Israel Brief History

Israel Brief History

A trip to Israel offers experiences related to historical time and encounters with today’s complicated political situation in the Middle East.

According to a2zgov, there are many places here that are associated with the early history of man and ancient rulers such as Kings David and Herod. Here are almost all the places associated with Jesus’ life and works. That is why the journey often follows in the footsteps of Christianity. The cruel medieval crusades carried out to recapture the lost city of Jerusalem have left traces in the form of ancient castles and cityscapes. Several of Israel’s sights are on the UNESCO World Heritage List.

A visit to Israel offers historical and archeological sights and is an interesting experience, in every way.

On this trip, the number of visited countries / autonomous territories was increased with Israel (110th) and Palestine (111th).

During my trip I visited, among other things:

Ceasarea , Judea former capital of
Megiddo , the biblical site of Armageddon (UNESCO heritage)
Haifa with Bahaitemplet and its beautiful gardens (UNESCO heritage)
Acre , the Crusaders last stronghold in the “Holy Land” (UNESCO heritage)
Capernaum to the house where Jesus disciple Peter lived
Galliee who played an important role during the time of Jesus
Tabgha was the site where Jesus is said to have saturated 5 000 people with two fish and five slices of bread
Mount of Beatitudes , where Jesus is said to have kept his Sermon on the Mount
Banias is the site of one of the Jordan River’s headwaters and old temple
Golan Heightsis the border mountains between Israel and Syria
Nazareth was the hometown of Joseph, Mary and Jesus
Yardenit is the place of baptism where John the Baptist is said to have worked
Beit Shean which was called Scythopolis during Roman times
Jerusalem , the holy city with places like the Mount of Olives, the Gardens of Gethsemane, the Rock Mosque, the Wailing Wall, Via Dolorosa, Calvary, etc. The old town is on the UNESCO World Heritage List
Bethlehem (Palestine) , here is the Church of the Nativity built on the site where Mary gave birth to Jesus
Qumran , the site where the Dead Sea Scrolls were found
Massada is a mighty cliff where the Israelis successfully defended themselves against the Romans (UNESCO heritage)
Dead Sea, the earth’s lowest lake (405 meters below sea level), offered swimming in the world’s saltiest water

Israel history in brief

History of Israel 1947 – 1999


The British colonial power left the Palestine issue to the UN and the General Assembly adopted Resolution 181, which said that Palestine should be divided into a Jewish and an Arab state. The Jewish state would cover about 55% of Palestine’s land area and the Arab state 44%. Jerusalem was to be placed under UN administration. The Jews accepted the proposal. The Palestinians and the Arab states refused to accept the proposal. These instead proposed a “democratic unitary state”. The result was that the violence escalated. On May 15, 1948, the British Mandate in Palestine expired


In April, the Arab village of Deir Yassin was attacked by two Jewish terrorist gangs, Irgun and Stern. About a hundred Arabs were killed. The effects of the massacre played a major role in the ensuing Palestinian mass exodus

On May 14, the independent state of Israel was proclaimed by Labor leader David Ben-Gurion, who became the country’s first prime minister.

On May 15, the newly formed state of Israel was attacked by Egypt, Transjordan, Syria and Iraq, as well as by symbolic forces from Saudi Arabia and Yemen. During the ensuing war, the UN mediator, the Swede Folke Bernadotte, was assassinated by the Stern League. Prime Minister Yitzhak Shamir


The war ended with a number of ceasefire agreements. After the war, Israel’s area accounted for 77% of the former Palestine area, including West Jerusalem. Of the intended Palestinian state, virtually nothing remained, since the West Bank came under Jordanian administration and Gaza under Egyptian

The war resulted in some 725,000 Arabs fleeing to the West Bank, Gaza or nearby Arab states. About 160,000 Arabs stayed in Israel. Only Jordan gave the refugees full citizenship

The resolution adopted by the UN General Assembly, although not binding, gave the Palestinian refugees the right to return or receive compensation on condition that they lived in peace with their neighbors. Israel has only obeyed this a few times


In the autumn, Israel, in secret agreement with France and Britain, attacked Egypt. However, the Israelis were forced to withdraw following pressure from the United States and the United Nations in the 1950s, the end Yasser Arafat, Mahmoud Abbas and other Palestinians were formed in the Fatah exile movement. Its goal was to wipe out the Jewish state and thus pave the way for all Palestinian refugees to return home.


Egyptian President Gamal Abdel Nasser took the initiative to form the Palestinian Liberation Organization (PLO), Palestine Liberation Organization


At the beginning of the year, tensions at the border between Israel and Syria increased. Egypt, which was allied with Syria, in May had troops march toward the border with Israel. Nasser also blocked the Gulf of Aqaba from Israeli shipping

On June 5, the Israeli air force attacked, primarily against Egypt, in what Israel considered a defensive war. Israel tried to avoid war against Jordan as well, but in vain. After six days of total Israeli air rule, the armies of Egypt and Jordan were crushed, and the Syrian army was also badly damaged.

In the so-called Six Day War, Israel conquered Gaza and the Sinai Peninsula from Egypt, the West Bank, and the eastern, Arab, part of Jerusalem from Jordan. East Jerusalem was immediately annexed, that is, subject to Israeli law. The Golan Heights were occupied from Syria

In the autumn, the UN adopted Resolution 242, which became fundamental to all peace efforts. It calls for withdrawal from occupied territories, and further respect for and recognition of the sovereignty, territorial integrity and independence of the States involved and of their right to live in peace within secure and recognized borders.


For the Palestinians, the Six-Day War meant that the last remnants of historic Palestine fell into Israeli hands. In the refugee camps in Jordan, Lebanon and Syria, Palestinians flocked to movements seeking to liberate Palestine.

From bases in Jordan, the PLO attacked targets in Israel. The Israeli retaliatory attacks became a strain on Jordan


In a civil war with the PLO in September, King Hussein effectively drove out the PLO. The war was called “Black September” by the Palestinians. Instead, the PLO built bases in Lebanon and in the early 1970s, a number of PLO organizations increasingly engaged in terrorism.


On October 6, Egypt and Syria launched surprise attacks on Israel during the Jewish holiday of Yom Kippur (Day of Atonement). The attack hit Israel hard, which, however, managed to take back the initiative before the war was called off on 22 October


The PLO’s goal had been to liberate all of Palestine, including Israel, and to do so by military means. From this year, the PLO accepted the possibility of self-government in “every part” of Palestine as an intermediate goal along the way. The PLO also decided that the liberation would not only take place by military means but also by political means

The Arab states recognized the PLO as the only legal representative of the Palestinian people

The PLO gained observer status in the UN


With Likud’s right – wing bloc election victory, Israeli politics entered a new phase, until then all governments had been led by the Labor Party. Likud Prime Minister Menachem Begin encouraged ultranationalists to build new settlements in occupied territory


The PLO now attacked targets in northern Israel from Lebanon. As a countermeasure, Israel temporarily invaded southern Lebanon During the autumn, Israel and Egypt, with the help of US President Jimmy Carter, agreed on a framework for peace in the Camp David Accords. Ahead of Israel’s first peace deal with an Arab nation, the Israeli peace movement Fred Nu was formed


Based on the Camp David Accords, Israel and Egypt made peace, and Egypt gradually regained Sinai. The Camp David Accords caused dissatisfaction throughout the Arab world, and Egypt was excluded from the Arab League until 1989.


Israel proclaimed Jerusalem as its eternal and indivisible capital


The Golan Heights were annexed

In 1982, Israel again invaded Lebanon and drove out the PLO, which moved its headquarters to Tunisia. Hundreds of thousands of Palestinian refugees were left without protection in Lebanon

In the Sabra and Shatila refugee camps, Palestinians were massacred by Christian Falangists, who were allied with Israel. Israeli Defense Minister Ariel Sharon was considered politically responsible for the massacre and had to resign


In the autumn, young people throwing stones at the West Bank began an uprising, the Intifada, which lasted until the early 1990s.


Jordan’s King Hussein relinquished all administrative responsibility for the West Bank


The PLO’s exile parliament formally declared an independent Palestinian state, with Yasser Arafat as president. This called for a two-state solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict

The PLO recognized UN Resolution 242 and thus Israel’s right to exist within safe borders. Furthermore, the PLO denied the right to use terrorism. However, no real response came from Israel


The Israeli government was paralyzed in the peace issue and burst. Likud formed a new government under Yitzhak Shamir, with the support of religious and right-wing extremist parties. Ariel Sharon, who was now Minister for Housing, started a program to build new settlements in the West Bank


The peace process between Israel and the Palestinians began with a US-backed conference on the Middle East in Madrid in the autumn


The Labor Party returned to power under the leadership of Yitzhak Rabin
All new settlement projects were stopped, except in East Jerusalem
With the mediation of Norway, Rabin’s government secretly negotiated with the PLO


In September, the Oslo Accords were signed at a solemn ceremony in Washington. The agreement was an agreement in principle on limited Palestinian autonomy in the West Bank and Gaza. The PLO also formally recognized Israel’s right to exist within safe borders, and Israel recognized for the first time the PLO as the representative of the Palestinian people.

However, the Oslo Accords were not a real peace agreement but only stated how Israel and the PLO would proceed in resolving their conflict. Negotiations on the permanent status of the West Bank and Gaza, Jerusalem, settlements, refugees, security and borders would be completed within five years. Thereafter, UN Resolution 242 was to be implemented and occupied territories to be handed over. However, the parties did not agree on the exact meaning of the UN resolution. Despite resistance and sabotage from both sides, the peace process progressed


In February, a Jewish settler shot dead 29 Palestinians in the Ibrahim Mosque in Hebron. The Islamist movements Hamas and Islamic Jihad began carrying out suicide attacks on Israeli civilians in order to nullify the peace process.

In October, Israel and Jordan signed a peace agreement


In November, Israeli Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin was shot dead by an extremely religious-nationalist young Jew. The assassination came as the culmination of a long hate campaign from the right against Rabin’s peace policy. Shimon Peres of the Labor Party succeeded Rabin until the 1996 election


In the election campaign, Peres led for a long time over Benjamin Netanyahu from Likud. But violent terror from Hamas spread fear among Israelis and favored the right. Netanyahu won the election by the smallest possible margin, and his government became dependent on small parties on the right wing


Increased support for settlers led to unrest in the West Bank and Gaza
In December, new elections were announced


After a fierce election campaign, the new leader of the Labor Party, Ehud Barak, won the election and formed a broad coalition with Shas, Meretz and other smaller parties. Netanyahu was succeeded as Likud leader by Ariel Sharon. After the election, Barak and Arafat met for talks and he also withdrew Israel’s last forces from Lebanon in the hope that it would lead to peace with Syria.

Israel Brief History