A Timeline

Early History Before the Common Era

2000-1500 BCE Re-establishment of strong political power in Egypt with advent of the Middle Kingdom led to revitalisation and expansion of trade routes and a period of great prosperity in the Levant. It witnessed the full flowering of Canaanite culture. The situation was further enhanced when, around 1750 BC, groups of Canaanites, who had infiltrated the Egyptian Delta a century or so earlier, seized control and established a local dynasty which for a brief time ruled the whole of Egypt. With their capital at Avaris  these Canaanites were known as the Hyksos. During this period in the Levant there was extensive trade not only with Egypt, but also with Mesopotamia, Anatolia and Cyprus. Canaan’s art, architecture and craftsmanship reached new levels of skill and sophistication as her artists were influenced by a variety of sources and countries, blending them to make their own distinctive style. [Quote from British Museum (BM)]
1279-1213 BCERameses ll reorganises the Levant.  ‘Key strategic cities like Beth Shan in the north and Gaza in the south were strengthened, while others were allowed to decline. Many  people were made homeless and migrated to the Judean hill country where they established small farming settlements. These  dispossessed Canaanites, known to the Egyptians as Hapiru (Hebrews), formed the basis of what was to become Israel.’  (BM)
1210 BCE The first and only Egyptian mention of the term Israel on the Merneptah stele.
1200-1100 BCE Economic and political upheaval across the ancient Near East and Mediterranean. (BM)
ca. 880 BCEKing Omri founds the kingdom of Israel and builds his capital in Samaria (BM)
840 BCEThe Mesha Stele records the Moabite king destroying Omri’s son (Ahab), throwing off the yoke of Israel and restoring Moab.
About 750 BCEEmergence of the independent kingdom of Judah (BM)
721 BCESamaria is captured by Sargon II of Assyria. The Kingdom of Israel ends (BM) Significant population displacement followed. Refugees to Jerusalem carried oral and written traditions later incorporated in the Pentateuch.
587 BCEJerusalem is destroyed by the Babylonians. Contrary to first impressions from the Old Testament narrative, it was mostly elite groups who were exiled, not the general populace. Much of the Hebrew Bible written by exiles and their descendants during or after the return from Babylon.
There is debate within Jewish and Christian scholarship as to how far this material was based on oral traditions which may or may not give authenticity to such events as the Exodus
ca. 538 BCEPersia conquers Babylon and permits exiled Jews who want to, to return to Jerusalem (“Decree of Cyrus”). The reconstruction, commonly associated with Ezra and Nehemiah, was driven by returning exiles – elite cadres – who introduced notions of racial exclusivity to the tradition, and deligitimated the descendents of the general populace who had not been exiled – some of whom became the Samaritans.
332 BCEAlexander the Great conquers the region. After his death the empire is divided. Judaea came under the rule of the Ptolemies, based in Egypt, and a Jewish community became established in Alexandria. 
ca 200 BCEJudaea passed to the Seleucid empire, based in Antioch on the Orontes in Syria.
167 BCEThe Maccabaean Revolt, Jews revolted against cultic changes imposed by the Seleucids, and in a series of uprisings and treaties establish an independent polity, with kingship and high priesthood vested in the Hasmonaean family.
63 BCERomans establish control over Judea and Samaria. Rome ruled through vassals – the high priests and members of the Herodian family, as well as directly through prefects and procurators, at different stages and in different areas.
ca. 4 BCEJesus is born. He and his disciples were Jews, whose activity was mainly in Galilee.  He is crucified thirty-three years later after a ministry of three years in Jerusalem c. 30 CE by the Prefect Pontius Pilate, at the instigation of the high priest Joseph Caiaphas. This is reported by the Jewish historian Josephus, and mentioned by the Roman historian Tacitus, independently of the accounts in the Gospels of the Christian New Testament.

Early History: Common Era

66-70Romans suppress a major  Jewish revolt and the Temple is destroyed. The conquering Roman general, Vespasian, became emperor.
132-135The Bar Kokba revolt. Jews barred from entering Jerusalem. The Romans name the province Syria Palaestina. Jews move North into Galilee, being banned from Jerusalem
312 Edict of Milan. Constantine begins the process of Christianising the Roman Empire.
ca. 325Empress Helena starts pilgrimages to Palestine. Major building projects – churches in Jerusalem, Bethlehem and elsewhere,
ca. 570The Prophet Muhammad is born in Mecca, establishes the Islamic faith, unites the Arabian Peninsula, and dies in 632. Arabic rule and faith spread rapidly throughout Syria Palaestina, Persia, and Egypt.
637  Jerusalem conquered by caliph Umar 1
711 Muslims take control in Spain. The Umayyad Caliphate peaks around 1000CE. Regarded as the Golden Age of Jewish Culture in Spain.
1099The first Crusaders capture Jerusalem and establish Christian rule over Palestine. Massacres perpetrated by some Crusaders. This is also the beginning of Jews being expelled from many countries in Western Europe.
1187Saladin, Sultan of Egypt, conquers Jerusalem and invites the Jews to return. Except for a fifteen-year interval Muslims control Palestine until the end of World War I.
1264 In Poland the Prince of Cracow grants the General Charter of Jewish liberties which mandated unpre­ced­ent­ed rights and privileges to Jewish citizens.
1290Jews expelled from England not Scotland
1492Remaining Jews and Muslims expelled from Spain by Christians in the Spanish Inquisition.
1516The Ottoman Turks take  Syria, Palestine, and then Egypt.
1656

Start of the readmission of Jews to Britain. under Cromwell. Christian Zionist biblical interpretation originated in Puritan circles.
By the mid 1600s, some three-quarters of all the world’s Jews lived on Polish territory, their forebears having enjoyed 700 years of relative peace and security in the heart of Catholic Europe.

Early 19th Century

 Literal reading of the bible, which had startled in the 1600s develops further influenced by John Nelson Darby, Edward Irvine and Prophetic Conferences such as those in Albury.
1840Lord Shaftesbury, best remembered for legislation on child labour and mental health issues but  less for his form of evangelical Christianity, takes an advert in the Times: RESTORATION OF THE JEWS. A memorandum has been addressed to the Protestant monarchs of Europe on the subject of the restoration of the Jewish people to the land of Palestine.
1843The Scottish clergyman, Rev Alexander Keith, was probably the first  to coin the phrase ‘A land without a people, for a people without a land.’
1861The French establish Lebanon as an autonomous district within Syria, under Christian leadership.
1865Palestine Exploration Fund set up. Click here to read Part 1 of the minutes of their first meeting, and click here to read Part 2.
1865At the South end of the Pale of Settlement, Russia ethnically cleansed 200,000 Circassian Muslims
1881Assassination of Tsar Alexander II followed by persecution of Russian Jews.
1882British forces occupy Egypt and remain there until 1955.
1882William Hechler visited Leon Pinsker to persuade him that Palestine should be his goal for a Jewish homeland.
1884Hechler, Chaplain to the English embassy in Vienna, publishes ‘The Restoration of the Jews to Palestine’ as a fulfilment of biblical prophecy.
1894 : The Dreyfus Affair in which Captain Alfred Dreyfus a Jewish officer in the French army, is convicted for treason (falsely) and imprisoned on Devils Island. Freed in 1899 but not exonerated until 1906, Anti- semitism played an important role in the public and political dynamics of the case.
1896Publication of The Jewish State by Theodor Herzl. Hechler Introduces Herzl to the Kaiser other German leaders and the British political establishment.
1897First International Zionist Congress in Basel. There is an apocryphal story that two Rabbis were sent to Palestine and reported “The bride is beautiful but she is married to another man”
1903Lloyd George’s law firm acted for Herzl in negotiations on a Jewish community in Uganda. Lloyd George drafted a charter for the ‘Jewish settlement’
1905/6Pogroms against Jews. Hundreds of thousands of Jews join 2.25 million non Jews fleeing to the West for a better life. Balfour as Prime Minister of the UK sponsored legislation limiting Alien immigration into Britain in 1905.
1906Balfour writes to his niece after meeting Weizmann. “…he could see no political problems in obtaining Palestine, only economic ones.”

1915-1948

January 1915Herbert Samuel, a member of the British cabinet circulated a memorandum on ‘The Future of Palestine’ to the British Cabinet.
1915The De Bunsen committee
In April 1915 Prime Minister Herbert Asquith appointed the de Bunsen Committee to identify the Ottoman territories that were of interest to Britain. They considered Haifa port in Palestine a useful transport link to Mesopotamia, but they did not see any value in the rest of Palestine.
1915The Damascus Protocol was a document given to Faisal bin Hussein on 23 May 1915 by the Arab secret societies al-Fatat and Al-‘Ah on his second visit to Damascus during a mission to consult Turkish officials in Constantinople.
1915Disastrous Gallipoli campaign, final British withdrawal December 1915
191524 October 1915. With defeat in Gallipoli seeming inevitable, Sir Henry McMahon offers Sharif Hussein support for an Arab State excluding areas West of Damascus, if he helps the British against the Ottomans. [See Related Page]
1916The secret Sykes-Picot agreement divides the Middle East between France, Britain and Russia . [See Related Page]
1917Great Britain, during World War I, issues the Balfour Declaration, promising a Jewish national home in Palestine: “it being clearly understood that nothing shall be done which may prejudice the civil and religious rights of existing non Jewish communities in Palestine, or the rights and political status enjoyed by Jews in any other country. [See Related Page]”
1918Declaration to the Seven, Britain defines policy that Arab governments liberated by the action of Arab armies would be based on the principle of “consent of the governed”.
November 1918The Anglo-French declaration implies that the indigenous populations, previously under the rule of the Ottoman Empire, would be granted self determination. [See Related Page]
1919Paris Peace Conference Groups of imperial nations such as France and Britain sought to divide the Ottoman Empire among themselves using the mandate system while anti-imperialist leaders such as President Wilson and Amir Faysal sought to oppose such plans.
1919King Crane Commission set up by President Wilson. It recommended Syria and Palestine should be under a single mandate and serious modifications to the Zionist programme. The report was prepared in 1919 but suppressed until 1922.
1920Sir Herbert Samuel, Jewish and Zionist, was appointed to the position of High Commissioner in 1920, before the Council of the League of Nations approved a British mandate for Palestine.
1920Wyndam Deedes was Chief Secretary to Herbert Samuel from 1920-22. He was a committed believer in Zionism as the fulfilment of the Old Testament prophecies.
1920San Remo conference at which Britain obtained the mandate for Palestine.
1920Arab anti Jewish riots in Palestine. Palin Commission Report on the riots suppressed.
1921The Rutenberg concession: Britain granted the Jewish owned Palestine Electricity Corporation, founded by Zionist Pinhas Rutenberg, a 70 year monopoly concession to utilize the Jordan and Yarmouk Rivers’ water for generating electricity.Thus awarding a Jewish syndicate wide powers over the economic, social and industrial conditions of an Arab community…for no less than seventy years – in the process ignoring a whole stream of quite reliable applications…from native sources in Palestine in line with a deliberate policy of economic preference to the Zionists. The concession denied Arab farmers the right to use the Yarmouk and Jordan Rivers without permission. Permission was never granted.
January to March 1923JMN Jeffries publishes a series of articles in the Daily Mail. These presented a hitherto uninformed British readership with details of official promises made to the Arabs in 1915-16 of post-war independence for Palestine in exchange for their support in the struggle against the Ottoman Empire and its German ally – something that London later reneged on.
3rd June 1922Churchill White Paper. asserting, among other things, that there had been no promise of political independence to Palestine in the form of the war-time McMahon-Hussein correspondence
21st June 1922Palestine Mandate defeated in the House of Lords 60-29 The motion read: That the Mandate for Palestine in its present form is inacceptable to this House, because it directly violates the pledges made by His Majesty’s Government to the people of Palestine in the Declaration of October, 1915, and again in the Declaration of November, 1918, and is, as at present framed, opposed to the sentiments and wishes of the great majority of the people of Palestine
22nd July 1922Meeting at Balfour’s home in London. Foreign Secretary Balfour and Prime Minister Lloyd George confirm verbally to Weizmann that ‘by the Declaration they always meant an eventual Jewish state’. Colonial Secretary, Churchill [responsible for Palestine] also present at the meeting when Lloyd George tells Churchill that ‘we’ must not allow such a thing as representative government to happen in Palestine. Sahar Huneidi, A Broken Trust p 59
24 July 1922Palestine Mandate ratified when Churchill succeeded by a House of Commons vote in overturning June 21st vote in the House of Lords in which a clear majority of peers had rejected Britain`s Palestine policy.
1923 SeptPalestine mandate comes into force.
1929The Palestine riots in August 1929 in Jerusalem, Hebron and Safed
1929Shaw Commission Report established to investigate the riots.
1930On January 1, 1930, Palestine Potash Limited given the “Concession for the extraction of salts and minerals in the Dead Sea”. Moshe Novomeysky was one of the directors and the company had been incorporated in England in 1929. The company became of great importance during the second World war when German and French supply of crucial chemicals stopped. Nationalised by Israel 1951.
1930Hope Simpson Enquiry The report recommended limiting Jewish immigration based on the economic absorptive capacity of Palestine.
1930Passfield White Paper was a formal statement of British Policy in Palestine. Zionists claimed that it backtracked on commitments in the Balfour Declaration’
1931MacDonald letter was a letter written by the Prime Minister Ramsay MacDonald which was considered a withdrawal of the Passfield White Paper.
1933Adolf Hitler becomes Chancellor of Germany. Security services (SD) begin plans for “final solution”.
1936Palestinian Arabs demand a halt to Jewish immigration and a ban on land sales to Jews. British troops attempt to assert control, but violence continues. Britain hangs or imprisons most of the Arab leadership. See Hughes for more detail.
1937The Peel Commission recommends partition of Palestine between Arabs and Jews.
1937Palestine (Defence) Order in Council 1937 enacted emergency laws such as House Demolitions, Administrative detention and many more
1938Captain Orde Wingate, a Christian Zionist intelligence officer, sets up Special Night Squads, a joint British Jewish unit for night operations against Arabs. Described as a form of state terrorism.
1938Woodhead Commission Report was instructed to gather evidence from the various parties and to recommend boundaries for two self-sufficient states, one Arab and one Jewish, to replace the British Mandate
1938Kristallnacht marks intensification of anti-Semitism, with increasingly violent attacks on Jewish people and property. Plans for deportation of Jews from Germany and Austria, and seizure of their assets, by SD. Concentration camps planned. Jewish refugees fled to several countries, including Britain, the Americas, South Africa, Australia, and Palestine.
1939In the British White Paper of 1939 Britain announces severe restrictions on Jewish immigration and land purchases in Palestine. Violence erupts from Jewish militants.
1939-45Second World War follows German invasion of Poland. Polish Jews ghettoised, deported to concentration camps, and exterminated, along with those of Germany, Austria, Czechoslovakia, Hungary, Lithuania, Latvia, Estonia, Netherlands, Belgium, and the occupied parts of France and Russia. Further migration to Palestine and elsewhere when concentration camps liberated.
1942-47France funds Jewish extremist organisations, Stern Gang and Irgun, against the British.
1944Murder of Lord Moyne by the Stern Gang.
1945Britain creates the Defence (Emergency) Regulations which were an expansion of the laws first created in 1937. Many were incorporated into Israeli law.
29th November
1947
Britain lets the United Nations decide what to do about Palestine, which is partitioned into Jewish, Arab, and international areas (Jerusalem and Bethlehem). Fifty-five percent of the territory is allocated to the Jewish state.
 Egypt, Syria, Lebanon, and Jordan are now independent states.
December 1947 – April 1948
Nakba commences. Mass expulsion of Palestinians by Jewish forces. ie whilst the British were still there.
By April 1948 Palestinians driven from 13 main cities including Haifa, Nazareth and Jaffa (See Wikipedia)
22nd February 1848The United Kingdom Government announced that Palestine would no longer form part of the sterling bloc. Palestinian pounds no longer convertible to Sterling at parity as they had been previously. (See UN paper)
April 1948Massacre of Deir Yassin.
Jaffa, Haifa and Jerusalem depopulated.
May 1948The British mandate over Palestine terminates. Around 250,000 Palestinians already expelled.
 Israel declares independence and Truman recognises Israel. Count Bernadotte appointed as UN mediator.
12 June 1948Israel ordered all commercial banks operating within its territory to “freeze the accounts of all their Arab customers and to stop all transactions on all Arab accounts.” and threatened to revoke the licenses of all banks found to be in non-compliance. By the end of December 1948, every bank operating in what had become Israel had obeyed the order, and thus, barely six months after the creation of the state of Israel, all Arab Palestinians, almost all of
whom were already homeless and scattered in refugee camps throughout the Arab world, had lost access to the money and valuables which they had deposited in their banks for safe- keeping. (See A History of Money in Palestine from 1900 to Present p-105)
September 1948Count Bernadotte assassinated by Jewish extremist Stern Gang.
 Nakba continues.
 Arab armies attack, mainly outside the area proposed for a Jewish State. Israel fights to extend beyond what it was offered and prevails.
December 1948U.N. General Assembly Resolution 194 establishes a conciliation commission and asserts that refugees wishing to return to their homes and live at peace should be allowed to do so, that compensation should be paid to others, and that free access to the holy places should be assured.

Post British Withdrawal

1949Armistice agreements with the Arabs allow Israel to gain more land (77 percent of Palestine). Egypt occupies the Gaza Strip. Transjordan, renamed Jordan, controls what is left of the west bank of the Jordan River, including Old Jerusalem.
1950Jordan annexes this territory.
1950Britain one of two countries to recognise Jordan’s annexation of Palestine.
1956Egypt nationalizes the Suez Canal, and Israel joins Britain and France in occupying the canal area. Under international pressure all foreign forces withdraw from Egyptian territories by the next year. U.N. forces are assigned to patrol strategic areas of the Sinai.
1964The Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) is established, committed to wage a battle to liberate the homeland of the Palestinian people.
1967Egypt blockades the Straits of Tiran, and Arab forces make menacing moves. Israel launches preemptive attacks on Egypt, Syria, Iraq, and then Jordan, and within six days occupies the Golan Heights, Gaza, the Sinai, and the West Bank, including Jerusalem. Six months later, U.N. Security Council Resolution 242 is passed, confirming the inadmissibility of the acquisition of land by force and calling for Israel’s withdrawal from occupied territories, the right of all states in the region to live in peace within secure and recognized borders, and a just solution to the refugee problem.
1973Egypt and Syria attack Israeli forces in the Sinai and Golan Heights. This conflict becomes known as the Yom Kippur war. After sixteen days of war, U.N. Resolution 338 is passed, confirming Resolution 242 and calling for international peace talks. Various disengagement agreements follow.
1974The Arab summit at Rabat in Morocco unanimously proclaims the PLO as the sole legitimate representative of the Palestinian people. Israel agrees to withdraw from Syrian territory, except for control of the Golan Heights.
1975Civil war erupts in Lebanon. With approval from the international community the following year, Syria sends troops to establish order.
1977Egyptian President Anwar al-Sadat visits Jerusalem and outlines Arab demands to the Israeli Knesset. Israeli Prime Minister Menachem Begin makes a return visit to Ismailia, with no progress toward peace.
1978The Camp David Accords are approved by Israel and Egypt, confirming Israel’s compliance with U.N. Resolution 242, withdrawal of political and military forces from the West Bank and Gaza, and full autonomy for Palestinians. The Accords outline a peace agreement between Israel and Egypt and other Arab neighbors. The Accords are rejected by the Arabs at the Baghdad summit, and Egypt is isolated.
1979A peace treaty is signed between Israel and Egypt, guaranteeing withdrawal of Israel from the Sinai, normal diplomatic relations, and Israel’s access to the Suez Canal.
1981Israel escalates establishment of settlements on Palestinian territory. Egyptian President Anwar al-Sadat is assassinated.
1982In response to terrorist attacks across Lebanon’s border, Israeli troops move into Lebanon, seeking to destroy PLO forces there. The militant Lebanese organization known as Hezbollah is established. Subsequent actions by the Israelis in Lebanon draw international criticism.
1985Israel partially removes its forces from Lebanon.
1987A Palestinian intifada (uprising) erupts, and Israel responds to the violence with harsh reprisals. The Palestinian organization known as Hamas is established.
1988Jordan cedes its rights in the West Bank and East Jerusalem to the PLO. PLO head Yasir Arafat acknowledges Israel’s right to exist and renounces violence. The U.S. and the PLO initiate dialogue.
1991The Persian Gulf War ejects Iraqi forces that have invaded Kuwait. Many Palestinian exiles move to Jordan. A Middle East peace conference, focusing on Arab-Israeli relations, is convened in Madrid.
1993Israel and the PLO conclude a peace agreement in Oslo with mutual recognition and a five-year plan to resolve all remaining differences. Right-wing Israelis and militant Palestinians and begin attempts to undermine the agreement.
1994The Palestinian National Authority is established.
 Israel and Jordan sign a comprehensive peace agreement.
 Massacre of Palestinians praying at the Hebron mosque.
1995Israeli Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin is assassinated by an Israeli right-wing religious fanatic. This setback to the peace process is exacerbated by violent attacks from Palestinian groups opposed to the Oslo Agreement.
1996Israelis return the Likud Party to power, which stalls the Oslo process. Palestinians elect Yasir Arafat as president and elect the members of a legislative council.
1998The Wye River Memorandum is issued after talks between the Israelis and the Palestinians, under U.S. auspices. An airport is opened in Gaza, with flights to Arab nations.
2000Israeli forces are withdrawn from Lebanon except for a disputed area, Shebaa Farms.
 US President Bill Clinton leads the second Camp David summit.
 Second Intifada sparked by Ariel Sharon’s visit to the Temple Mount / Haram al-Sharif.
2001Ariel Sharon is elected prime minister of Israel, committed to rejection of the Oslo peace agreement and an emphasis on national security. The Gaza airport runway is bulldozed.
2002An Arab League summit meeting endorses a Saudi peace plan based on U.N. Resolutions 242 and 338. Suicide bombings provoke strong Israeli response. Sharon blames Arafat for the violence and confines him in his Ramallah office. Israel begins building a separation barrier within the West Bank.
2003The Quartet Group (the United States, United Nations, European Union, and Russia) agree on a “road map for peace.” Palestinians pledge full support, but Israel rejects key points. Violence continues, and the security barrier in the ‘West Bank draws international criticism for undermining the peace process. An unofficial peace agreement negotiated by Israelis and Palestinians is released with extensive international support as the Geneva Initiative.
2004Yasser Arafat dies.
2005Mahmoud Abbas (Abu Mazen) is elected president of the Palestinian National Authority.
 Israel unilaterally evacuates its settlements from the Gaza Strip and four from the West Bank.
January 2006Ariel Sharon suffers a massive stroke. The Palestinians elect a new government, with Hamas winning a plurality of votes but a majority of parliamentary seats. Israel and the United States isolate Palestine, cutting off funds.
March-August 2006Ehud Olmert becomes Israel’s prime minister, promising that the dividing wall will, in effect, be the new Israeli-West Bank border. Hamas and Hezbollah militants capture Israeli soldiers, and Israeli forces attack Gaza and Lebanon. Hezbollah missiles strike northern Israel. The United Nations approves Resolution 1701, establishing a fragile cease-fire.
2008Operation Cast Lead: Israel attacks Gaza and kills over 1200 Palestinians.
2011Palestine elected as member of Unesco by UN.

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