A Timeline

Before the Common Era.

From Canaanites ruling Northern Egypt followed by Egyptian domination of the Levant giving rise to small farming settlements of disposessed Canaanites who formed the basis of what became Israel. Major economic and political upheaval in the Middle East and Egyptian withdrawal . Then the creation of Israel followed by Judah, the Babylon exile and writing of the Bible. Subjugation of the area under Assyrians, Persians, Greeks, Seleucids with a semi autonomous Maccabaean polity and finally the Romans and the birth of Jesus.

Early History: Common Era

Birth of Christianity, the Jewish revolt, Christianising the Roman Empire and the birth of Prophet Muhammed and development of Islam. Muslims take over Spain and usher in the ‘Golden Age’ of Jewish life. Then the Crusades and the start of Jews being expelled from many countries in Western Europe, England (but not Scotland) in 1290. The Spanish Inquisition in 1492 where Christians expel Muslims and Jews. In Poland Jews were welcome and by the 1600s 75% of World Jewry lived there. By 1656 Jews were readmitted to England

19th Century

Literal reading of the Bible taking off and developing into Shaftesbury’s political campaign to get Jews to Palestine to speed a second coming of the Messiah. Creation of the Palestine Exploration Fund, ethnic cleansing of Muslims and Jews in the Pale of Settlement (mainly occupied Poland and Lithuania). Then the role of William Hechler the evangelical chaplain of the English Embassy who was sponsored by Shaftesbury. He played a significant part in the development of Zionism. The Dreyfus affair and the first Zionist conference.

1900-1948 and the end of the Mandate

From Lloyd George acting for the Zionists in 1903, the British promise to the Arabs of a state including Palestine in 1915 followed by the Balfour Declaration in 1917. Then British control of Palestine under the League of Nations Mandate which included the League’s Sacred Trust of Civilisation to bring Palestine to independence. Many reports and white papers, brutal suppression of the Arab Revolt from 1936-39 and in 1948 Britain’s active negotiation to prevent the formation of a Palestinian state. Sir Martin Gilbert stated: ‘The centrepiece of British policy, that Britain would withhold representative institutions to Palestine as long as there was an Arab majority.’