Timeline of conflict: Why the 2021 Israeli-Palestinian fighting is among the most brutal in years – USA TODAY

Posted By on May 25, 2021

The intense fighting now raging between Israelis and Palestinians in an area not much larger thanNew Jersey may bethe worst since 2014, but it's part of a complex, bitter conflict that reaches back to the first world war.

The dispute is rooted in pre-biblical times. Though its borders have shifted over the years, Palestine used to be what is now Israel, Gaza and the West Bank.

Both Israeli Jews and Palestinian Arabs history, culture and identity are linked to Palestine and to the ancient city of Jerusalem,one of the most bitterly contested cities on earth, according to The Associated Press.

The Ottoman Empire controlled Palestine for about 400 years before its defeat, along with Germany, in World War I. Britain was given control of Palestineby the League of Nations in 1920, under an order called the British Mandate.

In 1917, the British government signaled its support for the establishment of a Jewish state in Israel with the Balfour Declaration.

While the declaration stated support, it also said that nothing shall be done which may prejudice the civil and religious rights of existing non-Jewish communities in Palestine, or the rights and political status enjoyed by Jews in any other country.

Jewish migration from eastern and central Europe surged from 1922 to 1947 as Jews fled persecution and the destruction of their communities during the interwar period and during World War II. By the end of the Holocaust, more than 6 million European Jews had been murdered, and many survivors were left stateless.

As the number of Jewish immigrants increased, many Palestinians were displaced. They began pushing back and violence resulted.

In 1929, 67 Jews were killed in the Hebron massacre, part of Palestinian riots against Jewish immigration in Palestine.

Gaza: Also known as the Gaza Strip, its the home to about 2 million Palestinians, many of them displaced after leaving or being driven from Israel during the War of Independence.

West Bank: Smaller than Delaware, the West Bank is east of Israel. About 3 million Palestinians live there, most of them Muslim Arabs. The West Bank contains a number of Jewish holy sites, which are visited by thousands of pilgrims every year.

East Jerusalem: Jerusalem itself is a divided, disputed city. It was cut in two after the 1948 Arab-Israeli war. Israel controlled the western portion and Jordan controlled the east. Israel captured the entire city in the 1967 Six-Day War.

Attempts by Jewish settlers to evict Palestinian families from their homes in East Jerusalem helped spark the current conflict, USA TODAY has reported.

Though Jerusalem's ownership is disputed,Israeli officialsclaimit as the undivided capital of Israel. In 2017, the Trump administration moved the U.S. Embassy in Israel to Jerusalem from Tel Aviv, a formal recognition of Jerusalem as the capital.

However, most nations do not acknowledge Jerusalem as belonging to either Israelisor Palestinians.


Hamas is the largest Palestinianmilitant groupand has fired rockets from Gaza at Israeli cities in the fighting.

It was founded in 1987during the first Palestinian uprising against Israeli occupation of Gaza and the West Bank and has controlled Gaza since winning elections in 2007. It's committed to the destruction of Israel and is considered a terrorist group by the U.S., the U.K.and other nations.

Israeli Defense Forces

The IDF is the combined armed forces of Israel, including army, navy and air force. It was established in 1948, two weeks after Israel declared itself a state.

1947: TheU.N. votes to divide Palestine into separate Jewish and Arab statesand make Jerusalem an international city. Arabs reject the plan, which is later dropped.

1948:After the British Mandate expires on May 14, the Jewish People's Council meets in Tel Aviv and establishes the State of Israel. The U.S. officially recognizes the new nation later that day;the USSR acknowledges it three days later.

1949: The Armistice Agreements is a U.N.-mediated attempt to bring peace to Palestine. Israel signsagreements with Egypt, Jordan, Syria and Lebanon to reach a formal peace treaty within six months, but the effort ultimately fails.

1956: Egypt nationalizes the Suez Canal and bars Israeli ships from using it and the Straits of Tiran, another shipping route. Israel, aided by Britain and France, invades Egypt. The Soviet Union, an ally of Egypt,threatens nuclear retaliation, and the U.S. pressuresBritish, French and Israeli forces to withdraw. TheU.N. deploys a peacekeeping force.

1964: The Palestine Liberation Organization, a group with the goal of uniting Arab groups and liberating the Palestinian territories through armed struggle, is formed in Egypt.

1967: The Six-Day War grows out of the Suez Canal conflict. Egypt ordersthe U.N. force to leave, closesthe Straits of Tiran to Israel again, and plansa secret attack against Israel.

In a preemptive strike, Israel attacksEgypt and later Jordan and Syria, capturing Gaza, the West Bank, East Jerusalem, the Golan Heights and the Sinai Peninsula.

1973: The Yom Kippur War starts with Egypt and Syria attacking Israel on Yom Kippur, the holiest day of the Jewish year. The war is an attempt to reverse the defeat of the 1967 war.

Caught unaware, the Israelis counterattack and win. The U.S. helps secure disengagement agreements from combatants, laying groundwork for future peace efforts.

1979: The Camp David Accords, an Israeli-Egyptian peace deal, is set up by President Jimmy Carter and signed by Egyptian President Anwar Sadat and Israeli Prime Minister Menachem Begin.

1979: Israel begins gradual withdrawal from the Sinai.

1987: Palestinians stage the first of two uprisings, or intifadas, in Gaza, Israel and the West Bank, using mass boycotts, civil disobedience and attacks on Israelis. More than 50 Israeli civilians are killed. The intifadalasts more than fiveyears, ending in September 1993.

The Israeli military kills 1,070 Palestinians, including 237 children, according to B'Tselem, an Israelihuman rights organization. Jewish settlers kill 54 Palestinians. The U.S. and the U.N. criticize Israel's use of lethal force.

1991:In response tothe intifada, the Madrid Conference, a historical gathering of all participants in the Arab-Israeli conflict, is chaired by the U.S. and Russia.

1993: Oslo I, known as the Declaration of Principles, is signed by Israeli Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin and Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat. It establishes a timetable for a Middle East peace process.

1995: Oslo II is signed, a second agreement in which the Palestine Liberation Organization recognizesthe state of Israel and Israel allowsPalestinians limited self-government in Gaza.

2000:President Bill Clinton, Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Barak and Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat gatherat theCamp David summit, a meeting intended to end hostilities. It ends without an agreement.

Palestinians, frustrated over failures to create a Palestinian state, begin the second intifada in September, which lasts until February 2005. B'Tselem estimates more than 3,100 Palestinians and nearly 1,000 Israelis are killed.

2005: Israel withdraws from Gaza but retains control.

2007: Hamas, the militant Palestinian group, wins elections in Gaza.

2008: Israel launches a major military campaign against Hamasin Gazaafter increased rocket fire from militants. The fighting ends on Jan. 18, 2009, with 1,440 Palestinians and 13 Israelis killed.

2012: Israeli forces kill Ahmed Jabari, a Hamas military chief, in a missile strike. The strike is part of an Israeli operation to eliminate weapons and militants in Gaza.Hamas says the killing has "opened the gates of hell."

2014: Hamas kidnaps and kills three Israeli teens in the West Bank, igniting the Gaza War, in which rocket attacks and airstrikes kill2,251 Palestinians and 73 Israelis. A senior Hamas leader praisesthe kidnapping and saysit was intended to spark a new Palestinian uprising.

The war lasts 50 days and ends with a truce. A U.N. report says both sides may have committed war crimes, which Israel and Hamas dispute.

2017: The Trump administration says it will move the U.S. Embassy in Israel to Jerusalem from Tel Aviv, in effect an official U.S. recognition ofIsrael's claim to the city. The embassy is relocated in 2018.

2018:Protests break out on the Gaza-Israeli border as the U.S. Embassy is relocated. Demonstratorsthrow explosivesand rocks across barrier fences and are met with gunfire and tear gas. At least 58 Palestinians are killed, the Gaza health ministrysays.

2021: Fighting eruptsagain as Israeli police raid the Al-Aqsa Mosque in Jerusalem on April 13, the first night of the Muslim holy month of Ramadan, and disconnect speakers broadcasting prayers as ReuvenRivlin, the Israeli president, is speaking at the Western Wall, a site sacred to the Jewish people.

Police then closea nearby plaza, a popular gathering place. Palestinians and Jews begin attacking one another, and Israeli police raid the mosque on May 7.

The raid, on what's considered a holy Muslim site on one of the holiest nights of Ramadan, is viewed by Muslims as an insult.

Hamas and other militants fire rockets into Israel from Gaza on May 10. Israel counterattacks with airstrikes. Despite international pressure for peace, the fighting continues.


SOURCE USA TODAY Network reporting and research; The Associated Press; United Nations; Reuters; U.S. State Department

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Published2:59 pm UTC May. 20, 2021Updated2:59 pm UTC May. 20, 2021

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Timeline of conflict: Why the 2021 Israeli-Palestinian fighting is among the most brutal in years - USA TODAY

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