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History of Palestine - Chronology

Palestine:  Adaptation of a Greek word meaning Land of Philistines. A historic region on the east coast of the Mediterranean Sea.
8000 BC

Permanent agricultural settlements appeared in Jericho.

1000 BC
Palestine divides into the regions of Judea and Samaria.

 721 BC
Samaria destroyed by Assyria.

587 BC
Judea destroyed by Babylonia.

70 AD
Romans shatter Hebrew Statehood.

The Muslim conquest brings Palestine under the sway of the Islamic Caliphate.

Roman Crusaders overtake Jerusalem.

Mamelukes of Egypt take back Jerusalem.

Palestine occupied by the Turkish Ottoman Empire.

The total population of Palestine was 500,000 of whom 47,000 were Jews who owned 0.5% of the land.

Following the appearance of anti-Semitism in Europe, Theodore Herzl, the founder of Zionism tried to find a political solution for the problem in his book, "The Jewish State". He advocated the creation of a Jewish state in Argentina or Palestine.

First Zionist Congress (Basle, Switzerland) declared Palestine the Jewish Homeland. Participants developed a structure of government which could be transferred to Palestine at some future time, including the World Zionist Organization to link all Jews together, the Jewish National Fund to acquire land, a committee to manage finances, a political committee to govern the land.

Keren Keyemeth (Jewish National Fund) founded as land-acquisition organ of WZO with the function of acquiring land in Palestine to be inalienably Jewish with exclusively Jewish labour employed on it.

Publication of "Le Reveil de la Nation Arabe", by Najib Azoury, warning of Zionist political aims in Palestine.
Fourth Zionist Congress decided to establish a national home for Jews in Argentina.

The Zionist congress decided the Jewish homeland should be Palestine.

Palestinian journal "Al-Karmil" founded in Haifa for the purpose of opposing Zionist colonization.

Arabic newspapers in Beirut, Damascus and Haifa express opposition to Zionist land acquisition in Palestine.

Jan: Palestinian journalist Najib Nassar publishes first book in Arabic on Zionism, entitled "Zionism: Its History, Objectives and Importance".
Feb: Palestinian newspaper "Filastin" begins addressing its readers as "Palestinians" and it warns them about consequences of Zionist colonization.

First Arab Nationalist Congress meets in Paris.

With the outbreak of World War I, Britain promised the independence of Arab lands under Ottoman rule, including Palestine, in return for Arab support against Turkey which had entered the war on the side of Germany.

July 14: Correspondence begins between Sherif Hussein of Mecca and Sir Henry McMahon, British High Commissioner in Egypt.
Aug. 21: Jamal Pasha, Ottoman military governor, has the first group of martyrs of the Arab nationalist movement executed in Beirut.
- Herbert Samuel, future High Commissioner of Palestine, in a memorandum entitled `The Future of Palestine', proposes "... the British annexation of Palestine [where] we might plant 3 or 4 million European Jews.".

Jan 30: Hussein-McMahon correspondence concluded with Arabs understanding it as ensuring postwar independence and the unity of Arab provinces of the Ottoman Empire, include. Palestine.
May: Jamal Pasha has 21 Arab leaders and intellectuals, incl. 2 Palestinians, hanged in Beirut and Damascus.
May 16: The British and French Governments sign secret Sykes-Picot Agreement dividing Arab provinces of Ottoman Empire into French and British administered areas.
June 10: Sherif Hussein proclaims Arab independence from Ottoman rule on the basis of his correspondence with McMahon. Arab revolt against Constantinople begins.
Oct 2: Sherif Hussein is proclaimed as "King of the Arab Countries" and performs the ceremony of the bai'a, the traditional Arab custom in which the investiture is accompanied by a formal declaration of allegiance.

November 2, 1917
British government issues Balfour Declaration. Promising the Jewish people an independent Jewish state in Palestine. At that time the population of Palestine was 700,000 of which 574,000 were Muslims, 74,000 were Christian, and 56,000 were Jews.
December 1917
British troops invade Palestine capturing Jerusalem.
Surrender of Ottoman forces in Jerusalem to Allied forces under General Sir Edmund Allenby.

The Palestinians convened their first National Conference and expressed their opposition to the Balfour Declaration.

The San Remo Conference granted Britain a mandate over Palestine and two years later Palestine was effectively under British administration, and Sir Herbert Samuel, a declared Zionist, was sent as Britain's first High Commissioner to Palestine.

The Council of the League of Nations issued a Mandate for Palestine. The Mandate was in favor of the establishment for the Jewish people a homeland in Palestine.
June 3: The British government issues White Paper on Palestine excl. Transjordan from scope of Balfour Declaration.
June 30: US Congress endorses Balfour Declaration.
July 24: League of Nations Council approves Mandate for Palestine without consent of Palestinians.
Aug 20: Fifth Palestinian National Congress, meeting in Nablus, agrees to economic boycott of Zionists.
Oct: First British census of Palestine shows total population of 757,182 (11% Jewish).

Feb 16: Sixth Palestinian National Congress, held in Yaffa
Sept 29
: British Mandate for Palestine comes officially into force.

March 27: Official establishment of the Palestine Arab Party (al-Hizb al-Arabi al-Filastini) in Jerusalem; Jamal al-Husseini elected as president.
May 10: Second meeting of the Congress Executive of Nationalist Arab Youth held in Haifa.
June 23: Announcement of The Reform Party (al-Hizb al-Islah) in Jenin; run by three secretaries: Hussein al-Khalidi, Mahmoud Abu Khadra, and Shibli al-Jamal.
Oct 5: Announcement of formation of The National Bloc (al-Kutlah al-Wataniyah) in Nablus; led by elected Abdul Latif Salah.
Oct: Irgun Zvai Leumi (National Military Organisation) founded by dissident members of Haganah; Jabotinsky named Commander-in-Chief.
Nov: Sheikh Izz al-Din al-Qassam, leading first Palestinian guerrilla group, dies in action against British security forces.

The Palestinians held a six-month General Strike to protest against the confiscation of land and Jewish immigration.

London Round Table Conference produces the White Paper of the Year which promises Arabs to establish an independent Arab Palestine in Palestine 10 years from the date, and eliminate the Jewish migration to Palestine to 1,400 per year until 1944, after which Jewish migration will cease.

Jan: Dr. Chaim Weizmann writes in "Foreign Affairs", urging the creation of a Jewish state in Palestine after the war.
May: Zionist Biltmore Conference, held at Biltmore Hotel in New York, formulates new policy of creating "Jewish Commonwealth" in Palestine and organizing Jewish army.

Jewish-British War. Jewish groups in Palestine try to expel Britain. Mainstream Jewish fighters under David Ben Gurion are called Hagana. They later become the Israeli army. Two separate military groups (Irgun Zvai Leumi led by Menachem Begin and Lehi or the Stern Gang led by Yitzhak Shamir) resort to assassination and bombings. Many British soldiers and Arab civilians are killed.

Britain decides it cannot bring peace to Palestine and turns the matter over to the United Nations. In Resolution 181 the UN votes to partition Palestine into Jewish and Palestinian states with an international enclave around Jerusalem and Bethlehem. Arab leaders reject the plan and insist on a united Palestine with a secular government. Fighting begins between Jews and Palestinians. Many Palestinians become refugees.

Approximate population of Palestine: 1,650,000 Palestinians and 750,000 Jews.
April 8: Abd al-Qadir Husseini killed in counter-attack at Qastel, western suburb of Jerusalem, without any military reason or provocation of any kind.
April 9: Irgun and Stern Gangs lead by Menahem Begin and Yitzhaq Shamir massacre 245 Palestinians in the village of Deir Yassin, western suburb of Jerusalem.
April 11: Haganah destroy village of Kalonia near Qastel and occupy Deir Yassin.
April 30: All Palestinian quarters in West Jerusalem occupied by Haganah and Palestinians were driven out.
May 2: The Jewish Agency completes mobilisation of Jewish manpower.
May 13: UN appoints Count Folke Bernadotte as mediator to resolve conflict in Palestine.
May 14: State of Israel proclaimed in Tel-Aviv at 4:00 p.m.
May 15: British Mandate ends.
- The Arab States dispatch around 25,000 of their armed forces to Palestine.
- The Haganah, made up of 60,000 to 70,000 trained members become the backbone of the Israeli Army.
May 15-17: USA and USSR recognise Israel.
June 28: Bernadotte's first peace plan: Jerusalem to be Arab.
July 5: Ben-Gurion, replying to Moshe Sharett, with regard to allowing the return of Arabs to Jaffa: "The Prime Minister opposes the return of Arab residents to their localities so long as the fighting continues and the enemy is at our gates. The PM is of the opinion that only the cabinet as a whole can decide to alter this policy."
July 7: Mount Scopus area in Jerusalem divided into 3 sectors: a Jewish sector (incl. the Hadassah Hospital and Hebrew University, which were completely isolated from Israel); an Arab sector (the village of Issawiya); and a third sector incl. the Arab Augusta Victoria Hospital.
Sept 1: Palestinian National Conference in Gaza. Formation of All-Palestine Government.
Sept 17: UN Mediator Count Folke Bernadotte assassinated in Jerusalem.
Sept: Ben-Gurion notifies Moshe Sharett that he was told by the commander of the central front that it would be necessary to destroy portions of 14 Arab villages lying east of Lod [Saffariyya, Haditha, Innaba, Daniel, Jimzu, Kafr Onno, Yahudiyya, Barfiliyya, Birya, Qubab, Beit Nabala, Deir Sherif, Tira, Qula], "because of the shortage of manpower to hold the area and to fortify it in depth it is urgently necessary to create defence bases ...."
Oct 1: All-Palestine Government announces Palestinian independence.
Oct 15: The recognition of the All-Palestine Government by Egypt, Syria, Lebanon and Saudi Arabia.
Dec 1: Jericho conference composed of notables and mayors indicates the West Bank's approval of unity with Jordan.
Dec 11: UN Gen. Assembly Res. 194 (III): the right of Palestinian refugees to return.
Dec 20: Sheikh Hussam Addin Jarallah appointed Mufti of Jerusalem (replacing Haj Amin Husseini); Amin Abdul-Hadi appointed head of the Supreme Muslim Council in Jerusalem.

April-May 1948
Massacres of Palestinians by Zionist groups Haganah and Irgun throughout Palestine.

Britain withdraws from Palestine. The state of Israel is established resulting in the 1948 War on May 14th between Israel and the Arab countries. 846,000 Palestinians are driven out of their homeland or flee the fighting that accompanied the creation of a Jewish state. Only 160,000 Palestinians remain in Israel itself.

Article 49 (6) of the Geneva Convention IV states: the occupying power (Israel) shall not deport or transfer parts of its own civilian population into the territory it occupies, it also rejects and forbids the settlement of Jews in the West Bank area.

The Israeli government allows only a very few Palestinians to return after the war is over. By 1950, over one million Palestinians live in UN-supported refugee camps in Gaza, West Bank, Lebanon, and Jordan.

The establishment of the Palestinian Liberation Organization (PLO) in Jerusalem.

The Palestine "Revolution" began on January 1st.

Approximate population of Israel and Occupied Territories: 1,660,000 Palestinians and 2,384,000 Jews.

The 1967 War begins June 5th with Israel occupying the West Bank, Gaza Strip, and Jerusalem. UN issues Resolution 242 demanding Israel to withdraw from the West Bank and Gaza Strip. Approximately 250,000 more Palestinian refugees flee, or are forced into Jordan. After the 1967 Six Day War, Yasser Arafat is announced the leader of the PLO.

October or Ramadan or Yom Kippur War. Egypt and Syria attempt to regain lost territories. They push Israel back in the Sinai peninsula and initially in the Golan province. A massive airlift of US arms to Israel tips the balance.

United Nations issues Resolution 338 reaffirming the rights of the Palestinians to self-determination and national independence.

Yasser Arafat speaks to the UN exclaiming, "I come to you with an olive branch and a freedom fighter's gun; do not let the olive branch fall from my hand."

The Arab Nations issue the Rabat Resolution which proclaims the PLO as the legitimate representative of the Palestinian people.

Menechem Begin becomes Prime Minister of Israel. His Likud Party traditionally advocates a "Greater Israel" including the West Bank and Gaza and perhaps Jordan with unlimited settlements of Jews in Arab-populated areas under Israeli occupation. Anwar Sadat President of Egypt goes to Jerusalem to open talks.

Egypt and Israel sign the Camp David Accords. Israel invades Lebanon and seizes a "security zone" up to the Litani River.

Israel invaded Lebanon with the aim of destroying the PLO. Tens of thousands were killed and made homeless in the wake of the invasion which culminated in the massacres of Sabra and Shatilla.

The United Nations called for the convening of a Peace Conference with the participation of the PLO on an equal footing with the other delegates as the legitimate representative of the Palestinian people.

August 1985
Israel creates "Iron Fist Policy." Defense Minister Yitzhak Rabin orders troops to break bones, demolish homes, hold administrative detention, and deport Palestinians.

December 1987
Palestinian Intifada (Uprising) begins. Palestinians commit themselves to goals which include; Palestinians have the same rights as all other people including, the right to determine their own future and to live in security and freedom.

Abu Jihad (PLO's number 2 leader) is assassinated on April 14th by an Israeli hit team. The PLO recognizes Israel, proclaims a Palestinian state, renounces terrorism, and calls for negotiations; as a result of the Israeli election. Yitzhak Shamir returns as Prime Minister. Following the United States government refusing President Arafat a visa to enter the US, the UN General Assembly held a special session on the question of Palestine in Geneva.

June 28, 1989
EEC Madrid Conference issued a new declaration calling for the PLO to be involved in any peace negotiations.

May 20, 1990
Seven Palestinian workers from Gaza were massacred by the Israeli gunman near Tel Aviv. Yasser Arafat addressed the UN Security Council in Geneva after the massacre in which he called for the deployment of a UN emergency force to provide international protection for the Palestinian people to safeguard their lives, properties and holy places. The US vetoed a motion which called for the Security Council to send a fact finding mission to the area. At the end of their hunger strike, Palestinian leaders in the Occupied Territories decided to boycott the US.

June 26, 1990
The EEC in Dublin issued a new declaration on the Middle East which condemned Israeli human rights violations and the settlement of Soviet Jews in the Occupied Territories. It also doubled its economic aid program to the Occupied Territories.

October 30: Madrid Peace Conference is held.
December 3: The bi-lateral talks between Israel and the Palestinians, Syrians, Jordanians, and Lebanese started in Washington.

Yitzhak Rabin becomes Prime Minister of Israel.

On September 13th Palestine and Israel sign Declaration of Principles in Washington, DC.

May 4, 1994
Gaza strip and Jericho Agreement in Cario.

August 29, 1994
Transfer of the power Agreement.

September 28, 1995
Palestinian Israeli Interim Agreement signed in Washington.

November 4, 1995
Israeli extremist Yagil Amir assassinates Israeli Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin.

January 1996
Palestinians hold first Democratic Election. Yasser Arafat is elected President of Palestine.

May 28, 1996
Israel elects Benjamin Netanyahu Prime Minister, who since has refused to implement previous peace agreement.

September 1996
Israeli government opens tunnel in Jerusalem going against previous peace agreement which states the Jerusalem must not be altered in any way by either side until the final status of the peace agreement has been reached.

January 1997
Agreement of the redeployment from Hebron.

March 1997
The construction of the new Israeli settlement of Jabal Abu Ghneim (Har Homa) started. Cease of the peace talks because of the continuous of the settlements policy of the Netanyahu Government.

July 7, 1998
The General Assembly adopts resolution 52/250, entitled “Participation of Palestine in the work of the United Nations,” voting overwhelmingly to upgrade Palestine’s representation at the United Nations to a unique and unprecedented level, somewhere in between the other observers on the one hand and Member States on the other. The resolution conferred upon Palestine additional rights and privileges of participation that had traditionally been exclusive to Member States.

September 1998
In September, the latest Israeli Central Bureau of Statistics census indicates that Israel’s population has reached approximately 5.9 million. Of that number, 4.7 million are Jews, approximately 230,000 of whom live in settlements in the occupied territories, and nearly 1.0 million are Israeli Arabs. It also indicates that the population of settlers in the West Bank and Gaza rose by 3%.

December 1998
U.S. President Bill Clinton visits Gaza and Bethlehem on 14-16 December 1998, becoming the first American president ever to visit any Palestinian territory and to deal directly with Palestinian leaders and institutions on their land. During the visit, the President makes many important statements, coming very close to recognizing the Palestinian right to self-determination. The president is accompanied by his family and by a large official delegation which includes the Secretary of State and the National Security Advisor. President Clinton addresses a meeting in Gaza which is attended by the Chairman Arafat, the speaker of the PNC, the speaker of the Palestinian Council, members of the PNC, the Central Council and the Palestinian Legislative Council, as well as by Palestinian heads of Ministries and other personalities .

October 1998
Wye River Memorandum signed by Israel and Palestine. The Memorandum dictates that Israel must withdraw from an additional 13% of and stop building settlements in the Occupied Territory. Palestine must fight terrorism and change the PLO Charter to acknowledge Israel as a state. Palestine complies…Israel does not.

May 17, 1999
Ehud Barak defeated Benjamin Netanyahu in the Israeli election.

September 29, 2000
Palestinian Intifada (Uprising) of Al-Aqsa begins.

February 6, 2001
Ariel Sharon defeated Ehud Barak in the Israeli election.

© 2005 Palestinian American Council