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History of the Middle East conflict PDF Print E-mail
Wednesday, 07 February 2001

6 February 2001
Right-wing Ariel Sharon sweeps to power in Israel's prime ministerial election. Mr Sharon uses his victory speech to call for a government of national unity to bring peace to the Middle East.

10 December 2000
With his governing coalition teetering on the edge of collapse, Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Barak gives his resignation to the country's president. Mr Barak says he wants to seek a new mandate from the Israeli people.

17 October 2000
US President Bill Clinton presides over a summit at the Egyptian resort of Sharm el-Sheikh which announces plans to bring to an end weeks of Palestinian-Israeli violence. The plan unravels soon after it is agreed.

28 September 2000
Ariel Sharon, the leader of the right-wing Israeli opposition, visits the Temple Mount, known to Muslims as the Haram al-Sharif (Noble Sanctuary). Against a background of the failure of the peace process, the visit sparks off a spiral of violence that leaves more than 300 dead by the middle of December.

25 July 2000
A peace summit at Camp David in the United States ends without agreement after two weeks of intensive negotiations. The negotiators were unable to come up with a formula to reconcile their competing claims to Jerusalem. Palestinians and Israeli accused each other of intransigence, but promised to continue working towards a permanent peace agreement.

26 March 2000
Presidents Clinton and Assad fail to break the deadlock on the Syrian-Israeli track after several hours of talks in Geneva.

21 March 2000
Israel finally hands over West Bank territory to the Palestinians amounting to 6.1% of the total - the last part of a transfer originally agreed at Wye River in 1998. Palestinian and Israeli negotiators also meet in Washington to restart final status talks.

13 February 2000
Final status negotiations between Israel and the Palestinians are deadlocked as the deadline for a framework agreement is missed.

3 February 2000
Summit between Barak and Arafat breaks up over a disagreement on a promised Israeli withdrawal from the West Bank under the revised Wye accord.

15 December 1999
Barak meets Syrian foreign minister Farouk al-Shara in Washington for the highest ever level of talks between the countries. Negotiations resume in the new year but are suspended on 17 January without explanation. Breakdown triggers a new round of violence in Lebanon.

6 December 1999
Final status talks hit a serious problem when Palestinians withdraw in protest over the building of new settlements in the West Bank. Barak responds the following day by announcing a freeze on the addition of 1,800 more houses to Jewish settlements around Jerusalem.

8 November 1999
Final status talks resume between Israel and Palestinians.

5 September 1999
The Israelis and Palestinians sign a revised deal based on the stalled Wye River accord, aimed at reviving the Middle East peace process.

18 May 1999
Labour Party leader Ehud Barak pledges he will be a prime minister for all Israelis after a decisive general election victory over incumbent Binyamin Netanyahu.

7 February 1999
Death of King Hussein of Jordan who spearheaded moves towards normalisation between Israel and Arab states. Netanyahu talks of grief in Israel which "almost matches the grief of the people of Jordan".

4 January 1999
Israeli Knesset votes to bring forward elections to 17 May after the Netanyahu coalition collapses in disarray over implementation of the Wye deal. Israel suspends Wye timetable.

23 October 1998
Netanyahu signs Wye River Memorandum outlining further Israeli withdrawal from the West Bank after US pressure to end 18 month's of stagnation on the Israeli-Palestinian peace track.

Upon completion of each phase of Palestinian commitments, Israel agrees to transfer a specified percentage of land to the Palestinians within the context of the "further redeployments" as stated in previous agreements.

25 September 1997
Israeli agents posing as Canadian tourists bungle an attempt to assassinate a military leader of Hamas in Jordan leading to a crisis in relations between Israel and both Jordan and Canada. Jordan forces Israel to atone by releasing the Hams spiritual leader Sheikh Ahmad Yassin.

4 September 1997
A triple-suicide bombing in a Jerusalem shopping mall kills five Israelis.

21 March 1997
A bomb in a Tel Aviv cafe kills a Palestinian attacker and 3 Israelis and wounds 42.


18 March 1997
Israel defies world opinion by beginning work on construction of the Har Homa settlement on Jabal Abu Ghneim to complete a circle of Jewish settlements around occupied East Jerusalem.

17 January 1997
Israel hands over 80% of Hebron to Palestinian rule, but holds on to the remainder where several hundred Jewish settlers live among 20,000 Palestinians.

September 1996
Violence claims the lives of 61 Arabs and 15 Israeli soldiers over Israel's opening of an archaeological tunnel site close to Muslim shrines in Jerusalem.

12 August 1996
First step in lifting four-year freeze on Jewish settlements in the West Bank and Gaza Strip.

29 May 1996
Israeli parliamentary and prime ministerial elections. Shimon Peres loses election to Binyamin Netanyahu, who campaigned against the Rabin-Peres peace programme under the motto Peace with Security.

11 April 1996
Israel begins a 17-day bombardment of Lebanon, codenamed "Operation Grapes of Wrath". Lebanese Hezbollah guerrillas fire Katyusha rockets at populated areas of northern Israel. On 18 April Israel shells a UN base at Qana killing about one hundred of 800 civilians sheltering there. A later UN report implies the attack was intentional, though Israel denies this.

Violence ends with an unwritten agreement to avoid future civilian casualties but this is regularly broken by both sides.

February/March 1996
Series of Hamas suicide bomb attacks, killing 57 Israelis. Peres suspends Syrian negotiations.


November 1995 - March 1996
Peres decides to go all-out for peace deal with Syria, in contrast to earlier cautious negotiations under Rabin. Considerable progress is made in talks at the secluded Wye Plantation in Maryland.

4 November 1995
Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin assassinated by Yigal Amir, an orthodox Jewish student who is opposed to Israeli withdrawals from the occupied West Bank. Shimon Peres becomes PM.

28 September 1995
Arafat and Rabin sign the Taba agreement (known as Oslo II) in Washington to expand Palestinian self-rule in the West Bank and Gaza and allow Palestinian elections (held on January 20 1996).

26 October 1994
Israel-Jordan peace treaty is signed. Israel agrees to respect the special role of the Hashemite Kingdom over Muslim holy shrines in Jerusalem.

1 July 1994
Arafat makes a triumphal return to Gaza to take up his new position as head of the new Palestinian self-rule authority, after nearly 12 years of running the PLO from Tunis.

May 4 1994
Israel and the PLO reach agreement in Cairo on the initial implementation of the Oslo Accords, including a Israeli military withdrawal from about 60% of the Gaza Strip (Jewish settlements and their environs are excluded) and the West Bank town of Jericho.

The Cairo agreement envisages further withdrawals from yet to be agreed areas of the occupied territories. A five year period begins in which a permanent resolution is to be negotiated on Jerusalem, settlements, Palestinian refugees and sovereignty.

25 February 1994
A militant Jewish settler massacres 29 Palestinians praying at the main mosque in Hebron.

13 September 1993
Yasser Arafat and Israeli PM Yitzhak Rabin sign Declaration of Principles in Washington on the basis of the Oslo channel. Israel recognises the PLO and gives them limited autonomy in return for peace and an end to Palestinian claims on Israeli territory.

25 July 1993
Following the killing of seven Israeli soldiers in southern Lebanon, Israel launches Operation "Accountability" during which the Israeli army carries out its heaviest artillery and air attacks on targets in southern Lebanon since 1982. About 300,000 Lebanese civilians flee north during the week-long assault.

January 1993
Secret Israeli-PLO talks in Oslo begin.

October 1991
Madrid Peace Conference opens including delegations from Israel, Syria, Jordan, Lebanon and the Palestinians. Jordanian-Israeli and Syria-Israeli peace negotiation tracks are opened.

14 December 1988
Yasser Arafat condemns all forms of terrorism and recognises the state of Israel. US President Reagan authorises the US to enter into a "substantive dialogue" with the PLO although Israel remains hostile.

9 December 1987
The Palestinian intifada (uprising) against Israeli rule starts in West Bank and Gaza. Young Palestinian demonstrators hurl stones at Israeli troops in the occupied territories and the military responds with curfews, arrests and deportations. More than 20,000 people are killed or injured.

1983 - 1985
Israel makes phased withdrawal from most of Lebanon, except for "security zone" in south.

16 September 1982
Israel-allied Christian militias enter the Sabra and Shatila refugee camps in Beirut and massacre about 2,000 unarmed Palestinians after PLO figthers have been forced out of Lebanon by Israel.

6 June 1982
Israel re-invades Lebanon to drive out Yasser Arafat's Palestinian Liberation Organisation.

September 1978
Egypt, Israel and the United States sign Camp David accords. Israel agrees to hand back Sinai to Egypt in return for peace and normalisation.

March - June 1978
Israel invades south Lebanon and holds a strip south of the Litani river to protect its northern border.

4 July 1976
Israeli commandos rescue 98 Israeli and Jewish hostages in Entebbe, Uganda, held by Palestinians who hijacked an Air France Airbus.

6 October 1973
Egypt and Syria attack Israeli forces in Sinai and Golan Heights on Jewish fast of Yom Kippur. They make initial gains but retreat after Israeli counter-attacks.

5 September 1972
Palestinian gunmen kill 11 Israeli athletes at Munich Olympics.

5 June 1967
Israel seizes Egyptian, Syrian and Jordanian territory in a pre-emptive attack that became known as the Six Day War. The Sinai Peninsula and Gaza Strip are captured from Egypt, the Golan Heights from Syria and the West Bank and East Jerusalem from Jordan. Israel's successes doubled the size of the territory it controlled.

1956
Egypt nationalises Suez Canal (July). Britain, France conspire to recapture the canal with Israeli help. Israel invades Sinai in October: Britain and France "intervene" and occupy canal zone, but withdraw under US pressure (November).

1948
Jewish settlers proclaim the state of Israel (May). British troops leave. Fighting breaks out with Arab neighbours, ending in October 1949.

Some 700,000 Palestinians flee or are driven from what had been British-mandate Palestine. Israel annexes large tracts of land. Jordan and Egypt hold onto the West Bank and Gaza Strip respectively. Control of Jerusalem is split between Israel in the west and Jordan in the east.

First published by the BBC

 
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