions rose and many were killed on both sides when Palestinian militants launched a new wave of suicide bombings and Israel occupied a large part of the West Bank.