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 Syria, 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)
1279-1213 BCE Rameses 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.’  (Quote from British Museum)
1210 BCE The first mention of the term Israel on the Egyptian Merneptah stele.
1200-1100 BCE Economic and political upheaval across the ancient Near East and Mediterranean.
ca. 880 BCE King Omri founds the kingdom of Israel and builds his capital in Samaria (British Museum)
840 BCE The Mesha Stele records the Moabite king destroying Omri’s son, throwing off the yoke of Israel and restoring Moab.
About 750 BCE Emergence of the independent kingdom of Judah
721 BCE Samaria is captured by Sargon II. The Kingdom of Israel ends
587 BCE Judah is destroyed by the Babylonians. contrary to first impressions from the Old Testament narrative, it was elite groups who were exiled, not the general populace. Much of the Hebrew Bible written during or after the return from Babylon. Ur was controlled by the Chaldeans when this writing took place.
ca. 538 BCE Persia 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 BCE Alexander the Great conquers the region.
167 BCE The Maccabaean Revolt, Jews establish a semi autonomous Judea under the Selucids.
63 BCE Romans 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 BCE Jesus is born. He and his disciples were Jews.  He is crucified thirty-three years later after a ministry of three years. Christian churches are established throughout the eastern Roman Empire.
Early History
Common Era
66-70 Romans suppress a major  Jewish revolt and the Temple is destroyed. The conquering Roman general, Vespasian, became emperor.
132-135 The 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. 325 Empress Helena starts pilgrimages to Palestine. Major building projects – churches in Jerusalem, Bethlehem and elsewhere,
ca. 570 The 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.
1099 The 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.
1187 Saladin, 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.
1290 Jews expelled from England not Scotland
1492 Remaining Jews and Muslims expelled from Spain by Christians in the Spanish Inquisition.
1516 The 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.

19th Century into early 20th Century
Early 19 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.
1840 Lord 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.
1843 The Scottish clergyman, Rev Alexander Keith, was probably the first  to coin the phrase ‘A land without a people, for a people without a land.’
1861 The French establish Lebanon as an autonomous district within Syria, under Christian leadership.
1865 Palestine Exploration Fund set up. At the South end of the Pale of Settlement, Russia ethnically cleansed 200,000 Circassian Muslims
1881 Assassination of Tsar Alexander II followed by persecution of Russian Jews.
1882 British forces occupy Egypt and remain there until 1955.William Hechler visited Leon Pinsker to persuade him them that Palestine should be his goal for Jewish homeland.
1884 Hechler, 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.
1896 Publication of The Jewish State by Theodor Herzl. Hechler Introduces Herzl to the Kaiser other German leaders and the British political establishment.
1897 First International Zionist Congress in Basel. Two Rabbis sent to Palestine report “The bride is beautiful but she is married to another man”
1905/6 Pogroms 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.
1906 Balfour writes to his niece after meeting Weizmann. “…he could see no political problems in obtaining Palestine, only economic ones.”

1915 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]
1916 The secret Sykes-Picot agreement divides the Middle East between France and Britain . [See Related Page]
1917 Great 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]”
1918 Declaration 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 1918 The Anglo-French declaration implies that the indigenous populations, previously under the rule of the Ottoman Empire, would be granted self determination. [See Related Page]
1920-21 Arab anti Jewish riots in Palestine. Palin Commission Report on the riots suppressed.
1922 After the Ottoman Empire is defeated in World War I, the League of Nations confirms the British mandates over Iraq and Palestine, and a French mandate over Syria and Lebanon. Transjordan is separated from the Palestine Mandate and becomes an autonomous kingdom.[See Related Page]
1926 The Rutenberg concession: British High Commissioner granted the Jewish owned Palestine Electricity Corporation, founded by Pinhas Rutenberg, a 70 year concession to utilize the Jordan and Yarmouk Rivers’ water for generating electricity. The concession denied Arab farmers the right to use the Yarmouk and Jordan Rivers without permission. Permission was never granted.
1929 Arab riots in Jerusalem, Hebron and Safed.
1936 Palestinian 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. The Peel Commission recommends partition of Palestine between Arabs and Jews.
1939 Britain announces severe restrictions on Jewish immigration and land purchases in Palestine. Violence erupts from Jewish militants.
1942-47 France funds Jewish extremist organisations, Stern Gang and Irgun, against the British.
1944 Murder of Lord Moyne by the Stern Gang.
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.
 Late 1947 :
Mass expulsion of Palestinians by Jews commences.
April 1948 Massacre of Deir Yassin.
May 1948 The British mandate over Palestine terminates.
Israel declares independence and Truman recognises Israel. Count Bernadotte appointed as UN mediator.
June 1948 Count Bernadotte assassinated by Jewish extremist Stern Gang.
Mass expulsion of Palestinians continues.
Arab armies attack and Israel prevails.
December 1948 U.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
1949 Armistice 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.
1950 Jordan annexes this territory.
1956 Egypt 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.
1964 The Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) is established, committed to wage a battle to liberate the homeland of the Palestinian people.
1967 Egypt 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.
1973 Egypt 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.
1974 The 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.
1975 Civil war erupts in Lebanon. With approval from the international community the following year, Syria sends troops to establish order.
1977 Egyptian 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.
1978 The 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.
1979 A 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.
1981 Israel escalates establishment of settlements on Palestinian territory. Egyptian President Anwar al-Sadat is assassinated.
1982 In 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.
1985 Israel partially removes its forces from Lebanon.
1987 A Palestinian intifada (uprising) erupts, and Israel responds to the violence with harsh reprisals. The militant Palestinian organization known as Hamas is established.
1988 Jordan 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.
1991 The 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.
1993 Israel and the PLO conclude a peace agreement in Oslo with mutual recognition and a five-year plan to resolve all remaining differences. Militant Palestinians and right-wing Israelis begin attempts to undermine the agreement.
1994 The Palestinian National Authority is established.
Israel and Jordan sign a comprehensive peace agreement.
Massacre of Palestinians praying at the Hebron mosque.
1995 Israeli 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.
1996 Palestinians elect Yasir Arafat as president and elect the members of a legislative council. Israelis return the Likud Party to power, which stalls the Oslo process.
1998 The 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.
2000 Israeli 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.
2001 Ariel 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.
2002 An 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.
2003 The 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.
2004 Yasir Arafat dies.
2005 Mahmoud 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 2006 Ariel 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 2006 Ehud 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.
2008 Operation Cast Lead: Israel attacks Gaza and kills over 1200 Palestinians.
2011 Palestine elected as member of Unesco by UN.

This timeline is based on the timeline in Jimmy Carter’s ‘Palestine peace not apartheid’ with many additions and links to further information such as Wikipedia.

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