Arab Israeli Conflict


First Zionist Congress in Basle, Switzerland.


Balfour Declaration

Nov 2, 1917

British Issue Balfour Declaration, which promises a "National Home" for the Jewish people in Palestine.

Arab Revolt Lead By by Haj Amin Al-Husseini

1936 - 1939

Over 5,000 Arabs killed, mostly by British. Several hundred Jews are killed by Arabs. Husseini fled to Iraq and then to Nazi Germany.

UNSCOP partition plan passed by the UN assembly

Nov 29, 1947

The Jews celebrate, but the Arabs were appalled and pledged to prevent the founding of a Jewish state in Palestine. This reflects the long-standing tensions, conflicts and rivalries between the two groups over these fundamental questions of right to land etc etc

Civil War

November 30 1947 - May 14 1948

Civil War between Palestinians and Jewish People following the Arab General Strike.

Israeli Weakness

November 30 1947 - June 1948

Problems with getting arms, creating an army, and getting such arms to rural settlements

Plan D

March 10 1948

Plan Dalet Israeli Defense Strategy.

Israeli Declaration of Independence

May 14, 1948

Declaration was made a day before British mandate was due to end in Palestine.

Arab Israeli War

May 15 1948 - January 1949

Arab League (Egypt, Iraq, Transjordan, Lebanon, Syria) invade Israel to "liberate Palestine."

Armistice Negotiations

January 1949

Armistice negotiations began, when Arab states realized they would not win the War.

UN Cease-Fires Agreement

December 1949

The United Nations sets up Palestinian Conciliation Committee in order to bring out a peace treaty. This failed, as the UN only managed to secure a cease fire agreement. Arab wanted to secure the right of Arab refugees to return but Israel insisted that the problem could only be negotiated in a wider peace settlement so the refugee problem remained unsolved.

Egypt Monarchy Overthrown

July 23 1952

Egypt's Monarchy was overthrown by the Free Officers.



Small group of Palestinians who believed in the liberation of their homeland formed a group called Fatah (Arabic for conquest). Organization lead by Yasser Arafat, Khalil al-Wazir and Salah Khalaf.

Rise of Nasser

October 1954

Nasser replaces Mohammed Naguib as President and leader of Egypt.

Closing of Straits of Tiran


Israel Launches Gaza Raid

February 28 1955

Israel launches the Gaza Raid as a result of an Egyptian intelligence-gathering squad entering Israel and killing an Israeli cyclist. The raid killed 38 Egyptian soldiers.

Nationalization of Suez Canal

July 26, 1956

Israeli Troops launch attack

October 29, 1956

Britain and France Issue Ultimatum

October 30 1956

Issue ultimatum as planned, Nasser refuses (as hoped).

Israeli Troops reach Canal

October 30, 1956


October 31 1956

For 2 days Britain and France bombed Egyptian airfields and destroy economic targets in Egypt.

UN Immediate Ceasefire

November 2 1956

The UN General Assembly approved a US-sponsored resolution for an immediate cease-fire and withdrawal of all forces from Egyptian territory. Israel, under severe pressure from the US was forced to accept and Britain and France agreed shortly after, Britain been forced by severe financial pressure from the United States to end the campaign.

Nasser established the PLO


Nasser establishes the PLO, Palestine Liberation Organization in an attempt to control the fedayeen, the Palestinian guerrilla. However, the PLO soon became the object of an inter-Arab struggle for influence between Egypt, Syria and Iraq, as well as an Arab-Palestinian struggle for control.

Palestine Liberation Organization


PLO established in order to represent in their search for a return to the occupied lands in Israel.

Syrian-Egyptian Defence Pact - The As-Samu Raid

November 1966

Israeli-Syrian Air Clash

April 1967

False Soviet Intelligence Report

May 1967

UNEF asked to withdraw

May 1967

Nasser mobilizes troops

May 1967

Blockade of Straits of Tiran

May 1967

Egyptian-Jordanian Defense Pact

May 1967

Six Day War

June 5 1967 - June 10 1967

On June 5 1967 Israel launched a pre-emptive attack and the Israeli air force destroyed 304 Egyptian, 53 Syrian and 28 Jordanian aircraft, mostly on the ground.
The IDF crossed into the Sinai and into the West Bank.
Syria, Jordan and Egypt counter-attacked the same day and the three Arab states became embroiled in a land battle with the Jewish state, which continued until June 10.
The battle on the West Bank ended when Israel captured East Jerusalem on June 7 1967 and troops moved to the Jordan River before King Hussein of Jordan agreed to cease-fire later in the day.
Syrian-Israeli fighting did not even start until June 9, yet "shortly after the ninth, Syria, which had contributed so much to the crisis and nothing to the conflict" also agreed to a cease fire.
The war with Egypt ended when Israeli forces occupied Sharm al-Sheikh and reached the Suez Canal.
Having lost 2,000 soldiers in the fighting with Israel and another 10,000 in the retreat, Egypt had no choice but to agree to a cease-fire on June 8 1967.
The war left Israel in control of Jordan's West Bank, Egypt's Sinai peninsula and the Gaza Strip, and Syria's Golan Heights. Israel's air superiority was the most important factor in Israel's victory, followed closely by the lack of Arab coordination which enabled Israel to deal separately with Egypt, Jordan and Syria rather than having to fight a genuine three-frontal war.

PLO taken over by Yasser Arafat


Following a disastrous war for Arabs, PLO leadership was taken over by Yasser Arafat, brought the Palestinian cause to the rest of the world.

Yom Kippur War

October 6 1973 - October 23 1973

6th October 1973-Egyptian troops broke through the Bar Lev line fortifications and war begins. 6th of October is the Jewish festival of Yom Kippur. Consequently, the Israelis were caught off guard and the Egyptian and Syrian forces enjoyed initial success. By 9th of October, Israeli army has mobilized and they start to counter Arab advances. 11th of October Israeli forces began to advance beyond the 1967 ceasefire borders into Syria. 23th of October-Ceasefire talks begin because of international pressure on all belligerents.

Camp David Agreements

September 5 1978 - September 17 1978

Two agreements were concluded:
Israel would give up the Sinai, including settlements and airfields.
"Framework for Peace in the Middle East" based upon resolutions 242 and 338, the resolution to the Palestinian problem, good neighbourly relations as well as Palestinian autonomy in the West bank (excluding Jerusalem) and Gaza Strip.
The Palestinian autonomy was interpreted by Carter and Sudat, a Palestinian self-governing authority, freely elected by the inhabitants of the West Bank and Gaza Strip was to replace the Israeli military administration. However Begin interpreted this as no more than "personal autonomy"- the problems with the peace agreement had already started to take place.
During a five-year transition period the final status of the territories was to be negotiated.

Arab Humiliation

The First Arab-Israeli War was a massive humiliation for the Arab world and the Palestinian Arabs since a large part of them were forced to become part of the new Israeli State.

Outcomes of Suez Canal Crisis

Nasser was able to hold on the the canal and also nationalize the remaining British and French holdings, providing funds for the Aswan Dam project and the modernization of Egypt.
Israel's military reputation was further enhanced, after the ease and speed with which they had conquered the Sinai peninsula. As regional superpower, it is possible to argue that this military performance was so awesome that it contributed to the lack of a further conflict before 1967, granting Israel time to focus on nation - and state-building

Outcomes of the Yom Kippur War

For Israel:
War cost 7 billion dollars and killed 2700 Israeli troops
Early stages of war (Arab succeeds to invade Israel) undermined Israel's self-cofidence as the dominant power in the middle east.
Israeli becomes more financially and militarily dependent on the US after the war.
Right-wing parties (e.g. Likud party led by Begin Menachem) in Israeli government become more popular because they advocate for a though and more agressive + militant foreign policy as a reaction to the war.
For Arab states:
15 000 Egyptian soldiers killed
7 000 Syrian soldiers killed

Outcomes of the Six Day War

Israel emerged from the war victorious and had increased its territory threefold and became the dominant power in the region.
Nasser had been resoundingly defeated and was no longer considered as the main threat and Nasser saw his claim to leadership of the Arab world greatly reduced.
The more radical Ba’thi regime in Syria started to emerge as Israel’s main regional rival, ultimately resulting in a Syrian-Israeli arms race, which in turn, provided opportunity for greater superpower involvement.
The prestige of the Soviet Union, as Egypt’s and Syria’s ally, had also been damaged, while the United States started to see Israel as a valuable asset in the region through which to counter Soviet influence.
Pan-Arabism started to decline and the Israeli victory contributed to the to the re-focusing on particularistic Palestinian nationalism as well as placing the Palestinians back on the international agenda.