Timeline: The Israeli-Palestinian Conflict 1948–2000

Updated November 22, 2022 | Infoplease Staff

Key dates in the history of the Israeli-Palestinian Conflict from 1948–2000

by Beth Rowen
1948 1956 1967 1973 1983 1994
May 14
The British officially withdraw from Palestine, and the Jewish National Council proclaims the State of Israel. Neighboring Arab nations, which rejected the partition of Palestine, immediately invade, intent on crushing the newly declared State of Israel. The conflict is known as Israel's War of Independence. Fighting continues with sporadic truces into 1949. During the cease-fires, both sides organize their militaries and stock up on weapons. On the Israeli side, several militias join to form the Israel Defense Force (IDF). Arab nations and the Palestinians were not as efficient in reorganizing their militaries as Israel.
Several rounds of talks are held and armistice agreements are reached between Israel and Egypt (February 24), Lebanon (March 23), Jordan (April 3), and Syria (July 20). However, none of the countries sign formal peace treaties with Israel. Israel increases its original territory by 50%, taking western Galilee, a broad corridor through central Palestine to Jerusalem, and part of modern Jerusalem. The new border is called the Green Line. As many as 750,000 Palestinians either flee or are forced from what was previously Palestine. The Palestinian defeat and exodus is known as the Nakba, or disaster.

May 11
Israel's government, with Chaim Weizmann as president and David Ben-Gurion as prime minister, is admitted to the UN.
July 26
Egypt takes control of Suez Canal.

October 29
Israel launches attack on Egypt's Sinai peninsula and drives toward Suez Canal.

November 6
A cease-fire, forced by U.S. pressure, stops British, French, and Israeli advance.

The Palestinian Liberation Organization (PLO) is formed.

June 2
June 5
The Arab-Israeli War of 1967 begins as Israel launches an air attack on Egypt, Jordan, and Syria in response to the request by Egyptian president Nasser that the UN withdraw its forces from Egyptian territory and the buildup of Arab armies along Israel's borders. After 6 days, a cease-fire is declared and Israel occupies the Sinai Peninsula, Golan Heights, Gaza Strip and West Bank.

November 22
The UN Security Council adopts Resolution 242, the "land for peace" formula, which has been the starting point for further negotiations.
Violence continues along the Suez Canal as Egyptian president Gamal Nasser declared the 1967 cease-fire void along the canal. The War of Attrition begins. Neither side claims victory, and a cease-fire is signed in August 1970.
October 6
The the fourth and largest Arab-Israeli begins when Egyptian and Syrian forces attack Israel as Jews mark Yom Kippur, holiest day in their calendar. Initial Arab gains are reversed when a cease-fire takes effect on November 11.
November 20
Egyptian President Anwar Sadat makes a historic visit to Jerusalem to discuss a peace agreement and address the Knesset. The visit raises worldwide hopes for peace.

In response to Palestinian guerrillas staging raids on Israel from Lebanese territory, Israeli troops cross into Lebanon. Troops withdraw in June, after the UN Security Council creates a 6,000-man peacekeeping force for the area called UNIFIL.

March 26
Egypt and Israel sign a formal peace treaty, which ends 30 years of war and establishes diplomatic and commercial relations.
April 25
Israel completes the return of the Sinai to Egyptian control.

June 9
The fragile Mideast peace is shattered when the Israelis launch a massive assault on southern Lebanon, where the Palestinian Liberation Organization is entrenched. The PLO withdraww its troops from Lebanon in August.
May 17
A U.S.-brokered accord is reached between Israel and Lebanon. As part of the agreement, Israel agrees to withdraw from Lebanon. Most troops are gone by June 1985; a residual force remains in southern Lebanon to defend against attacks on northern Israel.
December 9
Palestinians living on the West Bank and the Gaza Strip begin riots, known as the intifada (uprising), against Israeli rule. The violence intensifies as Israeli police crack down and Palestinians retaliate. More than 20,000 people are killed in the fighting.
October 30
The U.S. and Soviet Union organized the Madrid Conference, in which Israeli, Lebanese, Jordanian, Syrian, and Palestinian leaders met to establish a framework for peace negotiations.
Highly secretive talks in Norway between the PLO and the Israeli government begin.
September 13
Yasir Arafat and Israeli prime minister Yitzhak Rabin sign the historic "Declaration of Principles." Arafat recognizes the right of the State of Israel to "exist in peace and security," and Israel recognizes the PLO and grants it limited autonomy.
October 26
Jordan's King Hussein and Israeli prime minister Yitzhak Rabin sign a historic peace treaty ending the state of belligerency between the two countries.

November 5
Prime Minister Rabin is slain by a Jewish extremist, jeopardizing the tentative progress toward peace.

May 29
Benjamin Netanyahu is elected prime minister of Israel by a razor-thin margin.

Israel and the PLO sign the Hebron Accord, which calls for the withdrawal of Israeli troops from Hebron. The move ends 30 years of occupation and divides control over the contentious town between Arabs and Israelis.
The construction of new Jewish settlements on the West Bank profoundly upsets progress toward peace.
At a summit at Wye Mills, Md., Netanyahu and Arafat sign the Wye River Memorandum that settles several important interim issues called for by the 1993 Oslo Accord. The Wye Accord, however, quickly begins to unravel.

May 17
Labor Party leader Ehud Barak is elected prime minister and announces plans to pursue peace with the Palestinians, establish relations with Syria, and end the war in southern Lebanon with Hezbollah guerrillas.


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