Jewish Medina pre-Arabia
Yathrib (the pre-Mohammed name for Medina) sits in the fertile valley in the north of Hejaz (the old name of Arabia). Until the 5th century AD, the city’s population (as well as other large settlement blocks like Tayma and Khaybar) was predominantly Jewish. According to some accounts, different groups of Jews started arriving since the time of Moses’ war against the Amalekites and included the waves of immigrants, related to the Babylonian Exile (c. 586 B.C.E.), Antiochus IV’S persecutions, the defeat by Rome (70 C.E.) and refuges from Persia. There were up to 20 different Jewish clans residning in the valley, with 3 most significant tribes: the Banu Nadir, Banu Quraiza (Ḳuraiẓa) and Banu Qaynuqā (Kainuka).
The Arabs Arrive
Around the middle of the fifth century, two Arab tribes from Yemen began to encroach upon the Jews in Medina. They were divided into two clans, the Banu Aws (Aus) and the Banu Khazraj
“The comparative richness of the town attracted an infiltration of pagan Arabs who came at first as clients of the Jews and ultimately succeeded in dominating them. Medina, or, as it was known before Islam, Yathrib, had no form of stable government at all. The town was torn by the feuds of the rival Arab tribes of Aus and Khazraj,” Bernard Lewis, ‘The Arabs in History’, p. 40, Oxford University Press
“I shall terrorize the infidels. So wound their bodies and incapacitate them because they oppose Allah and His Apostle.” — Qur’an:8:12
Muhammad, preoccupied with his plans of future conquests, realized that Medina suited the best to become the base of his expansion. The valley around Medina had everything he lacked at the time: food supplies, fortified fortresses, skillful craftsmen and overall manpower. In addition, most of inhabitants (both Jews and recent Arab proselytes) were monotheists, which he believed made them easier to convert into Islam. So, Muhammad approached the major clans and offered his assistance in making peace. He designed the agreements that he later, depending on the situation, either violated or used as a pretext for attacking tribes of his choice.
Initially, he was pretty friendly towards Jews, assuming that they would rush to convert into the new religion. That early favorable approach was reflected in some parts of Quran. However, not only did most Jews remained loyal to Judaism, but also most educated and outspoken of them started scorning Muhammad, deriding his prophetic pretensions and adaptations of biblical material. Jewish thinkers, writers and poets (female including) were mocking his compilations and alleged ignorance. That could be a real impediment to his plans. All those ridiculers were murdered – one by one.
“Khaybar was stormed by the Apostle’s squadron, fully armed, powerful and strong. It brought certain humiliation with Muslim men in its midst. We attacked and they met their doom. Muhammad conquered the Jews in fighting that day as they opened their eyes to our dust.” — Ishaq:517
Muhammads extermination of the Jews from their own land
Eventually, Muhammad came to the conclusion that he needed to get rid of Jews and take possession of all their properties and assets. Without any hope to convert large numbers of them, he didn’t need to act in a friendly way anymore. He started plundering their caravans and settlements as he used to do to pagan Mecca Arabs. If only Jews were united, Mohammad would have little chance to defeat them. But Jews were not united. They underestimated the danger the smaller group of nomads presented.
“Allah said, ‘No Prophet before Muhammad took booty from his enemy nor prisoners for ransom.’ Muhammad said, ‘I was made victorious with terror. The earth was made a place for me to clean. I was given the most powerful words. Booty was made lawful for me. I was given the power to intercede. These five privileges were awarded to no prophet before me.’” — Ishaq:326
The complete extermination of the two Arabian-Jewish tribes, the Nadhir and Kainuka’ by the mass massacre of their men, women and children, was a tragedy for which no parallel can be found in Jewish history.
Those Jews who survived paid a fifty-percent “tribute,” or tax, for the “protection” of the new plunderers. As Professor Lewis writes, “The Muslim victory in Khaibar marked the first contact between the Muslim state and a conquered non-Muslim people and formed the basis for later dealings of the same type.”
Empty, as far as the eye can see. No one had any interest in the barren land later to be known as Palestine and Israel until the British took control, and jews moved in. From the book Thomas Shaw, Travels and Observations Relating to Several Parts of Barbary and the Levant, London, orig. 1767, S. 331 ff.
In 1835 Alphonse de Lamartine wrote: “Outside the city of Jerusalem, we saw no living object, heard no living sound. . . a complete eternal silence reigns in the town, in the highways, in the country.”
In 1844, William Thackeray writes about the road from Jaffa to Jerusalem: “Now the district is quite deserted, and you ride among what seem to be so many petrified waterfalls. We saw no animals moving among the stony brakes; scarcely even a dozen little birds in the whole course of the ride.”
In 1857, the British consul in Palestine, James Finn, reported: “The country is in a considerable degree empty of inhabitants and therefore its greatest need is that of a body of population.”
Photo by W.C. Prime 1857 in „Tent Life in the Holy Land
Dome of the Rock in 1875. If this land already had nearly “one million Palestinian people” living on it like pro-Palestinians claim, where are they in what the Arabs profess to be the most important holy site for Muslims in Israel? Clearly even the Ottoman’s did not utilize this land in 1857. Over 9,000 photographs exist of the British Mandate regions from around 1850- but they show no Palestinians living there.
In 1866, W.M. Thomson writes: “How melancholy is this utter desolation. Not a house, not a trace of inhabitants, not even shepherds, to relieve the dull monotony … Much of the country through which we have been rambling for a week appears never to have been inhabited, or even cultivated; and there are other parts, you say, still more barren.”
In 1867, Mark Twain – Samuel Clemens, the famous author of “Huckleberry Finn” and “Tom Sawyer”, toured the Holy Land. This is how he described the land: “There is not a solitary village throughout its whole extent – not for thirty miles in either direction. There are two or three small clusters of Bedouin tents, but not a single permanent habitation. One may ride ten miles, hereabouts, and not see ten human beings.”
Interior of Jaffa Gate from near Hotel Mediterranean (Felix Bonfils, photographer, between 1870 and 1880)
Note the narrow Jaffa Gate some 20 years before the Turks reconstructed the entrance.
People can now be seen in what was to become Palestine. But none of them are Muslims. Photo by Felix Bonfils, Entry of Pilgrims into Bethlehem at Christmas time, Palestine c. 1870.
Jews at the Western wall in 1870.
In 1874, Reverend Samuel Manning wrote: “But where were the inhabitants? This fertile plain, which might support an immense population, is almost a solitude…. Day by day we were to learn afresh the lesson now forced upon us, that the denunciations of ancient prophecy have been fulfilled to the very letter — “the land is left void and desolate and without inhabitants.” (Jeremiah, ch.44 v.22)
Last decades of 19th century: In Russia and Poland, active persecution of Jewish Communities intensifies.
Millions of East European Jews migrate to the United States.
Modern political Zionism – Jewish nationalism focusing on Palestine– originates in Russia. Jewish groups form to expedite Jewish settlement in Palestine.
Petah Tikva, the first Zionist colony, established in Palestine.
Leo Pinsker writes Autoemancipation calling for the establishment of an independent Jewish state. National identity is more important to Pinsker than religion, and he doesn’t insist that the Jewish state be in Palestine.
Start of First Aliyah – the arrival of Jews from Eastern Europe and from Yemen. Jewish population of Palestine estimated to be 24,000. This Aliyah lasted until 1903 and totaled 25,000 immigrants.
David Ben-Gurion born in Plonsk, part of the Russian Empire now in Poland.
Ottoman government allows sale of land to Jews legally resident in Palestine but not the establishment of colonies.
Foreign Jews allowed to buy land in northern Palestine [the primary land owners were Libyan, according to British government records. The land was barren and not liveable and was sold without any occupation on it].
Start of Second Aliyah – mostly Jews from the Russian Empire. It is estimated around 40,000 arrived in Palestine between 1904 and 1914 bringing the number of Jews living in Palestine to 6% of the total population.
Russian born Chaim Weizmann, the Zionist spokesman in London, keeps the question of Zionism before the British cabinet and cultivates ties with well-placed officials and public figures. The British cabinet recognizes that British support for Zionism has the potential to serve British imperial interests.
First edition of Al-Karmil, an anti-Zionist newspaper, published in Haifa.
April – Tel Aviv founded.
Muslim intellectuals and politicians from throughout the Levant formed al-Fatat (“the Young Arab Society”), a small Arab nationalist club in Paris. They also requested that Arab conscripts to the Ottoman army not be required to serve in non-Arab regions except in time of war. However, as the Ottoman authorities cracked down on the organization’s activities and members, al-Fatat went underground and demanded the complete independence and unity of the Arab provinces.
January/February – The new Young Turk authorities allow Zionist groups to purchase land in Palestine.
January – First edition of the Arabic language newspaper Filastin published in Jaffa.
During World War I (1914–1918), there were two competing Grand Muftis of Jerusalem, one endorsed by the British and one by the Ottoman Empire. When Palestine was under British rule, the Grand Mufti of Jerusalem was a position appointed by the British Mandate authorities.
With the outbreak of World War I in 1914, Muhammad Amin al-Husayni [also spelled al-Hussaini] who was to become the Grand Mufti in 1921, received a commission in the Ottoman Army as an artillery officer and was assigned to the Forty-Seventh Brigade stationed in and around the city of Izmir. In November 1916 he obtained a three-month disability leave from the army and returned to Jerusalem. He was recovering from an illness there when the city was captured by the British a year later. The British and Sherifian armies, for which some 500 Palestinian Arabs volunteered, completed their conquest of Ottoman-controlled Palestine and Syria in 1918, alongside Jewish troops. As a Sherifian officer, al-Husseini recruited men to serve in Faisal bin Al Hussein bin Ali El-Hashemi‘s army during the Arab Revolt, a task he undertook while employed as a recruiter by the British military administration in Jerusalem and Damascus.
July 14 – First letter between the British Government and the Governor of Mecca. The exchange became known as the Hussein-McMahon Correspondence promises an Arab state in the Middle East in return for revolt against the Turks. Neither side could agree whether the region of Palestine was explicitly mentioned.
May 16 – The Sykes-Picot Agreement was signed between Britain, France and Russia, in which it was agreed in the event of a successful conclusion of the war the former Ottoman lands of Palestine, Jordan and Iraq would become mandates for Britain, France would take control of Lebanon and Syria, whilst Russian would take large areas of Eastern Turkey and Istanbul.
June 10 – Beginning of the Arab Revolt against the Young Turk regime in Constantinople.
November 2 – Balfour Declaration 1917: British Foreign Secretary Arthur James Balfour sends a letter to Lord Rothschild, President of the Zionist Federation, declaring his government would “view with favour the establishment in Palestine of a national home for the Jewish people”.
His Majesty’s Government view with favour the establishment in Palestine of a National Home for the Jewish people, and will use their best endeavors to facilitate the achievement of this object, it being clearly understood that nothing shall be done which may prejudice the civil and religious rights of existing non-Jewish communities in Palestine, or the rights and political status enjoyed by the Jews in any other country.
December 9 – Following an offensive lasting three weeks, an officer in the British Army accepts the surrender of Jerusalem from the town’s mayor, Hussein al-Husayni [also spelled al-Hussaini]. The area is placed under British military occupation from 1917 to 1920.
September – General Allenby completes the British conquest of Palestine.
Start of the Third Aliyah which lasts until 1923 and numbered 35,000 immigrants increasing the Jewish population to 12% of the total, owning 3% of the land.
Mohammad Amin al-Husayni founded the Jerusalem branch of the Syrian-based ‘Arab Club’ (El-Nadi al-arabi), which then vied with the Nashashibi-sponsored ‘Literary Club’ (Al-Muntada al-Adabi) for influence over public opinion, and he soon became its President.
January 30 – The Supreme Council of the Peace Conference decided that the Ottoman Empire’s Arab provinces would not be returned to Turkey.
February 3 – The Zionist Organisation submits its plan for implementation of the Balfour Declaration and urges the selection of Great Britain as Mandatory for Palestine.
February 27 – The leaders of the Zionist Organisation appear before the Supreme Council to explain their plan for implementation of the Balfour Declaration.
March 28 – American Zionist Felix Frankfurter submits a more detailed implementation plan on behalf of the Zionist Organisation.
From as early as 1920 Muhammad Amin al-Husayni, in order to secure the independence of Palestine as an Arab state he actively opposed Zionism, and was implicated as a leader of a violent riot that broke out over the establishment of a national home for the Jewish people in Palestine. al-Husayni was appointed the title of Grand Mufti of Jerusalem in 1921.
From his election as Mufti until 1923, al-Husseini exercised total control over the secret society, Al-Fida’iyya (The Self-Sacrificers), which, together with al-Ikha’ wal-‘Afaf (Brotherhood and Purity), played an important role in clandestine anti-British and anti-Zionist activities, and, via members in the gendarmerie, had engaged in riotous activities as early as April 1920.
February 27 – Over one thousand protesters take part in an Arab nationalist demonstration in Jerusalem carrying banners bearing the slogans “Stop Zionist Immigration” and “Our Country For Us”. Arab nationalists sought to resist the Zionist immigration – Aliyah, which comes mostly from Eastern Europe.
March 1 – Jewish settlements in the Upper Galilee were attacked by Arab forces during the Franco-Syrian War. Joseph Trumpeldor was among 8 who died defending Tel Hai.
March 7 – Faisal proclaimed king of Greater Syria.
March 8 – A second large Arab nationalist demonstration takes place in Jerusalem.
April 4–7 – The 1920 Palestine riots – violent 4-day riot against the Jews in Jerusalem’s Old City. Muhammad Amin Al-Husayni was charged with inciting the Arab crowds with an inflammatory speech and sentenced by military court held in camera (private) to ten years imprisonment in absentia, since he had already violated his bail by fleeing to Transjordan to avoid arrest. Zionist leader Ze’ev Jabotinsky was sentenced to 15 years in prison for the possession of weapons.
April – The mayor of Jerusalem, Musa al-Husayni, is removed from office by the British Military Governor, Ronald Storrs.
June 12 – The April riots prompt the establishment of Haganah – a Jewish defense force.
July 1 – Herbert Samuel sworn in as first High Commissioner. He announces the establishment of an Advisory Council consisting of 20 members: 10 British officials, 4 Muslims, 3 Christians and 3 Jews.
July 1 – Palin Commission reports on the rioting that occurred in April.
August 26 – The First Immigration Ordinance sets the quota for Jewish immigration at 16,500 for the first year.
David Ben-Gurion appointed secretary of the Jewish labour organisation Histadrut.
March – Haganah, the Jewish underground military organisation, established.
March 21 – Secretary of State for the Colonies, Winston Churchill, visits Jerusalem. Instals Abdullah Hussein as ruler of Transjordan.
May 1–7 – Jaffa riots resulted in the deaths of 47 Jews and 48 Arabs, with 146 Jews and 73 Arabs being wounded. Most Arab casualties resulted from clashes with British forces attempting to restore order. Thousands of Jewish residents of Jaffa fled for Tel Aviv and were temporarily housed in tent camps on the beach.
May 8 – British High Commissioner Herbert Samuel pardons Jews and Arabs involved in the 1920 disturbances, including Mohammad Amin al-Husayni. who is appointed Mufti of Jerusalem,
May – Fourth Palestine Arab Congress agrees to send a delegation to London.
October – The Haycraft Commission of Inquiry publishes its report into the Jaffa Riots concluding that they were spontaneous rather than premeditated.
December – The Mandate authorities issue an order creating a Supreme Muslim Council to administer Muslim owned charitable properties, Awqaf, and appoint (or dismiss) judges and officials in the Sharia courts.
Mohammad Amin al-Husayni becomes the Grand Mufti of Jerusalem and becomes in charge of all educational institutes and court systems. Until late 1921, al-Husayni focused his efforts on Pan-Arabism and the ideology of the Greater Syria in particular, with Palestine understood as a southern province of an Arab state whose capital was to be established in Damascus. The struggle for Greater Syria collapsed after Britain ceded control over present day Syria and Lebanon to France in July 1920. Al-Husayni then turned from Damascus-oriented Pan-Arabism to a specifically Palestinian ideology centered on Jerusalem, which sought to block Jewish immigration to Palestine. The frustration of pan-Arab aspirations lent an Islamic colour to the struggle for independence, and increasing resort to the idea of restoring the land to Dar al-Islam.
The British Governor of the Sinai (1922-36) reported in the Palestine Royal Commission Report that Arabs were illegally occupying the country: “This illegal immigration was not only going on from the Sinai, but also from Transjordan and Syria.”
February – A delegation of Palestinian Arab leaders, lead by Musa al-Husayni, informs Winston Churchill at the Colonial Office that they cannot accept the Mandate or the Balfour Declaration and demand their national independence.
June 3 – The Churchill White Paper, 1922 clarifies the British position regarding Palestine.
June 30 – The United States Senate and House of Representatives adopt a joint resolution favouring “the establishment in Palestine of a national home for the Jewish people.”
July 24 – The League of Nations approves the draft British Mandate for Palestine. British express interest in Zionism, and describe their main intent of developing a Jewish National Home.
August 10 – The British authorities announce the setting up of a Legislative Council consisting of 11 British official and 12 elected members: 8 Muslims, 2 Christians and 2 Jews.
September 16 – The Council of the League of Nations accepts the British Transjordan memorandum defining the limits of Trans-Jordan and excluding that territory from the provisions in the Mandate concerning the Jewish national home.
October – First British census of the population of Palestine. It calculates tha Jews make up 11% of total population.
Elections for the proposed Legislative Council fail due to the extent of the Palestinian Arab boycott. An attempt is made to expand the Advisory Council but this also fails when only three Palestinian Arabs could be found who were willing to join.
September 29 – British Mandate for Palestine and French Mandate for Syria come into operation.
October 4 – Secretary of State for the Colonies, the Duke of Devonshire, proposes the setting up of an Arab Agency to have equivalent status to the Jewish Agency.
December 11 – Arab Agency unanimously rejected by Palestinain Arab leaders.
The fourth Aliyah. Lasting until 1928 amounted to 67,000 immigrants, 50% from Poland, and raised the proportion of Jews in Palestine to 16%, owning 4% of the land.
Collective Responsibility Ordenance issued giving powers of collective punishment in rural areas. Introduced to combat feuding between communities. The powers included application of fines and demolition of houses.
The collapse of the Polish currency leads to hardship amongst immigrants.
March – General strike protesting the visit of Lord Balfour.
November – General strike in support of the Syria revolt.
British garrison in Palestine reduced to one RAF squadron and 2 companies of armoured cars.
March – General strike called in protest of the visit of the French High Commissioner of Syria, Henry de Jouvenel.
Jewish immigration falls to 2,713 while 5,071 leave the country.
December 6 – Sir John Chancellor becomes High Commissioner.
The fifth Aliyah. Over the next ten years 250,000 Zionist immigrants arrive in Palestine. They bring the number of Jews resident to 30% of the total population whilst Jewish land ownership rises to 5.7% of the area of the country.
The 1929 Palestine riots erupt due to a dispute between Muslims and Jews over access to the Western Wall. On 17 August a young Jewish boy was stabbed to death by Arabs while retrieving a football, while an Arab was badly wounded in a brawl with Palestinian Jews. Rumours circulated in both communities, of an imminent massacre of Jews by Muslims, and of an assault on the Haram ash-Sharif by Jews. 133 Jews killed and 339 wounded (mostly by Arabs); 116 Arabs killed and 232 wounded (mostly by British-commanded police and soldiers).
Many observers saw The Grand Mufti al-Husseini as the mastermind behind the riots, accusing him of dispatching secret emissaries to inflame regional passions
1929 Hebron massacre: 67 Jews are massacred by Arabs. Many incidents of rape, torture, and mutilation are reported.
Following the riots the British authorities agree to officially recognise the Executive Committee of the Palestine Arab Congress as representatives of Palestinian Arab opinion and to invite them to give evidence to the Commission of Inquiry.
Photograph from the League of Nations of prayers at the Western or Wailing Wall in Jerusalem in 1929. This image is from the collections of The British National Archives.
The British Hope-Simpson Commission recommended, in 1930, “Prevention of illicit immigration” to stop the illegal Arab immigration from neighboring Arab countries.
A fourth Palestinian Arab Delegation travels to London.
The British enlarge their garrison in Palestine: They have two infantry battalions, 2 RAF squadrons and 4 squadrons of armoured cars. The Palestine Police Force is re-organised by Sir Herbert Dowbiggin and isolated Jewish settlements are given arms caches to be used if under attack.
The Black Hand Islamist group led by Shaykh Izz ad-Din al-Qassam begins a campaign against Jewish civilians and the British in Palestine.
May 12 – The Palestinian Arab delegation announce that the British Government has rejected their demands for the end to Jewish immigration, an end to land sales to Jews and the establishing of a democratic government in Palestine.
August 6 – The Jewish Agency officially recognised by the British Government.
October 20 – In reaction to the disturbances of 1929, the Passfield White Paper and the Hope Simpson Royal Commission recommend limiting Jewish immigration.
December – The International Wailing Wall Commission confirms Muslim property rights over the area.
Irgun Zvai Leumi (National Military Organisation) founded by the Revisionists with Vladimir Jabotinsky as commander-in-chief.
February 14 – Prime Minister Ramsay MacDonald sends a letter to Chaim Weizmann qualifying some of the proposals in the Passfield White Paper. The letter becomes known as the “Black Letter” amongst Palestinian Arabs.
August – Demonstrations in Nablus against the storing of weapons in isolated Jewish settlements are broken up by police baton charges.
November 18 – Second British census of the population of Palestine calculates that Jews make up 16.9% of the total population.
November 20 – Sir Arthur Wauchope becomes High Commissioner.
December 16 – The Mufti of Jerusalem, Amin Husseini, chairs a Moslem Congress in Jerusalem which is attended by 145 delegates from all parts of the Moslem world.
In 1933, within weeks of Hitler’s rise to power in Germany, the German Consul-General in Palestine, the pro-nazi Heinrich Wolff, sent a telegram to Berlin reporting the Grand Mufti al-Husseini’s belief that Palestinian Muslims were enthusiastic about the new regime and looked forward to the spread of Fascism throughout the region. Wolff met al-Husseini and many sheiks again, a month later, at Nabi Musa. They expressed their approval of the anti-Jewish boycott in Germany and asked Wolff not to send any Jews to Palestine.
With the coming to power of the Nazis in Germany Jewish immigration rises to 30,327 in 1933, compared to 9,553 in the previous year.
June 16 – Haim Arlosoroff, head of the political department of the Jewish Agency is assassinated in Tel Aviv. His murderers are widely believed to have been members of the Revisionist party.
October 27 – Following the discovery in Jaffa harbour of a large shipment of weapons destined for an address in Tel Aviv the Arab Executive calls a general strike. A demonstration in Jaffa led by the president of the Executive, Musa al-Husayni, turned into a riot in which a crowd of several thousand attacked the small force of policemen who responded with baton charges and gunfire. 26 demonstrators and one policeman were killed. Amongst the 187 injured was 80-year-old Musa al-Husayni, who never recovered and died the following year. There followed six weeks of rioting in all the major towns in which 24 civilians are killed. The disorders were suppressed by the police, not the army. They are different from earlier disturbances in that the targets were British Government institutions rather than Jews.
November 25 – All the major Palestinian Arab political parties, with the exception of Istiqlal, address a memo to the High Commisssioner calling for democratic government, prohibition of the sale of Arab land to Jews, and the cessation of Jewish immigration.
The first attempts to translate Mein Kampf into Arabic started in the early 1930s, with the first publications of the book’s extracts appearing in Arab newspapers in 1934. Fritz Grobba, the German ambassador to the Kingdom of Iraq, initiated a project to translate the complete book into Arabic.
The governor of the Syrian district of Hauran, Tewfik Bey El Hurani, admitted in 1934 that in a single period of only a few months over 30,000 Syrians from Houran had moved to Palestine. The country continued to be flooded with thousands of illegal Arab immigrants.
January – The Municipal Corporations Ordinance published by the Mandate authorities setting out a program for municipal elections.
February – Special commission of enquiry, chaired by Sir William Murison, publishes its report into the 1933 disturbances.
November 20 – The leader of the Black Hand, Sheikh Izz ad-Din al-Qassam is killed by the British.
December 21 – Palestinian Arab leadership accept proposals made by the High Commissioner for a Legislative Assembly. The proposales are rejected by Jewish leaders.
By 1935 al-Husseini did take control of one clandestine organization, of whose nature he had not been informed until the preceding year, which had been set up in 1931 by Musa Kazim al-Husayni‘s son, Abd al-Qadir al-Husayni and recruited from the Palestinian Arab Boy Scout movement, called the ‘Holy Struggle’ (al-jihad al-muqaddas). This and another paramilitary youth organization, al-Futuwwah, paralleled the clandestine Jewish Haganah. Rumours, and occasional discovery of caches and shipments of arms, strengthened military preparations on both sides.
Muhammad Amin al-Husayni, the Grand Mufti of Jerusalem appointed by the British mandate, peaked his opposition to the British during the 1936–1939 Arab revolt in Palestine. In 1937, evading an arrest warrant, he fled Palestine and took refuge in, successively, the French Mandate of Lebanon and the Kingdom of Iraq, until he established himself in Italy and Germany. During World War II he actively collaborated with both Nazi Germany and Fascist Italy, meeting Adolf Hitler personally and asking him to back Arab independence. He requested, as part of the Pan-Arab struggle, Hitler’s support to oppose the establishment in Palestine of a Jewish national home. He was promised the leadership of the Arabs after German troops had driven out the British. He helped recruit Muslims for the Waffen-SS. At war’s end, he came under French protection, and went to Cairo to avoid prosecution.
February 28 – The House of Commons of the United Kingdom votes against the High Commissioner’s proposed Legislative Council.
March 25 – The House of Lords also reject the proposals.
April 15 – Following the murder of 3 Jews in a robbery near Tulkarm 2 Arabs are murdered near Petah Tiqva.
April 17 – During the funeral in Tel Aviv of one of the Jewish victims serious rioting breaks out in which 3 Jews are murdered. The Mandate authorities bring in Emergency Regulations by proclamation and curfews are imposed across Palestine.
April 20 – An Arab National Committee is formed in Nablus, subsequently other committees are formed in all the Arab towns and villages.
April 21 – Five main Palestinian Arab political parties call for a general strike.
April 25 – Arab Higher Committee established. It consists of members from all the Arab political parties, including Istiqlal and is led by Haj Amin al-Husseini. The committee calls for the strike to continue indefinitely.
May 6 – A meeting of the National Committees in Jerusalem announces a tax strike.
May 11 – British army reinforcements arrive from Egypt and Malta.
May/June – Jaffa port is closed, there are sporadic attacks on the railways and Jewish settlements. Armed bands appear in the hill country.
June 17 to 29 – large areas of Jaffa demolished by British Army.
August – Attempts by Amir Abdullah and Nuri Pasha fail to calm the situation. There is an increase in the number of attacks on Jews, and on the oil pipeline and the railways. In mid-August Jewish acts of retaliation begin.
August 25 – Fawzi al-Qawuqji enters Palestine with 150 volunteer fighters.
September 7 – An additional division of British troops arrives. General Dill becomes supreme military commander.
September 22 – The British army launches an offensive against Arab rebels.
October 11 – Ibn Saud, Amir Abdullah and King Ghazi appeal to the Arab Higher Committee to call off the strike.
November – The Arab Higher Committee calls an end to the strike. Casualty figures taken from hospital records give the number of people killed during the six months of disturbances as: 195 Arabs, 80 Jews, 21 Army, 16 Police and Frontier Police, and 2 non-Arab Christians. In addition over 1,000 Arab rebels were killed.
Al-Sadati published his translation of Mein Kampf [German title of My Jihad, a book published by the Grand Mufti decades earlier] in Cairo in 1937 without German approval. However, a local Arab weekly published Hitler’s quote from the book that the Egyptians are a “decadent people composed of cripples.” The quote raised angry responses.
In July 1937, British police were sent to arrest The Grand Mufti al-Husseini for his part in the Arab rebellion, but, tipped off, he managed to escape to the sanctuary of asylum in the Haram. He stayed there for three months, directing the revolt from within.
The mainstream Jewish paramilitary organization, the Haganah, maintains a policy of restraint, but the smaller Irgun (also called Etzel) group splits up and adopts a policy of retaliation and revenge.
July – The Peel Commission proposes a partition plan, rejected by the Arab leadership. The Jewish opinion was divided as Jewish immigration was limited to only 12,000, and the Twentieth Zionist Congress ultimately rejected the proposal as well.
Ocober 1 – British authorities ban all Arab nationalist political organisations, including the Arab Higher Committee.
April – August: The Woodhead Commission reverses the Peel Commission‘s findings, considers two alternative partition plans, known as Plan B (map) and Plan C (map), and reports in November that partition was impracticable.
October 2 – Tiberias massacre. Arab rioters kill 19 Jews, including 11 children, and set fire to synagogues and Jewish homes.
British Prime Minister Winston Churchill noted the Arab influx of illegal immigrants that kept pouring into the country, urged by neighbouring Arab nations. Churchill, a veteran of the early years of the British mandate in the Holy Land, noted in 1939 that “far from being persecuted, the Arabs have crowded into the country and multiplied till their population has increased more than even all world Jewry could lift up the Jewish population.”
February – March 17 – The St. James Conference ends without reaching an agreement.
May 17 – The White Paper of 1939 calls for the creation of a unified Palestinian state. Even though the White Paper states its commitment to the Balfour Declaration, it imposed very substantial limits to both Jewish immigration (restricting it to only 75,000 over the next 5 years), and Jewish ability to purchase land.
September 1 – The Second World War erupts. The Haganah begins the smuggling of Jews from Europe to Palestine to provide refuge from the Holocaust. Arab leaders are split: while some assist the Allies, others like Iraqi Rashid Ali and the Palestinian Amin al-Husayni assist the Axis. Many of the Middle Eastern Jewish communities are hit by pro-Axis Arab regimes, and the early stage of Jewish exodus from Arab and Muslim lands begins. Most Jewish and Arab Palestinian militant groups attain the policy of cease fire with each other and the British.
Lehi (also known as the Stern Gang) – the most radical Jewish organization splits from Irgun.
On June 19 twenty Arabs were killed by Jewish extremists who mounted explosives on a donkey at a marketplace in Haifa.
June 29, 13 Arabs were killed in multiple shootings during a one-hour period.
The Grand Mufti Al-Husseini used his influence and ties with the Germans to promote Arab nationalism in Iraq. He was among the key promoters of the pan-Arab Al-Muthanna Club, and supported the coup d’état by Rashid Ali in April 1941. The situation of Iraq’s Jews rapidly deteriorated, with extortions and sometimes murders taking place. When the Anglo-Iraqi War broke out, al-Husseini used his influence to issue a fatwa for a holy war against Britain.
October 11 – The Arab Palestinian leader Mohammad Amin al-Husayni [also spelled al-Hussaini] arrives to Rome with an attempt to form close ties with the Axis powers. Al-Husayni meets Benito Mussolini.
November 27 – Al-Husayni arrives to Germany for a meeting with Adolf Hitler. He would remain in Berlin until the end of the war, playing a major role in formation of Muslim Waffen SS units and active work preventing thousands of Jewish refugees to escape the Nazis and reach Palestine.
On 20 November, al-Husseini met the German Foreign Minister Joachim von Ribbentrop and was officially received by Adolf Hitler on 28 November. He asked Adolf Hitler for a public declaration that ‘recognized and sympathized with the Arab struggles for independence and liberation, and that would support the elimination of a national Jewish homeland’
Hitler had one goal. “Germany’s objective would then be solely the destruction of the Jewish element residing in the Arab sphere under the protection of British power”. In short, Jews were not simply to be driven out of the German sphere but would be hunted down and destroyed even beyond it.
Al-Husseini settled in Berlin in late 1941 and resided there for most of the war. Various sources have repeated allegations, in documentary evidence, that he visited the death camps of Auschwitz, Majdanek, Treblinka and Mauthausen. At the Nuremberg trials, one of Adolf Eichmann‘s deputies, Dieter Wisliceny, stated that al-Husseini had actively encouraged the extermination of European Jews, and that he had had an elaborate meeting with Eichmann at his office, during which Eichmann gave him an intensive look at the current state of the “Solution of the Jewish Question in Europe” by the Third Reich.
Throughout World War II, al-Husseini worked for the Axis Powers as a broadcaster in propaganda targeting Arab public opinion.
February 12 – Avraham Stern leader of the extremist Lehi group shot dead by police whilst being arrested.
August 2 – British form the Palestine Regiment, consisted of 3 Jewish and 1 Arab battalions, which assist the British forces in North Africa against the Axis.
An associate of Grand Mufti al-Husseini’s, together with three associates of former Iraqi Prime Minister visited the Sachsenhausen concentration camp as part of a “training course” in July 1942. At the time, the Sachsenhausen camp housed large numbers of Jews, but was only transformed into a death camp in the following year. They left the camp very favourably impressed by its programme of educational indocrination.
al-Husseini intervened on 13 May 1943, before the meeting with Himmler when he was informed of the Holocaust, with the German Foreign Office to block possible transfers of Jews from Bulgaria, Hungary and Romania, after reports reached him that 4,000 Jewish children accompanied by 500 adults had managed to reach Palestine. He asked that the Foreign Minister “to do his utmost” to block all such proposals and this request was complied with.
In September 1943, intense negotiations to rescue 500 Jewish children from the town of Arbe in Croatia collapsed due to the objection of al-Husseini who blocked the children’s departure to Turkey because they would end up in Palestine.
February 12 – After a period of reconciliation with the British, the Irgun launches a bomb attack on British immigration offices in Palestine, no casualties reported. Soon after Lehi also renews its anti-British attacks.
Summer – From Berlin, Palestinian Arab leader Amin al-Husayni plans an attack upon the Jews in Palestine. Among the acts of sabotage al-Husseini attempted to implement, Michael Bar Zohar reports a chemical warfare assault, on the second largest and predominantly Jewish city in Palestine, Tel Aviv, nicknamed operation ATLAS. In a separate but related matter, the Mufti repeatedly urged the Germans to bomb Tel Aviv. and Jerusalem ‘in order to injure Palestinian Jewry and for propaganda purposes in the Arab world’, as his Nazi interlocutors put it. The proposals were rejected as militarily unfeasible.
On 1 March 1944, while speaking on Radio Berlin, al-Husseini said: ‘Arabs, rise as one man and fight for your sacred rights. Kill the Jews wherever you find them. This pleases God, history, and religion. This saves your honor. God is with you.’
Irgun resumes operations against Arabs and British, after realizing the World War is nearing its end; it still restrains itself of attacking British military, not to impact the war efforts of the allies.
November 6 – Lord Moyne assassinated by Lehi.
November – the Palestine regiment is reformed into the larger unit named the Jewish Brigade, which utilizes Jewish symbols. It participates in invasion of the Allies into Italy.
May 8 – Nazi Germany surrendered to the Allies.
May 1 – The Anglo-American Committee of Inquiry proposed admission of 100,000 Jewish refugees into the Mandate.
February 18 – Great Britain announces intention to hand the Mandate to the United Nations.
November 29 – With a two-thirds majority vote, the UN General Assembly adopts a resolution recommending the adoption and implementation of a plan to partition the British Mandate of Palestine into “Independent Arab and Jewish States” and a “Special International Regime for the City of Jerusalem” administered by the United Nations.
Civil war in Palestine
November 30 – Following the vote on the Partition Plan, Palestinian Arabs react violently and fighting broke out in what became known as the “Civil war”.
December 2–5 – 1947 Jerusalem riots. The Arab Higher Committee declared a strike and public protest of the vote. Arabs marching to Zion Square on December 2 were stopped by the British, and the Arabs instead turned towards the commercial center of the City where many buildings and shops were attacked. Violence continued for two more days, with Arabs and Jewish attacking each other. 70 Jews and 50 Arabs are killed.
December 30 – Haifa Oil Refinery massacre. Irgun militants hurl two bombs into a crowd of Arab workers from a passing vehicle, killing 6 workers and wounding 42, damaging the relative peace between the two groups in Haifa. Later that day the Arab crowd protested and broke into the refinery compound, killing 39 Jews and wounding 49. Skirmishes continued in Haifa and around the region.
January 4 – Lehi set off a truck bomb outside Jaffa‘s Town Hall, killing 26.
January 16 – 35 members of the Haganah killed attempting to carry supplies across country to Kfar Etzion.
Winter and Spring – “Battle of the Roads”. The Arab League sponsored Arab Liberation Army, composed of Palestinian Arabs and Arabs from other Middle Eastern countries, attacked Jewish communities in Mandatory Palestine, and Jewish traffic on major roads.
February 2 – car bombs in Ben Yehuda Street, Jerusalem. 58 Jewish civilians were killed and 140 injured.
February 14 – 60 villagers killed by Palmach at Sa’sa’.
By late March 1948, the vital road that connected Tel Aviv to western Jerusalem, where about 16% of all Jews in the Mandatory Palestine lived, was cut off and under siege.
March 27 – 47 members of a Haganah convoy killed near the village of al-Kabri.
April 6 – Operation Nachshon. The Haganah decided to launch a major military counteroffensive to break the siege of Jerusalem. On April 6 the Haganah and its strike force, the Palmach, in an offensive to secure strategic points, took al-Qastal, an important roadside town 2 kilometers west of Deir Yassin.
April 9 – Deir Yassin Massacre. Around 120 fighters from the Irgun Zevai Leumi and Lohamei Herut Israel Zionist paramilitary groups attacked Deir Yassin near Jerusalem, a Palestinian-Arab village of roughly 600 people.IZL–Lehi forces attack Deir Yassin to relieve Arab siege of Jews in Jerusalem. In the aftermath 107 Arabs (mostly villagers) and 4 among the IZL–Lehi forces are killed.
April 13 – Hadassah medical convoy massacre. Claimed as retribution for the Deir Yassin massacre, Arab protesters attack a large convoy, mostly of unarmed Jewish doctors, and some military personnel set off carrying patients, equipment, and supplies, travel from Jerusalem to the besieged hospital which treated the majority of Jewish residents in Jerusalem. 79 Jews are killed. Road attacks continue and convoys were unable to reach the hospital for a week.
April 22 – Operation Yiftach launched, leading to the conquest of north eastern Galilee between the Lebanese and Syrian frontiers.
April 23 – Arab quarters of Haifa taken by the Haganah.
May 13 – Kfar Etzion massacre was an act committed by Arab forces, after the surrender of the Jewish village to Arab Legion. Out of 133 Jewish villagers and defenders, 129 were murdered in the massacre, 4 survived. Bodies were left unburied until January 1949. 320 prisoners from the Etzion settlements were taken to the “Jordan POW camp at Mafrak”, including 85 women.
May 14 – Haganah take control of Jaffa. Its 1947 population of 70,000 reduced to 4,000.
May 14 – The British Mandate over Palestine expired.
After the declaration of the establishment of the State of Israel
May 15 – Following a letter from the Agent of the new Provisional Government to President Truman, the United States recognized the provisional government as the de facto authority of the new State of Israel. Members of the Arab League – Syria, Iraq, Egypt, Transjordan, the Holy War Army and the Arab Liberation Army, marched their forces into what had the previous day ceased to be the British Mandate for Palestine. The League of Arab States sent a cablegram to the Secretary-General of the United Nations saying, On the occasion of the intervention of Arab States in Palestine to restore law and order and to prevent disturbances prevailing in Palestine from spreading into their territories and to check further bloodshed,.
May 23 – Thomas C. Wasson, US Consul General, assassinated in Jerusalem.
June – Violent confrontation between the Israel Defense Forces (IDF) under the command of David Ben-Gurion, and the paramilitary Jewish group Irgun known as The Altalena Affair results in the dismantlement of the Irgun, Lehi, and all Israeli paramilitary organizations operating outside the IDF.
Infiltration by Palestinian fedayeen begin from Egypt across Israeli border resulting in many minor skirmishes, raids and counter-raids, resulting in hundreds of casualties on both sides, including many civilians. One thousand three hundred Israelis were killed or wounded in terrorist attacks. “Egypt’s President
September 19 – Folke Bernadotte, United Nations Peace Envoy, assassinated in Jerusalem.
September 22 – the All-Palestine Government is assembled in the Egyptian controlled Gaza Strip, and is recognized by all members of the Arab League, except Jordan.
October 28 – Israeli army kill at least 70 villagers at Al-Dawayima.
February–July – Israel concludes Armistice Agreements with neighbouring countries. The territory of the Mandatory Palestine is divided between the State of Israel, the Transjordan and the All-Palestine Government in Gaza, under prefecture of Egypt. During and after the war about 711,000 Palestinian Arabs become displaced and refugees. 800,000-1,000,000 Jews living in Muslim countries are expelled during or after the war.
February – 148 infiltrators killed by the Israeli army during February in area around Majdal/Ashkelon.
June – Israeli army kill 93 infiltrators along Southern Jordan and Gaza Strip borders.
July – 59 infiltrators killed by Israeli army. It is estimated that at least 1000 were killed during 1949.
Post 1948 war
In 1949-1953, there are 99 complaints made by Israel about the infiltration of armed groups or individuals and 30 complaints of armed Jordanian units crossing into Israeli territory. Several hundred Israeli civilians are killed by infiltrators, and some are raped and mutilated. Israel launches numerous reprisal raids in response. Between 1949 and 1956 286 Israeli civilians were killed. During the same period, excluding the Suez War, 258 Israeli soldiers were killed. Between 2,700 and 5,000 Arab infiltrators were killed.
The State of Israel is confronted by a wave of Palestinian infiltrations (fedayeen). In 1951, 118 Israelis, including 48 civilians, are killed by such infiltrators. According to Israeli army records an average of 36 infiltrators were killed each month during 1951. Israel begins Retribution Operations as punishment and prevention measures.
February 6/7 – Village of Sharafat, south-west of Jerusalem attacked by Israeli army. 9 villagers killed.
68 Israelis, including 42 civilians, are killed by Palestinian infiltrators. The Israeli army killed a monthly average of 33 people crossing the armisitice lines, including 78 in March and 57 in April.
January 6/7 – Israeli army attack Bayt Jala killing 6, including 2 women and 2 girls.
71 Israelis, including 44 civilians, are killed by Palestinian infiltrators.
April 22 – At least six Jordanian soldiers killed by Israeli sniper fire from West Jerusalem.
May 17–23 – Operation Viper on the track. Seven West Bank villages and a bedouin camp in Israel attacked by Israeli army.
August 11/12 – Operation Vengeance and reprisal. Four West Bank villages attacked by Israeli army, including al-Khader and Surif. Six people killed.
October 16 – Qibya massacre. Ariel Sharon in command of Unit 101 carries out a raid in the village of Qibya. Over 60 Arabs are killed, two-thirds of whom are women and children.
57 Israelis are killed, including 33 civilians. Israeli Border Police record between May and December they killed 51 infiltrators.
March 16/17 – Ma’ale Akrabim massacre: Arab gang attacks an Israeli civilian bus, killing 11.
April 28/9 – Operation Lion. Village of Nahhalin attacked by Israeli army. Nine people killed. Four National Guardsmen, three Jordanian soldiers, the village mukhtar and a woman.
July 10/12 – Operation Eye for an eye. An Israeli company led by Ariel Sharon attacksa post on the Gaza border near Kissufim killing 9 or 10 Palestinian gendarmes.
July 23/24 – start of the Lavon Affair.
74 Israelis are killed, including 24 civilians. The Israeli army record 36 “hostile” infiltrators being killed.
February 28/March 1 – Operation Black arrow. Sharon leads an Israeli attack on an Egyptian army base in the Gaza Strip killing 38 soldiers and two civilians.
August 31/September 1 – Israeli army attacks outskirts of Khan Yunis. 72 Egyptians and Palestinians killed.
October 27/28 – Sharon leads a force of 200 Israeli paratroopers on an attack on Kuntilla. 12 Egyptian soldiers killed.
November 2/3 – Operation Volcano. The Israeli army attacks Egyptian army position in al Sabha and Wadi Siram killing 81 Egyptian soldiers.
December 11/12 – Operation Olive leaves. A large Israeli force commanded by Sharon attacked Syrian positions east of Lake Tiberias. 48 Syrian soldiers killed as well as six civilians.
117 Israelis killed, including 54 civilians but excluding soldiers killed during the attack on the Suez Canal.
April 5 – Moshe Dayan ordered the shelling of the centre of Gaza City with 120mm mortars. 57 civilians and four Egyptian soldiers killed.
October 9 – Qalqilya police station attacked by a battalion sized force from the Israeli army, including armour and artillery. Between 70 and 90 Jordanians killed.
October 29 – The Suez Crisis. Israel invaded Egypt‘s Sinai Peninsula with covert assent from France and Britain. The European nations had economic and trading interests in the Suez Canal, while Israel wanted to reopen the canal for Israeli shipping and end Egyptian-supported fedayeen incursions and attacks. Israel completely withdrew six months later when Egypt assured Israel unimpeded navigation and safety.
October 29 – In the Kafr Qasim massacre 48–49 Arab civilians were killed by the Israel Border Police as they returned to their village from work.
March – Israel withdraws its forces from the Sinai Peninsula, ending the Suez Crisis.
The Cairo-born Yasser Arafat forms Fatah to conduct guerrilla warfare operations against Israel.
In a new wave of Arab socialism, the Ba’ath party takes power in Iraq and Syria. Among the key targets of the Ba’ath is the support of the Palestinian cause.
February 3 – The Palestine Liberation Organization is founded in Cairo by the Arab League with Ahmad Shuqeiri as its leader. Even though Ahmad Shuqeiri is the official leader, the organization is more or less controlled by the Egyptian government. The PLO states their goal as the destruction of the State of Israel through armed struggle, and replacing it with an “independent Palestinian state” between the Jordan River and the Mediterranean Sea. Others around the world, including the first airplane hijackings.
Walid Shoebat, a former PLO terrorist acknowledged: “Why is it that on June 4th 1967 I was a Jordanian and overnight I became a Palestinian? … we considered ourselves Jordanian until the Jews returned to Jerusalem. Then all of the sudden we were Palestinians. They removed the star from the Jordanian flag and all at once we had a Palestinian flag.”
June – The Six-Day War. Israel launches a strike on Egyptian Air Force (June 5), following Egyptian naval blockade of the Straits of Tiran (May 22) and Egyptian military buildup in the Sinai Peninsula (May 16), interpreted as acts of war. Attack quickly turns into a regional war, in which Israel defeats the combined forces of Egypt, Syria, Jordan, Iraq and their supporters. It captures the Sinai Peninsula and the Gaza Strip from Egypt, East Jerusalem and the West Bank from Jordan, and the Golan Heights from Syria. The number of war casualties is estimated between 15,000 to 25,000.
September 1, 1967 – The Khartoum Resolution issued at the Arab Summit with eight Arab countries adopts the “three nos”: 1. No peace with Israel, 2. No recognition of Israel, 3. No negotiations with Israel.
March 21 – Israel fights the Battle of Karameh against Fatah and Jordanian forces.
1968–1970 – Egypt wages the War of Attrition against Israel.
December 27/28 – Israeli army launch an attack on Beirut airport destroying 13 aircraft.
February 2 – Yasser Arafat, head of the Fatah party, is appointed chairman of the Palestine Liberation Organization, replacing Ahmad Shukeiri, after Fatah becomes the dominant force in the PLO.
May 8 – Avivim school bus massacre. Palestinian militants coming from Lebanon attack a school bus, killing 12 (mostly children) and wounding another 19.
September, 1970 – After the Palestinian defeat in Black September in Jordan by Jordanian forces, the PLO was driven out to south Lebanon.
January 2 – Murder of the Aroyo children. A Palestinian teenager throws a hand grenade into the moving car of the Aroyo family. The children, aged 4 and 7, are killed and the parents are injured.
May 8 – A Sabena airplane was hijacked and blown up.
September 6 – Munich Massacre of Israeli Olympic team by Palestinian militant group, Black September. This leads Israel to launch reprisal assassinations known as Operation Wrath of God.
October – The Yom Kippur War. Syria and Egypt surprise-attack Israeli forces in the Golan Heights and the Sinai Peninsula on the holiest day of the Hebrew calendar. Jordan, Iraq, and other Arab nations join in and/or support the Arab war effort. Many Israeli prisoners of war are tortured and killed by Egypt and Syria while in captivity.
Palestinian insurgency in South Lebanon
April 11 – Kiryat Shmona massacre. The Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine General Command crossed the border into Israel from Lebanon. They entered an apartment building and killed all eighteen residents, half of whom were children.
May 15 – Ma’alot massacre. The Democratic Front for the Liberation of Palestine attacked a van killing two Israeli Arab women, entered an apartment and killed a family, took over a local school and held 115 students and teachers hostage. 25 Israelis were killed at the school, including 22 children, and 68 were wounded.
October 26–29 – The Arab League recognized the PLO as sole representative of the Palestinians.
November 13 – Yassir Arafat addressed the United Nations General Assembly.
March 4 – Savoy Operation. Eight Palestinian terrorists in two teams landed by boat in Tel Aviv. Shooting and throwing grenades, they captured the Savoy Hotel and take the guests as hostages. Five hostages were freed and eight were killed. Three Israeli soldiers were also killed.
July 4 – A “refrigerator bomb” in Jerusalem kills 15 Israelis and wounds 77.
November 10 – The United Nations General Assembly Resolution 3379, adopted on November 10, 1975 by a vote of 72 to 35 (with 32 abstentions), “determine[d] that Zionism is a form of racism and racial discrimination”. The resolution was revoked by Resolution 46/86 on December 16, 1991.
November 13 – An explosive charge went off near Cafe Naveh on Jaffa Road, near the pedestrian mall. Seven Israeli civilians were killed and 45 injured.
May 3 – Ben Yehuda Street in Jerusalem is bombed by Palestinian terrorists. 33 civilians are injured.
July 4 – Operation Entebbe. Air France Flight 139, originating in Tel Aviv, took off from Athens, Greece, heading for Paris. It was hijacked by four terrorists (two from the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine and two from the radical German militant group Revolutionary Cells). Israel performed a rescue mission to free the 248 passengers and 12 crew members held hostage at Entebbe Airport in Uganda.
March 1977, Zahir Muhsein, an executive member of the Palestinian Liberation Organization (PLO), said in an interview to the Dutch newspaper Trouw: “The ‘Palestinian people’ does not exist. The creation of a Palestinian state is only a means for continuing our struggle against the state of Israel.”
March 1978 – Coastal Road Massacre. Fatah Palestinians killed an American photographer, hijacked a loaded bus and killed 38 more Israelis, including 13 children, and wounded 76.
Operation Litani. Israel, in alliance with the mostly Christian South Lebanon Army, launches a limited-scope invasion of Lebanon and attempts to push Palestinian militant groups away from the Israel border. The 7-day offensive results in 100,000 to 285,000 refugees created and between 300 and 1200 Lebanese and Palestinian militants and civilians killed.
September 17, 1978
March 14, 1979
One Israeli is killed and 13 people are injured when an explosive charge blows up in a trash can in Zion Square.
March 26, 1979
Israel-Egypt Peace Treaty. Egypt becomes the first Arab country to officially recognize Israel.
April 22, 1979
Samir Kuntar from the Palestine Liberation Front kills 4 Israelis including a four-year-old girl and a two-year-old girl in the Israeli town of Nahariya.
July 17: Israel bombs PLO headquarters, which had been located in a civilian area of Beirut and caused more than 300 civilian deaths. This led the United States to broker a shaky cease-fire between Israel and the PLO.
August 29: The 1981 Vienna synagogue attack on the Stadttempel of Vienna, Austria carried out by Palestinian terrorists of the Abu Nidal organization. October 20: 1981 Antwerp bombing on October 20, 1981, when a truck bomb exploded outside a Portuguese Jewish synagogue in the centre of Antwerp, Belgium.
My 15, 1982: Israel launches Operation Peace for Galilee into southern Lebanon. Israel claims the invasion was in order to remove PLO forces after several violations of a cease-fire, most notably an assassination attempt against Israel’s ambassador to the United Kingdom, Shlomo Argov, by the Abu Nidal Organization. Israel is allied with the Lebanese Christian army against the PLO, Syria, and Muslim Lebanese. As a result of the war, the PLO leadership is driven from Lebanon and relocates to Tunis.
September 1982: Sabra and Shatila massacre. Lebanese Phalangists massacre between 700–3,500 Palestinians in the refugee camps of Sabra and Shatila, almost all civilians. While no Israeli soldiers were present in the fighting, Israeli Defense Minister, Ariel Sharon, was found to be indirectly responsible by negligence for the massacre by the Kahan Commission, and was asked to resign his position. The commission’s conclusions are controversial and remain a subject of debate.
June 11, 1982
19-year-old Israeli girl is abducted, raped, and murdered by 4 Arabs.
The Israeli Army withdraws from most of Lebanon in August 1983, maintaining a self-proclaimed “Security Zone” in the south.
December 8, 1983
April 9, 1985
Sana’a Mouhadlyof the Syrian Social Nationalist Party detonates herself in an explosive-laden vehicle in Lebanon, killing two Israeli soldiers and injuring two more, becoming the first reported female suicide bomber.
October 1, 1985
After three Israeli civilians were killed on their yacht off the coast of Cyprus by Force 17 PLO, the Israeli Air Force carries out Operation Wooden Leg and strikes the PLO base in Tunis, killing 60 PLO members.
October 7, 1985
The Palestine Liberation Front hijacks the Achille Lauro, redirecting the cruise ship to Syria and holding its passengers and crew hostage, demanding the release of 50 Palestinians in Israeli prisons. One man was murdered; Leon Klinghoffer, a Jewish American, was celebrating his 36th wedding anniversary with his wife upon the Achille Lauro. At the age of 69 he was shot in the forehead and chest while sitting in his wheelchair.
December 27, 1985
December 8, 1987
First Intifada begins. Violence, riots, general strikes, and civil disobedience campaigns by Palestinians spread across the West Bank and Gaza Strip. Israeli forces respond with tear gas, plastic bullets, and live ammunition.
After the outbreak of the First Intifada, Shaikh Ahmed Yassin creates Hamas from the Gaza wing of the Egyptian Muslim Brotherhood. Until this point the Muslim Brotherhood in Gaza had enjoyed the support of the Israeli authorities and had refrained from violent attacks, however, Hamas quickly began attacks on Israeli military targets, and subsequently, Israeli civilians.
The PLO initiated the Intifada (“shaking off”) after false rumors of Israeli atrocities circulated through Palestinian territories. Palestinians claim this was a nonviolent uprising, but it quickly turned violent with 164 Israelis killed and more than 1,400 Israeli civilians and 1,700 Israeli soldiers injured. Almost half (1,000) of the Palestinian casualties were caused by other Palestinians in the “Intrafada,” or internal, fighting among Palestinian factions.5
August 1, 1988
King Hussein of Jordan abandoned to the PLO its claim for the West Bank.
November 15, 1988
July 16, 1989
When the U.S.-led coalition fought to get Saddam Hussein out of Kuwait, Hussein attempted to draw Israel into the war and fired 39 Scud missiles into Israel. To avoid disrupting the U.S.-led coalition, Israel did not retaliate.
October 30, 1991
December 16, 1991
May 24, 1992
Murder of Helena Rapp: 15-year-old Israeli girl is stabbed to death on the way to school by a Palestinian terrorist.
Mehola Junction bombing, the first suicide attack by Hamas. One Palestinian bystander was killed by the blast, and eight Israeli soldiers were slightly injured.
August 20, 1993
Yasser Arafat and Yitzhak Rabin sign the Declaration of Principles on Interim Self-Government in Oslo. This event is also seen by many people as the definitive end to the First Intifada (although some argue it had effectively ended by 1991–1992). By 1993, the violence of the Intifada had claimed the lives of 1162 Palestinians and 160 Israelis. The IDF criticized these numbers from not distinguishing combatants and non-combatants.
February 25, 1994
Cave of the Patriarchs attack, Baruch Goldstein opens fire on a group of Palestinian Muslims worshipping at a Mosque, killing 29 and injuring 125. He is subsequently overpowered and beaten to death by survivors.
April 6, 1994
Hamas carries out their second suicide bombing, in Afula, Israel, killing 8 people.
May 18, 1994
Israeli forces withdraw from Jericho and Gaza City in compliance with the Oslo accords.
October 19, 1994
October 26, 1994
Israel-Jordan Peace Treaty is signed by Yizhak Rabin and King Hussein with the mediation of the US government.
November 30, 1994
Afula axe attack: Arab kills a 19-year-old female Israeli soldier with an axe.
December 10, 1994
January 22, 1995
Beit Lid massacre: a double suicide bombing by the Palestinian Islamic Jihad leaves 21 killed in one of the biggest attacks which further divides the Israeli public over the peace process.
April 9, 1995
Kfar Darom bus attack: 8 Israelis are killed and 52 are injured in an Islamic Jihad suicide bombing.
July 24, 1995
Ramat Gan bus bombing: 6 Israelis are killed and 33 are wounded in a Hamas suicide bombing.
August 21, 1995
Ramat Eshkol bus bombing: 5 Israelis are killed in a Hamas suicide bombing and over 100 are injured.
September 28, 1995
November 4, 1995
Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin is assassinated in Tel Aviv by Jewish extremist Yigal Amir. Shimon Peres assumes the position of acting Prime Minister.
February 25 – March 4, 1996
A series of suicide attacks in Jerusalem (Jerusalem bus 18 suicide bombings and in the French Hill), Tel Aviv and Ashkelon leave more than 60 Israeli dead. These events are said to have had a major impact on the Israeli elections in May.
April 11–27, 1996
Operation of Grapes of Wrath and the 1996 shelling of Qana: Operation Grapes of Wrath (Hebrew: מבצע ענבי זעם) is the Israeli Defense Forces code-name (Hezbollah calls it April War) for a sixteen-day campaign against Lebanon in 1996. Israel conducted more than 1,100 air raids and extensive shelling (some 25,000 shells). 639 Hezbollah cross-border rocket attacks targeted northern Israel, particularly the town of Kiryat Shemona. The conflict escalated on April 18 when Israeli artillery killed 106 civilians in a technical error and Israeli warplanes killed 9 other civilians in the city of Nabatiyeh while sleeping in their two-story building. The conflict was de-escalated on 27 April by a ceasefire agreement banning attacks on civilians.
June 9, 1996
Murder of Yaron and Efrat Ungar: Married Israeli couple shot dead by Palestinian gunmen while driving with their one-year-old son.
January 15–17, 1997
Protocol Concerning the Redeployment in Hebron was signed. The agreement called for an IDF withdrawal from 80% of Hebron, and initiation of withdrawal from rural areas in the West Bank, as well as remaining parts of the West Bank apart from settlements and military locations. Israel and the PA agreed to begin negotiations on the permanent status agreement to be completed by May 4, 1999.
March 13, 1997
Island of Peace massacre: A Jordanian soldier opens fire on a large group of Israeli schoolgirls, killing 7 of them and injuring 6.
March 21, 1997
Cafe Apropo bombing: Palestinian suicide bomber kills 3 Israeli women and injures 48.
July 30, 1997
16 Israelis are killed in a double suicide attack in the major market of Jerusalem. This was the worst killing during Netanyahu’s time which is regarded as a relatively quiet period, attributed by Netanyahu to his tit-for-tat policy and his objection to the Palestinian revolving door policy.
September 4, 1997
A Hamas suicide bombing at a pedestrian mall in Jerusalem kills 5 Israelis, including 3 fourteen-year-old girls, and led to Chicago’s Persian heritage crisis.
October 23, 1998
Benjamin Netanyahu and Yasser Arafat sign the Wye River Memorandum at a summit in Maryland hosted by Bill Clinton. The sides agreed on steps to facilitate implementation of the Interim Agreement on the West Bank and Gaza Strip of September 28, 1995 and other related agreements including the Hebron Protocol of January 17, 1997 so that the Israeli and Palestinian sides could more effectively carry out their reciprocal responsibilities, including those relating to further redeployments and security.
May 17, 1999
May 24, 2000
The Israeli Army withdraws from southern Lebanon, in compliance with U.N. Resolution 425. Syria and Lebanon insist that the withdrawal is incomplete, claiming the Shebaa Farms as Lebanese and still under occupation. The UN certifies full Israeli withdrawal.
The Camp David Summit between Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Barak and Palestinian Authority Chairman Yasser Arafat aimed at reaching a “final status” agreement collapses after Yasser Arafat would not accept a proposal drafted by American and Israeli negotiators.
September 28 – 29: Right wing Israeli Opposition Leader Ariel Sharon visits the Temple Mount which is administered by a Waqf (Under Israeli law, each religious group is granted administration of their holy sites). The day after the visit, violent confrontations erupt between Muslims and Israeli Police. Arafat names the second intifada the Al-Aqsa Intifada after Sharon’s visit, for the Al-Aqsa Mosque contained within the Temple Mount compound (holy also to Jews and Christians). This event is considered by some to be one of the possible catalysts of the second intifada. Palestinian leaders (including the Palestinian Minister of Communication, Imhad Falouji) later admit publicly that the Intifada had been planned since the end of the Camp David negotiations. A campaign of suicide bombings and terrorist attacks began September 29, 2000 and within five years had left over 1,068 Israelis dead and over 7,000 injured—69 percent of them civilians. Approximately 3,000 Palestinians were also killed in this conflict.
October 1 – 9: October 2000 events in Israel, solidarity demonstrations held by Palestinian citizens residing in Israel escalate into clashes with Israeli police and Israeli Jewish citizens. 13 Arab civilians (12 with Israeli citizenship) are shot and killed by Israeli police and one Jewish civilian is killed by a Palestinian. In a Hezbollah cross-border raid, 3 Israeli soldiers are killed and their bodies kidnapped and Northern Israel is shelled in an attempt to ignite the Israeli-Lebanese border too, but Israelis decide on limited response.
October 12: The lynching in Ramallah, two Israeli reservists accidentally enter Ramallah, to be arrested by Palestinian Security Forces, later to be publicly lynched and videotaped inside the Police station.
November 22: Two Israeli women were killed and 60 civilians were wounded in a car bomb attack in Hadera.
December 10: Prime Minister of Israel, Ehud Barak, resigns.
January 21–27: Taba Summit. Peace talks between Israel and the Palestinian Authority aimed to reach the “final status” of negotiations. Ehud Barak temporarily withdraws from negotiations during the Israeli elections, subsequently Ariel Sharon refused to continue negotiating in the face of the newly erupted violence.
March 26: Murder of Shalhevet Pass, a 10-month-old Israeli baby is shot dead by a Palestinian sniper. Israeli public is shocked when the investigation concludes that the sniper deliberately aimed for the baby.
June 1: Dolphinarium massacre. A Hamas suicide bomber exploded himself at the entrance of a club. 21 Israelis killed, over 100 injured, all youth. Five months prior to the bombing, there was a failed terrorist attempt at the same spot.
August 9: Sbarro restaurant massacre. A suicide bomber wearing an explosive belt weighing 5 to 10 kilograms, containing explosives, nails, nuts and bolts, detonated his bomb. In the blast 15 people (including 7 children and a pregnant woman) were killed, and 130 wounded. Both Hamas and the Islamic Jihad initially claimed responsibility.
December 1: 11 Israeli civilians, 9 of them teenagers, are killed and 188 are injured in a Hamas suicide bombing attack.
March: 25: 9 Palestinians and 131 Israelis were killed within the a period of violence known as the Second Intifada.
March 13: The United States pushes through the passage of Resolution 1397 by the Security Council, demanding an “immediate cessation of all acts of violence” and “affirming a vision of a region where two states, Israel and Palestine, live side by side within secure and recognized borders”.
March 14: Israeli forces continue the raid on Ramallah and other West Bank towns. A helicopter attack near Tulkarm kills Mutasen Hammad and two bystanders. A bomb in Gaza City destroys an Israeli tank which was escorting settlers, killing 3 soldiers and wounding 2. A car bomb in Tulkarm explodes, killing 4 Palestinians. Palestinians execute two accused collaborators in Bethlehem, planning to hang one of the corpses near the Church of the Nativity until Palestinian police stopped them.
March 27: Passover massacre, the Park Hotel in Netanya held a big Passover dinner for its 250 guests. A Palestinian suicide bomber enters the hotel’s dining room and detonates an explosive device, killing 30 people and injuring around 140, all civilians. Hamas claims responsibility.
March 28: The Beirut Summit approves the Saudi peace proposal.
March 30: A suicide bomber explodes in a Tel Aviv café at around 9:30 pm local time, wounding 32 people. President George W. Bush and Secretary of State Colin Powell (USA) call on Yasir Arafat to condemn the wave of suicide bombings in Arabic, to his own people. Israeli spokespeople make similar demands. Arafat goes on television and swears in Arabic that he will “die a martyr, a martyr, a martyr”. Members of Arafat’s personal Al-Aqsa brigade state that they will refuse any form of cease-fire, and that they will continue suicide bombings of civilians in Israel.
March 31: Matza restaurant massacre, a Palestinian Hamas bomber blows himself up in an Arab-owned restaurant in Haifa, killing 15 and injuring over 40 people.
April: Israeli troops exchange gunfire with guards of Yasir Arafat in Ramallah.
April 2: Israeli troops occupy Bethlehem. Dozens of armed Palestinian gunmen occupy the Church of the Nativity and hold the church and its clergy.
April 12: The Battle of Jenin, as part of Operation Defensive Shield, Israeli forces enter a Palestinian refugee camp in Jenin, where about a quarter of suicide bombings since 2000 had been launched from. The battle results in the deaths of 23 Israeli soldiers and 52 Palestinians, of which 30-47 were militants and 5-22 were civilians (sources vary). This particular event sparked a great deal of controversy.
May 18: Israeli Shin Bet officials announce they have arrested six Israelis for conspiring to bomb Palestinian schools in April, including Noam Federman, a leader of the illegal Kach movement of the late Rabbi Meir Kahane, and Menashe Levinger, son of Rabbi Moshe Levinger.
June: Israel begins construction of the Israeli West Bank barrier. Palestinian terror attacks on Israelis subsequently drop by 90%.
June 18: Patt junction massacre, a Palestinian Suicide bomber, an Islamic law student and member of Hamas, detonates a belt filled with metal balls for shrapnel on a bus in Jerusalem. 19 Israelis are killed, and over 74 wounded.
June 24: US President George W. Bush calls for an independent Palestinian state living in peace with Israel. Bush states that Palestinian leaders must take steps to produce democratic reforms, and fiscal accountability, in order to improve the negotiations with Israel. He also states that as Palestinians show control over terrorism, Israel must end operations in the West Bank, and in areas which it entered under Operation Defensive Shield.
July 16: 2002 Immanuel bus attack. Palestinian militants ambush a bus and kill 9 Israeli civilians, including infants. The youngest victim of the Second Intifada is among them.
July 22: An Israeli warplane fires a missile at an apartment in Gaza City, killing the top of their most wanted list, Salah Shehadeh, top commander of Hamas’ military wing, the Izzadine el-Qassam. The apartment building is flattened and 14 civilians are killed (including eight children).
July 31: Hebrew University massacre, 9 students, 4 Israelis and 5 Americans are killed by a suicide bomber at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem and over 100 were also injured. The attack is celebrated in the Gaza Strip.
July 31: A Hamas member plants a bag containing a bomb in the cafeteria of Hebrew University of Jerusalem, killing 9 Jewish students (four Israeli, five foreign), and injuring 85 others (different nationalities, including a number of Arabs). Palestinians rally in Gaza waving Hamas flags to celebrate the attack. On August 17, Israeli Security Forces expose a terrorist cell of Hamas operatives in East Jerusalem that had been responsible for the attack. The members had been planning another attack until arrested by Israel.  
August 14: Marwan Barghouti, captured April 15, was indicted by a civilian Israeli court for murdering civilians and membership in a terrorist organisation.
October 21: Karkur junction suicide bombing, 14 Israelis, including 7 civilians, are killed in an Islamic Jihad suicide bombing in Wadi Ara.
November 21: Jerusalem bus 20 massacre, a Hamas suicide bomber detonates himself on a crowded bus in Jerusalem, killing 11 people, and wounding over 50.
March 5: Haifa bus 37 suicide bombing. 17 Israelis, including 16 civilians and 9 children, are killed by a Hamas suicide bomber.
March 16: Rachel Corrie, an American member of the International Solidarity Movement is crushed by an IDF bulldozer, becoming the first ISM member to die in the conflict. Members of the group who witnessed her death allege murder, while Israel calls it a “regrettable accident”.
March 19: Mahmoud Abbas appointed Prime Minister of the Palestinian National Authority.
March 24: Hilltop 26, an illegal Israeli settlement near the city of Hebron, is peacefully dismantled by the IDF.
May 27: Ariel Sharon states that the “occupation” of Palestinian territories “can’t continue endlessly.”
June 2: A two-day summit is held in Egypt. Arab leaders announce their support for the road map and promised to work on cutting off funding to terrorist groups.
June 29: Hamas, Islamic Jihad and Fatah agree to a three-month cease-fire.
July 9: The International Court of Justice rules in a non-binding advisory opinion that the Israeli West Bank barrier is illegal under international law, the United Nations has also condemned the construction of the wall as “an unlawful act of annexation”. The United States and Australia defend the security fence saying the wall is a counter-terrorism protective measure and that the onus is on the Palestinian Authority to fight terrorism. The U.S., Canada, Israel and some 30 other democratic states objected to the ICJ consideration of the UN General Assembly request, finding the request loaded and prejudicial, and expressing concern of the ICJ’s credibility.
August 19: Jerusalem bus 2 massacre. A Hamas Palestinian disguised as a Haredi Jew detonates himself with a bomb spiked with ball-bearings on a bus crowded with children. 23 Israelis are killed and over 130 wounded, all civilians.
September 6: Mahmoud Abbas resigns from the post of Prime Minister.
October 4: Maxim restaurant suicide bombing. A 28-year-old Palestinian female suicide bomber, Hanadi Jaradat, explodes herself inside the Maxim restaurant in Haifa. 21 Israelis (Jewish and Arab) were killed, and 51 others were wounded. The restaurant is co-owned by Jewish and Christian Arab Israelis, and was a symbol of co-existence.
January 29: Gaza Street bus bombing. Ali Yusuf Jaara, a 24-year-old Palestinian policeman from Bethlehem, becomes a suicide bomber and kills 11 Israeli civilians in Jerusalem.
March 14: 2004 Ashdod Port bombings. 10 Israeli civilians are killed in a suicide bombing. Hamas and Fatah claim responsibility.
May 2: Murder of Tali Hatuel and her four daughters. Eight-months pregnant woman and her four young daughters are ambushed and killed by Palestinian militants.
August 31: Beersheba bus bombings. 16 Israeli civilians are killed in a suicide bombing. Hamas claims responsibility.
October 16: Israel officially ended a 17-day military operation, named Operation Days of Penitence, in the northern Gaza Strip. The operation was launched in response to a Qassam rocket that killed two children in Sderot. About 108–133 Palestinians were killed during the operation, of whom one third were civilians.
November 11: Yasser Arafat dies at the age of 75 in a hospital near Paris, after undergoing urgent medical treatment (since October 29, 2004).
February 25: Stage Club bombing. Young Israelis arrive for a surprise birthday party at the Stage Club in Tel Aviv. A Palestinian teenage suicide bomber detonates himself at the entrance to the club. 5 Israelis killed, and about 50 wounded. Islamic Jihad claims responsibility.
Post Intifada period
After Israel completely withdrew from Gaza in 2005, Hamas and other terrorists unleashed a barrage of daily rocket attacks into Israel. The city of Sderot, for example, one mile away from Gaza, was hit by over 360 Qassam rockets within a six-month period after Israel’s withdrawal. In June 2006, terrorists from Gaza tunneled into Israel, killing two soldiers and kidnapping one. Two weeks later, Hezbollah, supported by Iran and Syria, attacked Israel across the internationally recognized Israeli-Lebanese border, killing eight soldiers and kidnapping two, simultaneously launching a barrage of rockets against civilian towns in northern Israel. Israel responded with a military operation that lasted 34 days. After Hamas fired thousands of rockets at Israeli communities and refused to renew a six-month truce, Israel responded with a military operation against Hamas to protect Israeli citizens. The 22-day operation ended on January 18, 2009. In May 2010, Turkish activists with the Free Gaza flotilla tried to break Israel’s naval blockade of Hamas-controlled Gaza. In August 2010, Lebanese soldiers shot and killed an Israeli soldier during routine IDF maintenance on the border. Three Lebanese soldiers and one Lebanese journalist were killed in the exchange of gunfire.
August 7: An individual IDF deserter and member of the banned Kach group in Israel, Eden Natan-Zada, opens fire on a crowded bus in the Arab town of Shfaram, killing 4 Palestinians and wounding twenty-two. When he runs out of bullets, the bus is stormed by Arab bystanders and Zaada is beaten to death. PM Ariel Sharon and several Israeli leaders condemn the attack and offer condolences to the families.
August 17: Asher Weissgan shoots and kills 4 Palestinians in the West Bank as a protest against the disengagement plan.
September 12: Completion of Israel’s unilateral disengagement plan. Israel removes all Jewish settlements, many Bedouin communities, and military equipment from the Gaza Strip. Although there is no permanent Israeli presence or jurisdiction in Gaza anymore, Israel retains control of certain elements (such as airspace, borders and ports), leading to an ongoing dispute as to whether or not Gaza is “occupied” or not. Since the disengagement, Palestinian militant groups have used the territory as a staging ground from which to launch rocket attacks and build underground tunnels into Israel.
October 14: Lebanese Prime Minister Fuad Saniora announces Lebanon will be the last Arab country to have any peace with Israel.
January 25: Hamas wins by landslide the majority of seats after the Palestinian legislative election, 2006. Israel, the United States, European Union, and several European and Western countries cut off their aid to the Palestinians; as they view the Islamist political party who rejects Israel’s right to exist as a terrorist organization.
June 9: Following the Gaza beach blast, in which seven members of one family and one other Palestinian were killed on a Gaza beach, the armed wing of Hamas calls off its 16-month-old truce. Israel claims it was shelling 250m away from the family’s location; Palestinians claimed that the explosion was Israeli responsibility. Reports have concluded Israel had not been responsible for the blast. An Israeli internal investigation report claims the blast was most likely caused by an unexploded munition buried in the sand and not by shelling.
June 13: Israel kills 11 Palestinians in a missile strike on a van carrying Palestinian militants and rockets driving through a densely civilian populated area in Gaza. Nine among those killed are civilian bystanders.
June 25: After crossing the border from the Gaza Strip into Israel, Palestinian militants attack an Israeli army post. The militants kidnapped Gilad Shalit, killed two IDF soldiers and wounded four others. Israel launches Operation Summer Rains.
July 5: First Qassam rocket of increased range is fired into the school yard in the Southern Israeli coastal city of Ashkelon. This has been the first instance of an increased distance Qassam rockets can reach and the first time a significantly large city has been attacked. No one was injured in this attack.
July 12: 2006 Lebanon War: Hezbollah infiltrates Israel in a cross-border raid, kidnaps two soldiers and kills three others. Israel attempts to rescue the kidnapped, and five more soldiers are killed. Israel’s military responds, and the 2006 Israel-Lebanon conflict begins. The conflict results in the deaths of 1,191 Lebanese people and 165 Israelis. Of the Israelis killed, 121 were soldiers and 44 were civilians. It is unclear how many of the Lebanese fatalities were combatants, though Israeli officials reported that an estimated 800 were Hezbollah militants. Approximately one million Lebanese and 300,000–500,000 Israelis were displaced.
July 26: Israel launches a counter-offensive to deprive cover to militants firing rockets into Israel from Gaza. 23 Palestinians killed, at least 16 are identified militants, 76 wounded.
August 14: 2006 Fox journalists kidnapping. Palestinian militants kidnap Fox journalists Olaf Wiig and Steve Centanni, demanding the U.S. to release all Muslims in prison. The two are eventually released on August 27, after stating they have converted to Islam. They both later said that they were forced to convert to Islam at gunpoint.
September: Violence and rivalry erupts between Fatah and Hamas in the Gaza Strip. Mahmoud Abbas tries to prevent civil war. President Mahmoud Abbas and his moderate party advocate a Palestinian state alongside Israel, while Prime Minister Ismail Haniya and his Islamist party reject Israel’s right to exist.
September 26: A UN study declares the humanitarian situation in the Gaza Strip “intolerable”, with 75% of the population dependent on food aid, and an estimated 80% of the population living below the poverty line. The Palestinian economy had largely relied on Western aid and revenues, which has been frozen since Hamas’s victory. The situation can also be attributed to Israeli closures, for which Israel and the EU cite security concerns, specifically smuggling, possible weapons transfers and uninhibited return of exiled extremist leaders and terrorists; as well as an extremely high birth rate.
October 11–14: In the midst of an increase of rocket attacks against Israel, the Israeli Air Force fires into the Gaza Strip over a three-day period. 21 Palestinians are killed (17 Hamas militants, 1 al-Aqsa Martyrs’ Brigades militant, and 3 civilians). The two dozen wounded include gunmen and passersby. Israel says the offensive is designed to track down the kidnapped soldier and to stop militants firing rockets into Israel. Spokesman Abu Ubaida for Hamas’s military wing issued a statement vowing “we will bombard and strike everywhere” in response to the attacks. Makeshift rockets are immediately shot into Israel.
October 20: Brokered by Egyptian mediators, Fatah reaches a deal to end fighting between the Hamas and Fatah factions, both groups agreeing to refrain from acts that raise tensions and committing themselves to dialogue to resolve differences. Prime Minister Ismail Haniyeh of Hamas brushes off comments by President Mahmoud Abbas, head of Fatah, who indicated he could dismiss the Hamas-led cabinet. Abbas unsuccessfully urges Hamas to accept international calls to renounce violence and recognize Israel’s right to exist.
Palestinian gunmen (presumably of the Fatah faction) open fire at the convoy of Prime Minister Haniyeh as it passed through a refugee camp in central Gaza.
November 8: Beit Hanoun November 2006 incident. Amidst ongoing rocket fire, Israel shells Beit Hanoun, killing 19 Palestinian civlians (seven children, four women) during the Gaza operations. Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert apologises, saying the incident had been an accidental “technical failure” by the Israeli military.
January 19: Israel transfers $100 million in tax revenues to cover humanitarian needs to the office of the Palestinian Authority president, Mahmoud Abbas, as part of a plan to bolster him and keep money out of the hands of the Hamas government.
February: Negotiations in Mecca produced agreement on a Palestinian national unity government signed by Abbas on behalf of Fatah and Khaled Mashal on behalf of Hamas.
March: The Palestinian Legislative Council established a national unity government, with 83 representatives voting in favor and three against. Government ministers were sworn in by Abu Mazen, the chairman on the Palestinian Authority, at a ceremony held simultaneously in Gaza and Ramallah.
May 4: The United States sets a timetable for easing Palestinian travel and bolstering Israeli security. Israel including steps like removing specific checkpoints in the West Bank and deploying better-trained Palestinian forces to try to halt the firing of rockets into Israel from Gaza and the smuggling of weapons, explosives and people into Gaza from Egypt. Israel is wary over certain proposals so long as Palestinian militants continue to fire rockets at Israel. The Hamas-led Palestinian government rejected the initiative.
June 7: Battle of Gaza begins, resulting in Hamas taking control of the Gaza Strip from Fatah.
November 27: Annapolis Conference, a peace conference marked the first time a two-state solution was articulated as the mutually agreed-upon outline for addressing the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. The conference ended with the issuing of a joint statement from all parties.
February 27: Hamas, the Popular Resistance Committees and the Palestinian Islamic Jihad fired a rocket barrage at the Israeli city of Ashkelon.
February 28: Operation Hot Winter is launched in response to rockets fired from the Gaza Strip into Israel. The operation resulted in 112 Palestinians and three Israelis being killed.
May 14: Tony Blair announces new plan for peace and for Palestinian rights, based heavily on the ideas of the Peace Valley plan.
November, 4: Israeli troops made a raid on Gaza, in which they killed six members of Hamas. Hamas responded with rocket attacks on southern Israel.
December: Israel launches Operation Cast Lead against the Hamas controlled Gaza Strip, a full scale invasion of the territory.
Operation Cast Lead launched near the end of the previous year by Israel, continued until January 18. After 22 days of fighting, Israel and Hamas each declared separate unilateral ceasefires. Casualties of the Gaza War are disputed. According to Hamas, they include as many as 1,417 Palestinians including as many as 926 civilians. According to the IDF, 1,166 Palestinians were killed, and 295 were non-combatants.
April 2: Bat Ayin axe attack. A Palestinian terrorist attacks a group of Israeli children with an axe and a knife, killing one and injuring three.
January: Two airstrikes against weapons tunnels used to smuggle rockets and militants attempting to fire mortars into Israeli are carried out by the Israeli Air Force, killing 3 militants and wounding another 7. The militants were members of Hamas and the Islamic Jihad Movement in Palestine.
February 10: Tapuah junction stabbing. A Palestinian Authority police officer stabs an Israeli soldier to death.
February 24: Murder of Neta Sorek. Israeli woman is stabbed to death by Palestinian terrorists.
May: Gaza flotilla raid. Turkish activists with the Free Gaza flotilla try to break Israel’s naval blockade of Hamas-controlled Gaza, but are intercepted by the IDF. When the IDF board the ship, the activists attack them with knives and metal rods. Three Israeli soldiers are taken hostage, beaten, and abused. Nine Turks are shot dead by IDF gunfire.
August 31: Hamas terrorists shoot dead four Israeli civilians near Kiryat Arba, including a pregnant woman.
December 18: Murder of Kristine Luken. American woman is stabbed to death by Palestinian terrorists. Another woman is severely injured.
March 11: Itamar massacre. Two Palestinians infiltrate the town of Itamar and murder five members of the Fogel family in their beds. Among the victims are three young children, including an infant.
March 23: 2011 Jerusalem bus stop bombing. Hamas bombs a bus station in Jerusalem and kills 1 civilian. 39 injured.
April 7: Hamas school bus attack. Hamas militants bomb an Israeli school bus and kill a teenager.
August 18: 2011 southern Israel cross-border attacks. Egyptian and Palestinian militants attack southern Israel and kill 8 Israelis, including 6 civilians. 40 injured. 5 Egyptian soldiers are also killed.
September: Palestine Authority moves a resolution in UN for recognition of Palestine statehood, calling it a ‘Palestine Spring’.
November: Palestine win membership of UNESCO while UN vote on statehood is put off amid no support from France and UK while US had threatened to veto it.
January 1: Gaza fires two white-phosphorus-containing mortars into the area governed by the Eshkol Regional Council. The shells landed in an open field and caused no injuries or damage. A complaint about the white phosphorus was subsequently sent to the UN by Israel.
March 9–15: March 2012 Gaza-Israel clashes. Gaza militants launch over 300 rockets, Grad missiles, and mortar shells into southern Israel, wounding 23 Israeli civilians. Israel retaliates with air strikes on Gazan weapons storage facilities, rocket launching sites, weapon manufacturing facilities, training bases, posts, tunnels and terror operatives, killing 22 militants. 4 Palestinian civilians die during the clashes, though some of their deaths were found to be unrelated to Israeli actions.
March 30: it was revealed that the Civil Administration, a unit of the IDF, has over the years covertly earmarked 10% of the West Bank for further settlement.
September 21: September 2012 Egypt-Israel border attack. Militants open fire on Israeli soldiers and civilian workers. 1 soldier is killed.
November 14–21: Operation Pillar of Defense. The Israeli Air Force kills Ahmed Jabari, second-in-command of the military wing of Hamas. Hamas fires over 1,456 rockets at southern Israel, killing 6, including a pregnant woman, and injuring hundreds. Rockets are fired at Jerusalem for the first time and at Tel Aviv for the first time since the first Gulf War. A bus is bombed in Tel Aviv on November 21, wounding 28 civilians. Israel retaliates by bombing hundreds of military sites in the Gaza Strip.
November 29: United Nations General Assembly resolution 67/19, upgrading Palestine to non-member observer state status in the United Nations, was adopted by the 67th session of the UN General Assembly, the date of the International Day of Solidarity with the Palestinian People and the 65th anniversary of the adoption by the General Assembly of resolution 181(II) on the Future Government of Palestine. Vote: For: 138; Abs.: 41 Against: 9.
November 30: In response to the UN approving the Palestinian UN bid for non-member observer state status, the Israeli government inner cabinet announced that it approves the building of housing units in the E1 area, connecting Jerusalem and Ma’aleh Adumim.
2012: An annual survey by Shin Bet or Israel Security Agency (ISA) concluded that in 2012, the number of terrorist attacks in the West Bank rose from 320 in 2011 to 578 in 2012, but it was accompanied by a decrease in the number of fatalities. During that same year, 282 attacks were carried out in Jerusalem, compared to 191 in 2011. The increase in attacks is due in part to a 68% rise of attacks using molotov cocktails. However, the number of attacks involving firearms and explosives also grew by 42% — 37 compared to 26 in 2011.