Middle East Timeline


Balfour Declaration


Britain encourages Jewish immigration and begins the process of creating a homeland for the Jews (Israel).

The British Mandate


The League of Nations grants Britain territory equivalent to modern day Israel and Jordan and gives France territory equivalent to modern day Syria and Lebanon.

Jewish Violence, Arab Revolt

1929 - 1939

Violence breaks out between Jews and Arabs within the British Mandate. A Jewish militia called the Haganah emerges to help Britain protect Jewish communities. In 1936 another Arab revolt begins and lasts three years.

Hitler and the Nuremberg Race Laws


Hitler rises to power and is appointed as Chancellor. He creates concentration camps and passes the Nuremberg Race Laws, which identified Jews as "undesirables." Many Jews fled the country to safety.

Israel's Law of Return


Israel's Law of Return granted Jews and their families the right to settle as citizens in Israel. It was part of the Zionist vision.

Suez Crisis


Egyptian President Nasser nationalizes the Suez canal, which was shared by many nations before. Israel invades the Sinai peninsula, while Britain and France attack the canal zone. The United States' influence in the Middle East grew, creating Cold
War tensions.

Founding of the PLO


The Palestine Liberation Organization was founded to represent the Palestinian people. They vowed to resist Zionism and Israel to form their own Palestinian state. Their first chairman was Ahmad Shukeiri. They declared the Balfour Declaration as "null and void," citing the fact that Judaism was not its own nationality.

Arab-Israeli War


During Ramadan, Egypt and Syria mounted a surprise attack on Sinai on the Jewish holy day Yom Kippur. The attack increased Cold War tensions. The Arabian OPEC oil organization levied an embargo to western nations that supported Israel.

Lebanon Invasion


Israel invaded Lebanon in response to PLO raids in northern Israel. The U.S. lobbied for UN action and the Security Council responded with Resolution 425, which called for Israeli withdrawal, and Resolution 426, which created a peacekeeping force.

Camp David Accords


Eqypt's Anwar Sadat and Israeli Prime Minister Menachem Begin meet at Camp David for twelve days of secret negotiations in an effort to create a framework for peace in the Middle East. President Jimmy Carter brokered the agreements. Sadat and Begin receive Nobel Peace Prize for their efforts.

Beirute Terrorist Attacks


In April, A suicide bomber detonated a car bomb in front of the U.S. embassy in Beirute killing 63 people. In October, 2 truck bombs kill 58 French people and 241 American servicemen. It is believed that in emerging Islamic militant group, Hezbollah, was the behind the attacks.

Persian Gulf War


Iraq invaded Kuwait in 1990, creating the first Middle East crisis after the Cold War. The U.S. led a UN force to rid Iraqi forces from Kuwait. Iraq also fired missiles at Israel and U.S. bases in Saudi Arabia. The U.S. prevented Israel from retaliating.

Oslo Accords


Israel and the PLO agree to a Declaration of Principles resulting in each side recognizing the other and renouncing the use of violence.

Oslo II


Negotiators agree to give Palestinians more autonomy without compromising Israeli security. The deal designated some parts of the West Bank and Gaza under full Palestinian control and some areas under Israeli control, and some under Palestinian civil control with Israeli security.

Rabin Assination


Israeli Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin was shot as he was leaving an election rally supporting the Oslo Accords. The assassin was a Jewish extremist who opposed making concessions to the Palestinians. Rabin became a symbol for the Israeli peace movement.

Camp David


President Bill Clinton hosted 2 weeks of intense Israeli-Palestinian negotiation at Camp David. Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Barak offered substantial concessions to the Palestinians. Palestinian President Yasir Arafat turned down the deal. Although Arafat is often blamed for the failure, many argue Barak was making empty promises that he could not deliver. The summit ended with a Trilateral Statement that served as a framework for future negotiations.