Identity and the Intifada — Timeline


As a result of persecution of Jews in Russia and Romania, the first large-scale immigration of Jews to Palestine begins.


Publication of Theodor Herzl’s pamphlet “The Jewish State,” advocating a Jewish state be formed in Palestine or elsewhere.


British Foreign Secretary Arthur J. Balfour declares England’s support for establishing a “national home” for Jewish people in Palestine.


Inspired by other Arab nationalist movements, Palestinians revolt in an attempt to halt the establishment of a Jewish state in Palestine. Jewish settlements and British soldiers are both attacked.


The United Nations votes to partition Palestine into two states, one for Palestinians and one for Jews, with Jerusalem remaining an international city.


Britain withdraws from Palestine. Surrounding Arab states join with Palestinians to prevent formation of Jewish state. Israel is established anyway. Jordan controls West Bank; Egypt controls the Gaza Strip.


Arab heads of state led by Nasser form the Palestine Liberation Organization in Cairo.


Israel launches pre-emptive strike against Egypt, Syria and Jordan as they prepare for war with the Jewish state. The Six-Day War ends with Israel occupying the Sinai Peninsula, the Golan Heights, the Gaza Strip and the West Bank.


Yasser Arafat, leader of al-Fatah guerilla organization, is elected chairman of the PLO’s executive committee.


King Hussein’s army defeats Arafat’s PLO for control of Jordan.


Egypt and Syria launch surprise attack against Israeli forces occupying the Sinai Peninsula and Golan Heights on Yom Kippur.


Egyptian President Anwar Sadat visits Jerusalem, addresses the Israeli Knesset and offers full peace in exchange for Israel’s withdrawl from the Sinai.


Israel and Egypt sign their peace treaty.


Israel invades Lebanon. Phalangist
militia leader Bashir Gemayel is
assassinated after his election as Lebanon’s president. Phalangist militia men massacre hundreds of Palestinians at settlements of Sabra and Shatila in Beirut. U.S. Marines arrive in Beirut as part of international peacekeeping force.


American embassy and Marine base in Beirut are blown up by suicide car bombers.


The first Palestinian uprising, or intifada, begins in the West Bank and Gaza Strip.


Iraqi Scud missiles hit Israel after American-led coalition begins air war to liberate Kuwait.

September 1993:

Arafat and Yitzhak Rabin sign “Declaration of Principles” at the White House and engage in historic handshake.

May 1994:

Israel and PLO complete details for Palestinian self-rule in Gaza Strip and Jericho; Israeli troops withdraw.

November 1995:

Israeli Prime Minister Rabin assassinated by Orthodox Jew after a peace rally in Tel Aviv.


Arafat and Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Barak meet with President Bill Clinton at Camp David. Arafat declines Barak’s peace offer.

September 2000:

Then-Israeli opposition leader Ariel Sharon visits the Temple Mount in Jerusalem. The next day, riots erupt and the intifada begins.

March 2001:

Ariel Sharon elected prime minister of Israel.

Source: Thomas L. Friedman,

“From Beirut to Jerusalem”