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.
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
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.