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Timeline: Israel and Palestine


ca. 1300-931 Hebrew tribes and Philistines migrate into Canaan. The Hebrew tribes defeat the Canaanites and, after a struggle, the Philistines. The kingdom of Israel is established with Saul as the first king. King David establishes Jerusalem as the capital and King Solomon builds the first Temple there.

ca. 931 The kingdom splits into the Northern Kingdom (Israel) and the Southern Kingdom (Judah).

ca. 721 Northern Kingdom falls to Assyria.

ca. 587/586 Southern Kingdom falls to Babylon, which destroys the Temple and takes many into exile.

ca. 539 Babylonian Empire falls to the Persian Empire. Persian emperor Cyrus allows some Jews to return from exile.

ca. 520-515 Temple in Jerusalem is rebuilt as the Second Temple.

ca. 331 Alexander the Great defeats the Persian Empire. Following his death, the land is subject to rule by Egypt and Syria.

ca. 166-160 Maccabeans lead a revolt against the ruling Syrian Hellenists because of restrictions on the practice of Judaism, the desecration of the Temple, and the imposition of Greek religion.

ca. 142 Hasmoneans (Maccabeans) begin a period of Jewish rule.

ca. 63-61 Romans conquer Jerusalem.

ca. 20 Herod begins improvements on the Temple in Jerusalem.

ca. 4 Jesus is born. He is crucified by Rome between 31 and 33 C.E.


66-73 First Jewish Revolt against Rome takes place. Jerusalem and the Second Temple are destroyed in 70.

133-135 The Second Jewish Revolt against Rome occurs. Roman forces crush the rebellion. The emperor Hadrian renames the province Syria Judea as Syria Palaestina and forbids Jews to dwell in Jerusalem.

313 Emperor Constantine recognizes Christianity as the official religion of the Roman Empire. Throughout the period of the Roman Empire, Jews are periodically subjected to varying degrees of persecution.

570 The prophet Mohammed is born.

ca. 638 Muslims from the Arabian Peninsula conquer Jerusalem. Caliph Omar provides the Christians of Jerusalem with a covenant guaranteeing their protection and allows Jews to return to Jerusalem.

705 The Dome of the Rock mosque is completed by Caliph Abd al-Malik ibn Marwan.

715 The Al-Aqsa Mosque is built by Caliph Walid.

1071 The Seljuk Turks invade and capture Jerusalem.

1096 Participants in the First Crusade massacre Jews as they pass through several European cities. Over the next centuries Jews face persecution to varying degrees in various European countries including restrictive laws, pogroms, and expulsions.

1099 Crusaders conquer Jerusalem, killing many Jewish and Moslem inhabitants and expelling surviving Jews.

1187 Muslims under Saladin conquer Jerusalem.

1291 Crusaders are evicted from Palestine.

1517 Ottoman Empire conquers Palestine. Small Jewish communities flourish.

1537-1541 Under Suleiman the Magnificent, walls are built around Jerusalem.

1843 First writings of modern Zionism appear.

1856 Ottoman Empire requires people to register land and pay taxes.

1860 Mishkenot Sha'ananim, first modern Jewish settlement outside the walls of Jerusalem, is built.

1878 Petah Tikvah, first Zionist settlement, is built.

1897 First Zionist Congress meets in Basel, Switzerland.

1908 Al-Karmil, first Arabic newspaper in Haifa, popularizes opposition to selling land to Zionists.

1909 First kibbutz, Degania, is founded. Tel Aviv is founded as a Hebrew-speaking Jewish city. Hashomer, first Jewish self-defense organization, is founded.

1914 World War I begins. Ottoman Empire enters the war on the side of Germany.

1916 The Sykes-Picot Agreement divides the Ottoman lands into French and British spheres of influence.

1917 Britain signs Balfour Declaration supporting the "establishment of the Jewish national home…and safeguarding the civil and religious rights of all the inhabitants of Palestine."

1918 World War I ends, bringing defeat of the Ottoman Empire.

1919 First Palestinian Congress advocates incorporation of Palestine into greater Syria.

1920 League of Nations divides lands of Ottoman Empire into entities called Mandates that are intended to lead to the creation of nation states. Britain accepts Mandate for Palestine. Haganah is organized for Jewish self-defense.

1933 Hitler rises to power in Germany.

1936-1939 While previous incidents of violence have occurred, the Arab Revolt is first major outbreak of Arab-Jewish hostilities.

1939-1945 The Holocaust takes place during World War II. Jewish migration into Palestine increases.

1942 Zionist leaders meet to discuss postwar plans with the aim of founding a Jewish commonwealth.

1944 Arab leaders meet to discuss postwar plans for independence and ways to prevent implementation of Jewish control over Palestine.

1945 Palestinians receive representation in newly formed League of Arab States.

1947 UN General Assembly passes Resolution 181, which would partition Palestine into Jewish and Arab states and establish Greater Jerusalem as an international city. The Jewish state would receive 56.47 percent of the land of the Palestine Mandate, the Arab state about 43.53 percent. Numerous skirmishes, road ambushes, riots, and bombings take place, organized by both Jews and Palestinians.

1948 Violence escalates. British Mandate ends. Israel declares statehood on May 14. Egypt, Syria, Iraq, Lebanon, Jordan, and Saudi Arabia declare war on Israel. The war results in a divided Jerusalem and some 650,000 to 750,000 Palestinian refugees. The UN General Assembly passes Resolution 194 calling for the cessation of hostilities and establishing the Right of Return for refugees who wish to live in peace.

1949-1950 At war's end, Israel holds about 78 percent of the territory of the Palestine Mandate. The Green Line, set at the 1949 armistice, establishes borders between Israel and Arab lands. Jordan annexes East Jerusalem and West Bank. Egypt controls Gaza Strip. UN Relief and Works Agency is established to care for Palestinian refugees until they can return home.

1950 Israel enacts Law of Return stating that every Jew has the right to become a citizen.

1964 Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) is established. At the time, its aim is to destroy Israel. Leaders of Arab states largely control PLO, which operates out of Gaza Strip.

1967 Six-Day War. Israel conquers Gaza Strip, West Bank, East Jerusalem, the Sinai, and Golan Heights, creating additional Palestinian refugees. PLO moves its headquarters to Jordan. UN Security Council passes Resolution 242 calling for Israeli withdrawal and establishes "land for peace" principle.

1968-1969 Fatah gains formal control of the PLO, and Yasser Arafat becomes chair of the PLO.

1969-1970 The War of Attrition takes place between Egypt and Israel. Jordan moves against the PLO, whose members flee to Lebanon. Israel begins the policy of establishing settlements.

1973 Egypt and Syria attack Israel, beginning Yom Kippur War. Israel pushes back both armies.

1974 Arab League declares the PLO to be the only legitimate representative of the Palestinian people. The UN recognizes the Palestinians' right to sovereignty and grants observer status to the PLO.

1978 Egypt and Israel agree to the Camp David Accords, which create peace, provide for the return of the Sinai to Egypt in exchange for recognition of Israel, and set a framework for settling the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. Israel invades Lebanon, occupying its southern border in response to the violence of the PLO.

1980 Israel declares Jerusalem its eternal, undivided capital, affirming the annexation of East Jerusalem.

1981 Israel annexes the Golan Heights.

1982 Israel invades Lebanon a second time, laying siege to Beirut. PLO moves its headquarters to Tunis.

1985 Israeli government orders withdrawal of its troops from most of Lebanon.

1987 An Intifada, a Palestinian popular uprising, begins in Gaza and spreads to the West Bank. Stone-throwing Palestinian teens attack Israeli soldiers.

1988 PLO accepts UN Security Council Resolutions 242 and 338, implicitly recognizing Israel. The United States opens dialogue with the PLO. Hamas Islamic Brotherhood is founded with a charter based on forged anti-Semitic Protocols of the Elders of Zion and advocating destruction of Israel.

1992 President George H. W. Bush's administration holds up ten billion dollars in US loan guarantees to Israel (fiscal years 1993 to 1997) in attempt to limit Israeli settlement building.

1993 Israel and PLO sign Oslo Declaration of Principles, providing for mutual recognition. PLO renounces violence and use of terrorism and agrees to revise the PLO Charter to remove chapters referring to destruction of Israel.

1994 Palestinian National Authority (PNA) is established in Gaza and the West Bank. PLO and Yasser Arafat arrive in Gaza. Jordan and Israel sign peace treaty.

1995 Oslo Accords establish three areas of control in the West Bank: Area A under Palestinian control, Area B under Palestinian civilian control and Israeli security control, and Area C under exclusive Israeli control. Prime Minister Rabin is assassinated in Tel Aviv.

1997 Israel and PLO sign Hebron Protocol dividing the city of Hebron. Israel starts building a settlement, Har Homa, on a hill overlooking East Jerusalem, resulting in widespread protests. Israel imposes closures on Palestinian communities in the West Bank and Gaza.

2000 Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Barak, Palestinian Chairman Yasser Arafat, and US President Bill Clinton meet at Camp David in failed attempt to negotiate a settlement on final status issues. The Al-Aqsa Intifada begins, following a visit to Temple Mount/Haram al-Sharif by Israeli opposition leader Ariel Sharon. Violence escalates rapidly and continues, involving rock-throwing, machine gun and mortar fire, suicide bombings, and road ambushes.

2002 In retaliation for a series of suicide bombings, Israeli army reoccupies Palestinian areas. Yasser Arafat is placed under house arrest. Saudi Crown Prince Abdullah proposes a peace plan, endorsed by Arab League, promising recognition of Israel for ending the Occupation. UN Security Council passes Resolution 1397 affirming a two-state solution. President George W. Bush declares a vision for a "viable Palestinian state next to a secure Israel." Israel begins construction of security barrier in the West Bank.

2003 The United States, the European Union, the UN, and Russia release the Road Map to Peace, which contains a process to guide Israelis and Palestinians toward peace. Israelis and Palestinians acting as individuals, and not as representatives of any government, release the Geneva Initiative, containing a vision for a two-state peace.

2004 The International Court of Justice (ICJ) rules that the Israeli security barrier violates international law. UN General Assembly votes to order Israel to dismantle the barrier. Israel announces that it will ignore the ruling but changes the barrier route according to rulings of the Israeli High Court. Yasser Arafat dies.

2005 Mahmoud Abbas is elected president of PNA. Israeli settlers and troops evacuate Gaza Strip and four settlements in West Bank. Ariel Sharon quits Likud Party to form a new party, Kadima. Ariel Sharon suffers massive stroke and Deputy Prime Minister Ehud Olmert assumes power. Hamas, which is on the US State Department's list of terrorist organizations, wins majority in Palestinian Legislative Council elections.


January 4, 2006: Ariel Sharon suffers massive stroke, leaving leadership in the hands of Ehud Olmert.

January 26, 2006: Hamas movement wins an upset victory in Palestinian Legislative Council elections, threatening an end to nearly forty years' leadership of Fateh-PLO and jeopardizing chances of peace with Israel. Hamas leaders send mixed signals, but vow to never recognize Israel or to give up claim to all of Palestine. Donor countries suspend direct aid to Hamas until they are willing to recognize Israel and participate in the peace process. Mechanism is then agreed upon to pay salaries to PNA employees and to give emergency humanitarian aid, but is not implemented. To pay salaries, Hamas smuggles in cash through Rafah crossing with European monitors' connivance.

March 2006:
Over 40 Qassam rockets fall on Sderot, with the number increasing in the next few months. IDF responds by shelling launching sites and raids to kill leaders of the Popular Resistance Committees, Islamic Jihad, Hamas, and Fatah Al-Aqsa involved in the attacks.

March 28, 2006: Ehud Olmert elected Israeli PM at the head of Kadima party Coalition.

May 11, 2006: Palestinian prisoners in Israeli jails issue document of national unity calling for a Palestinian state in Gaza and the West Bank and the right of return for Palestinian refugees. Hamas government rejects it; Hamas prisoners who signed it repudiate it. President Mahmoud Abbas announces referendum of approval of document if factions cannot come to agreement .

June 2006: Targeted killing in Gaza and the West Band by Israel continue.
Hamas fires about 90 Qassam rockets into Sderot and other Western Negev communities. An explosion attributed by Palestinians and HRW to an IDF shell kills seven Palestinian civilians picnicking on a Gaza beach. IDF denies that it was shelling the beach at the time, pointing out that shrapnel recovered from the victims does not come from IDF shells.

June 25:
Following announcement of truce agreement with PNA, Hamas kidnaps soldier from Israeli outpost in Israel and kills two others. They demand release of Palestinian prisoners. Israel refuses to negotiate and demands release of soldier.

June 27:
Hamas and Fatah sign Palestinian prisoners' document, supposedly cementing unity. Israel launches Operation Summer Rain, invading Gaza to recover kidnapped soldier and stop Qassam rockets.

June 28: Revised prisoners' document is issued, supposedly agreed to by Hamas and Fatah. But not all factions agree and Abbas decides to hold a referendum. July 12, 2006 Israel-Lebanon Conflict. Hizbollah launches Katyusha rockets over border into Israel on July 12 as a diversion; crosses border and kidnaps two Israeli soldiers and killed three. Israel attempts rescue; five more killed. In retaliation, Israel launches massive artillery and airstrikes against Lebanese civilian infrastructure and invades southern Lebanon. Hizbolllah responds with rocket launches and guerrilla warfare. 1500 killed, mostly Lebanese civilians. About 900,000 Lebanese and 300,000 Israelis internally displaced. Much of South Lebanon rendered uninhabitable due to unexploded cluster bombs.

July 2006 Israel-Lebanon Conflict: Hezbollah launches Katyusha rockets over border into Israel on July 12 as a diversion; crosses border and kidnaps two Israeli soldiers and kills three. Israel attempts rescue; five more killed. In retaliation, Israel launches massive artillery and airstrikes against Lebanese civilian infrastructure and invades southern Lebanon. Hezbolllah responds with rocket launches and guerrilla warfare. Fifteen hundred killed, mostly Lebanese civilians. About 900,000 Lebanese and 300,000 Israelis internally displaced. Much of South Lebanon rendered uninhabitable due to unexploded cluster bombs.

August 11, 2006:UN Security Council unanimously approves Resolution 1701 in an effort to end the hostilities.

August 17, 2006: Lebanese army begins deployment in southern Lebanon.

September 8, 2006: Blockade lifted.

October 1, 2006: Israel army reports withdrawal, but some troops remain near the border. Israel continues jet fly-overs

November 26, 2006 Israelis and Palestinians announce truce to apply to Gaza strip. Israeli incursions and arrests continue in West bank, as do Palestinian terror attempts. In Gaza, Israel holds to the truce, but rocket fire from Gaza continues.

December 1, 2006: Kofi Anna reports to the Security Council evidence of unauthorized assets, weapons, and armed personnel in Lebanon

December 23, 2006: In a meeting between Israeli P.M. Ehud Olmert and Palestinian President Abbas, Olmert promises to improve quality of life for Palestinians and remove checkpoints, but in practice nothing is implemented.


Jan. 29, 2007: Palestinian suicide bomber kills three in Eilat.

February 2007: Israeli renovations near the Mughrabi gate of the Al-Aqsa mosque in Jerusalem spark widespread unrest in the Arab world, over false charges that Israel is destroying the mosque.

February 8, 2007:
Palestinian Unity Agreement in Mecca. Hamas and Fatah agree to share power, based on vaguely worded agreement. Hamas officials reiterate that they will never recognize Israel. U.S. and Israel insist that the new government must recognize right of Israel to exist, disarm terrorist groups and agree to end violence.

February 19, 2007: Trilateral Israeli-Palestinian-American summit with U.S. Secretary of State Rice, PM Ehud Olmert and President Abbas ends with no visible result.

Copies of this Israel-Palestine Timeline and other resources for the United Methodist mission study on Israel-Palestine are available at http://resources.gbgm-umc.org/israelpalestine/


  1. Jewish Virtual Library, Timeline for the History of Judaism, www.jewishvirtuallibrary.org/jsource/History/timeline.html
  2. MidEast Web, Timeline of Palestinian Israeli History and the Israel-Arab Conflict, www.mideastweb.org/timeline.htm
  3. Churches for Middle East Peace, Timeline of the Israeli-Arab Conflict, www.cmep.org/documents/Timeline.htm
  4. Palestine History, Palestine Quick Timeline, 1900-2004, www.palestinehistory.com/history/quicktime/quicktime.htm
  5. Palestine Remembered, Palestinian History, A Chronology, www.palestineremembered.com/Acre/Palestine- Remembered/Story564.html
  6. Wikipedia Free Encyclopedia

Presbyterian Church (USA), 100 Witherspoon Street, Louisville, KY 40202-1396, 800-872-3283, Resource Sheet 1: Developed February 2005, updated March 2006, adapted December 1, 2006, updated by Global Ministries April 2007

Printable Timelines

Timeline of Israel and Palestine: 1300 BCE-2006 CE (Appendix B excerpted from Israel-Palestine: 2007-2008 Mission Study by Stephen Goldstein)
Portable Document Format PDF (6pp, 31K) Word Icon WORD (6pp, 70K)

Portable Document File: requires Adobe Reader.Israel and Palestine Timeline: 1300 BCE-2005 CE, by Presbyterian Church, USA (PDF, 4pp)

Israel-Palestine: 2007-2008 Mission Study by Stephen Goldstein, study guide by Sandra Olewine. (#M3006, $8.50) Order this resource online from the Mission Resource Center at http://www.missionresourcecenter.org, by phone at 800-305-9857 or mail: Mission Resource Center, 1221 Profit Drive, Dallas, TX 75247.