Israel and Palestine, the Middle East
On 2 November 1917, the British Foreign Secretary Arthur Balfour signed a promise that her majesty’s government would aim to facilitate the establishment in Palestine of a national home for the Jewish people. The Balfour Declaration would be written into the terms of the League of Nations Mandate granted to Britain at the end of the First World War, legally obligating Britain to pursue this end in an area whose inhabitants were predominantly non-Jewish. This arrangement would bring to an end the relatively peaceful Arab-Jewish relations which had existed throughout the Middle East under Ottoman rule, precipitating a decades-long conflict which shows no signs of abating. The clear impossibility of establishing a Jewish national home in Palestine without prejudicing the “civil and religious rights” of the area’s Arab inhabitants was a contradiction very quickly recognised as unworkable by the British administration on the ground.
The Mandate lasted until 1948, during which time enormous waves of Jewish immigration to Palestine were largely supported by the British administration. The Yishuv (the Jewish community in Palestine) increased to the point that they represented a third of the population, having accounted for less than 10% of Palestinian inhabitants prior to the Mandate period. The new settlers, aided by purchases made by the Jewish National Fund, were able to occupy much of the country’s arable land, dispossessing the Arab felaheen of their homes and livelihoods. Driven to cities in search of work, the nascent urban Arab working class harboured a growing anti-Zionist sentiment which fuelled increasing nationalist fervour. Tensions between the two communities had turned violent as early as 1920 when riots marred the Muslim spring festival of Nebi Musa. Sporadic riots were a feature of the British Mandate period, worsening after the 1929 Wailing Wall conflagrations and culminating in the 1936-39 Arab Revolt. By this point, the British government was coming to recognise the unworkability of the Mandate and beginning to consider partition.
At the end of the Second World War, the issue was handed over to the UN, which recommended the division of the country into separate Jewish and Arab states. The partition plan was reluctantly accepted by the Jewish Agency but rejected outright by Arab leaders. The UN General Assembly adopted the resolution in November 1947, triggering the outbreak of civil war across the country. When the British left in May the following year, Jewish leaders in Palestine declared the establishment of the State of Israel, prompting an invasion by the surrounding Arab states. The ensuing war saw Israel emerge victorious, during which conflict 700,000 Palestinians were driven from their homes, becoming lifelong refugees. By the time of the 1949 armistice agreement, Israel had acquired territory far greater than what it was allocated in the UN Partition Plan of the previous year – territory it would expand upon further during the 1957 Suez Crisis, the Six-Day War of 1967 and the 1973 Yom Kippur War. In response to these latter conflicts, the UNSC adopted resolutions 242 and 338, calling for a ceasefire and the withdrawal of Israeli troops from territories occupied during the Six Day War. These resolutions formed the basis of the Oslo Accords, signed between 1993 and 1995, in which Israel agreed to recognise the Palestinian people’s right to self-determination. Despite this relatively hopeful period, the turn of the century saw a return to violence as Israel stepped-up its building of illegal settlements in the Palestinian territories (a practice adopted in earnest following the 1967 conflict). This government-led, illegal settlement activity continues to be a cause of extreme tension today and is now openly supported by the government of the Unites States.
Where: Israel – Palestine
– Israel: 9 million
– Palestine: 5.4 million
Refugees/Displaced People: 5.3 million between the West Bank, Gaza Strip, Jordan, Syria and Lebanon.
Combatants: Israel, Palestine Liberation Organisation, Hamas, Fatah, Iraq, Lebanon, Egypt, Syria, Jordan
The Key Actors
Declared independence in 1948 after the Palestinian leadership rejected the partition plan proposed by the UN at the time, as it was seen as a surrender of their land at the time. As the world’s only Jewish-majority state, it has repeatedly fought violent wars against its Arab neighbours.
In the early 1900s, the region of the eastern Mediterranean, which is the centre of the conflict today, was under the control of the Ottoman empire. The people that inhabited this region were all Muslims, Christians and Jewish – the three abrahamaic religions that originated from this region.
With the rise of nationalism in the decades prior to the First World War, the Muslim and Christian inhabitants of the region started developing a sense of national identity, as Arab Palestinians. At the same time, Jews in Palestine and across European countries started joining the Zionism nationalist movement, believing that Judaism is not only an ethnic religion but is also a national identity that deserves to have its own sovereign nation. Subsequently, people of jewish faith from all over the world began immigrating to Palestine.
After the end of the First World War, the British Empire took control over Palestine, calling it the British Mandate and allowing more Jewish immigration. The numbers of people of Jewish faith in Palestine had significantly increased by that point, which escalated the underlying tensions between Arab Palestinians, and the jews in the region, which neither identified as Arab, nor Palestinian. At that point, the British empire had promised the ethnic palestinians that they would get an independent state at the expiration of the Biritsh Mandate over Palestine. At the same time, the Brish Empire had also promised the same thing to the World Zionist Organization – promising to create a national jewish homeland in Palestine, in what is famously known as the Balfour Declaration. In effect, the British Mandate had played the ethnic and religious tensions of both groups against one another, promising each an independent state over the same land, which was an impossible promise to make. The anger and betrayal felt by both sides at the time only further instigated the underlying land-tensions between both groups. This led to very frequent, violent skirmishes by the groups, both of which were not significantly armed at the time.
The ideology of the Nazi regime in Germany had seized all state institutions, leading to the jewish population under the control of Nazi Germany to be subjected to the Holocaust. The number of Jews fleeing the horrors of the Holocaust led to an even higher number of jews settling in what was then either referred too as Palestine by the indigenous muslim and christian inhabitants, or the British Mandate of Palestine for the international community, which continued to amplify the land tensions between the two sides, causing sectarian violence to ensue.
The UN proposed a two-state solution to stop the violence. However, the Arab states, supportive of a full independent Palestinian state, saw the UN proposal as an act of settler-colonialism and declared war on the yet-undeclared Israeli state. The 1947 war resulted in the defeat of Arab states. The Palestinians, fearing repercussions by the Haganah, the now fearsome and heavily armed paramilitary group that would eventually become the Israeli Defence Forces, began fleeting their land for neighbouring states such as Lebanon, Jordan and Syria.
David Ben-Gurion, the leader of the Haganah at the time, and the first Israeli-Prime Minister, declared the independence of the state of Israel. In the weeks and months to follow, even more ethnic palestinians fled.
By the early 1960s, Israel’s independence had been recognized by a dozen states around the world, then swelling to much of North & South America, Africa, and Western Europe. The palestinians never recognized Israeli control over the land that they either still lived on or had fled from, and were supported by all Arab states and the Arab League in their refusal of recognition. In the meantime, tensions continued to boil to the highest levels, something that has until this day never dissipated.
The Six-Day War changed the course of history, when a large number of Arab states declared war on the State of Israel. Although who the attack was initialized by is still historically contentious, Israel’s military power had taken the Arab states by surprise and it quickly gained the upper hand in combat, and expanded its self-declared borders into the Golan Heights (Syria), West Bank (Jordan) and the Sinai Peninsula (Egypt). The Arab states, shocked and dismayed at the outcome, as well as the international support they were lacking, threatened and implemented an oil embargo on all states supporting or recognizing Israel, which led to most African and Asian states severing diplomatic relations with Israel.
Egypt & Syria launched was is known as the 1973 War or the Yom Kippur War to retake the Golan Heights and the Sinai Peninsula from the Israeli state. Egypt & Syria were then supported by a number of other Arab states, leading to early successes and advancements in the war. Israel eventually repulsed these advancements and began to advance onto Egyptian and Syrian territory itself, leading to a ceasefire being called. The Arab states directly embargoed the United States for its role in heavily assisting the Israeli side in resupplying ammunition during the war.
Has both sides began to realize that they may never be militarily ahead of the other side, the Camp David Peace Accord was signed by Egypt & Israel, formally creating a peace treaty between these two Arab states and Israel. The peace treaty was, and is, extremely controversial, with an overwhelming majority of Egyptians believing that it was a mistake. However, the Sinai Peninsula was returned to Egypt as a result of the Peace Accords. The Camp David Peace Accords started a new era in Arab-Israeli relations and took the conflict into a new stage. The peace treaty had secured the western israeli border; instead, the conflict began on the northern border, with Israel invading southern Lebanon. Israel mostly withdrew from southern Lebanon a year lebanon. The conflict began to take a more diplomatic perspective, as war had become too costly on all sides, with the Palestinian leadership taking their right to self-determination to the United Nations General Assembly, where recognition was and is important to the Palestinian cause.
The Oslo Peace Accords had begun, with the Palestinian Liberation Organization and Israel signing the first ever framework towards the resolution of the conflict. As per the framework, Israel would withdraw from Gaza City and Jericho, while continuing the occupation and control over the West Bank till a two-state solution was found. The following year saw Jordan & Israel sign their own peace treaty, making Jordan the custodian of the Al Aqsa Mosque in Jerusalem, the third holiest city in Islam.
Oslo II marked the beginning of the peace process between Israel and Palestine.
Israel withdrew from all of southern Lebanon, with the exception of a couple of villages that it continues to occupy. Over the next decade, the conflict remained frozen, with both sides engaged in a peace process that never substantially reached any positive outcomes.
The Israelis unilaterally disengaged from Gaza, moving all military outposts and settlements out of the Gaza Strip. However, Israel continued to control Palestinian airspace, entry, exit and territorial water zone of the Gaza Strip. Thus, the occupation remained in place.
Hamas won by a landslide majority during the 2006 Palestinian legislative elections. Israel, the US, and the EU, as well as other western countries, cut off their aid to the Palestinians as a result of the democratic elections which did not go as the had expected; as they viewed the islamist political party who rejected Israel’s right to exist as a terrorist entity.
Hezbollah infiltrated Israel in a cross-border raid, captured two soldiers and killed three others. After failing to rescue the captured, with 5 more Israeli soldiers being killed in the attempt, Israel’s military responded in a large-scale attack that became the 2006 Israel-Lebanon conflict. The conflict led to the deaths of 1,191 Lebanese people and 165 Israelis in the one-month war. Approximately one million Lebanese and 300,000-500,000 Israelis were displaced.
The battle of Gaza began, which led to Hamas taking Gaza from Fatah.
After rockets were fired from the Gaza Strip into Israel, Operation “Hot Winter” was launched by Israel, resulting in 112 Palestinian deaths and 3 Israeli deaths.
Israel launched a full-scale invasion of Gaza, code-named Operation “Cast Lead”. The 22 days of fighting between Israel & Hamas only ended after each declared separate unilateral ceasefires. The casualties of what became known as the Gaza War are disputed but according to the testimony of three Guardian films, 1,400 Palestinians were killed, including more than 300 children.
Turkish activists with the Free Gaza flotilla tried to break Israel’s naval blockade of hamas-controlled Gaza, but were intercepted by the Israeli Defence Forces (IDF). After an altercation on board the ship, nine Turks were shot dead by IDF gunfire.
- Following the Islamic Revolution in Iran, about 30,000 Iranian Jews migrated to Israel.
Palestine became a full member of UNESCO, the education and cultural arm of the United Nations.
The United Nations General Assembly voted to upgrade Palestine to a non-member observer state status in the UN through resolution 67/19. It was adopted by the 67th session of the UN General Assembly, the date of the International Day of Solidarity with the Palestininian People.
Israeli jets & helicopters launched dozens of air strikes across the Gaza Strip overnight, just hours after the bodies of three abducted Israeli teenagers were found in a shallow grave near the southern West Bank city of Hebron. Following the discovery of the bodies, Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu issued a statement blaming Hamas. Hamas denied involvement. In retaliation to the news about the three abducted israeli teenagers, 16-year-old Mohammed Abu Khdeir was kidnapped by Israelis who beat him and burned him alive. They later confessed. Two weeks later, thousands of Israeli soldiers backed by tanks initiated an invasion of the Gaza Strip. All border areas came under fire, with tank shelling occurring every minute.
An increase of violence occurred in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict starting early September 2015 and lasting into the first half of 2016, known as the “intifada of the individuals”. Some commentators have atteibuted the increase in Palestinian violence against Israelis due to the spread of social media and the ongoing frustration over the failure of peace talks to end the decades-long occupation and the suppression of human rights.
Hamas signs a reconciliation deal intended to administrative control of Gaza transferred to the Palestinian Authority, but disputes stalled the deal’s implementation. US President Donald Trump also recognizes Jerusalem as the capital of Israel, infuriating the Arab world and western allies.
An upsurge in violence on the Gaza Border from March to August led to a long-term ceasefire being brokered by the UN and Egypt between Israel and Hamas.
There is no peace process in place. Violence & tension is rising again. Quality of life in Palestinian territories is decreasing. Israeli settlements continue to be built in violation of international law.
Israel has approved the construction of at least 6,000 new homes for Jewish settlers in the occupied West Bank. At the same time, it gave the green light for the construction of 700 new homes for the Palestinians, an official Israeli source reported, on condition of anonymity. The announcement for Area C housing comes ahead of an expected visit to Israel on Wednesday by US envoy Jared Kushner, son-in-law of US President Donald Trump.
At least three Palestinians have been killed by Israeli forces in the north of the Gaza Strip, according to Palestinian health officials and local media, hours after three rockets were allegedly fired from the blockaded enclave.
Hezbollah militants in Lebanon on Sunday fired a barrage of anti-tank missiles into Israel, prompting a reprisal of heavy Israeli artillery fire in a rare burst of fighting between them. Although the shooting quickly subsided without casualties on either side, the situation remained volatile. The bitter enemies, which fought a month-long war in 2006, have indicated they do not want to go to war but appeared on a collision course in recent days after a pair of Israeli strikes against Hezbollah. The militant group vowed it would retaliate.
Embattled Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, running in an election that could be the fight of his political life, said he hopes to annex all Jewish West Bank settlements. Israel will build more settlements and won’t uproot settlers, Netanyahu said Sunday in a speech in the West Bank settlement of Elkana.
Qatar has cut the amount of fuel it funds for the Gaza Strip by half, sources in the Palestinian Energy Authority told Haaretz Sunday. As a result, Gazans will now get only five to six hours of electricity per day, down from the eight they were getting until now.
Israeli lawmakers have given the go-ahead to a small settlement in the West Bank, following an election campaign pledge from PM Benjamin Netanyahu to annex the Jordan Valley to Israel if he wins Tuesday’s polls.
The Palestinians condemned the Israeli government on Sunday for holding its weekly cabinet meeting in the Jordan Valley, and accused it of “undermining any chance for achieving a just and everlasting peace based on international legitimacy and the two-state solution.” “We reject and condemn this action,” said Palestinian Authority presidential spokesperson Nabil Abu Rudaineh, adding that convening the cabinet meeting in the Jordan Valley “will not give any legitimacy to settlements built on the 1967 lands of the State of Palestine, including Jerusalem.”
Israel’s election put the incumbent leader Benjamin Netanyahu neck and neck with Mr Gantz, and the two are now vying to build a governing coalition. The Joint List, the bloc of Arab parties that came in third, says it wants to oust Mr Netanyahu from power. This is the first time since 1992 that an Arab political group has issued an endorsement for prime minister.
Israeli forces arrested a prominent Palestinian politician from her home in the occupied West Bank city of Ramallah overnight on Thursday. Khalida Jarrar, a former member of the defunct Palestinian Legislative Council, was
arrested at 3am local time (00:00 GMT) and taken to an unknown area, local media reported.
Israeli air raids on the Gaza Strip have killed one person, Palestinian officials have said. The Gaza Ministry of Health said 27-year-old Ahmed al-Shehri was killed during pre-dawn attacks on Saturday. Two others were wounded in the strikes.
Jordan on Sunday received two stretches of land it had allowed Israel to use for decades, amid tense relations between the neighbours 25 years after they signed a landmark peace deal.
In 2018, amid mounting public pressure not to renew the arrangement relating to the two territories, Jordan’s King Abdullah II submitted a one-year notice of termination to Israel.
Amman strongly backs the establishment of a Palestinian state and has been frustrated by the lack of progress in the Israeli-Palestinian peace process.
The U.S. no longer will consider Israeli settlements to be illegal under international law, officials said Monday, in a move that formalizes the Trump administration’s treatment of the West Bank and shifts decades of U.S. policy.
The ICC’s chief prosecutor, Fatou Bensouda, announced last week that there is a basis to investigate Israel for its actions in the occupied Palestinian territories, particularly the deadly airstrikes during the 50-day Gaza war in 2014, but she is first asking the court whether it has jurisdiction there.
The prosecutor would also like to investigate shootings by Israel Defence Forces of Palestinian protesters on the Gaza-Israel border during demonstrations in the spring of 2018 when Palestinian-Canadian doctor Tarek Loubani was wounded by an Israeli sniper while providing medical care.
The formal investigation that Ms. Bensouda is prepared to initiate would also examine possible war crimes by Hamas, the militant Islamic group that rules Gaza.
A group of British MPs has called for the UK to recognize the state of Palestine ahead of a visit by Prince Charles to Israel and the occupied Palestinian territories.
In a letter to The Times, the MPs, along with figures from think tanks and pressure groups, said the move was long overdue and would help fulfill Britain’s “promise of equal rights for peoples in two states.”
Palestinian leaders threatened to withdraw from key provisions of the Oslo Accords, which define arrangements with Israel, if US President Donald Trump announces his proposal for Israel and Palestine this week.
US President Donald Trump has presented his long-awaited Middle East peace plan, promising to keep Jerusalem as Israel’s undivided capital. He proposed an independent Palestinian state and the recognition of Israeli sovereignty over West Bank settlements. Standing alongside Israeli PM Benjamin Netanyahu at the White House, Mr Trump said his proposals “could be the last opportunity” for Palestinians. Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas dismissed the plans as a “conspiracy”.
Joining global critics of a plan that President Donald Trump unveiled last week to address the decades-long Israel-Palestine conflict, the Organization of Islamic Cooperation on Monday rejected the “biased” proposal and urged members states not to cooperate with U.S. efforts to enforce it.
Over 100 Democrats in the House of Representatives issued stark criticism of the plan U.S. President Donald Trump released to end the Israel-Palestine conflict, saying it would ultimately lead to greater hostilities if enacted.
With the Palestinian President present in the Council chamber, together with Israel’s Ambassador, the UN chief reiterated the Organization’s continued support for a two-State solution: “This is a time for dialogue, for reconciliation, for reason”, he said.
After years of unexplained delays, the United Nations released a list of over 100 companies with ties to illegal Israeli settler colonies in the occupied West Bank of Palestine. In a statement, the UN Human Rights Office identified 112 businesses profiting from the Jews-only settlements.
Of those, 94 are based in Israel, while 18 are headquartered in countries including the United States, United Kingdom, France, the Netherlands, Luxembourg and Thailand. The UN report is a response to a 2016 United Nations Human Rights Council (UNHCR) resolution calling for a “database for all businesses engaged in specific activities related to Israeli settlements in the occupied Palestinian territory.”
Democratic hopeful Bernie Sanders tells a town hall in Nevada that it is time for the US to adopt a more balanced policy in the Middle East, describing the current Israeli government as “right-wing” and “racist”.
During a visit to Jabal Abu Ghneim, an illegal West Bank settlement, the Israeli Prime Minister vows to construct 5,000 new homes in East Jerusalem.
A Palestinian man, allegedly attempting to carry out a stabbing attack near the Old City in Jerusalem, is shot dead by Israeli police near the Bab al-Asbat.
The Israeli military confirms that it has shot dead a Palestinian man in the Gaza Strip, after he allegedly attempted to place an explosive device near a security fence. A bulldozer is reportedly used to remove the body.
Six people are killed in an Israeli bombing raid on the Syrian capital Damascus, including two members of the armed group PIJ. Raids are also carried out in the Gaza Strip.
Palestinians in the West Bank took to the streets to protest against the clearing of land by Israeli bulldozers. It is feared that the clearing is to make way for further illegal Israeli settlements.
A state of emergency is declared in the occupied West Bank over the coronavirus pandemic.
The first Palestinian cases of coronavirus are confirmed in Bethlehem, prompting the Palestinian authority to place the city on lockdown.
A Palestinian teenager is shot dead in the town of Beita near Nablus in the West Bank, as Israeli security forces open fire on a Palestinian demonstration.
The Al-Aqsa Mosque and the Dome of the Rock are closed to worshippers to protect against the spread of Coronavirus.
Authorities in the Gaza Strip shut cafes and restaurants and suspend Friday prayers as the area’s first Covid-19 cases are confirmed.
The Palestinian Liberation Organisation’s (PLO) Commission for Prisoners Affairs calls upon the UN to pressurise Israel into releasing Palestinian captives to help curb the spread of the coronavirus.
22-year-old Islam Dweikat dies three weeks after sustaining wounds inflicted by rubber bullets fired on protestors by the Israeli military in mid-March.
Adnan Ghaith, the Palestinian governor of Jerusalem, is arrested by Israeli authorities over alleged “illegal activities”.
The UN envoy for Palestine urges all sides in the ongoing Israeli-Palestinian feud to stop fighting each other in order to focus on tackling the coronavirus outbreak.
Palestinians mark Prisoners’ Day as fears grow for those at risk of coronavirus in Israeli prisons.
Benjamin Netanyahu and rival Benny Gantz agree to form emergency coalition government, ending months of stalemate. Under the three-year agreement, Netanyahu is to remain Prime Minister for one-and-a-half years, with Gantz taking over thereafter.
Meanwhile, Palestinians take to the street to demonstrate solidarity with women exposed to worsening domestic abuse amid the coronavirus lockdown.
Ibrahim Halsa, a Palestinian who stabbed an Israeli police officer near the Jewish settlement of Maale Adumim in the West Bank, is shot dead by Israel forces.
Meanwhile, US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo says that it is ultimately up to Israel whether or not they make further annexations of Palestinian territory. The UN and EU warn Israel against such action.
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu announces during an online video address that he is confident the US will give its approval to further annexations by Israel of West Bank territories within the next two months.
The US State Department confirms the Trump administration is prepared to recognise Israel’s annexation of large swathes of the West Bank. Palestinian spokesmen say such actions will prevent any chance at a future two-state solution.
The presumptive Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden confirms that, if victorious in this year’s election, he would not move the US embassy in Israel back to Tel Aviv from Jerusalem (albeit, with the dubious caveat that Trump’s initial decision to do so was a “mistake”).
Meanwhile, the German government bans Hezbollah – a decision which is praised by the Israeli government.
The Arab League releases a joint statement condemning Israel’s US-approved plans to expand their annexation of territory in the Palestinian West Bank.
Hundreds take to the streets of Tel Aviv to protest against the newly-formed coalition government. Organised by the Movement for Quality Government in Israel, the demonstrators contest the legality of Netanyahu and Gantz’s power-sharing deal given the impending trial of prime minister Netanyahu on charges of corruption.
The Supreme Court of Israel begins to hear arguments regarding the legality of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, who has been indicted on charges of corruption, forming a new government.
Meanwhile, the Palestinian Authority and Israel reach an agreement to allow some 40,000 Palestinians to cross the border into Israel to return to work, mainly in the agricultural and construction sectors.
The governing body in the West Bank, the Palestinian Authority, extends the length of the state of emergency declared in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic by a further month. The number of confirmed cases in the Palestinian territories is 362, including 4 deaths.
The Israeli Defence Force responds to an alleged Hamas rocket strike with tank fire at numerous Hamas military posts. No casualties are reported for either side.
The Israeli government announces plans to build a further 7,000 illegal houses in the West Bank, in anticipation of the visit of US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo next week. The announcement comes just hours before the country’s Supreme Court dismisses two legal challenges against the government elect, paving the way for the Netanyahu-Gantz coalition to take office pending parliamentary approval in the coming week.
The Israeli parliament votes in favour of the coalition deal arranged between Benjamin Netanyahu and Benny Gantz by 71 to 37, bringing an end to over a year of political deadlock in the country.
The US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo is set to visit Israel within the next week to discuss the new unity government’s plans to annex areas of the occupied West Bank.
James Cleverly, the UK’s minister of state for the Middle East and North Africa tells parliament that the government’s position is opposed to the annexation by Israel of parts of the West Bank, as it would compromise attempts at a lasting two-state solution.
A 21-year-old Israeli soldier is killed after being hit in the head by a rock thrown from a roof in Yabad village close to Jenin. In a separate incident, a Palestinian is left in critical condition after attempting to stab security staff at Qandiya checkpoint.
Zaid Fadl Qaisia, a 15-year-old Palestinian, is shot in the head and killed by an Israeli soldier during clashes in the West Bank’s al-Fawar refugee camp. The murder occurs just a day prior to the 72nd anniversary of the founding of the state of Israel.
Following 500 days without a fixed government, the Israeli Knesset approved the new coalition government of Benjamin Netanyahu and Benny Gantz by 73 votes to 49. Netanyahu vows to “write another glorious chapter in the history of Zionism” by illegally declaring sovereignty over Jewish settlements in the West Bank.
Amiram Ben-Uliel, a settler in the occupied West Bank, is convicted by an Israeli court of racially motivated murder after a 2015 arson attack in the village of Duma, near Nablus. The attack killed 18-month-old baby Ali Dawabsheh and his parents.
Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas announces that the PLO and the Palestinian State are no longer bound by agreements signed with Israel and the United States. The comments come during an emergency meeting held in Ramallah to discuss the impending Israeli annexation of one third of the occupied West Bank.
Nickolay Mladenov, the UN special Middle East envoy, calls on Israel to abandon its plans to annex large parts of the West Bank and urges Palestinians to resume talks with major powers about moving towards peace.
The Biden campaign confirms that it ‘firmly rejects’ the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions movement across the globe, alleging that criticism of Israel from the left too often “morphs into anti-Semitism”.
Meanwhile, the Palestinian Authority (PA) rejects a shipment of aid from the UAE which had arrived via Tel Aviv, accusing the emirate’s government of undermining Palestinian sovereignty by failing to coordinate the transfer with them.
A 77-year-old woman becomes the first confirmed coronavirus-related death in Gaza, after dying in a hospital close to the Rafah Crossing. Concerns grow that the recent decision to allow some Palestinians stranded in Egypt to return home may have led to a spike in cases.
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s corruption trial begins in Jerusalem District Court, one-week after he was sworn in for his fifth term in office. He is accused of accepting bribes, breach of trust and fraud.
The Palestinian Authority (PA) announces a reduction in the restrictions imposed upon the population inside the occupied West Bank as a result of the coronavirus pandemic. Shops are set to open from 26 May alongside the resumption of public transport services, with government staff returning to work the following day. The Palestinian coronavirus count stands at over 400 confirmed cases and 3 deaths.
32-year-old Iyad el-Hallak is shot dead by Israeli police in occupied East Jerusalem. The victim attended a special needs school near to the place he was shot. Police has allegedly suspected him of carrying a pistol, so they shot him and left him to bleed to death in the street.
The World Bank warns of a potential doubling of poverty in the West Bank after the fallout from the coronavirus pandemic. Forecasts warn that the economy could shrink by as much as 11% in the next quarter, leading to fears that the number of West Bank Palestinians living below the poverty line could become as high as 30%.
Meanwhile, Anwar Gargash – a senior UAE official – warns against Israel taking unilateral action to annex large sections of the West Bank in line with Donald Trump’s “deal of the century”. Gargash claims the move would constitute a “setback” for peace negotiations.
Protests spread among Palestinian communities across Israel following the murder of an autistic Palestinian man by Israeli police. Thirty-two-year-old Iyad el-Hallak was shot twice in the Torso while on his way to a special needs school in East Jerusalem. The wounds were fatal.
Mansour Abu Wardieh, the cousin of the autistic man killed by Israeli police on his way to school last week, says that the Israeli inquiry into the circumstances surrounding his death “means nothing” and that they will likely “twist the facts”. Of the 3,408 Palestinians killed by security personnel within the occupied territories in the last 10 years, only five were convicted.
Taxes collected on Palestine’s behalf by Israel – an arrangement dating to the 1990s’ Oslo Accords – are refused by Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas as part of a concerted effort by the Palestinian Authority to undermine any coordination with the Israeli state in response to the impending annexation of parts of the West Bank. The taxes, worth approximately $190m per month, would leave a major hole in the budget of the Palestinian Authority.
Ramadan Shallah, the former leader of Palestine Islamic Jihad (PIJ) from 1995 until 2018, dies two years after slipping into a coma. Shallah had been suffering from complications due to heart and kidney disease.
Meanwhile, in Tel Aviv, left-leaning protesters rally against the proposed annexation by the Israeli government of the Jordan Valley and Jewish settlements in the West Bank. Thousands turn out with some waving Palestinian flags, although opinion polls indicate that a majority of the country’s inhabitants support the government’s plans.
The Palestinian Authority (PA) sends a counter-proposal to Trump’s Middle East Plan, which proposes the establishment of a sovereign, demilitarised Palestinian state in Gaza and the West Bank with East Jerusalem as its capital. The deal would allow for potential revisions of borders, as long as any land-swaps were equal in size.
The legal representative of the murdered Palestinian Dawabsheh family, who were killed in an arson attack carried out by Jewish settler Amiram Ben-Uliel while thy slept at home in July 2015, has called for the maximum possible sentence to be given to the perpetrator. This would constitute a term greater than a life sentence for a man who spray painted “Long Live King Messiah” on the house before torching it assuming (correctly) that people were inside.
German Foreign Minister Heiko Maas warns Israel against its plans to annex large swathes of the West Bank in coming months, saying that it would violate international law during a visit to Jerusalem.
Israeli officials confirm they will build a new settlement in the illegally occupied Golan Heights called ‘Ramat Trump’ in honour of the US President. It is due to be a significant expansion of the current settlement in the area known as Bruchim, which houses just 10 people.
Salah al-Bardawil, a senior Hamas official, says that unity will be the “bedrock of national strength” when resisting Israeli plans to annex large swaths of the West Bank. Bardawil called for a “union of political leadership” between the Hamas run Gaza Strip and the Palestinian Authority (PA) administered West Bank
For the first time since the Palestinian Authority (PA) announced that it would end security coordination with Israel in light of their proposed annexation of significant portions of the occupied West Bank, the Israeli army raids Ramallah. One man is arrested during the infiltration of a refugee camp where tear gas was used against the local population.
Meanwhile, nearly fifty independent experts sign a joint statement condemning Israel’s proposed annexation of parts of the West Bank as “unlawful”.
Jordan’s foreign minister Ayman Safadi visits Ramallah to meet with Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas, during which meeting he condemns Israel’s annexation plans. Safadi warns that any such unilateral action undertaken by Israel would pose a serious threat to stability in the region.
An enormous demonstration against Israel’s plans to annex large swathes of the West Bank takes place in Jericho with thousands in attendance. Many diplomats also attended the rally, including the UN’s peace envoy for the Middle East Nickolay Mladenov.
The UN’s secretary-general Antonio Guterres condemns Israel’s plans to annex around a third of the occupied West Bank, describing the proposed action as a violation of international law. Speaking before the UN Security Council, Guterres warns that the move could spell the end of any hopes for a future two-state solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.
Meanwhile, a 27-year-old Palestinian who was related to the secretary-general of the PLO is shot dead by Israeli border police after allegedly trying to run over a female officer. The Israeli account of Ahmad Erakat’s death is dismissed by Palestinian officials, who cite the fact that he was due to be married the following month as evidence that he would not have carried out such a crime.
Over 1,000 Members of the European Parliament join together to sign a letter condemning Israel’s plans to annex large parts of the occupied West Bank, warning that the move could spell the end of any hopes of a solution to the near century old conflict.
Despite having no formal diplomatic ties, the UAE and Israel announce that they will work together to fight against the spread of coronavirus in the region. The commitment to sharing research and technology comes a month after the first flight was made by a UAE carrier to Israel in May.
Two rockets are fired at Israel from the Gaza strip for the first time since May. The strikes come the day following an announcement by Hamas that Israel’s proposed annexation of parts of the West Bank constitutes a “declaration of war” against the Palestinians.
The UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Michelle Bachelet condemns Israel’s proposed annexation of 30% of the West Bank, stating that such a move would be both “illegal” and “disastrous” for the stability of the region. The comments come following indications by alternate Israeli Prime Minister Benny Gantz that annexation plans may not go ahead this week as initially planned.
Civil society organisations in Palestine come together to rejects EU funding which is conditional upon these organisations abiding by the controversial “anti-terror clause”. This clause, only included in EU grants within the last year, calls upon such groups to vet members to make sure they do not have links to seven bodies identified by the EU as “terrorist groups”. Palestinian organisations have accused this policy of ignoring the political reality of occupation and forcing them to police their fellow nationals.
Palestinians gather in Gaza City and the seat of the Palestinian Authority, Ramallah, to demonstrate against Israel’s proposal to annex one-third of the West Bank. Despite no real moves being taken by Israel on the provisional date announced by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu amid disagreements with his coalition partner Benny Gantz, fears remain that annexation is still imminent.
Fatah and Hamas, rival factions in Palestinian politics, pledge to work together to oppose Israel’s planned annexation of one-third of the West Bank. In a joint video conference, the groups agreed to set aside their differences to create a united front against the plans.
Israeli jets target Hamas positions in the Gaza Strip in response to the alleged firing of 3 rockets from the area in recent days. The increase in tension comes just four days after missiles were fired into the sea from Gaza as a warning to Israel over its annexation plans.
The foreign ministers of Egypt, Jordan, France and Germany warn Israel of ramifications for their respective relationships with the state should the Netanyahu government press on with its plans to annex large parts of the West Bank. In a joint statement, the ministers warned of dire consequences for peace and security in the region should the move go ahead.
Israelis gather outside the residence of Benjamin Netanyahu in Jerusalem to protest the Prime Minister’s handling of the coronavirus pandemic. The country’s levels of unemployment have increased dramatically in the months since the start of the crisis, from 3.4% in February to 27% in April.
Protests against the alleged corruption of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu continue outside of his Jerusalem residence, with demonstrators also angered by the large increase in unemployment consequent upon the coronavirus pandemic.
The Jordanian Prime Minister Omar al-Razzaz speaks in support of the possible creation of a democratic, binational Israeli-Palestinian state should the widely favoured “two-state solution” no longer prove possible.
Protestors continue to gather outside the official residence of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to protest his government’s handling of the coronavirus pandemic and the premier’s own alleged corruption. These represent the largest such demonstrations against the Israeli government in a decade.
Meanwhile, the UN’s special envoy for Middle East peace tells the Security Council that efforts to combat the coronavirus in the area have been hampered by the breakdown in the relationship between Israeli and Palestinian authorities following Israel’s threat to annex one-third of the West Bank. Nicholay Mladenov’s comments come shortly after Israeli forces destroyed a quarantine centre in the Palestinian city of Hebron.
At least twelve people are arrested in Jerusalem following continued protests against the government of Benjamin Netanyahu. Demonstrators have taken to streets for weeks to voice opposition to the alleged corruption of the Israeli Prime Minister and his government’s handling of the coronavirus crisis.
Israeli forces and Hezbollah fighters exchange fire on the border between Lebanon and Israel. No fighters are killed in the fighting, which Israeli army spokesmen blame on the infiltration of Hezbollah forces into Israeli territory.
Israeli forces and Hezbollah fighters exchange fire on the border between Lebanon and Israel. No fighters are killed in the fighting, which Israeli army spokesmen blame on the infiltration of Hezbollah forces into Israeli territory.
Hezbollah has accused the Israeli army of fabricating the clash on its border in order to create “false victories” after denying any infiltration by its troops of Israeli territory. The Lebanon-based armed group has, however, promised to exact revenge for the killing of one of its fighters in an Israeli air strike in Syria last week.
Demonstrations demanding the resignation of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu continue outside his official residence in Jerusalem. Some 10,000 protesters reportedly gathered outside of the Premier’s home, demanding that he step down in light of allegations of corruption and his government’s handling of the coronavirus crisis.
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu delivered a six-minute rant at a meeting of his cabinet, slamming the protests which have swept across the country in recent weeks calling for this resignation. Netanyahu also criticised Israeli media for allegedly fanning the flames of the protests by giving them disproportionate coverage.
Israel has struck what it has described as underground Hamas “terror facilities” in response to the alleged firing of a rocket into southern Israel. The move comes hours before the army attacks a group of four people who it claims were planting explosives along the Israeli-Syrian de facto border.
In apparent retaliation for the alleged planting of explosives along Syria’s de facto border with the Israeli occupied Golan Heights, the Israeli army 1)claims to strike observation posts, anti-aircraft batteries, intelligence collection systems, and bases in southwestern Syria. Israel holds the Syrian government responsible for the explosive-planting incident, in which all four of the alleged perpetrators were apparently killed.
Dalia Samudi, a 23-year-old Palestinian woman, is killed by an Israeli army gunshot wound inflicted while she sat at home near to the site of clashes between occupation forces and local Palestinian youths. The Israeli army denies using live ammunition, accusing the youths of firing on them.
The protests against Benjamin Netanyahu’s alleged corruption and his government’s poor handling of the coronavirus crisis continue outside of his official residence in Jerusalem. Numbers appeared to have increased on recent outings, with many hooting horns and chanting anti-Netanyahu slogans.
The Israeli army has moved in to begin its demolition of Palestinian homes in the occupied West Bank, as the country begins its illegal annexation of substantial swathes of territory there. One family’s home has already been demolished, with the Israeli government claiming it is because it was built “without a permit”.
Israel launches overnight attacks on Hamas positions in Gaza, allegedly in response to the release of floating fire balloons from the area in recent days. No casualties are reported despite tanks, fighter jets and attack helicopters being used to attack various positions.
A US-brokered deal sees the UAE and Israel reach an agreement for the normalisation of relations between the two middle eastern countries. The UAE joins Egypt and Jordan as the only Arab nations to establish active relations with the state, a move Palestinian spokesmen described as a “stab in the back”. In exchange for the normalisation of ties, Netanyahu’s government has agreed to temporarily postpone its annexation of large parts of the West Bank.
Meanwhile, continuing to cite the alleged launching of incendiary balloons by Hamas forces in Gaza as the motive, Israel steps up its assault on the Palestinian enclave of Gaza. Warplanes carried out bombing raids on sites in Beit Hanoun and Rafah, causing extensive damage to infrastructure but no civilian casualties.
Protests over the Israeli government’s alleged corruption and mishandling of the coronavirus continue outside of the official residence of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, despite the recent announcement of an historic peace deal with the UAE.
Meanwhile, the Israeli air force resumes its aerial attacks on Hamas positions in the Gaza Strip in apparent retaliation for the repeated launching of incendiary balloons from the area. The heightened tensions in recent days has culminated in the closing by Israel of the Karem Abu Salem border crossing with the Palestinian enclave.
A deaf Palestinian is shot and wounded while walking in a vehicles-only area near the Qalandiya Crossing in the West Bank. Security personnel ordered the man to stop – a command he did not hear – before shooting him in the legs. The attack occurs the same day that Israel closes the fishing zone off the coast of Gaza, allegedly in response to fire balloons launched in recent days. Tanks also target Hamas targets in the strip.
Meanwhile, Jared Kushner signals that the US will not consent to Israel’s proposed annexation of large swathes of the West Bank for “some time”, as its diplomatic efforts will be focuses on ensuring the success of the Israeli-UAE accord of normalisation.
After allegedly attempting to carry out a stabbing attack, a Palestinian man is shot dead by Israeli forces in the occupied Old City of East Jerusalem. The man was shot near the Al Aqsa Mosque compound and later pronounced dead. The man’s death comes as Israel continues its bombing of Gaza for the seventh night straight.
The Israeli bombing raids on Hamas posts in Gaza continues into the eighth consecutive night, amid accusations that a rocket was fired over the border into southern Israel. Israeli President Reuven Rivlin warns of “war” if the clashes continue to escalate. Due to punitive measures, hospitals in the Gaza Strip are only able to operate on four hours of power supplied by the Israeli grid. The attacks arrive as protests sweep across the West Bank and Gaza in response to the normalisation of relations between Israel and the UAE.
Israeli tanks shell Gaza for the ninth consecutive night, with Israeli officials citing the continued launching of incendiary balloons over the border as the provocation. Both Egypt and Qatar are attempting to mediate between the two sides in order to broker a de-escalation in tensions.
Meanwhile, in the West Bank, three Palestinians are shot during an ambush set up by the Israeli security forces. One of the victims, 16-year-old Mohammad Damir Matar, dies from his wounds, with the others taken to hospital nearby. Damar’s family refused permission for an autopsy to be performed for fear that his organs will be illegally harvested in the infamous Abu Kabir Forensic Medical Institute where his body is being held.
Allegedly responding to the firing of a rocket into the south of the country – an attack which was intercepted by the country’s Iron Dome defence system without causing any damage – Israel attacks Hamas positions in Gaza. The strikes represent a continuation of shelling of the strip by Israel, which has been taking place almost daily since August 6th.
Protests against Benjamin Netanyahu continue, with seven protesters arrested while demonstrating outside of the Prime Minister’s official residence in Jerusalem.
Meanwhile, an Israeli drone is shot down by Hezbollah after crossing over the Blue Line demarcating the nominal border between Israel and Lebanon. The drone hits the ground near to the town of Aita al-Shaab.
Israel’s near month-long bombardment of the Gaza Strip continues, with rockets allegedly targeting Hamas military positions and tunnels in response to the launching of incendiary balloons from the territory in recent weeks. The attacks, coupled with an increase in the severity of the blockade imposed on the Palestinian enclave, have left Gaza largely without power since 6 August.
Meanwhile, the US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo begins a tour of the Middle East in Jerusalem. He begins the tour by assuring Israel that the US will ensure it retains a “qualitative military edge” in the region, amid concerns that the recent normalisation of ties with the UAE may lead the gulf state to obtain sophisticated weaponry from the US.
Basem Naim, a Hamas official, tells Al Jazeera news agency that the territory will “not remain silent” in the face of increased Israeli pressure against inhabitants of the area, despite being eager to prevent tensions from “exploding” into another full blown war. The comments come as Israeli launches strikes in the strip for the 15th consecutive night.
Bahrain’s King Hamad has intimated to the US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo that his country’s commitment to a Palestinian state remains, despite pressure from the US administration to normalise ties. The statement arrives as Israel’s bombardment of the Gaza strip continues into its 16th consecutive day and another flare-up occurs on the northern border with Lebanon.
The Israeli Supreme Court has accepted a petition by Palestinian claimants who alleged that houses in the Mitzpe Kramim settlement were built on privately owned Palestinian land and consequently ought to be removed. The state will be allowed 36 months to re-house the settlers.
The three-week flare-up between the Israeli military and Hamas in Gaza continues to escalate as Israeli tanks and warplanes bomb Hamas positions in the strip. In retaliation, rockets were fired into Israel. No casualties are reported no either side. Attempts to end the confrontations have become more urgent in light of a lockdown implemented in the wake of new positive coronavirus tests.
Protests against Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu continue to grow in strength, as around 37,000 people are believed to have joined anti-government protests in the capital Jerusalem. The demonstrators continue to demand the resignation of Netanyahu as he goes on trial for corruption – a process that takes place while unemployment sits above 20%.
Meanwhile, tensions between Israel and the Gaza Strip continue as incendiary balloons and tank-fire are exchanged over the border once again.
Hamas announces a Qatari-mediated deal to end the month-long flare-ups across the Gaza-Israeli border. The deal appears essentially to restore the situation prior to the beginning of cross-border fire on 6 August, meaning that Hamas will prevent incendiary balloons from being launched into Israel in exchange for an ease on import restrictions a restoration of fuel supplies, and the rights for fisherman to resume fishing in the Mediterranean.
Qatari Emi Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani tells visiting White House adviser Jared Kushner of his country’s continued support for a two-state solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, which sees an independent Palestinian state with its capital in East Jerusalem. The communication comes as US officials tour the region in an attempt to increase the number of states willing to normalise relations with Israel.
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu announces that Serbia will become the first European nation to move its embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem. The move is expected to be completed by 2021, with Kosovo anticipated to join them and in so doing become the first Muslim-majority country to recognise Jerusalem as Israel’s capital.
Protests against Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu enter their eleventh straight week. Demonstrators gathered in their thousands outside of the official residence of the Prime Minister in Jerusalem to make known their displeasure with Netanyahu’s handling of the coronavirus pandemic and his ongoing corruption trial.
Saudi Arabia’s King Salman bin Abdulaziz spoke to Donald Trump by telephone to urge the US President to pursue a peace initiative in the Middle East which is fair to Palestinians. The conversation took place on the same day that an Israeli soldier knelt on the neck of an elderly Palestinian man protesting the building of an illegal Israeli settlement in the occupied West Bank.
US President Donald Trump announces that Bahrain will become the fourth Arab state to normalise relations with Israel, following the UAE’s decision to do so in recent weeks. Palestinian officials are united in their condemnation of the move, which they describe as a “stab in the back”. The Palestinian ambassador to Bahrain is withdrawn from the country in response to a move which seems to have been primarily motivated by a fear of Iran.
Palestinians take to the streets across the Gaza Strip to demonstrate against the recent US-brokered peace deal between Bahrain and Israel. Protestors burned pictures of US, Bahraini and UAE leaders in the Hamas organised demonstration.
For the twelfth consecutive week, thousands of protestors gather in the Israeli capital Jerusalem to demonstrate against Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. The demonstrators outside his official residence continue to cite his ongoing corruption trial and poor handling of the coronavirus pandemic as reasons for their demand that he resigns.
Meanwhile, Bahraini opposition parties condemn the decision of the government to normalise ties with Israel. Ayatollah Sheikh Isa Qassim – an influential Shia cleric based in Iran – calls upon the people of the region to resist the move.
Israel announces a three-week national lockdown in an apparent attempt to curb the rise in coronavirus cases across the country. The announcement comes ahead of the Jewish holiday season, which runs from 18 September to 9 October, and follows an increase in the new daily infections to over 4,000. The lockdown will also signal an end to the anti-government demonstrations, which have taken place in the capital for 12 consecutive weeks.
Meanwhile, the Palestinian Prime Minister Mohammed Ishtayeh states his intention to recommend to President Mahmoud Abbas that Palestinians reconsider their relationship with the Arab League, calling the body “a symbol of Arab inaction”. The announcement comes the same day that an Israeli court issues a demolition order for a mosque in an occupied town in East Jerusalem, with residents of the town allowed 21 days to challenge the decision.
Several Palestinian factions, including Fatah and Hamas, work to restore unity between the Gaza Strip and the West Bank as Israel continues to improve relations with surrounding Arab states. The aim of the unified leadership will be to lead collective, popular resistance to Israeli domination. These attempts take place while Qatar rules out normalising ties with Israel, claiming it cannot be the solution to the ongoing conflict.
Meanwhile, the normalisation deals between UAE-Israel and Bahrain-Israel are signed into force. Palestinians continue to protest the moves, with over 200,000 signing an anti-normalisation charter.
Israel fires rockets into the Gaza Strip in response to the alleged firing of rockets over the border by Hamas. The exchange follows the signing by Bahrain and the UAE of normalisation deals orchestrated by the US government.
Honduras states its intention to move its embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem in Israel, following in the footsteps of the US. The population of Palestinians in Honduras is the second largest in Latin America after Chile.
Palestinian officials have stepped down from their role as chair of ongoing Arab League meetings, in protest at recent agreements by Arab states to normalise ties with Israel. Foreign Minister Riyad al-Maliki claimed there was “no honour” in holding the position while fellow Arab states moved towards normalisation.
Meanwhile, the two rival Palestinian factions of Fatah and Hamas meet in the Turkish capital Ankara to discuss ways of bringing an end to the internal division of the national movement with a view to holding general elections.
The rival Palestinian factions of Fatah and Hamas reach agreement to hold the first Palestinian elections in over 14 years. The deal will see elections held within the next six months.
Protests against the endemic corruption of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s government – as well as his administration’s handling of the coronavirus crisis -enter their 14th consecutive week, despite a nationwide lockdown having been announced.
Following 14 straight weeks of anti-government demonstrations, the Israeli administration passes a law curbing the freedom of people to protest during the nationwide coronavirus lockdown. The law, which prevents people holding demonstrations further than a kilometre from their residence, has been accused of silencing criticism of the government by opponents.
Spokespersons for the Lebanese and Israeli governments have announced their agreement to framework for talks over a proposed settlement to ongoing border disputes. The US-mediated negotiations will attempt to bring an end to a formal state of war between the two states
Despite the imposition of a new law aimed at curbing anti-government protests during a nationwide coronavirus lockdown, demonstrators took to the streets of Israel for the 15th week running to call for the resignation of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. Around 100,000 people are believed to have joined the protests across the country.
The emergency law banning Israelis from demonstrating further than 1 kilometre from their homes is extended by a further week after a telephone vote. Critics continue to accuse the government of using the restrictions, which are ostensibly aimed at halting the spread of coronavirus, to curb dissent.
Months’-long protests against Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu continue as tens of thousands of demonstrators gather across the country. The previous site of the protests – the official residence of the Prime Minister – was off bounds for demonstrators, due to a nationwide lockdown allegedly aimed at curbing the spread of the coronavirus.
As part of ongoing efforts to secure strategic regional partnerships in the run-up to the Presidential election, the US urges Saudi Arabia to normalise ties with Israel. US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo urged the gulf country to recognise the Jewish state and, in doing so, join a growing regional alliance against Iran.
Meanwhile, Israeli and Lebanese officials hold talks over a disputed maritime border. Both countries remain in a state of war and the talks are not believed to represent any sort of normalisation of ties.
2020 becomes one of the most prolific years for the building of illegal settlement homes by Israel in the occupied West Bank, as more than 3,000 are built and 12,000 approved in a year. These represent the highest annual figures since they started to be recorded in 2012.
The key PLO negotiater Saeb Erekat is taken to hospital in Israel 10 days after contracting the novel coronavirus, Covid-19.
Several senior UAE officials, including Finance Minister Obaid Humaid al-Tayer, make their first visit to Israel since the deal to normalise relations between the two countries. The visit sees representatives of each state sign four agreements concerning economic cooperation, aviation, visa exemptions and investments.
The Israeli military conducts yet another air raid against Hamas positions in the Gaza Strip, once again allegedly as a response to rocket fire across the border.
Gaza nurses take to the streets in Gaza to protest an Israeli travel ban which has led to them losing their jobs in Jerusalem’s Makassed Hospital. The group of nurses had all been working in the hospital for over 20 years.
At the behest of US President Donald Trump, Sudan and Israel agree to the normalisation of relations between the two countries. Palestinian groups condemn the move as another “stab in the back”.
Meanwhile, in response to the alleged firing of rockets over the border, the Israeli military launches an overnight air attack against targets in Gaza.
The Sudanese government’s decision to bow to US pressure and normalise relations with Israel is met with derision by opposition parties in the country, who say they will form a united front against the deal.
Allegedly responding to an incident involving the hurling of rocks at a security vehicle, Israeli forces severely beat a Palestinian teenager northeast of Ramallah. The man was beaten on the neck and later died from his injuries.
Following the signing of a string of agreements aimed at ensuring Israel’s qualitative military edge (QME) over rivals in the region, two legislators in the US Congress propose a bill requiring the US to consider selling bunker-buster bombs to Israel.
Situated in the illegally occupied West Bank, the Palestinian village of Khirbet Humsa – home to 74 residents – is demolished by Israeli army bulldozers and diggers. People were reportedly allowed only 10 minutes to vacate their homes before they were destroyed.
Maher al-Akhras has ended his hunger strike after 103 days. The Palestinian was imprisoned by Israel in July for allegedly being a member of an armed group and refused food in protest at his incarceration.
The United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees (UNRWA) informs its staff that they will need to defer their salaries for the remainder of the year in the light of a shortage of funds. Some 28,000 workers will be affected unless the organisation can raise $70m dollars by the end of November.
A prominent Palestinian spokesperson and peace negotiator, Saeb Erekat, dies aged 65 after contracting the novel coronavirus. A member of the Fatah party, Erekat had been involved in negotiations over a peaceful settlement to the Israel-Palestine conflict for over two decades.
Outgoing US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo is set to become the first in such a position to visit an illegal Israeli settlement, a move that Palestinian Prime Minister Mohammed Shtayyeh has warned would set a “dangerous precedent” which would “legitimise the settlements” and violate international law.
In response to the alleged firing of two rockets from the Gaza Strip into southern Israel, the Israeli military confirmed that it struck numerous positions in Gaza. The air raids were aimed at apparent underground infrastructure and military posts in the area. No casualties on either side have yet been reported.
In the wake of Israel announcing its intention to construct more illegal settlements in occupied East Jerusalem, the UN’s Middle East envoy Nickolay Mladenov expressed concern that the plans will represent another block to a two-state solution.
The Palestinian Authority (PA) announces that it will resume coordination efforts with Israel, including cooperation on issues relating to security, following the receipt of written assurances that Israel will commit to past agreements. The PA had announced the end of all cooperation in May, in response to the declaration by Israel that they would annex large swathes of the West Bank.
Following the normalisation of relations between the two countries in September, Bahrain sends its first government delegation to Israel, headed by its Foreign Minister Abdullatif Al Zayani. Pictures of the event are displayed on Israeli television, as the Bahraini delegation was welcomed into Tel Aviv.
Israeli jets launch a barrage of missiles at Gaza, causing limited property damage. The strikes were aimed at Gaza City, Khan Younis and Rafah. No casualties were reported.
Gaza City’s medical system faces potential imminent collapse, according to health officials in the besieged strip. A sudden increase in infections threatens disastrous implications for one of the most crowded places on the planet.
Israeli soldiers attempt to remove a Palestinian man from a Red Crescent ambulance in the occupied West Bank. The man had been injured during protests against the Israeli policy of demolishing homes in the Jordan Valley region. Soldiers pushed an aid worker in an attempt to detain the wounded man.
A Palestinian man is shot dead by Israeli forces outside of Jerusalem after allegedly ramming border police with his car. Police reports claim that he attempted to flee a checkpoint inspection and hit an officer in the process, lightly injuring them.
Meanwhile, the UN Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees announces that it has run out of money for the remainder of the year, after receiving its lowest level of contributions in 8 years.
Saudi Arabia agrees to allow Israeli airliners permission to use its airspace when travelling to the UAE, following talks with the US senior adviser Jared Kushner. The announcement is the latest move in a general rapprochement between the two countries, as Saudi Arabia moves gradually towards the normalisation of relations with Israel.
A-year-and-a-quarter after being arrested on charges of being a member of the Democratic Progressive
Student Pole – a group banned by the Israeli military – the 22-year-old Palestinian student Mays Abu Ghosh is released from Damon Prison. Abu Ghosh was also fined 2,000 shekels.
Following the renewal of cooperation between the Palestinian Authority (PA) and Israeli officials in recent weeks, the Israeli government releases over $1bn in withheld tax funds to the PA. The funds represent over half of the PA’s budget.
Meanwhile, Israeli legislators vote through a draft bill to dissolve Parliament, tabled by Benjamin Netanyahu’s coalition partner Benny Gantz. If the final proposals are approved next week, Israel will face a fresh round of elections in the new year.
Bahrain has revealed that laws governing the goods imported from Israel will not distinguish between those products made within Israel and those originating from illegal settlements in occupied Palestinian or Syrian territories. Palestinian spokespersons have condemned the decision.
Following a visit to Jordan last week by the head of the Palestinian Authority (PA) Mahmoud Abbas, Jordanian Foreign Minister Ayman Safadi meets with Israeli Foreign Minister Gabi Ashkenazi to discuss the near-century old conflict between Israel and the Palestinians. The Jordanian official stressed the importance of a two-state solution.
Saudi Arabia’s Foreign Minister Prince Faisal bin Farhan also stressed the importance of the establishment of a Palestinian state prior to any normalisation of ties with Israel. His comments put paid to rumours that the Gulf state may be on the brink of normalising ties with Israel.
Meanwhile, during a protest in the occupied West Bank, thirteen-year-old Palestinian teenager Ali Ayman Nasr Abou Aliya is shot by Israeli military personnel and later dies in hospital. An Israeli army spokesman denies that live ammunition was used.
Bahrain backtracks on its earlier stated intention to allow the importation of goods produced in illegal Israeli settlement territories. Bahrain’s Industry, Commerce and Tourism Minister had earlier voiced an openness to such imports, but the government claims his comments had been misinterpreted.
Health officials in the besieged Gaza Strip have announced that they are no longer able to carry out coronavirus tests due to a lack of testing kits. International organisations have been called upon to send urgent aid to the blockaded territory.
A leading member of the executive committee of the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO), Hanan Ashrawi, has announced her resignation. She is apparently stepping down in protest against the decision of the Palestinian Authority (PA) to resume coordination with Israel.
An Israeli soldier who admitted to killing 22-year-old Ahmad Manasra and shooting another man in the West Bank in March 2019 has been granted his plea bargain by a military tribunal. The contentious agreement sees the soldier, who claimed to have mistaken the victims for attackers, given three months of military labour.
Meanwhile, a US-brokered agreement sees Israel and Morocco normalise ties. In exchange for agreeing to normalise relations with Israel, the US agrees to recognise Morocco’s claims over the dispute Western Sahara territory.
Bhutan becomes the latest country to establish full diplomatic relations with Israel. This agreement follows years of secret contacts between the two states and is apparently unrelated to the recent spree of agreements with nations in the Middle East.
Following a two-year hiatus, Turkey has returned an ambassador to Israel. Turkey had previously withdrawn its Israel envoy following deadly attacks in Gaza in May 2018. Ufuk Ulutas will adopt the position.
Meanwhile, Hamas announces its willingness to resume talks with the Palestinian Authority (PA) over attempts to heal intra-Palestinian tensions. Announcements over the weekend from leading member Hossam Badran spoke of a need to “restore unity” and rebuild “national institutions”.
Following the normalisation of ties between Morrocco and Israel, both Qatar and Tunisia make statements indicating that they will not become the next in line to abandon any support for the Palestinian cause. During a meeting with Palestinian Authority (PA) President Mahmoud Abbas in Doha, Qatar’s Emir emphasised his country’s continued support for “the Palestinian people and their just cause”. Meanwhile, Tunisian Prime Minister Hichem Mechichi announces that a normalisation with Israel is “not on the agenda” for his country.
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu secures some eight million Coronavirus vaccines from the pharmaceutical company Pfizer, which will cover roughly half of its 9 million population for the required two doses. Palestinians will not be offered the jabs.
Mahmoud Omar Kameel, a seventeen-year-old Palestinian boy, is shot dead by Israeli forces after he allegedly opened fired on them near the Lion’s Gate entrance to the Old City. Witnesses say the boy was shot multiple times by security forces.
Meanwhile, the US continues its push to secure the normalisation of ties between Israel and Muslim states, offering Indonesia to potential to unlock billions of dollars of US finance should they agree to cordial ties with the country.
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s failure to pass a budget in parliament will trigger Israel’s fourth election in two years. The fragile coalition between election rivals Benny Gantz and Netanyahu has been verging on collapse for weeks and has finally led to a fourth successive poll amid public anger over the government’s handling of the coronavirus pandemic and high levels of unemployment.
The UN General Assembly (UNGA) passed more resolutions condemning actions taken by Israel than against any other nation in 2020. Seventeen resolutions have been passed against the country this year, nearly three times as many as passed against all of the other world’s nations combined.
Air raids carried out by the Israeli military in Gaza have left two people injured and caused damage to infrastructure, according to reports form Palestinian media. A series of missiles were apparently fired in response to an alleged rocket attack launched from the strip.
According to the Palestinian Prisoner Society (PPS), Israeli authorities have taken the decision to shut down the Ramon prison due to an outbreak of Covid-19 infections among its inmates. The facility, north of Jerusalem, holds some 360 Palestinian detainees.
A Palestinian man has been left quadriplegic after being shot through the neck by Israeli army forces in the West Bank. Haroun Rasmi Abu Aram, just 24 years of age, was allegedly trying to prevent the troops from stealing his electric generator when they shot him.
Sudan signs the “Abraham Accords” with the USA which offers to release $1bn dollars of annual funding to the North African country in exchange for the normalisation of relations with Israel.
Tensions grew after an Israeli Supreme Court ruling called the Palestinian Arab inhabitants of 14 houses in the area to leave. Historically, the properties had been owned by two Jewish trusts until the area was occupied by Jordan in the 1948 war. However, the two trusts took legal measures to regain the land after Israel took control of East Jerusalem (after the Six-Day War, 1967). In an earlier court decision, the properties were indeed transferred back to the Jewish associations, with the Palestinian inhabitants being legally recognised as “protected tenants”.
However, this judgement was rejected by the residents and they refused to pay any rent to the new “landlords”. As a result, the Israeli Supreme Court justified the eviction of the houses by the breached lease obligations. This perspective was criticised on two grounds. Firstly, it was seen as ideologically motivated to make room for orthodox Jewish settlers. Secondly, it was argued that the court ruling was inconsistent with the inability of Palestinians to legally reclaim property lost in the 1948 war that is located in present-day Israeli territory. After the court ruling led to a spiral of protests and violence, it was halted for an indefinite period.
With tensions high, at least 205 Palestinians and 17 officers were injured during the violent riots around al-Aqsa mosque and in the Sheikh Jarrah neighbourhood. While the Israeli government argued that the police only responded to protestors throwing stones, Palestinian authorities claimed that the police forces triggered the clash by using tear gas and rubber bullets.
After violence escalated around the compound, 330 Palestinians and 21 Israeli police officers were injured. Expecting a confrontation with police forces, Palestinians had stockpiled stones at the site. Again, both sides made each other responsible for the mounting violence.
After days of violence, Hamas started firing rockets, arson balloons, and suicide drones
indiscriminately from Gaza into Israeli territory, targeting all major Israeli cities. Israeli forces
immediately responded with air strikes and later also artillery fire to destroy Hamas military
Especially in the week between the 10th and 17th of May, Israel was shaken by intensifying
inter-communal tensions in cities with mixed Arab and Jewish populations. Being
unprecedented in their severity, various cities reported tit-for-tat violence between Jewish and Arab mobs. Shootings, stabbings, stone-throwing, mass arrests, and looting spread mistrust and deepened the gulf between both communities. 10 synagogues were set on fire.
After Hamas rocket attacks and Israeli airstrikes intensified, the destruction of the al-Jalaa
building in Gaza city became the subject of international headlines. While Israel claimed that
the building contained Hamas intelligence assets, international observers criticised that the
building was solely used for residential purposes and housed Al Jazeera, as well as other media outlets.
Mass protests in solidarity with Palestine culminated worldwide on the 15th of May (also
known as Nakhba Day). Thousands took part in demonstrations in all major European capitals, North America, Israel as well as some other Middle Eastern and Asian metropolises.
Simultaneously, several demonstrations in support of Israel were taking place as well. While
most demonstrations were peaceful, there were several clashes with police and between pro- Palestinian and pro-Israeli groups. Especially North America and Europe witnessed a sharp increase in antisemitic incidents linked to the conflict, with the UK reporting a 500% spike in antisemitic hate crimes alone.
In the deadliest airstrike of the confrontation, 42 Palestinians were killed along Wehda Street,
Gaza City. Palestinian officials accused Israel of committing war crimes by targeting residential buildings, healthcare facilities, schools, and refugee camps. Israeli authorities, however, claimed that the Israeli forces are only targeting military infrastructure and are sending warnings to target areas so that civilians can be evacuated in time. Moreover, they criticise Hamas for using civilians as human shields and deliberately placing tunnels and rocket launchers in civilian areas.
A ceasefire (brokered by Egypt and supported by the UN and the US) came into effect between
Hamas and Israel, with both sides claiming victory. Violations of the ceasefire have not been
reported. Around 250 Palestinians and 13 Israelis have been killed and an estimated 72,000
displaced (mostly in Gaza). The discrepancy in casualties is mainly due to Israel’s Iron Dome
defence system that intercepted most of the rockets before detention.
After the 2021 elections, a new Israeli government was formed on the 13th of June and ousted Benjamin Netanyahu after 12 years in office. Unified in their opposition to Netanyahu, the coalition comprises eight ideologically highly diverse parties. 31 seats in the government
coalition go to centrist parties, 13 seats to right-wing parties, another 13 to left-wing parties, and 3 seats are held by the United Arab List.
Thus, an Arab party is for the first time part of a governing coalition and Israeli Arab politician Mansour Abbas was sworn in as the deputy prime minister. Naftali Bennett (leader of the nationalist Yamina party) and Yair Lapid (leader of the centrist Yesh Atid party) will rotate in the positions of prime minister and minister of foreign affairs.
The outspoken critic of Palestine's president Abbas and the Palestinian Authority of the West Bank, Nizar Banat, was killed in Hebron after being tortured and beaten with iron sticks. Banat was openly criticising the growing authoritarianism and human rights violations of the
Palestinian Authority and had previously received numerous death threats. Palestinians
responded with protests, clashing with forces loyal to Abbas in Ramallah.
The death of Khader Adnan, a key figure in Islamic Jihad, led to an insurgence of violence and the firing of more than 100 Palestinian rockets and mortars into Israel. There were no victims, but 5 people were reportedly injured.
Iranian President Raisi met with Palestinian officials in Damascus (Syria) to express his country’s support to the Palestinian cause. Iran already supplies factions of the Palestinian resistance with weapons and financial aids.
A new round of fighting seems to be starting, as Israel launches an attack on the Gaza strip. The attack resulted in the death of 3 Islamic Jihad officials and at least 10 civilians. Netanyahu warned the army to prepare for an escalation of violence.
After 4 days of fighting, Israel and Palestine agreed to a ceasefire negotiated by Cairo.
The UN commemorated for the first time the mass displacement of 700,000 Palestinians (known as the Nakba). Rosemary DiCarlo, Under-Secretary-General for Political and Peacebuilding affairs declared: “the legacy of the event lives on, sparing us to continue our unflagging efforts to find a peaceful and lasting solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict”
For the past five decades, both legal and physical battles have ensued in the occupied territory of East Jerusalem. The fight began in 1972 when
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