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Israel's Timeline

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AD 1897

Theodor Herzl founded the Zionist movement in Basel, Switzerland, to lobby for a Jewish state in Palestine.

1917

Great Britain issued the Balfour Declaration, expressing support for the establishment of a Jewish homeland in Palestine after World War I (1914-1918).

1930s

Large numbers of European Jews emigrated to Palestine to flee Nazi persecution.

1947

The United Nations (UN) agreed to a plan dividing Palestine into separate Arab and Jewish states. Fighting broke out between Jewish groups favoring the plan and Arab groups opposed to it.

1948

Israel officially became an independent state. Armies from Egypt, Syria, Lebanon, Iraq, and Transjordan (now Jordan) immediately invaded in an attempt to destroy the Jewish state.

1949

Israel defeated the Arab invaders and acquired much of Arab Palestine, including West Jerusalem and the northern city of ‘Akko.

1956

Egypt closed the Suez Canal and the Gulf of Aqaba to Israeli shipping. Israel invaded Egypt along with French and British forces, but they were forced to withdraw by the United Nations.

1967

Fearing another Arab invasion, Israel destroyed the air forces of its Arab neighbors. Israeli ground forces then defeated Arab forces in the Six-Day War. Israel gained complete control of Jerusalem, the Gaza Strip, the Golan Heights, the Sinai Peninsula, and the West Bank.

1972

Palestinian terrorists killed 11 Israeli athletes at the Summer Olympics in Munich, West Germany.

1973

Egypt and Syria attacked Israel on the Jewish holy day of Yom Kippur. After initial setbacks, Israeli forces repulsed the invasion and captured additional Syrian territory.

1979

Israel and Egypt signed a peace treaty, and Israel agreed to withdraw from the Sinai Peninsula.

1982

Israeli forces mounted a large invasion of Lebanon in retaliation for attacks by the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) on northern Israel. The PLO withdrew from Lebanon.

1987

Palestinians in the occupied territories of the West Bank and the Gaza Strip began a series of uprisings against Israeli rule known as the intifada.

1988

King Hussein of Jordan withdrew his support of the West Bank and called for the PLO to assume Jordan’s former administrative role.

1993

Israel and the PLO signed a historic peace agreement paving the way for Palestinian self-rule in the occupied territories.

1994

Limited Palestinian self-rule was established in the Gaza Strip and the West Bank town of Jericho. The leaders of Israel and Jordan signed a peace treaty.

1995

Israel and the PLO signed a second peace agreement extending limited Palestinian self-rule to all Palestinian towns in the West Bank except Hebron. Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin was assassinated by an Israeli opposed to the peace agreements.

1996

Israel’s prime minister is elected by popular vote, rather than parliament, for the first time.

2000

The 2nd Palestinian Intifada begins.

2001

Ariel Sharon elected Prime Minister.