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The Israeli-Palestinian Conflict: A Chronology

An Israeli police officer secures a shooting in East Jerusalem, Saturday, January 28, 2023. A Palestinian gunman opened fire in East Jerusalem, wounding at least two people less than a day after another attacker killed seven outside a synagogue there in the deadliest attack in the city since 2008. (AP Photo/Mahmoud Illean)


The recent spate of violence and attacks between Israelis and Palestinians has brought fresh attention to an old problem. The roots of the conflict and distrust are deep and complex, predating the establishment of the State of Israel in 1948. The past seven decades have witnessed war, uprisings, and sometimes glimmers of hope for compromise. Here’s a timeline:

1948: A regional conflict is growing amid the end of the British Mandate for Palestine and Israel’s declaration of independence in May 1948. A coalition of Arab states allied with Palestinian factions fight against Israeli forces. Ultimately, Israel controls much of the territory. Hundreds of thousands of Palestinians flee or are driven from their land.

July 1956: Egyptian President Gamal Abdel Nasser nationalizes the Suez Canal, a vital trade route between the Red Sea and the Mediterranean Sea. Israel invades Egypt, followed by troops from Britain and France. A peace deal, backed by the United States and the Soviet Union, ends the fighting. But the canal was blocked by sunken ships and did not reopen until 1957.

June 1967: The “Six-Day War” begins with Israeli warplanes attacking Egyptian airfields and Israeli ground forces entering the Sinai Peninsula. The war broke out amid ongoing conflict, including Egypt’s continued blockade of shipping to the Gulf of Aqaba. Jordan joins the fray alongside Egypt, but Israeli forces prevail after nearly destroying Egypt’s air force. Israel takes control of the Gaza Strip, Sinai, the West Bank, the Golan Heights and predominantly Arab East Jerusalem. Hundreds of thousands of Palestinians are fleeing or displaced.

October 1973: A coalition of Arab nations, led by Egypt and Syria, launches a surprise attack on Israel. The Arab forces initially gained ground, but were driven back by an Israeli counter-offensive, aided by supplies from allies, including the United States.

1978: A peace agreement between Egyptian President Anwar Sadat and Israeli Prime Minister Menachem Begin, known as the Camp David Accords, is brokered on September 17, 1978 by President Jimmy Carter. Potential Palestinian peace proposals were discussed, but never implemented.

December 1987: A Palestinian uprising, or intifada, leads to skirmishes and protests in the West Bank, Gaza and Israel. The unrest has been going on for years, with many dead or injured on both sides.

1993: The first of two pacts, known as the Oslo Accords, is signed between Israel and the Palestine Liberation Organization, outlining a peace process based on previous UN resolutions. (A follow-up agreement was signed in 1995.) The agreements established the Palestinian Authority to oversee most administrative matters in the West Bank and Gaza. The PLO is recognized as a negotiating partner by Israel and the United States. However, key issues such as Israeli settlements in the West Bank and the status of Jerusalem, seen by Palestinians as the capital of any future state, remain unresolved.

2000: The second intifada, or Palestinian uprising, begins after riots broke out following a visit by right-wing Israeli political figure Ariel Sharon (and later prime minister) to a Jerusalem camp revered in Judaism, Christianity, and Islam. Fighting and other violence continue into 2005, killing hundreds on both sides.

2006: The Palestinian militant group Hamas wins elections in Gaza, sparking political tension with the more moderate Fatah party that controls the West Bank.

December 2008: Israel begins three weeks of attacks on Gaza following rocket attacks on Israel by Palestinian militants, who are supplied through tunnels from Egypt. More than 1,110 Palestinians and at least 13 Israelis are killed.

November 2012: Israel kills Hamas military chief Ahmed Jabari, who sparked rocket fire from Gaza and Israeli airstrikes for more than a week. At least 150 Palestinians and six Israelis are killed.

Summer 2014: Hamas militants kill three Israeli teenagers kidnapped near a Jewish settlement in the West Bank, sparking an Israeli military response. Hamas responds with rocket attacks from Gaza. More than 2,200 Palestinians have been killed in a seven-week conflict in Gaza. In Israel, 67 soldiers and six civilians are killed.

December 2017: The Trump administration recognizes Jerusalem as Israel’s capital and announces it intends to move the US embassy from Tel Aviv, sparking outrage from the Palestinians.

2018: Protests are taking place in Gaza along the fence with Israel, including protesters hurling rocks and petrol bombs over the barrier. Israeli forces kill more than 170 demonstrators over several months. In November, Israel launches a covert attack on Gaza. At least seven suspected Palestinian militants and a senior Israeli army officer are killed. Hundreds of rockets are fired at Israel from Gaza.

May 2021: After weeks of tension in Jerusalem led Israeli police to raid the al-Aqsa Mosque, one of the holiest sites in Islam, Hamas fired rockets into the city for the first time in years, prompting Israel to to retaliate with air strikes. The fighting, the fiercest since at least 2014, saw thousands of rockets fired from Gaza and hundreds of airstrikes on Palestinian territory, killing more than 200 in Gaza and at least 10 in Israel.

Spring 2022: A wave of violence against Israelis by Palestinians marked Israel’s deadliest string of terrorist attacks in years — killing 14 Israelis in a handful of individual Palestinian attacks between March 22 and April 8. launched the “Break the Wave” military operation in the West Bank. The operation has helped make 2022 a particularly deadly year. Israeli forces killed 146 Palestinians in the West Bank this year, a higher death toll than any year since the United Nations began keeping records in 2005. The Israeli Foreign Ministry said Palestinians killed 29 Israelis that year.

December 2022: Benjamin Netanyahu was sworn in again as Israeli Prime Minister after winning an election that earned him his sixth term in office and elevated a once fringe bloc of far-right politicians to powerful seats. He has cobbled together the most far-right government in Israeli history, which critics say is already beginning to rule out any prospect of a two-state solution.

January 2023: Israeli forces raided the Palestinian town of Jenin in one of the deadliest operations in nearly two decades, killing nine people, including at least one civilian, on January 26. The following day, a Palestinian gunman killed seven people, including children, during prayers at a synagogue in East Jerusalem.

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