A Brief History of Palestine

1895

The total population of Palestine was 500,000 of whom 47,000 were Jews who owned 0.5% of the land.

1896

Following the appearance of anti-Semitism in Europe, Theodore Herzl, the founder of Zionism tried to find a political solution for the problem in his book, ‘The Jewish State’. He advocated the creation of a Jewish state in Argentina or Palestine.

1897

The first Zionist Congress was held in Switzerland, which issued the Basle programme on the colonization of Palestine and the establishment of the World Zionist Organization (WZO).

1904

Fourth Zionist Congress decided to establish a national home for Jews in Argentina.

1906

The Zionist congress decided the Jewish homeland should be Palestine.

1914

With the outbreak of World War I, Britain promised the independence of Arab lands under Ottoman rule, including Palestine, in return for Arab support against Turkey which had entered the war on the side of Germany.

1916

Britain and France signed the Sykes-Picot Agreement, which divided the Arab region into zones of influence. Lebanon and Syria were assigned to France, Jordan and Iraq to Britain and Palestine was to be internationalized.

1917

Lord Balfour, the British Foreign Secretary sent a letter to the Zionist leader Lord Rothschild which later became known as “The Balfour declaration”. He stated that Britain would use its best endeavors to facilitate the establishment in Palestine of a national home for the Jewish people. At that time the population of Palestine was 700,000 of which 574,000 were Muslims, 74,000 were Christian, and 56,000 were Jews.

————————————————————————

1919 – 1967

1919

The Palestinians convened their first National Conference and expressed their opposition to the Balfour Declaration.

1920

The San Remo Conference granted Britain a mandate over Palestine and two years later Palestine was effectively under British administration, and Sir Herbert Samuel, a declared Zionist, was sent as Britain’s first High Commissioner to Palestine.

1922

The Council of the League of Nations issued a Mandate for Palestine. The Mandate was in favor of the establishment for the Jewish people a homeland in Palestine.

1936

The Palestinians held a six-month General Strike to protest against the confiscation of land and Jewish immigration.

1939

The British government published a new White Paper restricting Jewish immigration and offering independence for Palestine within ten years. This was rejected by the Zionists, who then organized terrorist groups and launched a bloody campaign against the British and the Palestinians. The aim was to drive them both out of Palestine and to pave the way for the establishment of the Zionist state.

1947

The United Nations approved the partition under which the Palestinian Arabs, who accounted for 70% of the population and owned 92% of the land, were allocated 47% of the country. (UN resolution 181)

1948

British forces withdrew from Palestine in May and the Zionists proclaimed the state of Israel without defining its borders. Arab armies moved to defend the Palestinians.

1949

A cease fire was finally agreed. The Zionists controlled 77% of Palestinian land and over 1 million Palestinians were forced to leave their country. The West Bank was put under Jordanian control and the Gaza Strip under Egyptian control.

1964

The Palestine Liberation Organization was established.

1965

The Palestine ‘Revolution’ began on 1 January.

1967

Israel launched a new war against the Arabs and seized the West Bank and Gaza Strip, the Syrian Golan Heights and the Egyptian Sinai peninsula.

1973 – 1988

1973

The October War between Israel and the Arab states broke out.

1974

The Arab Summit in Rabat recognized the PLO as the sole legitimate representative of the Palestinian people. At the United Nations General Assembly, the UN reaffirmed its commitment to an independent sovereign state in Palestine and gave the PLO observer status at the United Nations. Yasser Arafat, chairman of the PLO, addressed the General Assembly of the United Nations.

1978

Egypt and Israel signed the Camp David Agreement under the auspices of the United States.

1982

Israel invaded Lebanon with the aim of destroying the PLO. Tens of thousands were killed and made homeless in the wake of the invasion which culminated in the massacres of Sabra and Shatilla.

1983

The United Nations called for the convening of a Peace Conference with the participation of the PLO on an equal footing with the other delegates as the legitimate representative of the Palestinian people.

1987

The 18th Session of the Palestine National Council (PNC) supported the convening of a UN- sponsored conference. In December the Intifada-the Palestine Uprising – in the Occupied Territories began.

1988

Abu Jihad, Palestinian leader, was gunned down in his home in Tunis on 14April by the Israeli Mossad.

July 31

Jordanian disengagement – King Hussein of Jordan said he no longer considered the West Bank as part of his kingdom.

November 15

The PNC meeting in Algiers declared the State of Palestine as outlined in the UN Partition Plan 181.

December 9

British Junior Foreign Minister William Waldegrave met with Bassam Abu Sharif President Arafat’s adviser, thus upgrading Britain’s relations with the PLO.

Following the US government refusing President Arafat a visa to enter the US, the UN General Assembly held a special session on the question of Palestine in Geneva.

US/PLO dialogue began

1989 – 1996

1989

June 28: EEC Madrid Conference issued a new declaration calling for the PLO to be involved in any peace negotiations.

August 3: Fateh, the mainstream PLO organization, at their 5th Conference endorsed the PLO strategy adopted at the PNC in Algiers in November 1988.

1990

May 20: Seven Palestinian workers from Gaza were massacred by an Israeli gunman near Tel Aviv.

Yasser Arafat addressed the UN Security Council In Geneva after the massacre in which he called for the deployment of a UN emergency force to provide international protection for the Palestinian people to safeguard their lives, properties and holy places.

The US vetoed a motion which called for the Security Council to send a fact finding mission to the area. At the end of their hunger strike, Palestinian leaders in the Occupied Territories decided to boycott the US.

The Arab Summit in Baghdad pledged support fort he Palestinian Intifada and strongly denounced the settlement of Soviet Jews with in the Occupied Territories.

June 20: The US suspended its dialogue with the PLO after the PLO refused to denounce a military operation in the sea by the PLF.

June 26: The EEC in Dublin issued a new declaration on the Middle East which condemned Israeli human rights violations and the settlement of Soviet Jews in the Occupied Territories. It also doubled its economic aid programme to the Occupied Territories.

August 2: The Gulf Crisis erupted.

December 20: UN Security Council adopted Resolution 681.

1991

January 16: War in the Gulf started.

February 17: Cease fire agreed in War in the Gulf. – 23 September: The PNC met in Algiers and paved the way for the Palestinian delegation to participate in the Middle East Peace Conference.

October 30: The Middle East Peace Conference convened in Madrid.

December 3: The bi-lateral talks between Israel and the Palestinians, Syrians, Jordanians and Lebanese started in Washington.

1992

June 23: Israeli Labor Party won the election in Israel and formed a Labor coalition government.

August 24: The sixth round of the bi-lateral talks ,W.

1993

September 9-10: PLO Israeli recognition

September 13: Palestinian-Israeli Declaration of Principle

1994

May 4: Gaza strip and Jericho Agreement in Cairo

August 29: Transfer of the power Agreement.

1995

September 28: Palestinian Israeli Interim Agreement signed in Washington.

1996

January: Election in Palestine

Israeli soldiers re deployed from major cities in the West Bank, yet Hebron is still controlled by the Israeli soldiers

1997

January: Agreement of the redeployment from Hebron

February: Release of the women prisoners.

March: The construction of the new Israeli settlement of Jabal Abu Ghneim (Har Homa) started.

March: Cease of the peace talks because of the continuous of the settlements policy of the Netanyahu Government.

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