Israel-Palestine Conflict


Overview

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.

Facts

Where:
Israel – Palestine
Population:
Israel: 8.7 million
Palestine: 4.9 million
Deaths:
Over 110,000
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

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.

Israel has been involved in negotiations for a future two-state solution with the Palestinian leadership, though has not expressed any willingness of provide an immediate reprieve to its occupation of Palestine.

Has no diplomatic relations with Israel and has both declared war on Israel and provided assistance to Israel’s combatants in many of the subsequent wars.

 

Iran has had varying relations with Israel, depending on the governments in Iran and were relatively friendly before the Islamic Revolution. Since then, both countries have funded organizations that hostile to the other.

Has been invaded by Israel and had also declared war on Israel several times. Hezbollah, the Lebanese political and militant group, has sworn to liberate Palestine, with support from Iran. 

Has been a combatant of Israel but the Hashemite dynasty have also maintained communication with Israel even before peace treaties were signed, as they were in 1995-6.

Similar to Jordan, has fought Israel but now has become a long standing ally and important strategic partner of Israel in the region, since signing a peace treaty in 1979.

Donates millions of dollars to the Palestinian Authority. Has played a prominent role in the Arab League’s alternative to the traditional US mediated Israeli-Palestinian negotiations. In recent times, antipathy towards the Iranians has brought Israel and the Saudi governments closer together.

Led the armed struggle against Israel for the Palestinian cause until secretly signing the Oslo Accords in 1993 with Israel. The movement has also engaged in intra-Palestinian tensions with the Palestinian Authority (PA).

An internationally recognized terrorist organization which wants to end the blockade on Gaza and the occupation of Palestine. Was democratically elected in Gaza in January 2006, but there have been no elections since. 

The largest faction of the PLO and although it lost control of Gaza to Hamas in 2005, it retained control of the West Bank.

A political party and armed militant group in Lebanon who have engaged in a guerrilla war and conflict with Israel.

A Zionist terrorist organisation who agitated for the British to leave.

Regularly announces resolutions to try and ease tensions but these are non-binding so far have little impact.

The Arab League was formed in 1945. The main aim of the Arab league was to unify Arab nations to have a stronger global political and economic influence. The league had strongly opposed the deceleration of Israel as a Jewish state in the middle east. In 1948, the Arab league jointly attacked the state of Israel. For many years the Arab league had failed to draft a resolution to protect Palestinian civilians and to obtain peace regarding the conflict. 

The OIC was formed in 1969 and consists of 57 Muslim states. The main aim of the organization regarding the conflict is to guarantee Palestine full membership in the United Nations. Additionally, the OIC believes in a two-state solution in order to obtain peace regarding the conflict. 

The USA is the strongest supporter of Israel in the conflict. Historically, the US saw Israel as a key player in resisting the Soviet Union influence in the Middle East. The US supported Israel in its war against Arab countries (dates). The US-Israel relations became even stronger due to strong economic ties and the Israeli efforts in the US war against terror. Through using its right to VETO, the US acts as a shield for the Israeli side when questioned about any humanitarian violations or war crimes. Indeed, the US had used its right to VETO 42 times to protect Israel from any accusations by any UN member state. 

Recently, US President Donald Trump declared Jerusalem as the capital of Israel. This decision had been rejected by the international community, as it was seen as a step backwards stalling any progress towards a two-state solution.

The EU had been a strong supporter of the two-state solution. The EU position can be reflected through the 1980 Venice Declaration, that gave the right of existence to all states including Israel, and the 1999 Berlin Declaration that ensured the EU member states commitment for declaring Palestine as a sovereign state.  

Timeline

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.

Palestinian officials have denounced Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu‘s reiteration of a pledge to annex all illegal Israeli settlements in the occupied West Bank, warning such a move would not lead to “any peace”.

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.  

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