Israel and Arab-Israeli Conflict Timeline – 1800s to the Present

Selective and Abbreviated
Professor Kenneth Stein, 3.22.2024©

  • To 1800s—Jews retain historical link to the land of Israel; biblical covenants and Jewish peoplehood sustains Jewish identity in diaspora; episodic but regular and violent anti-Semitic outbursts contributes to common Jewish experiences. Failure to gain civic equality or citizenship rights and restrictions placed upon where Jews could live, have access to the professions, and gnawing poverty for others, forces many Jews to consider emigration, conversion, assimilation, or alternative religious practice—reform and conservative Jewish ideals. A very small number of Jews choose the amorphous idea of establishing a Jewish place of their own;  Zionism emerges.
  • 19th  century—Area of ancient Israel not an independent state or political entity and will not be until 1920. 
  • 1882 – First Aliyah of Jews returning to settle in the Land of Israel.
  • 1884-1896—Trial and erroneous guilt of Jewish French Captain Dreyfus, pushes Theodor Herzl to write The Jewish State, emphasizing need for Jews to free themselves from anti-Semitism by having a modern state of their own.
  • 1897 – First Zionist Congress meets, Zionism emerges as Jewish national movement; however, it is embraced by relatively few Jews worldwide. Small Jewish settlements already established in Palestine from 1870s forward. Some settlements fail. Some immigrant Jews reject their landlessness condition where they once lived; working and owning the land becomes central to a “new Jew.”
The first Zionist congress held in Basel, Switzerland, 1897. Photo: Public Domain. 
  • 1901 – Jewish National Fund established to buy land and settle Jews in Palestine. Jewish numbers embracing Zionism are tiny.
  • 1903-1905—Wave of anti-Semitic riots hit eastern Europe; these ‘pogroms’ are reminiscent of previous governmentally sanctioned attacks against Jews. 

An early 20th century JNF collection box. Photo: JNF
  • Majority Arab population living in area that later  becomes Palestine are living  subsistence agricultural lives. 90% of the area that will become Palestine is rural, illiterate, and annually impoverished, living under enormous debt to other Arab living in villages and towns. These small land-owning and urban elites, and local shaykhs drive local politics because they control sparse amounts of cultivable land; by the end of WWI, a socio-economic hierarchy has evolved in Palestine, identical to what evolves in Lebanon, Syria, and Iraq. These small hierarchies take control over local politics under the French and British after the war; they assert legitimacy to rule locally by colonial officers in Paris and London. These local notables in Palestine, and in neighboring Arab areas, never genuinely seek self-determination for all; lest their own local power and influence be compromised. In the Palestine area, less than 5% of the population constitutes this well-to-do upper class. 
  • 1917—The British issued Balfour Declaration provides the Zionists with legitimacy to develop a national home in Palestine; they do so slowly, diligently, and undeterred. Arabs in Palestine are decidedly opposed to giving Jews any political privileges in Palestine.
  • 1922—League of Nations Mandates are trusteeships that Britain held after WWI over Iraq, Jordan and Palestine and France over Syria and Lebanon. The Balfour Declaration receives international legitimacy when in the preamble of the British Mandate for Palestine.
  • 1937 – In response to prolonged violence between Arabs and Jews in Palestine, Britain suggests in its Peel Report that the area of Palestine be divided into two states, believing that friction between Jews and Arabs too great from them to live together – first suggestion of a two-state solution; Arabs reject the idea. Zionists continue to build small infrastructure for a state, linking immigrants to newly purchased land acquired from Arab sellers. Small Jewish economy develops with large foreign capital inflows aiding economic growth. American Jews do not show enthusiastic embrace of Zionism. 
  • 1939 – Dramatically, British slow down the development of the Jewish National Home idea, appeasing Arab anger in surrounding Arab states at Jewish state building. The Mufti of Jerusalem on behalf of the Palestinian Arabs rejects British offer for a majority Arab state in Palestine in ten years. Arab leaders want no Jewish political presence in Palestine.  By the outbreak of WWII, Jewish population of Palestine is more than 450,000.  This represents more than 2/3 of total Jewish population that will be in the country when Israel is declared a state in 1948. 
  • 1939 – 1945 – Nazis in Europe kill 6 million Jews during WWII. No safe haven is granted to Jews seeking to be rescued; profound need for a Jewish state reaffirmed for Jews and particularly for the Zionists. 
  • 1945 – 1948 – persistent US State Department opposition to a Jewish state; Arab leaders vigorously reject Zionist offer for a two state solution in Palestine. Azzam Pasha of the Arab League says only war will determine outcome of Zionist-Arab competition in Palestine, “even if Palestine is lost.”
  • 1947 – UN Partition Plan calls for establishment of separate Arab and Jewish states in Palestine, connected with an economic union; Jerusalem was to remain independently run by international community; Jews accept partition (e.g. a Jewish state). Arab and Muslim states reject two-state solution.
  • 1948 – Truman recognizes Israel, although not with enthusiasm, since US State Department had opposed Israel as Jewish state, fearing Arabs might abandon US friendship; Soviet Union recognizes Jewish state as way to hasten Britain’s departure from the region.
Prime Minister Ben Gurion and Ambassador Eban present President Truman with a gift in Washington, May 8, 1951. Photo: Public Domain
  • 1948-1949 War—Jewish state’s borders at end of war 37% become larger than originally decided by UN in 1947; no Arab state in Palestine area is established, with Jordan taking most of the territory destined for Arab state; end of fighting results in continued “state of war” between Israel and Arab states, known as Armistice Agreements; no treaties signed. 730,000 Palestinians leave area that becomes the state of Israel. Jerusalem becomes a divided city with Jordan and Israel each taking a portion. 
  • 1948-1952 – 800,000 Jews from Arab lands immigrate and settle in Israel, after undergoing significant duress at hands of many Arab leaders who believe all Jews are supportive of the new Zionist state.  Jews in Israel’s Law of Return are given the right to come to Israel and become citizens. The organizational precursor of AIPAC, the American Israel Public Affairs Committee is established. Jordan poised to sign an agreement with Israel in 1951, however, it was aborted when Jordanian King Abdullah is assassinated in Jerusalem. Both the Truman Doctrine and Eisenhower Doctrine demonstrate American defense of the Middle East against the spread of Communism and the USSR into the Middle East.
Yemenite Jews flying from Aden, Yemen to Israel, during the Operation Magic, 1949-1950 
  • 1950s -1970s—American Jews are not keen about Israeli leaders insisting that Jews should immigrate to Israel. US unsuccessfully seeks to slow down Israel’s nuclear quest. Israel suffers difficult economic times due to Arab boycott and strains caused by absorbing hundreds of thousands of Jewish refugees.
  • 1956—Suez War fought; Israel sweeps across Sinai in five days, with collusion but not physical assistance of France and Great Britain. Arab states believe that this Israeli success could not have come without British assistance.
Aerial view of the Suez Operation. Photo: British National Archive
  • 1957—Eisenhower cajoles Israeli withdrawal from Sinai while UN offers placement of international emergency force in Sinai to protect Israeli shipping rights. Secretary of State Dulles angry at Israel but also realizes Israel needs US protection with arms, and calls Israel a strategic asset as USSR influence in Middle East grows. Israel’s Ben-Gurion addresses Egyptian injustices of discrimination, hostility and boycott.
  • Late 1950s—US begins to provide limited arms to Israel, in part because Arab states further align with USSR; US still uneasy about Israel’s quest for nuclear capacity. The PLO is formed in 1964 outwardly seeking Israel’s destruction.
  • 1967 – Arab states led by Egyptian President Nasser vigorously threaten Israel’s destruction; Israel preemptively strikes Arab states to gain military advantage, fearing for its survival; Israel expands size five-fold, taking control over East Jerusalem, the West Bank, the Gaza Strip, portions of the Syrian Golan Heights and all of the Egyptian Sinai Peninsula. UN Security Council Resolution 242 passes and becomes a framework for future Arab-Israeli negotiations; it calls for recognition of all states in the region and exchange of unspecified amount of territories which Israel took in the 1967 war. Israelis expand municipality of Jerusalem to encompass the Old City and some Arab neighborhoods, north, south and east of the areas Israel controlled before the 1967 War. No Arab-Israeli treaties are negotiated at the conclusion of the war.
  • 1967 – After war, Arab states unanimously agree at the Khartoum Summit conference, “no peace, no negotiation, no recognition” of Israel. First Jewish settlements established in the Golan Heights and near Hebron. Israel begins fifty years of divided outlooks about retaining the West Bank and other territories. 
  • 1969 – American Rogers Plan – “withdrawal back to the 1967 lines” is the US Secretary of State’s suggestion–Israel surprised by public plan and rejects idea because it believes its interests are not represented. Israel wants to control own destiny, borders, and pace of negotiations with neighbors. Every Israeli Prime Minister dislikes foreign leaders deciding on Israel’s security policies.
  • 1970 – Israel aids Jordan militarily when King Hussein’s regime is threatened by civil war and possible invasion from Syria.
  • 1973 – On Yom Kippur Day, Syria and Egypt attack Israel simultaneously—Egyptian President Sadat is interested in combining a limited military war along with diplomacy as means to liberate Sinai; Syria interested in destroying Israel—Cairo and Damascus see US involvement differently. Egypt embraces Washington, not so Syria. 
  • 1973 – US military resupply of Israel — after suffering initial setback, Israel beats back surprise attack – war ends with Israel 40 km from Damascus and 100km from Cairo; Israeli and Egyptian generals negotiate a disengagement agreement. Secretary of State Kissinger achieves UNSC 338, that calls for direct negotiations between the parties, a keen desire of all previous Israeli governments, Kissinger choreographs Geneva Middle East Peace conference — it includes the USSR, but US drives negotiations and excludes Europeans and UN from mediation of dispute. Syria livid at Egypt’s negotiations with Israel. 
  • 1974 – Kissinger continues mediation of E-I differences resulting in a January 1974 Military Disengagement between the countries, and persuades Syria to reach a Disengagement Agreement with Israel too. A five-month Arab oil embargo placed on US for supporting Israel during the 1973 War is removed.
  • 1975 – US President Ford halts arms transfers to Israel temporarily because Israel will not immediately withdraw further from Sinai. Impasse broken and US mediates Second (1975) Egyptian-Israeli agreement; aid is restored; significantly, the US places its troops in Sinai as monitors separating Egyptian-Israeli military forces; Egypt moves to reopen Suez Canal as sign of return to ‘normalcy.’ Israeli leadership under Yitzhak Rabin still remains highly skeptical of Egypt’s new President Sadat’s willingness to end war with Israel, though he intermediaries from Rumania and elsewhere suggest Sadat wants to change Egypt’s orientation away from Moscow, a failed socialist economy, and access American technology. To do all that Sadat understands that the US will not abandon Israel, hence he seeks to harness American presidential engagement in some manner of diplomacy.  Sadat not initially pleased at Gerald Ford’s defeat, warms to Jimmy Carter’s engagement in seeking a comprehensive Middle East peace between Israel and her Arab neighbors.
             (L-R) Prime Minister Rabin with President Ford in the Oval Office, November 6, 1975. Photo: Ford Library
  • 1977 – US President Carter pushes Israel to accept negotiations with the PLO and withdraw from the West Bank and Gaza Strip in hopes of establishing a Palestinian State. Israeli Prime Ministers Rabin and Menachem Begin refuse to accept his conditions. Neither Israel nor Egypt are keen to go to an international conference where others will determine their negotiating positions; and neither want Carter’s preference to have the USSR engaged in Middle East negotiations. Sadat becomes impatient with Carter’s consumption with procedures; he and Begin have their emissaries meet away from US eyes. They prefer direct talks. Sadat goes to Jerusalem in November 1977 essentially diverting focus from Carter’s preferred comprehensive peace negotiating efforts.  Sadat addresses the Israeli parliament. He stuns Arab world which still rejects any recognition or negotiations with Israel. Begin openly welcomes Sadat to Israel.  Little progress is made in direct Israeli-Egyptian talks, causing US to engage both Egypt and Israel directly. 
  • 1977 – Israel – US relations steadily sour as the Carter administration leans heavily toward support of the Saudi monarchy and continues the US embrace of Sadat shown already by the Nixon and Ford administrations. Going against the grain of Begin and all his predecessors, Carter insists in dictating what Israel’s security needs should be vis a vis the West Bank and Gaza Strip—Begin absolutely opposes the establishment of a Palestinian state in these areas, and opposes halting of Jewish settlements in these areas, which he considers integral to the Jewish patrimony.
        President Sadat Arrives in Jerusalem, November 1977. Photo: GPO Israel 
  • 1978 – Camp David summit between Sadat, Begin, Carter and their aids results in Egypt and Israel signing two agreements, one for self-rule or autonomy for the Palestinians under Israeli control, and one an outline for an Egyptian-Israeli peace treaty. Continued negotiations for an E-I Treaty unfold slowly, with little progress made on implementing Palestinian self-rule. Israelis refuse to withdraw from the West Bank and Gaza Strip to provide land for a Palestinian entity or state. Carter administration greatly angered and frustrated by Begin government; yet Sadat and Carter see absolute priority in seeing an Egyptian-Israeli treaty negotiated and signed. Arafat refuses to join talks with US.
  • 1979—E-I Peace Treaty signed; Sadat willing signs a “separate peace” with Israel, leaving other Arab and Muslim states further angry at Sadat’s embrace of Israeli sovereignty; Shah of Iran leaves country due to unrest and illness; religious radical Islamic leader Khomeini returns to Iran; he powers Islamic political hegemony in Middle East and beyond. Israel and Egypt maintain a “cold peace,” though ambassadors are exchanged.  The Carter administration intentionally casts a UN vote categorizing Israel as occupier of territories taken in June 1967 War.

(L-R) President Sadat, President Carter and Prime Minister Begin at Peace Treaty Signing at White House, March 26, 1979. Photo: Israel GPO
  • 1980s—Reagan administration views Israel as strategic asset; Palestinian autonomy talks go nowhere, Israel builds settlements in West Bank and Gaza Strip, with US still opposed to settlement building; Europe offers first ideas of negotiating end to conflict in Venice Declaration.
(L-R) President Reagan and Prime Minister Begin meeting in Washington, 1981. Photo: AP
  • 1981—US sells AWACS planes to Saudi Arabia despite loud Israeli protest; Israel withdraws from almost all of Sinai, per E-I Treaty. Reagan vilifies Israel for destroying Iraqi nuclear reactor; Sadat assassinated by Islamic militants, his successor, Husni Mubarak stays true to treaty with Israel.
  • 1982—Reagan Plan– seeks to link future of West Bank with Jordan; Israel surprised and miffed at not being consulted prior to announcement. Again, Begin and Israel do not want to be told how to negotiate and what to concede in negotiations.
  • 1982 – Israel invades southern Lebanon seeking to destroy PLO infrastructure there; Reagan admonishes Begin for moving Israeli troops into Beirut; American marines escort Arafat out of Beirut– PLO moves headquarters to Tunis.
  • 1983 – US-Israel sign agreement declaring Israel a strategic asset to US; US assures Israel of Qualitative Military Edge in weapons supplies over Arab neighbors.
  • 1986-1995 – One million plus Russian Jews immigrate to Israel.
  • 1987 – Major Palestinian uprising (intifada) against Israeli rule in territories unfolds to Israel’s surprise; it continues until 1992 with violence perpetrated against Israeli civilians–generating Israeli reprisals against Palestinians.
       Young Palestinians throwing stones at Israeli soldiers during first Intifada, 1988. Photo: Public Domain. 
  • 1988—US opens dialogue with PLO without telling Israel, hoping to modify PLO’s reluctance to give up terrorism and non-Israeli recognition. PLO accepts UNSCR 242 and forswears terrorism. Hamas, the Palestinian militant Islamic organization issues its founding charter calling all land west of the Jordan River Muslim land, rejecting any acceptance of Zionism whatsoever; King Hussein announces his intention to politically disengage from the West Bank, leaving the PLO to fill the political vacuum.
  • 1989-1992—US-Israel relations grow distinctly cold over continuation of Israeli settlement building. Group of Israeli historians publish books putting much of the blame of the dispersed Palestinian condition on Israeli behavior in 1947-49.
  • 1991-1992—Bush administration— Iraq overruns Kuwait, with Iraqi president claiming he is also on the way to “liberate” Palestine. Iraq fires missiles at Saudi Arabia and Israel. Kuwait sovereignty is restored, Iraq is defeated, and Israel withholds military retaliation against Iraq. Israel curries favor with US for doing so. Madrid peace conference unfolds evolving into bilateral negotiations between Israel and each Arab neighbor, with Palestinians present in Jordanian delegation; multi-lateral talks on topical issues like water, refugees, borders, and economic development ensue between Israel and individual Arab states, and international community. No agreements are reached from the Madrid Peace Conference.
President Bush addresses attendees of the Madrid Peace Conference, October 30, 1991. Photo: US National Archive
  • 1992-1993—Secret PLO-Israeli negotiations evolve, yielding 1993, Oslo Accords signed on White House lawn – – PLO and Israel recognize each other – Israel provides PLO with self-rule in the WB and GS. Nothing said about settlements; Palestinian Authority (PA) formed to govern WB and GS, PLO is not dissolved. Yasir Arafat remains head of both Palestinian political organizations.

(L-R) King Hussein, President Clinton and Prime Minister Rabin at Jordan-Israel peace deal signing., July 1994. Photo: AP. 
  • 1994—Jordan-Israel peace treaty signed; US played no significant role in its signing; Jordan and Israel see each other as having mutual vital interests. Jordanian – Israeli military and intelligence cooperation continues.  
  • 1995 – Israeli PM Rabin assassinated by right wing leaning Israeli disgruntled with Rabin’s signature on Oslo Accords and possible provision of WB (Judea and Samaria) to Palestinian control. 
  • 1996-1999—Clinton-Netanyahu relationship frosty; growth and expansion of Israeli settlements continues.  
  • 2000—Camp David II summit unfolds, without pre-negotiations, no tangible agreement results; PLO leader Arafat is still not ready to accept Israel and especially Israeli PM Barak’s proposal to end the conflict.
(L-R) Prime Minister Barak, President Clinton, and Yasser Arafat at Camp David, July 21, 2000. Photo: CNN.
  • 2000—Clinton tries to reopen Syrian-Israeli talks, but does not succeed in moving Damascus and Israel towards an agreement; second major Palestinian intifada (uprising) erupts against Israeli civilians in the West Bank and inside pre-1967 Israel.
  • 2000-2001–Clinton leaves office after presenting Clinton Parameters as an outline for a negotiated settlement, no agreement is signed. 
  • 2001—Israel initiates building the security “wall/fence” around pre-1967 borders, including many Jewish settlements built over the previous “green line” or armistice lines separating pre-1967 Israel from the West Bank; as consequence, over next decade and more, terrorist attacks against Israel largely reduced. Israel condemned by international community for building “fence/wall.” Fear exists from those abroad that the “fence/wall” will become de facto border between Israel and any Palestinian political entity. Active political De-Legitimization of Israel spawned through international meetings by progressives is joined by growth Arab and Islamic anti-Semitism. 
The security barrier between Israel and the West Bank under construction. Photo: Noam Moskowitz
  • 2002 – US President Bush suggests a two-state solution to the Palestinian-Israeli conflict; UNSC 1397 affirms a two-state solution; first time UN suggests a two-state solution.
  • 2002 – Arab states call for qualified normalization of relations in the Arab Peace Initiative with Israel, but remain imprecise on resolution of Palestinian refugee issue; Israel will not accept Palestinian Arab return to Israel inside the pre-1967 lines fearing end of Jewish majority in state.  
  • 2003—Roadmap for a two-state solution suggested by Quartet-EU, UN, US, and Russia – ambiguous language; Hamas rejects it out of hand; Israel accepts some of the terms suggested, but has reservations because of no final resolution to Palestinian refugee issue. Several EU countries show increased disfavor of Israel for continued settlement growth.
  • 2004—Bush-Sharon letter—US affirms that Israel’s borders can be greater than the 1967 lines; long time PLO leader Arafat dies. Palestinian Arabs remain severely splintered ideologically on whether to negotiate with and recognize Israel. Hamas says no, never. Israeli PM Sharon publically accepts idea of a two-state solution to the conflict. Palestinian intifada slowly ends, but Palestinian attacks against Israel continue.  Sharon amplifies his Gaza Disengagement Plan.
(L-R) Prime Minister Abbas, President Bush and Prime Minister Sharon following joint statement in Aqaba, Jordan, June 4, 2003. Photo, Public Domain
  • 2005—Israel unilaterally withdraws from the Gaza Strip, and four small settlements in the West Bank, hoping to ease toward normalization with PA and PLO; 9,000 Israeli settlers leave Gaza. 
         Israeli evacuating Gush Katif settlement in Gaza, August 2005.
  • 2006—Israel and Hezbollah engage in 34-day war in Lebanon- no geographic changes result. Hezbollah rearms with weapons from Iran, via Syria.
  • 2006—Hamas defeats Fatah in Palestine Legislative Council elections; corruption in Fatah leadership alienates many Palestinian voters. 
  • 2007—Hamas removes PLO/PA control over the Gaza Strip in violent coup and militarizes the strip, which is then used to launch rocket and infiltration attacks against Israel.
Hamas supporters in Gaza in rally following coup in June 2007. Photo: AFP
  • 2007—Annapolis Peace Conference–Palestinian-Israeli negotiations jump started, but result in no end to the conflict, no agreements are signed; Palestinians seek permanent halt of all Israeli settlements.
Prime Minister Olmert, President Bush and President Abbas address attendees of Annapolis Conference, June 2007. Photo: US Navy
  • 2008-2009—Israel-Hamas conflict erupts; Israel seeks to stop rocket attacks; Iran continues to build nuclear capacity to international and Israeli displeasure.
  • 2009 – UN publishes scathing report highly critical of Israel’s recent conflict with Hamas for targeting civilians, then author of report retracts conclusions as perhaps biased. European Parliament endorses support for Palestinian self-determination.
  • 2010 – Renewed US effort at mediation; US affirms Israel’s right to be “a Jewish state.” Israel still seeks direct bilateral, no-pre-conditions to commence talks with the Palestinians.
  • 2010-2011—Arab ‘Awakening’ – Arab publics overthrow many authoritarian regimes, seeking better economic opportunities and end of political cronyism and corruption. Syrian civil war remains brutal into 2017. Egyptian, Libyan, Tunisian, and Yemeni leaders turned out of office. Sanctions against Iran’s building of nuclear capacity tightened. Barak Obama calls for negotiations between Israelis and Palestinians based on the June 1967 War lines; Israel again not pleased with US president defining what the negotiation outlines should be.
  • 2012—Israel again strikes at Hamas in Gaza for launching rockets into Israel; violence ends after 8 days of fighting; Hamas leader reaffirms need for Israel’s disappearance. Vice-President Biden reveals his own views deeply favoring Israel and his opposition to Iran obtaining a nuclear weapon.  
  • 2012—US law makers create Enhanced Security Cooperation Act and President Obama signs it into law, bringing two states closer on military and strategic issues, all while White House continues to staunchly opposes building of Israeli settlements.
  • 2013—President Obama in Jerusalem appeals to people of Israel to support negotiations based on a two-state solution.
  • 2013—Secretary of State Kerry makes concerted effort to restart Palestinian-Israeli negotiations based on creating a process that would lead to a two-state solution, but by middle of 2014, his mediation efforts do not succeed.
  • 2013-2014—Hamas-Israel violence erupts.
  • 2014 – US lawmakers pass the US-Israel Strategic Partnership Act which President Obama signs into law; Israel’s UN Ambassador Prosor chastises UN for its hypocrisy.
(L-R) Israeli president Shimon Peres, Secretary of State John Kerry, May 2013. Photo: AP/Jim Young
  • 2015 – US and five other countries sign agreement with Iran to limit their nuclear development, relieve some sanctions; major disagreement between Israel and US over agreement’s worth; controversy swirls about Israeli PM’s address to US Congress opposing the agreement with Iran. 
(L-R) Foreign ministers/secretaries of state Wang Yi (China), Laurent Fabius (France), Frank-Walter Steinmeier (Germany), Federica Mogherini (EU), Mohammad Javad Zarif (Iran), Philip Hammond (UK), John Kerry (USA announce the JCPOA in Vienna, July 14, 2015. 
  • 2016 – US and Israel sign 10-year memorandum of understanding providing Israel with $38 billion over that span of time. Obama administration continues to chide Israel because of its settlement building. UN passes UNSCR 2334 that categorizes all the territories that Israel gained in the June 1967 war as occupied, including east Jerusalem as topics for negotiations. 
  • 2017—Middle East Conference in Paris emphasizes need for two-state solution, PM Netanyahu does not participate. President Trump and PM Netanyahu meet in February, and Trump startles audience, “One-state or two-states, whatever the Israelis and Palestinians want.” This a break from traditional US advocacy of two-state solution.  In breaking international precedent, the US officially recognizes Jerusalem as Israel’s capital.
  • 2018—Israeli parliament passes the 14th Basic Law declaring Israel as Nation State of the Jewish people, emphasizing the Jewish nature of the state above other ethnic and religious groups. Israel warms relations with major eastern European states, strengthens ties with India and Japan; women in Israel challenge denial of access to prayer at western wall; Israel periodically attacks threatening Iranian presence and capabilities in Syria.
U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry stands with French President Francois Hollande and his counterparts on January 15, 2017 during the Paris, France, during the French-hosted conference on Middle East peace. Photo: US State Department
  • 2019—Through proclamation, US President Trump recognizes Golan Heights as part of Israel to the dismay of the international community. Israel’s population tops 9 million, 74% are Jewish, including 45% of world Jewry; its GDP is $353,000 billion, ranking 32 in the world. By comparison in 1948, there were 806,000 people in Israel, 80% Jewish with only 6% of world Jewry living in Israel. Israel holds April parliamentary elections, but failure to construct a coalition of 61 members forces a second election in September. 
  • 2020- After third Israeli election in less than 18 months, Israelis form coalition/unity government; President Trump announces plan for two state solution to the conflict including option for Israel to annex West Bank lands with major economic plan associated with his proposal.
  • After the third Israeli election in less than 18 months, Israelis form a coalition/unity government; President Trump announces his plan for a two state solution to the conflict including an option for Israel to annex West Bank lands, with a major economic plan proposed for his plan. The supportive funds to unfold a Palestinian state and support for other Arab states do not materialize.   In August and September, through the good offices of the United States, the UAE and Bahrain recognize Israel diplomatically, on the explicit condition that Israel refrain from any annexation of West Bank lands. In October and December respectively, Sudan and Morocco announce normalization of relations with Israel. In all four cases, the US provides each Arab country with a specific strategic, political or military objective.  Israel announces plans for another parliamentary election in March 2021. Those elections resulted in Naftali Bennett from the Yamina Party sworn as Prime Minister in June 2021, with Yesh Atid Party leader, Yair Lapid taking the position of Foreign Minister. This coalition of eight parties was Israel’s thirty-sixth government; Bennett and Lapid agreed to rotate their posts in August 2023. For the first time in Israel’s parliamentary history, an Israeli Arab Party was part of the ruling coalition. Over 2021 and early 2022 Israel enhanced its diplomatic status, with Bennett and Lapid visiting the UAE and Bahrain, and Israel’s new president Isaac Herzog, warming ice-cold relations with a visit to Turkey in March 2022.
  • May 2021: Israel and Hamas fight their fourth war since 2008. The eleven-day confrontation begins when Hamas and Islamic Jihad unleash a barrage of rockets and mortars at Israel after Israel rejects their ultimatum to withdraw its security forces from the Temple Mount. In retaliation, Israel launches Operation Guardian of the Walls, an aerial bombing campaign, supported by artillery,  targeting Hamas infrastructure and high-rises repurposed as command-and-control centers. In addition to the 4,300 projectiles that are fired at Israel (an average of 400 a day), Hamas deploys unmanned seacraft (“submarines”) primed to explode next to Israeli targets. In parallel to the confrontation between Israel and Hamas and Islamic Jihad, clashes erupt between Jews and Arabs in cities throughout Israel. This war with Hamas terminates as in the previous four clashes with Israel and Hamas engaged in a cease-fire where Hamas rearms itself preparing for the next round of fighting which suddenly take place in October 2023.
  • November 2022: In their fifth election in less than four years, Israelis go to the polls. The following month, Israeli prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu forms Israel’s thirty-seventh government comprising seven parties and the most right-wing cabinet in Israeli history. Together with Likud, which garnered the most seats, the coalition includes Shas, Otzma Yehudit, Noam, National Unity, the Religious Zionist Party, and United Torah Judaism. This right of center government seeks to remove considerable power from the courts system in Israel, under mass protest from Israeli civil society during the first half of 2023 
  • October 2023: As dawn rises over Israel, the Gaza-based terrorist group Hamas launches the deadliest attack on the Jewish people since the Holocaust. The massacre, dubbed “Operation al-Aqsa Flood,” is an assault on Israel that unites Hamas’s three existential purposes: waging jihad (holy war),  killing Jews, and undermining international support for Israel among nations of the world. After breaching the Gaza barrier and entering Israel under a hail of rockets, the terrorists spread out over a 30-mile zone surrounding Gaza, swarming dozens of civilian settlements and military installations. Then, they carry out their orders: “Kill as many people and take as many hostages as possible,” as per the instructions in a notebook later found on a terrorist’s corpse. With this barbarous objective in view, the assailants slaughter, without distinction, every living thing they encounter: Jews and Arabs, Israelis and foreigners, elderly and infants, men and women, civilians and soldiers, humans and dogs. The unspeakable brutality shocks the conscience of civilized humanity, and by day’s end, some 1,200 people lay dead in Israel with 240 in captivity in Gaza. Thus begins the fifth war between Israel and Hamas since 2008. US President Joe Biden calls Hamas’ actions evil, sending American naval vessels to the Mediterranean and the Red Sea to deter the war from becoming a regional conflict. At the end of November the first hostage- Palestinian prisoner exchange is implemented, Hamas keeps as many hostages as possible to insure its political control over the on-going war.
LR- Vice President Kamala Harris, President Joe Biden, Secretary of state Antony Binken, October 10, 2023 (White House)
  • January 2024: Almost exactly a year after the current government is sworn in, the Israeli Supreme Court issues two rulings that, together, take an axe to the central plank of Prime Minister Netanyahu’s political platform: limiting the power of the Israeli judiciary. In a 8-7 decision, the high court reinstated “the reasonableness clause” repealed by the Knesset in July 2023, restoring to the court the power to overturn government decisions it judges “unreasonable.” In a companion decision carried by an even larger majority (12-3), the court affirmed its right to judicial review of Israel’s most important legislation, its 14 Basic Laws. Improbable though it may seem on the face of it, the judicial reform campaign that these two rulings have ended or, at the very least, suspended, does in fact relate to the war. In the months leading up to October 7, Israel’s military intelligence agency, Aman, sent four letters to the premier transmitting the same message: the social divisions created by the judicial overhaul were eroding Israeli deterrence. This warning was to prove well founded, as a captured Hamas commando told his Israeli interrogator, “We were encouraged by the demonstrations in Israel.” 
  • March 2024: In a highly unprecedented speech from the Senate floor, New York Senator Chuck Schumer enumerates four obstacles to reaching a resolution to the conflict: the presence of Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu, Hamas and Palestinians who support their evil ways, radical-right wing Israelis in government and society, and PA leader Mahmoud Abbas.