335: The Church of the Holy Sepulchre, also called the Church of the Resurrection or Church of the Anastasis by Orthodox Christians, is a church in the Christian Quarter of the Old City of Jerusalem. The church contains the two holiest sites in Christianity, the Aedicule and Golgotha – and was built starting in 325/326, consecrated on 13 September 335.
548-565: Saint Catherine’s Monastery, officially “Sacred Monastery of the God-Trodden Mount Sinai”, lies on the Sinai Peninsula – built by order of Emperor Justinian I, enclosing the Chapel of the Burning Bush (also known as “Saint Helen’s Chapel”) ordered to be built by Empress Consort Helena, mother of Constantine the Great
NOTE: The site contains the world’s oldest continually operating library, possessing many unique books including the Syriac Sinaiticus and, until 1859, the Codex Sinaiticus. The monastery library preserves the second largest collection of early codices and manuscripts in the world, outnumbered only by the Vatican Library. A mosque was created by converting an existing chapel during the Fatimid Caliphate (909–1171). The Ashtiname of Muhammad, also known as the Covenant or Testament (Testamentum) of Muhammad (the Islamic Prophet), is a document which is a charter or writ ratified by the Islamic prophet Muhammad granting protection and other privileges to the followers of Jesus the Nazarene, given to the Christian monks of Saint Catherine’s Monastery. It is sealed with an imprint representing Muhammad’s hand.
691: The Dome of the Rock is an Islamic shrine located on the Temple Mount in the Old City of Jerusalem. It was initially completed in 691 CE at the order of Umayyad Caliph Abd al-Malik during the Second Fitna – original dome collapsed in 1015 and was rebuilt in 1022–23. Between 1922 and 1924, the Dome of the Rock was restored by the Islamic Higher Council. The site’s great significance for Muslims derives from traditions connecting it to the creation of the world and to the belief that the Prophet Muhammad’s Night Journey to heaven started from the rock at the center of the structure.
705: Al-Aqsa Mosque is the third holiest site in Islam and is located in the Old City of Jerusalem. The covered mosque building was originally a small prayer house erected by Umar, the second caliph of the Rashidun Caliphate, but was rebuilt and expanded by the Umayyad caliph Abd al-Malik and finished by his son al-Walid in 705 CE. The mosque was completely destroyed by an earthquake in 746 and rebuilt by the Abbasid caliph al-Mansur in 754. It was rebuilt again in 780. Another earthquake destroyed most of al-Aqsa in 1033, but two years later the Fatmid caliph Ali az-Zahir built another mosque whose outline is preserved in the current structure.
700: The Karaite Synagogue in Jerusalem is the oldest of Jerusalem’s active synagogues, having been built in the 8th century. It was destroyed by the Crusaders in 1099 and Jews were not allowed to live in the city for 50 years. In 1187 Saladin restored the site to the Karaite Jews, who promptly rebuilt the synagogue. It has been active continuously since its foundation, except during the Crusades and Jordanian occupation of the city (1948-1967). In 1967, the Israeli government returned the synagogue to the Karaite community, who finished renovating it in 1982.
1099: The siege of Jerusalem was waged by European forces of the First Crusade, resulting in the capture of the Holy City of Jerusalem from the Muslim Fatimid Caliphate, and laying the foundation for the Christian Kingdom of Jerusalem, which lasted almost two centuries. The capture of Jerusalem was the final major battle of the first of the Crusades to occupy the Holy Land begun in 1095. A number of eyewitness accounts of the siege were recorded, the most quoted being that from the anonymous Gesta Francorum. Upon the declaration of the secular state, Godfrey of Bouillon, prominent among the leaders of the crusades, was elected ruler, eschewing the title “king.” The siege led to the mass slaughter of thousands of Muslims and Jews and to the conversion of Muslim holy sites on the Temple Mount into Christian shrines.
1267: Moses ben Nahman, commonly known as Nachmanides, and also referred to by the acronym Ramban and by the contemporary nickname Bonastruc ça Porta, was a leading medieval Jewish scholar, Sephardic rabbi, philospher, physician, kabbalist, and biblical commentator. He was raised, studied, and lived for most of his life in Girona, Catalonia. He is also considered to be an important figure in the re-establishment of the Jewish community in Jerusalem following its destruction by the Crusaders in 1099. In seeking refuge in Muslim lands from Christian persecution, he made aliyah to Jerusalem. There he established a synagogue in the Old City that exists until present day, known as the Ramban Synagogue.
1267: The Ramban Synagogue, is the second oldest active synagogue in the Old City of Jerusalem. It was founded by the scholar and rabbi Nachmanides (also known as Ramban) in 1267, to serve the local Jewish community, which expanded because of the synagogue’s presence.
(Ottoman Empire: 1299-1923, 16-17th century map)
1516: The Ottoman–Mamluk War of 1516–1517 was the second major conflict between the Egypt-based Mamluk Sultanate and the Ottoman Empire, which led to the fall of the Mamluk Sultanate and the incorporation of the Levant, Egypt and the Hejaz as provinces of the Ottoman Empire. The war transformed the Ottoman Empire from a realm at the margins of the Islamic world, mainly located in Anatolia and the Balkans, to a huge empire encompassing much of the traditional lands of Islam, including the cities of Mecca, Cairo, Damascus and Aleppo.
NOTE: The Ottoman Empire replaces the Mamluks in Palestine after Sultan Selim I defeats the last Mamluk Sultan Al-Ashraf Qansuh al-Ghawri at the Battle of Marj Dabiq (Aleppo) and the Battle of Yaunis Khan (Gaza).
1535: Joseph ben Ephraim Karo was author of the last great codification of Jewish law, the Shulchan Aruch, which is still authoritative for all Jews pertaining to their respective communities. After the Jews were expelled from Spain in 1492 and Portugal in 1497, he made his way to the holy city of Safed, in the land of Israel. There he founded a house of learning, a yeshiva, which is still commemorated to this day.
1561: Joseph Nasi is best known to history for his attempt to resettle the towns of Tiberias and Safed. He was the first person to attempt to settle Jews in the cities of what was then Southern Syria by practical means, as opposed to waiting for the Messiah.
mid-1650s: the resettlement of the Jews in England was an informal arrangement during the Commonwealth of England, which allowed Jews to practise their faith openly. It forms a prominent part of the history of the Jews in England. It happened directly after two events. Firstly a prominent rabbi Menasseh ben Israel came to the country from the Netherlands to make the case for Jewish resettlement, and secondly a Spanish New Christian (a supposedly converted Jew, who secretly practised his religion) merchant Antonio Robles requested that he be classified as a Jew rather than Spaniard during the war between the England and Spain.
1757: a firman (decree) of Ottoman Sultan Osman III that preserved the division of ownership and responsibilities of various sites important to Christians, Muslims, and Jews to their then-current holders or owners, and represented agreements among the various religions that nothing could be changed from the way it was without upsetting the balance of order in maintaining the religious sites for visits by pilgrims. A further firman issued in 1852 and another one from 1853 reaffirmed the provisions of the 1757 decree.
NOTE: The status quo of the Holy Land sites is an understanding among religious communities with respect to nine shared religious sites in Jerusalem and Bethlehem. Other Holy Places in Israel and Palestine were not deemed subject to the Status Quo because the authorities of one religion or of one community within a religion are in recognized or effective possession. The actual provisions of the status quo were never formally established in a single document, but the 1929 summary prepared by L. G. A. Cust, a civil servant of the British Mandate, The Status Quo in the Holy Places, became the standard text on the subject.
April 20, 1799: Napoleon Bonaparte issued a letter offering Palestine as a homeland to the Jews under French protection. During Napoleon’s siege of Acre in 1799, Le Moniteur Universel, the main French newspaper during the French Revolution, published on 3 Prairial, Year vii (French Republican Calendar, equivalent to 22 May 1799) a short statement that: “Bonaparte has published a proclamation in which he invites all the Jews of Asia and Africa to gather under his flag in order to re-establish the ancient Jerusalem. He has already given arms to a great number, and their battalions threaten Aleppo.”
NOTE: From the days of the Reformation to the ascent of Napoleon III in France and the digging of the Suez Canal, there were no Jewish leaders in the Zionism movement, despite repeated British and French attempts to recruit them. The non-Jewish origin of Zionism is further illustrated by the simple fact that the ideas of Restoration developed first in England (with no Jewish population) instead of Germany, Poland, or Russia (where the bulk of European Jewry lived). It took about one hundred years after Oliver Cromwell for the number of Jews to reach 12,000 in England and another hundred years to reach 25,000, while the census of 1897 showed 5,189,401 Jews (4.13% of total population) in the Russian Empire.
1805: The Palestine Association, formerly the Syrian Society, was formed in 1805 by William Richard Hamilton to promote the study of the geography, natural history, antiquities and anthropology of Palestine and surrounding areas, “with a view to the illustration of the Holy Writings. Scholarly work in the region began in earnest around the time of the Oriental Crisis of 1840, with the travels of Edward Robinson, the appointment of the first British consul to Jerusalem and the establishment of the Anglican-German Bishopric in Jerusalem. In 1834, the Palestine Association was formally disbanded and incorporated into the Royal Geographical Society. The Palestine Association was the forerunner of the Palestine Exploration Fund, established 60 years later, in 1865.
NOTE: British Zionists formed the Palestine Association in London, this was a serious and organized effort to re-write (and often distort) the historical geography of Palestine from an exclusively Protestant Zionist point of view. Major publications of such Protestant-subsidized research and information about Palestine began with Lord Lindsay’s from Egypt, Edom and the Holy Land, the first in a flood of Holy-Land travel books that averaged 40 books a year for 40 years.
March 1838: Britain appointed a vice-consul to Jerusalem, who soon reported back to the consul general at Alexandria a census of 9,690 Jews in Palestine. Great Britain was the first European power to establish a consulate in Jerusalem, soon to be followed by other nations. When the consulate was forced to close late in 1914, after the outbreak of World War I, the consular records were burnt to avoid their falling into the hands of the Turkish authorities.
NOTE: Secretary of State Lord Palmerston worked closely with Anthony Ashley Cooper, 7th Earl of Shaftesbury KG, Lord Shaftesbury (President of the Society for Promoting Christianity among the Jews) on British Zionist policies at a time when there was no Jewish movement willing or prepared to “return” to Palestine.
1838: A quote from the Quarterly Review reveals one of the first major British Zionist plans to settle Jews in Palestine “for the maintenance” of the British Empire. The growing interest manifested for these regions, the larger investment of British capital, and the confluence of British travellers and strangers from all parts of the world, have recently induced the Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs to station there a representative of our Sovereign, in the person of a Vice-Consul. This gentleman set sail for Alexandria at the end of last September—his residence will be fixed at Jerusalem, but his jurisdiction will extend to the whole country within the ancient limits of the Holy Land; he is thus accredited, as it were, to the former kingdom of David and the Twelve Tribes. The soil and climate of Palestine are singularly adapted to the growth of produce required for the exigencies of Great Britain; the finest cotton may be obtained in almost unlimited abundance; silk and madder are the staple of the country, and oil-olive is now, as it ever was, the very fatness of the land. Capital and skill are alone required: the presence of a British officer, and the increased security of property which his presence will confer, may invite them [the Jews] from these islands to the cultivation of Palestine; and the Jews, who will betake themselves to agriculture in no other land, having found, in the English Consul, a mediator between their people and the Pasha, will probably return in yet greater numbers, and become once more the husbandmen of Judæa and Galilee.
NOTE: Napoleon knew well the value of an Hebrew alliance; and endeavoured to reproduce, in the capital of France, the spectacle of the ancient Sanhedrim, which, basking in the might of imperial favour, might give laws to the whole body of the Jews throughout the habitable world, and aid him, no doubt, in his audacious plans against Poland and the East. That which Napoleon designed in his violence and ambition, thinking “to destroy nations not a few,” we may wisely and legitimately undertake for the maintenance of our Empire.
August 1838: Britain instructed its Ambassador to Turkey to encourage the Sultan to allow the Jews of Europe to “return” to Palestine.
December 1838: The idea that was to become the British Mandate appeared first in the article in Lord Shaftesbury’s review of Lord Lindsay’s book for the Quarterly Review. The article explains that Zionism will create for Britain a “body of well-wishers in every people under heaven” (especially among millions of Jews in Russia). It attacked the Catholic and Orthodox “archassailants of our Zion” who “disparage the Old Testament by a contemptuously exclusive preference of the New” and “ascribe to the Gospels and Epistles alone the title of the Christian Scriptures!”
NOTE: With the advent of steam navigation (steamships depend on frequent ports of call for recoaling) and the completion of the Suez Canal, Zionism and the interests of world commerce began to link the establishment of depots and settlements along the road to India and China with the establishment of a Jewish state in Palestine, as is indicated by Thomas Clarke’s treatises, India and Palestine: Or the Restoration of the Jews Viewed in Relation to the Nearest Route to India. Zionists began to argue that the Jewish state would even place the management of British steam communication entirely in friendly hands. This argument became even more persuasive when (baptised Jew) Prime Minister Benjamin Disraeli purchased shares in the Suez Canal Company, thanks to financial aid provided by the Rothschilds (a Jewish family banking dynasty in London).
1840: The Oriental Crisis of 1840 was an episode in the Egyptian–Ottoman War in the eastern Mediterranean, triggered by the self-declared Khedive of Egypt and Sudan Muhammad Ali Pasha’s aims to establish a personal empire in the Ottoman province of Egypt.
NOTE: In September 1840, the European powers eventually moved from diplomatic means to military action. When French support for Muhammad Ali failed to materialize, British and Austrian naval forces in the eastern Mediterranean moved against Syria and Alexandria. Alexandria was the port where the defecting Ottoman fleet had withdrawn. After the Royal Navy and the Austrian Navy first blockaded the Nile delta coastline, they moved east to shell Sidon and Beirut on 11 September 1840. British and Austrian forces then attacked Acre. Following the bombardment of the city and the port on 3 November 1840 a small landing party of Austrian, British and Ottoman troops (which were led personally by the Austrian fleet commander, Archduke Friedrich) took the citadel after Muhammad Ali’s Egyptian garrison in Acre had fled. After the surrender of Acre, Muhammad Ali finally accepted the terms of the Convention on 27 November 1840. He renounced his claims over Crete and the Hijaz and agreed to downsize his naval forces and his standing army to 18,000 men, provided that he and his descendants would enjoy hereditary rule over Egypt and Sudan — an unheard-of status for an Ottoman viceroy. A firman, subsequently issued by the sultan, indeed confirmed Muhammad Ali’s rule over Egypt and the Sudan. He withdrew from Syria, the Hijaz, the Holy Land, Adana, and Crete, and handed back the Ottoman fleet.
March and August 1840: The Times of London published more details about a Memorandum on the Restoration of the Jews addressed to the Protestant Powers of the North of Europe and the States of North America (Queen Victoria of Great Britain and Ireland, King William Frederick III of Prussia, King Frederick William of the Netherlands, King John Charles XIV of Sweden and Norway, King Frederick VI of Denmark, King Ernest Augustus of Hanover, King William of Wurtemberg, the Sovereign Princes and Electors of Germany, the Cantons of the Swiss Federation professing the Reformed Religion, and the States of North America. Unlike Napoleon’s “secular” Proclamation to the Jews as “the Rightful Heirs of Palestine,” the Protestant memorandum (speaking of the Jews in the third (person) cites several Biblical verses from Genesis, Exodus, Matthew, Isaiah, and Jeremiah to remind Protestant monarchs that the Jews (“our brethren of the circumcision”) are a “peculiar people,” whom God has “separated and taken into covenant” that “no act of theirs, however iniquitous and rebellious, can repeal or destroy.” By such “unrepealed covenant, God declared unto Abram, concerning the land of Palestine, Unto thy seed have I given this land, from the river of Egypt to the great river, the river of Euphrates.”
1840: The Anglican-German Bishopric in Jerusalem was an episcopal see founded in Jerusalem by joint agreement of the Anglican Church of England and the united Evangelical Church in Prussia.
June 14, 1841: Colonel Charles Henry Churchill, also known as ‘Churchill Bey’, (first cousin of John Spencer-Churchill, 7th Duke of Marlborough, the grandfather of Winston Churchill). He was a British officer and diplomat and a British consul in Ottoman Syria who created the first political plan for Zionism and the creation of the state of Israel in the region of Ottoman Palestine. The proposal correspondence with Sir Moses Montefiore, the President of the Board of Deputies of British Jews, in which Churchill proposed a strategy for the creating of a Jewish state, pre-dating formal Zionism by approximately half a century.
Churchill wrote to Montefiore (an excerpt from the letter):
“I cannot conceal from you my most anxious desire to see your countrymen endeavor once more to resume their existence as a people. I consider the object to be perfectly attainable. But, two things are indispensably necessary. Firstly, that the Jews will themselves take up the matter universally and unanimously. Secondly, that the European Powers will aid them in their views. It is for the Jews to make a commencement. Let the principal persons of their community place themselves at the head of the movement. Let them meet, concert and petition. In fact the agitation must be simultaneous throughout Europe. There is no Government which can possibly take offence at such public meetings. The result would be that you would conjure up a new element in Eastern diplomacy–an element which under such auspices as those of the wealthy and influential members of the Jewish community could not fail not only of attracting great attention and of exciting extraordinary interest, but also of producing great events. Were the resources which you all possess steadily directed towards the regeneration of Syria and Palestine, there cannot be a doubt but that, under the blessing of the Most High, those countries would amply repay the undertaking, and that you would end by obtaining the sovereignty of at least Palestine. Syria and Palestine, in a word, must be taken under European protection and governed in the sense and according to the spirit of European administration”
1842: The first Anglican bishop entered Jerusalem. The vice-consul of Jerusalem was given jurisdiction over “the whole country within the ancient limits of the Holy Land.” His appointment represented the first step of a carefully planned strategy by Britain to use Jews for imperial domination, after Napoleon failed to achieve the same objective.
1844: the first Russian Orthodox archimandrite arrived in Palestine.
NOTE: Russia’s focus on the area began when Napoleon III took over control of France in an 1851 coup d’état and moved to seize control of properties in the Holy Land held by members of the Greek Orthodox Church (GOC). The court of the Czar had long held itself to be the main patron and protector of Orthodoxy, especially after most of the membership of the Greek Orthodox Church from 1460 until 1821 fell under the control of the Islamic Ottoman Empire (with its oppressive Devshirmeh and jizya laws). Through diplomacy and a show of force Napoleon III forced the Ottoman Empire to recognize France as the “sovereign authority” in the Holy Land. This moved control of many Christian holy sites and buildings out of Orthodox hands and under Catholicism. These events were one of the main triggers for the Crimean War of 1856. Despite defeat in the war by 1856, Russia continued actively pursuing its interests vis-à-vis the position and influence of the Ottoman Empire and its European allies. Czar Alexander II continually worked to make sure Russia would have a presence in Palestine. Towards these ends a consulate was created in 1858.
1845: Lieutenant-Colonel George Gawler wrote a memorandum in which he suggested that Jews be allowed to establish Jewish agricultural settlements in Palestine as compensation for their suffering under Turkish rule. In 1849 he toured Palestine with Moses Montefiore. In a further work, Syria and its Near Prospects, (1853) he made four arguments for the proposition that Jewish settlement was already underway. Gawler conveniently claimed that 90% of the land of Palestine lay waste and unprofitable, waiting for the “civilized” settlers to make it productive. He was perhaps the first Zionist to conceptualize and articulate the Zionist myth that “Palestine is a land without a people” waiting for “the Jews, a people without a land”.
NOTE: Gawler sums up his Zionist colonial plan in these words: Reduced to its practical form the question [of the tranquillization of Syria] becomes one of colonization [of Palestine]. THERE is a fertile country, nine-tenths of which lies desolate. ELSEWHERE, are civilized men, for whom it is desired to make of that almost forsaken country, an established home. For successful colonization three things are, in the highest degree, indispensable. The probability of SAFE SETTLEMENT in the colony—the facility of TRANSIT to it—and the will, or the obligation to embrace these opportunities. … On any other principle, the will of the proposed settler would be wanting. No members of the Jewish persuasion, worth sending to Palestine, would accept the boon so tauntingly proffered. We cannot, if we would, force them into colonization as convicts, under the moving agency of compulsory obligation, and must therefore carefully consult their feelings as well as our own desires. The colony should be formed of three classes of settlers, who would receive protection and land privileges: (1) persons possessing sufficient capital to provide entirely for themselves would receive up to 300 acres, (2) persons with a small amount of capital, providing wholly their own passages and means of transit to the location, would receive up to 50 acres, and (3) persons of very small means, receiving a free conveyance for themselves, their families, and a regulated weight of luggage, would receive up to 10 acres.
1850: According to Alexander Scholch, Palestine had about 350,000 inhabitants, 30% of whom lived in 13 towns; roughly 85% were Muslims, 11% were Christians and 4% Jews. According to Ottoman statistics studied by Justin McCarthy, the population of Palestine in the early 19th century was 350,000, in 1860 it was 411,000 and in 1900 about 600,000 of which 94% were Arabs. McCarthy estimates the non-Jewish population of Palestine at 452,789 in 1882, 737,389 in 1914, 725,507 in 1922, 880,746 in 1931 and 1,339,763 in 1946.
NOTE: A major source of information about the Yishuv, or Jewish community in Palestine during the 19th century is a sequence of censuses commissioned by Montefiore, in 1839, 1840, 1849, 1855, 1866 and 1875. The censuses attempted to list every Jew individually, together with some biographical and social information (such as their family structure, place of origin, and degree of poverty).
1852: American writer Bayard Taylor traveled across the Jezreel Valley, which he described in his 1854 book The Lands of the Saracen; or, Pictures of Palestine, Asia Minor, Sicily and Spain as: “one of the richest districts in the world. The soil is a dark-brown loam, and, without manure, produces annually superb crops of wheat and barley”
1854: Judah Touro, a wealthy American Jew, died having bequeathed money to fund Jewish residential settlement in Palestine. Moses Montefiore was appointed executor of his will, and used the funds for a variety of projects aimed at encouraging the Jews to engage in productive labor. In 1855, he purchased an orchard on the outskirts of Jaffa that offered agricultural training to the Jews.
1854: Ottoman Empire first entered into loan contracts with its European creditors shortly after the beginning of the Crimean War. Some financial commentators have noted that the terms of these loans were exceptionally favorable to the French and British banks which facilitated them; the Empire defaulted on its loan repayments in 1875.
NOTE: a 16 million pound loan to finance the Crimean War was launched through the House of Rothschild.
October 1854 – February 1856: Crimean War pitted France, Britain, and the Ottoman Empire against Russia. The war ended, under the Treaty of Paris. In 1853, under military and financial pressure from Napoleon III, Sultan Abdulmecid I accepts a treaty confirming France and the Roman Catholic Church as the supreme authority in the Holy Land with control over the Church of the Holy Sepulchre. This decision contravened the 1774 treaty with Russia, and led to the Crimean War.
1856: Ottoman Reform Edict was an edict of the Ottoman government and part of the Tanzimat reforms. The decree from Sultan Abdülmecid I promised equality in education, government appointments, and administration of justice to all regardless of creed. The decree is often seen as a result of French and British influence, Congress of Paris (Treaty of Paris), for their help of the plagued Ottoman state against Russians in the Crimean War.
NOTE: Although the goal of the Hatt-ı Hümayun was to bring equality among Ottoman citizens, the process was perceived more as one intended to please Europe. The biggest change was the Ottoman State’s acceptance of the notion of “minorities”.
1857: Rabbi Judah Alkalai published his work, Goral la-Adonai (A Lot for the Lord), in Vienna; a treatise on the restoration of the Jews, and suggests methods for the betterment of conditions in Palestine. Rabbi Alkalai thought it would be possible to buy part or even most of the Holy Land from the Turkish government; dreamed of establishing a world-wide organization along the lines of the various national organizations then prevalent among other nations of Europe. The purpose of these organizations would be to buy and reclaim land, as well as providing loans for new settlers.
NOTE: Along with the Ashkenazi Rabbi Zvi Kalischer of Prussia, the Sephardic Alkalai was an early forerunner of Zionism. If Kalischer was a forerunner of practical Zionism and agricultural settlement, Alkalai was perhaps the founder of Political Zionism. Alkalai devoted himself to spreading the idea of Jewish restoration through writing and speeches. Alkalai was not quite a Zionist in the modern sense and should not be understood as a direct father of Zionist ideas. He believed that the coming of the Messiah would be hastened by return of the Jews to the land of Israel and their settlement there.
Zionism is a form of nationalism of Jews and Jewish culture that supports a Jewish nation state in the territory defined as the Land of Israel. Zionism supports Jews upholding their Jewish identity, opposes the assimilation of Jews into other societies and has advocated the return of Jews to Israel as a means for Jews to be a majority in their own nation, and to be liberated from antisemitic discrimination, exclusion, and persecution that had historically occurred in the diaspora. Zionism emerged in the late 19th century in central and eastern Europe as a national revival movement, and soon after this most leaders of the movement associated the main goal with creating the desired state in Palestine, then an area controlled by the Ottoman Empire.
1858: Ottoman Land Code of 1858 “brought about the appropriation by the influential and rich families of Beirut, Damascus, and to a lesser extent Jerusalem and Jaffa and other sub-district capitals, of vast tracts of land in Syria and Palestine and their registration in the name of these families in the land registers”. Many of the fellahin did not understand the importance of the registers and therefore the wealthy families took advantage of this. Jewish buyers who were looking for large tracts of land found it favorable to purchase from the wealthy owners. As well many small farmers became in debt to rich families which lead to the transfer of land to the new owners and then eventually to the Jewish buyers.
1858: Jews Relief Act 1858, also called the Jewish Disabilities Bill, is an Act of the Parliament of the United Kingdom which removed previous barrier to Jews entering Parliament. The bill allowed …any Person professing the Jewish Religion, [to] omit the Words “and I make this Declaration upon the true Faith of a Christian”… in their oaths, but explicitly did not extend to allowing Jews to various high offices, and also stated that …it shall not be lawful for any Person professing the Jewish Religion, directly or indirectly, to advise Her Majesty….
1860: The first Jewish neighborhood, Mishkenot Sha’ananim is built outside the Old City walls, in an area later known as Yemin Moshe, by Sir Moses Montefiore, as part of the process to “leave the walls”
1860: According to Ottoman statistics studied by Justin McCarthy, the population of Palestine was 411,000 and in 1900 about 600,000 of which 94% were Arabs. In 1914 Palestine had a population of 657,000 Muslim Arabs, 81,000 Christian Arabs, and 59,000 Jews. McCarthy estimates the non-Jewish population of Palestine at 452,789 in 1882, 737,389 in 1914, 725,507 in 1922, 880,746 in 1931 and 1,339,763 in 1946.
1862: Rabbi Zvi Hirsch Kalischer; in 1862 he published his book Drishat Tzion. He suggested to Moses Montefiore and to the Rothschild family of bankers, that the land of Palestine should be bought from the present ruler. “Therefore, he viewed the developments of rising nationalism among the Jewish people as one of the first stages in the process of natural redemption, i.e., that process by which man himself would help bring about the beginning of redemption in which at least some Jews would return to Eretz Israel. Kalischer apparently first expressed his Zionist ideas in a letter he wrote in 1836 to the head of the Berlin branch of the Rothschild family. He explained that the beginning of messianic redemption would be brought about by human effort and by the will of the governments to gather the scattered of Israel into the Holy Land.”
1862: Moses Hess publishes Rome and Jerusalem, arguing for a Jewish homeland in Palestine centered on Jerusalem. Moses (Moshe) Hess was a Jewish philosopher and socialist, and one of the founders of Labor Zionism. His book calls for the establishment of a Jewish socialist commonwealth in Palestine, in line with the emerging national movements in Europe and as the only way to respond to antisemitism and assert Jewish identity in the modern world.
1865: Palestine Exploration Fund is a British society often simply known as the PEF; it is still functioning today. Its initial object was to carry out surveys of the topography and ethnography of Ottoman Palestine with a remit that fell somewhere between an expeditionary survey and military intelligence gathering. Consequently, it had a complex relationship with Corps of Royal Engineers, and its members sent back reports on the need to salvage and modernize the region.
1867: Peretz (Peter) Smolenskin, was part of the Haskalah movement, and the founder and editor of a literary Hebrew language journal Ha-Shachar, (The Dawn.) He also wrote several novels and short stories in Hebrew. He helped to strengthen a nationalistic Haskalah movement in partnership with Zionism. Smolenskin was a leader in the revolt of young Jews against medievalism and a strong voice for Jewish nationalism. Shortly before his death he was associated with Laurence Oliphant and became deeply interested in schemes for the colonization of Palestine. Smolenskin was among the first of Jewish nationalists to disassociate Messianic ideals from theological concomitants.
1868: Mahane Israel becomes the second Jewish neighborhood outside the walls. of the Old City. Mahane Israel is a “communal neighborhood” and was built by and for Maghreb (western North Africa) Jews. It was built by the Moroccan leader Rabbi David Ben-Shimon. Although the neighborhood was very small and the houses were poorly built, the residents were spirited and courageous. Men studied in different shifts throughout the night in the central Shul – Tzuf Devash.
1868: Benjamin Disraeli becomes prime minister of Great Britain, the first prime minister of Jewish descent in Europe. He was a devout Anglican since his baptism at age 12, though also Britain’s only prime minister of Jewish birth.
1869: Nahalat Shiv’a becomes the third Jewish neighborhood outside the walls, built as a cooperative effort. It was founded as a cooperative effort by seven Jerusalem families who pooled their funds to purchase the land and build homes. Lots were cast and Yosef Rivlin won the right to build the first house in the neighborhood. In 1873, milk cows were imported from Amsterdam and a dairy was opened in Nahalat Shiv’a. A carriage service to Jaffa Gate was inaugurated that summer.
1869: Ottoman Nationality Law, creating a common Ottoman citizenship irrespective of religious or ethnic divisions. As part of the Charter of 1856, European powers demanded a much stronger sovereignty for ethnic communities within the empire, differing from the Ottomans who envisioned equality meaning identical treatment under the law for all citizens. This served to strengthen the Christian middle class, increasing their economic and political power.
1873: Nasser al-Din Shah Qajar was the King of Iran from September 17, 1848 to May 1, 1896 when he was assassinated. In 1873, Shah of Persia Naser al-Din Shah Qajar met with British Jewish leaders, including Sir Moses Montefiore, during his journey to Europe. At that time, the Persian king suggested that the Jews buy land and establish a state for the Jewish people.
NOTE: He was the third longest reigning monarch king in Iranian history after Shapur II of the Sassanid Dynasty and Tahmasp I of the Safavid Dynasty. He had sovereign power for close to 50 years and was also the first Persian monarch to ever write and publish his diaries. Shortly before his death he is reported to have said “I will rule you differently if I survive!” His assassin, Mirza Reza Kermani, is reported to have said “I had a chance to kill him (the Shah) before, but I didn’t because the Jews were celebrating their picnic after the 8th day of Passover. I did not want the Jews to be accused of killing the Shah.”
1873: Ottomon Land Emancipation Act was a secular land reform/civil rights law, which was popularly confused with a religious law and it was held as a “humiliation to Islam that Jews should own a part of the Muslim Ummah”. The confusion between religious and secular law made the laws (ended in 1873) against Jewish ownership of land ‘religious laws’.
1873–1875: Mea Shearim is built, the fifth Jewish neighborhood outside the walls. It is populated mainly by Haredi Jews and was built by the original settlers of the Yishuv haYashan, by a building society of 100 shareholders. Pooling their resources, the society members purchased a tract of land outside the Old City, which was severely overcrowded and plagued by poor sanitation, and built a new neighborhood with the goal of improving their standards of living.
1874: The Moses Montefiore Testimonial Fund is founded in London following Monteiore’s 90th birthday; aim is to aid settlement in Palestine. They established, Mazkeret Moshe, the neighborhood was intended for Ashkenazi Jews, while the adjacent neighborhood Ohel Moshe, also funded by Montefiore’s foundation, was intended for Sephardi Jews.
1876: Daniel Deronda is a novel. The work’s mixture of social satire and moral searching, along with its sympathetic rendering of Jewish proto-Zionist and Kabbalistic ideas. On its publication, Daniel Deronda was immediately translated into German and Dutch and was given an enthusiastic extended review by the Austrian Zionist rabbi and scholar David Kaufmann. Further translations soon followed into French (1882), Italian (1883), Hebrew (1893), Yiddish (1900s) and Russian (1902). Written during a time when Restorationism (similar to 20th century Christian Zionism) had a strong following, Eliot’s novel had a positive influence on later Jewish Zionism. It has been cited by Henrietta Szold, Eliezer Ben-Yehuda, and Emma Lazarus as having been influential in their decision to become Zionists. Daniel Deronda emphasized the notion that the Jews are descendants of Biblical Israelites and that “a whole Christian is threefourths a Jew.” It also stressed the idea of “the necessity of requiting a moral debt
owed to the Jews”. Some even consider that Deronda created a Jewish nationalist spirit for Zionism and a role model that inspired Theodor Herzl.
1877: Michael Yehiel Pines was a writer, an early exponent of religious Zionism, and yishuv leader. Pines was asked by the Moses Montefiore Testimonial Fund in London to serve as its representative in Ereẓ Israel.
1878: a group of Orthodox Jews, also known as the Old Yishuv, from Jerusalem purchased a tract of land in the Sharon Valley, six miles from Jaffa. The 26 families built mud huts to live in and called the farming community, Petah Tikvah. It became a permanent settlement in 1883 with the financial help of Baron Edmond de Rothschild.
NOTE: The name of this city, located east of Tel Aviv means “Gateway to Hope.” Three entrepreneurial families initially established the settlement, one of which was Rabbi Moshe Yoel Salomon’s family, from Jerusalem. Additional families joined them in 1880. The settlers’ intention was to establish a new settlement in the Achor Valley – near Jericho. They purchased some land there, but the Turkish Sultan cancelled the purchase and forbade them from settling there. Located in what was a swamp area near the source of the Yarkon River – the land was purchased from the village of Mulabbis. For a time, the settlers had to move to a nearby location (site of modern day Savyon), until the swamps were dried, with the help of Baron Edmond de Rothschild. Like Degania Alef, which was known as the “Mother of the Kevutzot,” Petah Tikvah was known as the “Mother of the Moshavot” – or small cooperative villages. It was really the first modern agricultural settlement in Israel.
October 29, 1880: Convention of Constantinople was a treaty signed by the United Kingdom, Germany, Austro-Hungary, Spain, France, Italy, the Netherlands, Russia and the Ottoman Empire. In the 1880s Britain had recently acquired physical control over the Suez Canal and Egypt. France, which had dominated the Canal and still controlled the majority of shares of Suez Canal Company, hoped to weaken British control and attempted to sway European opinion in favor of internationalizing the Canal. The two powers compromised by neutralizing the canal by this treaty. Article I, guaranteeing passage to all ships during war and peace was in tension with Article X, which allowed the Khedive to take measures for “the defense of Egypt and the maintenance of public order.” The latter clause was used to defend their actions by the British in the Second World War and by Egypt against Israeli shipping after 1948.
NOTE: On August 5, 1914 at the beginning of the First World War, Egypt declared that the canal would be open to ships of all nations, but Britain converted its occupation into a British Protectorate, and barred Canal access to enemy ships. Citing the security of the Canal, Britain attempted to maintain its prerogatives in unilateral declarations. The signatories comprised all the great European powers at the time, and the treaty was interpreted as a guaranteed right of passage of all ships through the Suez Canal during war and peace.
1881: Chief Rabbi of Paris, Izakel Antwerp, influenced the Baron Edmond Benjamin James de Rothschild to begin supporting the Hibbat-Zion movement and the initial organization of groups who tried establishing new colonies in Palestine.
NOTE: Hovevei Zion (Those who are Lovers of Zion), also known as Hibbat Zion, refers to a variety of organizations which began in 1881 in response to the Anti-Jewish pogroms in the Russian Empire and were officially constituted as a group at a conference led by Leon Pinsker in 1884. The organizations are now considered the forerunners and foundation-builders of modern Zionism. Many of the first groups were established in Eastern European countries in the early 1880s with the aim to promote Jewish immigration to Palestine, and advance Jewish settlement there, particularly agricultural.
1881: American Colony was a colony established in Jerusalem in 1881 by members of a Christian utopian society led by Anna and Horatio Spafford. Now a neighborhood in East Jerusalem, it is still known by that name today.
1881: Ottoman Empire decreed that Jews could settle anywhere except in Palestine and from 1882 until their defeat in 1918, the Ottomans continuously restricted Jewish immigration and land purchases in Palestine.
1881–1882: a group of Jews arrived from Yemen as a result of messianic fervor. After living in the Old City for several years, they moved to the hills facing the City of David, where they lived in caves; in 1884, the community, numbering 200, moved to new stone houses built for them by a Jewish charity.
December 1881: Decree of Muharram which turned over a large proportion of the Ottoman Empire’s revenue to the Public Debt Administration for the repayment of foreign creditors, practically bankrupting the Ottomans. The Administration of the Ottoman Public Debt was in the hands of French, British, Italian, German and Austria-Hungarian banks. This made the European creditors bondholders, and assigned rights to collect various tax and customs revenues of the Empire to the Administration.
1882: The Imperial Orthodox Palestine Society was founded, a scholarly organization for the study of the Middle East. Following the Russian Revolution of 1917, the society was renamed the Russian Palestine Society and attached to the Academy of Sciences of the USSR. Its original name was restored by the society on 22 May 1992.
1882: Leon Pinsker was a physician, a Zionist pioneer and activist, and the founder and leader of the Hovevei Zion, also known as Hibbat Zion (Lovers of Zion) movement. His visit to Western Europe led to his famous pamphlet Auto-Emancipation, subtitled Mahnruf an seine Stammgenossen, von einem russischen Juden (Warning to His Fellow People, from a Russian Jew), which he published anonymously in German on 1 January 1882, and in which he urged the Jewish people to strive for independence and national consciousness. His analysis of the roots of this ancient hatred led him to call for the establishment of a Jewish National Homeland, either in Palestine or elsewhere. Eventually Pinsker came to agree with Moses Lilienblum that hatred of Jews was rooted in the fact that they were foreigners everywhere except their original homeland, the Land of Israel. He became one of the founders and a chairman of the Hovevei Zion movement, with the backing of Baron Edmond James de Rothschild.
1882: First Aliyah (also The Farmers’ Aliyah) was the first modern widespread wave of Zionist aliyah. Jews who migrated to Ottoman Palestine in this wave came mostly from Eastern Europe and from Yemen. “The First Aliyah began in 1882 and continued, intermittently, until 1903″. An estimated 25,000–35,000 Jews immigrated to Ottoman Palestine during the First Aliyah.
April 28, 1882: Ottoman Empire forbids Jewish immigration to Palestine; concerned about increased Jewish aliyah and implement a ban on the immigration of Russian Jews to Palestine; from 1882 until their defeat in 1918, the Ottomans continuously restricted Jewish immigration and land purchases in Palestine; Jews were banned from their Four Holy Cities: Jerusalem, Hebron, Safed and, later, Tiberias. to Russian Jews.
1882: Baron Edmond Benjamin James de Rothschild refrained from openly publicizing his support of the Jewish Yishuv, and he was called, Hanadiv (The Known Benefactor). The Baron first agreed to help in Rishon Lezion, and then began aiding the other colonies as well; he also started buying large plots of land and founding new colonies. In Rishon Lezion, when he took over, sending in his administrators, major progress was made in the spheres of agriculture, citrus and viticulture.
1882: a group of Hovevei Zion enthusiasts founded Rishon LeZion, the first Zionist settlement in the Palestine, outside of Jerusalem. Hovevei Zion (Those who are Lovers of Zion), refers to organizations that are now considered the forerunners and foundation-builders of modern Zionism. Many of these first groups were established in Eastern European countries in the early 1880s with the aim to promote Jewish immigration to Palestine, and advance Jewish settlement there, particularly agricultural. Most of them stayed away from politics.
1883: Nathan Birnbaum, at the age of 19, founded Kadimah, the first Jewish (Zionist) student association in Vienna, many years before Theodor Herzl became the leading spokesman of the Zionist movement. While still a student, he founded and published the periodical Selbstemanzipation!, often written in large part by Birnbaum himself. In it he coined the terms “Zionistic”, “Zionist”, “Zionism” (1890), and “political Zionism” (1892).
1886: Naftali Herz Imber published his first book of poems, Morning Star, in Jerusalem. One of the book’s poems was Tikvateinu (“Our Hope”); its very first version was written already in 1877 in Iaşi, Romania. This poem soon became the lyrics of the Zionist anthem and later the Israeli national anthem Hatikvah. This poem laments the dispossession from Zion and the longing to return to it, written four years after Imber arrived in Haifa, and eleven years before Herzl called to order the First Jewish Congress (FJC).
1887: Laurence Oliphant wrote of the Valley of Esdraelon “..a huge green lake of waving wheat, with its village-crowned mounds rising from it like islands … it presents one of the most striking pictures of luxuriant fertility which it is possible to conceive”
1887: Edmond James de Rothschild conceived a plan to purchase and demolish the Moroccan Quarter as “a merit and honor to the Jewish People.” The proposed purchase was considered and approved by the Ottoman Governor of Jerusalem, Rauf Pasha, and by the Mufti of Jerusalem, Mohammed Tahir Husseini. Even after permission was obtained from the highest secular and Muslim religious authority to proceed, the transaction was shelved after the authorities insisted that after demolishing the quarter no construction of any type could take place there, only trees could be planted to beautify the area. Additionally the Jews would not have full control over the area. This meant that they would have no power to stop people from using the plaza for various activities, including the driving of mules, which would cause a disturbance to worshippers. Other reports place the scheme’s failure on Jewish infighting as to whether the plan would foster a detrimental Arab reaction.
1888: European powers press Ottoman government to allow foreign (non-Ottoman) Jews to settle in Palestine provided they do not do so en masse.
1888: William Eugene Blackstone and his daughter traveled to the Holy Land in 1888. He returned convinced that a return of the Jewish people to its ancient homeland was the only possible solution to the persecution Jews suffered elsewhere. He was an American evangelist and Christian Zionist; the author of the proto-Zionist Blackstone Memorial of 1891. The Memorial was signed by 413 prominent Christian and a few Jewish leaders in the United States. Blackstone personally gathered the signatories of men such as John D. Rockefeller, J.P. Morgan, Cyrus McCormick, Senators, Congressmen, religious leaders of all denominations, newspaper editors, the Chief Justice of the U.S. Supreme Court and others for the “Blackstone Memorial.” He presented the “Memorial” to President Harrision, March 1891, calling for American support of Jewish restoration to Palestine.
1890: the Russian authorities approved the establishment of the “Society for the Support of Jewish Farmers and Artisans in Syria and Palestine“, dedicated to the practical aspects of establishing agricultural Jewish settlements there.
September 11, 1891: Jewish Colonization Association (ICA) was founded by Bavarian philanthropist Baron Maurice de Hirsch to help Jews from Russia and Romania to settle in Argentina. He donated 2 million pounds in order to resettle 3 million Russian Jews in agricultural areas in other countries. The Baron died in 1896 and thereafter the ICA began to assist the Palestinian colonies.
1891: Asher Zvi Hirsch Ginsberg, primarily known by his Hebrew name and pen name, Ahad Ha’am wrote: “From abroad, we are accustomed to believe that Eretz Israel is presently almost totally desolate, an uncultivated desert, and that anyone wishing to buy land there can come and buy all he wants. But in truth it is not so. In the entire land, it is hard to find tillable land that is not already tilled; only sandy fields or stony hills, suitable at best for planting trees or vines and, even that after considerable work and expense in clearing and preparing them- only these remain unworked. … Many of our people who came to buy land have been in Eretz Israel for months, and have toured its length and width, without finding what they seek”
NOTE: Asher Zvi Hirsch Ginsberg was a Hebrew essayist, and one of the foremost pre-state Zionist thinkers. He is known as the founder of “cultural Zionism”. With his secular vision of a Jewish “spiritual center” in Palestine, he confronted Theodor Herzl. Unlike Herzl, the founder of political Zionism, Ha’am strived for “a Jewish state and not merely a state of Jews”
After visiting Palestine in 1891, Asher Zvi Hirsch Ginsberg published a series of articles criticizing the aggressive behaviour and political ethnocentrism of Zionist settlers. Ha’am wrote that the Zionists “behave towards the Arabs with hostility and cruelty, trespass unjustly upon their boundaries, beat them shamefully without reason and even brag about it, and nobody stands to check this contemptible and dangerous tendency” and that they believed that “the only language that the Arabs understand is that of force.”
1891: Ottoman Empire rulers tried again to close the empire to Russian Jews. In 1892, the Ottoman government decided to prohibit the sale of land in Palestine to Jews, even if they were Ottoman citizens. Nevertheless, during the late 19th century and the beginning of the 20th century, many successful land purchases were made through organizations such as the Palestine Jewish Colonization Association (PJCA), Palestine Land Development Company and the Jewish National Fund.
July 18, 1893: Abdu’l-Hamid II of the Ottoman Empire, issued the decree of an appointment of a Chief Rabbi of Jerusalem and the rights of the Jewish community in that province.
1894: Alfred Dreyfus was a French artillery officer of Jewish background whose trial and conviction in 1894 on charges of treason became one of the most tense political dramas in modern French and European history. Known today as the Dreyfus Affair, the incident eventually ended with Dreyfus’ complete exoneration.
1895: Theodore Herzl – founder of modern Zionism, declared to a German interlocutor (Speidel): “I understand anti-Semitism. We Jews have remained, even if it is not our fault, foreign bodies in the different nations.” Later: “Anti-Semites will become our surest friends, anti-Semitic countries our allies.” and: “So anti-Semitism, which is a deeply imbedded force in the subconscious mind of the masses, will not harm the Jews. I actually find it to be advantageous to building the Jewish character, education by the masses that will lead to assimilation. This education can only happen through suffering, and the Jews will adapt”
NOTE: Herzl’s diary states “we shall endeavor to expel the poor population across the border unnoticed — the process of expropriation and the removal of the poor must be carried out discreetly and circumspectly.”
1896: Theodor Herzl, added to his diary a sixty-five page pamphlet—in effect the outline of Der Judenstaat—which he called: “Address to the Rothschilds,” to present to the Rothschild Family Council:
“I bring to the Rothschilds and the big Jews their historical mission. I shall welcome all men of goodwill — we must be united — and crush all those of bad.” The Jews should settle in Palestine because, in his words, “the Temple will be visible from long distance, for it is only our ancient faith that has kept us together”
NOTE: Baron Edmond Benjamin James de Rothschild clashed with Theodor Herzl on the interpretation of political Zionism; at their meeting, it is reported that Baron Edmond Benjamin James de Rothschild, twice, told Theodor Herzl: “Il ne faut pas avoir les yeux plus gros que le ventre” (It does not do to have eyes bigger than one’s stomach); the Baron had a similar disagreement with Ahad Ha’am and members of the Hovevei Zion.
February 14, 1896: Theodor Herzl’s, “Address to the Rothschilds” was thoroughly reworked and emerged as Der Judenstaat (The Jewish State: An Attempt at a Modern Solution of the Jewish Problem) and was published by M. Breitenstein in Vienna. “Palestine is our unforgettable historic homeland. . . Let me repeat once more my opening words: The Jews who will it shall achieve their State. We shall live at last as free men on our own soil, and in our own homes peacefully die. The world will be liberated by our freedom, enriched by our wealth, magnified by our greatness. And whatever we attempt there for our own benefit will redound mightily and beneficially to the good of all mankind”
March 10, 1896: Theodor Herzl was visited by Reverend William Hechler, the Anglican minister to the British Embassy; Hechler had read Herzl’s Der Judenstaat, and the meeting became central to the eventual legitimization of Herzl and Zionism
1897: Catholic Church seemed to be one of strong opposition to Zionism. Shortly after the 1897 Basel Conference, the semi-official Vatican periodical (edited by the Jesuits) Civilta Cattolica gave its biblical-theological judgement on political Zionism: “1827 years have passed since the prediction of Jesus of Nazareth was fulfilled … that [after the destruction of Jerusalem] the Jews would be led away to be slaves among all the nations and that they would remain in the dispersion [diaspora, galut] until the end of the world.” The Jews should not be permitted to return to Palestine with sovereignty: “According to the Sacred Scriptures, the Jewish people must always live dispersed and vagabondo [vagrant, wandering] among the other nations, so that they may render witness to Christ not only by the Scriptures … but by their very existence”.
August 29-31, 1897: First Zionist Congress was the inaugural congress of the Zionist Organization (ZO) (to become the World Zionist Organization (WZO) in 1960) held in Basel (Basle), Switzerland; it was convened and chaired by Theodor Herzl; he is elected the President of the Zionist Organization; a Zionist flag is displayed with a gold lion inside a gold Magen David and seven golden stars; “Zionism aims at establishing for the Jewish people a publicly and legally assured home in Palestine”
October 1898: Theodor Herzl visited Jerusalem for the first time; he met with Kaiser Wilhelm II, this meeting was coordinated with the aid of Rev. William Hechler.
1899: Zionist Federation of Great Britain and Ireland, also known as the British Zionist Federation or simply the Zionist Federation (ZF), was established to campaign for a permanent homeland for the Jewish people. The Zionist Federation is an umbrella organisation for the Zionist movement in the United Kingdom, representing more than 120 organisations, and over 50,000 affiliated members.
NOTE: Among its aims and objectives, ZF lists: Support, co-ordinate and facilitate the work of all its affiliates nationwide, and to continue its commitment to the Zionist youth movements; Encourage the participation of Jews in Zionist activities including education, culture, Hebrew language and Israel information, underpinned by the belief that the main goal of Zionism is Aliyah; The Zionist Federation is an umbrella organisation encompassing most of the Zionist organizations and individuals in the country and, as such, represents the Zionist movement in the United Kingdom.
1899: Baron Edmond Benjamin James de Rothschild transferred title to his colonies, a group of 12 settlements, in Palestine plus fifteen million francs to The Jewish Colonization Association (ICA).
1899: Lionel Walter Rothschild, 2nd Baron Rothschild, Baron de Rothschild FRS becomes the first Jewish member of the British parliament. As an active Zionist and close friend of Chaim Weizmann, he worked to formulate the draft declaration for a Jewish homeland in Palestine. On November 2, 1917, he received a letter from the British foreign secretary, Arthur Balfour, addressed to his London home at 148 Piccadilly. In this letter the British government declared its support for the establishment in Palestine of “a national home for the Jewish people”. This letter became known as the Balfour Declaration.
1899: Hague Convention of 1899: (II): Convention with respect to the Laws and Customs of War on Land: This voluminous convention contains the laws to be used in all wars on land between signatories. It specifies the treatment of prisoners of war, includes the provisions of the Geneva Convention of 1864 for the treatment of the wounded, and forbids the use of poisons, the killing of people who have surrendered and the attack of undefended towns or habitations. Inhabitants of occupied territories may not be forced into military service against their own country and collective punishment is forbidden. The section was ratified by all major powers mentioned above.
May 17, 1901: Theodor Herzl met with Sultan Abdulhamid II, of the Ottoman Empire; he offered that the Jews would pay the Turkish foreign debt and attempt to help regulate Turkish finances if they were given Palestine as a Jewish homeland under Turkish rule, but the Sultan refused Theodor Herzl’s offer
1901: Ottoman restrictions on Zionist immigration to and land acquisition in Jerusalem district take effect
1901: Jews from the colonies set up in Palestine by Edmond James de Rothschild, send a delegation to him which tell him, “If you wish to save the Yishuv (The Jewish settlement) first take your hands from it, and…for once permit the colonists to have the possibility of correcting for themselves what needs correcting.” Edmond James de Rothschild is very angry about this and states, “I created the Yishuv, I alone. Therefore no men, neither colonists nor organizations have the right to interfere in my plans”
NOTE: Rothschild – who had, for years, sponsored the first agricultural settlements and even the experimental farm-school of Mikveh-Israel – used to say that “Capital was the first settler”.
1901: Jewish National Fund was founded to buy and develop land in Ottoman Palestine (later British Mandate for Palestine, and subsequently Israel and the Palestinian territories) for Jewish settlement.
1902: Theodor Herzl’s last literary work, Altneuland (The Old New Land), is a novel devoted to Zionism; outlining his vision for a new Jewish state in the Land of Israel; he directed his wrath against the nationalist party, which wished to make the Jews a privileged class in Palestine. “It goes without saying that we shall respectfully tolerate persons of other faiths and protect their property, their honor, and their freedom with the harshest means of coercion. This is another area in which we shall set the entire world a wonderful example … Should there be many such immovable owners in individual areas [who would not sell their property to us], we shall simply leave them there and develop our commerce in the direction of other areas which belong to us”
July 7, 1902: Theodor Herzl was invited to give evidence before the British Royal Commission on Alien Immigration
August 1903: Theodor Herzl received, through L. J. Greenberg, an offer from the British government to facilitate a large Jewish settlement, with autonomous government and under British suzerainty, in British East Africa.
1903: Protocols of the Elders of Zion or The Protocols of the Meetings of the Learned Elders of Zion… The Protocols purports to document the minutes of a late 19th-century meeting of Jewish leaders discussing their goal of global Jewish hegemony – the Protocols includes plans to subvert the morals of the non-Jewish world, plans for Jewish bankers to control the world’s economies, plans for Jewish control of the press, and – ultimately – plans for the destruction of civilization. It was first published in Russia in 1903, translated into multiple languages, and disseminated internationally in the early part of the 20th century. A major source for the Protocols was Der Judenstaat by Theodor Herzl although, paradoxically, early Russian editions of the Protocols assert that they did not come from a Zionist organization. The document consists of twenty-four “protocols”
NOTE: “From the law of nature right lies in might. Political freedom is an idea but not a fact, and one must know how to use it [political freedom] as a bait whenever it appears necessary to attract the masses … to one’s party for the purpose of crushing another who is in authority.” (Protocols 1).
1903: Ze’ev Jabotinsky, born Vladimir Yevgenyevich Zhabotinsky, was a Revisionist Zionist (nationalist) leader, founder of the New Zionist Organization, Haganah, Jewish Legion, Irgun, Betar, Revisionist Party, author, orator, soldier, and founder of the Jewish Self-Defense Organization in Odessa. With Joseph Trumpeldor, he co-founded the Jewish Legion of the British army in World War I and later established as number of Jewish organizations such as Beitar, Hatzohar, and the Irgun. His slogan was, “better to have a gun and not need it than to need it and not have it!” Another call to arms was, “Jewish youth, learn to shoot!”
January 22-25, 1904: Theodore Herzl travelled to Rome, after the sixth Zionist Congress (August 1903) and six months before his death, looking for some kind of support. Herzl first met the Secretary of State, Cardinal Rafael Merry del Val. According to Herzl’s private diary notes, the Cardinal agreed on the history of Israel being the same as the one of the Catholic Church, but asked beforehand for a conversion of Jews to Catholicism. Three days later, Herzl met Pope Pius X, who replied to his request of support for a Jewish return to Israel in the same terms, saying that “we are unable to favor this movement. We cannot prevent the Jews going to Jerusalem, but we could never sanction it … The Jews have not recognized our Lord, therefore we cannot recognize the Jewish people.”
1905: Demographer Uziel Schmelz, in his analysis of Ottoman registration data for populations of Jerusalem and Hebron kazas, found that most Ottoman citizens living in these areas, comprising about one quarter of the population of Palestine, were living at the place where they were born. Specifically, of Muslims, 93.1% were born in their current locality of residence, 5.2% were born elsewhere in Palestine, and 1.6% were born outside Palestine. Of Christians, 93.4% were born in their current locality, 3.0% were born elsewhere in Palestine, and 3.6% were born outside Palestine. Of Jews (excluding the large fraction who were not Ottoman citizens), 59.0% were born in their current locality, 1.9% were born elsewhere in Palestine, and 39.0% were born outside Palestine.
1905: United Kingdom’s Foreign Secretary Arthur James Balfour had requested of Charles Dreyfus, his Jewish constituency representative, that he arrange a meeting with Chaim Weizmann, during which Weizmann asked for official British support for Zionism; they were to meet again on this issue in 1914.
August 11, 1905: Aliens Act 1905 was an Act of the Parliament of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland. The Act for the first time introduced immigration controls and registration, and gave the Home Secretary overall responsibility for immigration and nationality matters. One of its main objectives was to control Jewish immigration from Eastern Europe. British foreign secretary, Arthur Balfour sponsored the Act to further the British government to commit itself to a Jewish homeland in Palestine.
1906: Britain forces the Ottomans to cede the Sinai peninsula to Egypt. Ottoman troops occupied Taba, an Egyptian town in the Sinai peninsula west of Aqaba (in present-day Jordan), to enlarge Ottoman access to the Red Sea. The British, who occupied Egypt, forced them to withdraw. The two sides later agreed to cede to the Ottoman Empire a small area west of Aqaba, while retaining Taba in Egypt.
September 28, 1907: a group of Poalei Zion members gathered at Yitzhak Ben-Zvi’s unfurnished apartment in Jaffa and formed Bar-Giora, a Jewish self-defense organization. The goal of the organization was settling the land and guarding it from Arab attackers. As a motto: “In fire and blood did Judea fall; in blood and fire Judea shall rise.” Members swore an oath of secrecy, discipline, selfless service, devotion to the cause and loyalty. All decisions had to be ratified by unanimous vote. All members were required to have least a year’s experience in farming.
1907: Hague Convention of 1907 specify that “territory is considered occupied when it is actually placed under the authority of the hostile army.” The form of administration by which an occupying power exercises government authority over occupied territory is called “military government.” Neither the Hague Conventions nor the Geneva Conventions specifically define or distinguish an act of “invasion.” The terminology of “occupation” is used exclusively.
1909: The soon to be British Prime Minister Lloyd George claimed, that Lord Nathan Rothschild was the most powerful man in Britain.
April 1909: Hashomer (“The Watchman”) was a Jewish defense organization in Palestine founded out of Bar-Giora. It ceased to operate after the founding of the Haganah in 1920. The purpose of Hashomer was to provide guard services for Jewish settlements in the Yishuv, freeing Jewish communities from dependence upon foreign consulates and Arab watchmen for their security.
1912: Agudat Yisrael (Union of Israel, Agudath Israel, or Agudas Yisroel) was founded in Kattowitz, Germany, (now Katowice, Poland), with purpose of providing an umbrella organization for observant Jews, who opposed the Zionist movement. Agudat Yisrael began as the original political party representing the Haredi population of Israel, and before that in the British Mandate of Palestine. In Palestine, Agudat Yisrael was established in opposition to the organized Jewish community (Yishuv). It originated in the original Agudath Israel movement founded in Upper Silesia in the early 20th century.
NOTE: Under Agudah leadership more than 50 years ago, Jews in the Holy Land opposed to Zionism obtained permission from Britain, the mandatory power in Palestine, to declare in writing that they did not wish to be represented by the Zionists or any of their groups, particularly not by the Zionist quasi-governmental organizations such as the Va’ad Leumi, “National Council.”
1914: According to Ottoman statistics studied by Justin McCarthy, Palestine had a population of 657,000 Muslim Arabs, 81,000 Christian Arabs, and 59,000 Jews.
September 24, 1914: five weeks before Great Britain declared war against the Ottoman Empire, Lord Kitchener, caused a secret messenger to be sent to Abdullah bin Hussein inquiring how his father would stand if the Ottoman Empire sided with Germany against Great Britain. Abdullah replied by letter to the effect that if his Majesty’s Government would Guarantee the rights of the Emir and the Emirate, support their rights against foreign aggression and give assurance in writing of such support, the Sherifial family would prefer to be on the British rather than the Ottoman side.
September 1914: Sir Ronald Storrs of the British Embassy in Cairo sent Abdullah bin Hussein a hand delivered letter: “Since the Ottoman Government disregarded its traditional friendship with Great Britain by joining Britain’s enemy, Germany, Britain has no longer the obligation to honor its old traditional ties with Turkey. As such, are you and your majestic father still interested in your initial position to work towards whatever that could lead to the full independence of the Arabs? If yes, then Great Britain is ready to support the Arab movement with every thing that it needs”
October 31, 1914: The British authorities in Cairo agreed to these terms on the day of the British declaration of war against the Ottoman Empire. The letter to Abdullah bin Hussein read: “If the Emir of Mecca is willing to assist Great Britain in this conflict, Great Britain is willing, recognizing and respecting the sacred and unique office of Emir Hussein (titles), to guarantee the independence, rights and privileges of the Sharifate against all external foreign aggression, in particular that of the Ottomans.” “Till now,” the letter continued, “we have defended Islam in the person of the Turks; Henceforward, it shall be in that of the noble Arabs.” This message reached Abdullah on November 16, 1914 and “caused him the liveliest satisfaction”. Sharif Hussein caused an answer to be sent to Cairo, in which “Abdullah definitely committed his father to a policy of un-avowed alliance with England”
November 9, 1914: Zionism was first discussed by the British Cabinet, four days after Britain’s declaration of war on the Ottoman Empire, David Lloyd George, Chancellor of the Exchequer, “referred to the ultimate destiny of Palestine”
1914: Friedrich Freiherr Kress von Kressenstein, a German general attached to the Ottoman troops in Palestine during World War:”How curious that the war has brought about an upsurge in the struggle between the Zionists and the non-Zionists, a battle that has turned ugly and done little to further the interests of Jews in general. The non-Zionists, that is to say those Jews who had no political objectives and who belonged to the Orthodox current, at the time the preponderant majority in Palestine. The Zionists residing there represented no more than 5 percent of the population, but were very active and fanatical, and terrorized the non-Zionists. During the war, the non-Zionists attempted to free themselves from the Zionist terror with the aid of the Turks. They rightly feared that the activities of the Zionists would destroy their good relations that prevailed amongst long-time Jewish residents in Palestine and the Arabs”
1915-1918: Sinai and Palestine Campaign was fought by forces between the British Empire and the Ottoman with support from German Empires during the Middle Eastern Theatre of World War I. Fighting began in January 1915, when a German-led Ottoman force invaded the Sinai Peninsula, then part of the British Protectorate of Egypt, to unsuccessfully raid the Suez Canal. Damascus, and Aleppo were captured during the subsequent pursuit, before the Ottoman Empire agreed to the Armistice of Mudros on October 30, 1918, ending the Sinai and Palestine Campaign. The British Mandate of Palestine, and the French Mandate for Syria and Lebanon were created to administer the captured territories.
January 1915: Zionist and British cabinet member Herbert Samuel presented a detailed memorandum entitled The Future of Palestine to the British Cabinet on the benefits of a British protectorate over Palestine to support Jewish immigration.
April 8, 1915: De Bunsen Committee was the first committee established by the British government to determine their policy toward the Ottoman Empire during and following World War I. It was established by British Prime Minister H. H. Asquith, and was headed by Sir Maurice de Bunsen. The report of the De Bunsen committee established the foundation for British policy in the Middle East. The committee was established in response to a French initiative, to consider the nature of British objectives in Turkey and Asia in the event of a successful conclusion of the war. The committee’s report provided the guidelines for negotiations with France, Italy, and Russia regarding the partitioning of the Ottoman Empire.
May 23, 1915: Faisal bin Hussein bin Ali al-Hashimi returned to Damascus, Al-Fatat and Al-Ahd Societies became interested in joining Sharif Hussein’s revolt. But, on the condition that Britain would agree to the independence of Arab countries lying within frontiers outlined in what became to be known as the Damascus Protocol. This document set the borders of the new independent State. Faisal took the document to his father to determine whether or not the British Government would accept it. Sharif Hussein included the Damascus Protocol in his first letter to Sir Henry McMahon on July 14, 1915, only to agree four months later to a greatly modified version of the Protocol without advising his compatriots in Damascus of the modifications.
NOTE: Damascus Protocol – declared that the Arabs would revolt in alliance with the United Kingdom and in return the UK will recognize the Arab independence … the ‘Damascus Protocol’ stated: “The recognition by Great Britain of the independence of the Arab countries lying within the following frontiers: North: The Line Mersin_Adana to parallel 37N. and thence along the line Birejek-Urga-Mardin-Midiat-Jazirat (Ibn ‘Unear)-Amadia to the Persian frontier; East: The Persian frontier down to the Persian Gulf; South: The Indian Ocean (with the exclusion of Aden, whose status was to be maintained). West: The Red Sea and the Mediterranean Sea back to Mersin. The abolition of all exceptional privileges granted to foreigners under the capitulations. The conclusion of a defensive alliance between Great Britain and the future independent Arab State. The grant of economic preference to Great Britain.”
October 4, 1915: Sir Henry McMahon, British High Commissioner to Sharif Hussein provided Sharif Hussein with a good idea about the price, which Britain was prepared to pay him in return for the revolt. Sir Henry wrote: “The districts of Mersina and Alexandretta and the portion of Syria lying to the West of the districts of Damascus, Homs, Hama and Aleppo cannot said to be purely Arab and should be excluded from the proposed limits and boundaries. With the above modifications and without prejudice to our existing treaties with Arab Chiefs we accept these limits and boundaries, and in regard to these portions of the territories therein in which Great Britain is free to act without detriment to the interests of her ally, France, subject to the above modification Great Britain is prepared to recognize… the boundaries proposed by the Sharif of Mecca”
October 24, 1915: Hussein bin Ali, was the Sharif and Emir of Mecca from 1908 until 1917, when he proclaimed himself and was internationally recognized as King of the Kingdom of Hejaz. He initiated the Arab Revolt in 1916 against the increasingly nationalistic Ottoman Empire during the course of the First World War. In 1924, when the Ottoman Caliphate was abolished, he further proclaimed himself Caliph of all Muslims. He ruled Hejaz until 1924, when, defeated by Abdul Aziz al Saud, he abdicated the kingdom and other secular titles to his eldest son Ali.
October 24, 1915: McMahon-Hussein Agreement (Sir Henry McMahon, British High Commissioner in Egypt, Sharif of Mecca, Husayn bin Ali) was accepted by Arabs (including those living in Palestine) as a promise by the British that after World War I, land previously held by the Ottoman Empire would be returned to the Arab nationals who lived in that land.
NOTE: Independent Arab Lands promised would include: The Eyalet of Damascus, including Sanjaks of Damascus, Acre, Safad, Nablus; Mutasarrifate of Jerusalem included the Kazas of Jerusalem, Gaza, Jaffa, Hebron, Beersheba
February 11, 1916: Colonel Sir Mark Sykes wrote to Herbert Samuel, who had a seat in the British Cabinet as President of the Local Government Board and was the first High Commissioner of the British mandate for Palestine. He suggested that if Belgium should assume the administration of Palestine it might be more acceptable to France as an alternative to the international administration which she wanted and the Zionists did not. He wrote: “By excluding Hebron and the East of the Jordan there is less to discuss with the Moslems, as the Mosque of Omar then becomes the only matter of vital importance to discuss with them and further does away with any contact with the bedouins, who never cross the river except on business. I imagine that the principal object of Zionism is the realization of the ideal of an existing center of nationality rather than boundaries or extent of territory.”
May 16, 1916: Sykes–Picot Agreement – a secret agreement which effectively divided the Arab provinces of the Ottoman Empire outside the Arabian peninsula into areas of future British and French control or influence. The agreement effectively divided the Arab provinces of the Ottoman Empire outside the Arabian peninsula into areas of future British and French control or influence. The terms were negotiated by the French diplomat François Georges-Picot and British Sir Mark Sykes. The Russian Tsarist government was a dishonored minor party to the Sykes–Picot agreement.
NOTE: Many sources report that this agreement conflicted with the Hussein–McMahon Correspondence of 1915–1916. It has also been reported that the publication of the Sykes–Picot Agreement caused the resignation of Sir Henry McMahon. However, the Sykes–Picot plan itself stated that France and Great Britain were prepared to recognize and protect an independent Arab State, or Confederation of Arab States, under the suzerainty of an Arab chief. Nothing in the plan precluded rule through an Arab suzerainty in the remaining areas.
June 26, 1916: Sharif Hussein bin Ali launched the Arab revolt; an almost 2,500-word declaration was the complete separation and the independence of the Hijaz, the Arabs, and Arab countries from the Ottoman Empire
October 1916: Thomas Edward Lawrence, known professionally as T. E. Lawrence, was a British Army officer renowned especially for his liaison role during the Sinai and Palestine Campaign and the Arab Revolt against Ottoman Turkish rule of 1916–18. The British government in Egypt sent Lawrence to work with the Hashemite forces in the Arabian Hejaz in October 1916.
1917–1920: British and French – Occupied Enemy Territory Administration (Middle East) / Sinai and Palestine Campaign. Britain territory extended from the Egyptian border of Sinai into Palestine and Lebanon as far north as Acre and Nablus and as far east as the River Jordan. A temporary British military governor (Major General Sir Arthur Wigram Money) would administer this sector.
January 3, 1917: Britain and France recognized Hussein bin Ali, Sharif of Mecca as “King of the Hijaz”. Though the British had supported Hussein from the start of the Arab Revolt and the Hussein-McMahon Correspondence, they elected not to help Hussein repel the Saudi attack, which eventually took Mecca, Medina, and Jeddah. He was then forced to flee to Cyprus. He went to live in Amman, Transjordan, where his son Abdullah was king. After his abdication, his son Ali briefly assumed the throne, but then he too had to flee the encroachment of Ibn Saud and his forces. His son Faisal was briefly King of Syria and later King of Iraq.
February 1917: Chaim Weizmann became president of the British Zionist Federation; he expressed his view of Zionism in the following words: “We have never based the Zionist movement on Jewish suffering in Russia or in any other land. These suffering have never been the mainspring of Zionism. The foundation of Zionism was, and continues to be to this day, the yearning of the Jewish people for its homeland, for a national center and a national life”
August 1917: British War Cabinet, desperate to persuade the Jews of Russia to urge their government to renew Russia’s flagging war effort, saw a future Jewish Palestine as an inducement and stimulus to the patriotic zeal of Russia’s Jews. To this end, Britain encouraged the possibility of an eventual Jewish majority in Palestine, even if – with the population then being some 600,000 Arabs and 60,000 Jews – such a majority might take many years to emerge.
August 1917: British cabinet worked to finalize the Balfour Declaration; Edwin Samuel Montagu, the only Jew in the British Cabinet and a staunch anti-Zionist was passionately opposed to the declaration on the grounds that (a) it was a capitulation to anti-Semitic bigotry, with its suggestion that Palestine was the natural destination of the Jews, and that (b) it would be a grave cause of alarm to the Muslim world”. Additional references to the future rights of non-Jews in Palestine and the status of Jews worldwide were thus inserted by the British cabinet, reflecting the opinion of the only Jew within it. Also, the term “state” was replaced with “home”, and comments were sought from Zionists abroad. Louis Brandeis, a member of the US Supreme Court, influenced the style of the text and changed the words “Jewish race” to “Jewish people”.
October 24, 1917: Arthur James Balfour, the British foreign secretary, told the War Cabinet: ‘The vast majority of Jews in Russia and America, as, indeed, all over the world, now appeared to be favorable to Zionism. If we could make a declaration favorable to such an ideal, we should be able to carry on extremely useful propaganda both in Russia and America”. Balfour told the War Cabinet that while the words ‘national home … did not necessarily involve the early establishment of an independent Jewish State’, such a State ‘was a matter for gradual development in accordance with the ordinary laws of political evolution’.
NOTE: Publication of the Balfour Declaration had been delayed so that it could first be published in the weekly Jewish Chronicle on November 9. It was thus issued too late to affect the Bolshevik triumph. It did, however, encourage American Jews, especially those born in Russia, to volunteer to fight in Palestine against the Turks as part of the British Army. Yitzhak Rabin’s father was among those volunteers.
November 1, 1917: a senior Foreign Office official noted that the Zionist leaders then in Britain were prepared to send ‘agents’ to Russia and America ‘to work up a pro-ally and especially pro-British campaign of propaganda among the Jews.’
November 2, 1917: To secure the results hoped for by the Foreign Office, Vladimir Jabotinsky agreed to go at once to Russia, to stimulate Russian Jews to urge their government not to pull out of the war, and leave Britain and France in danger of defeat at the unfettered hands of Germany. Weizmann agreed to go first to the United States and then to Russia, to rouse pro-war sentiment among the Jewish masses in both countries.
November 2, 1917: Balfour Declaration, a letter issued by Arthur James Balfour, the British foreign secretary, on behalf of the Government of His Britannic Majesty King George the Fifth, addressed to Lord Rothschild (Lionel Walter Rothschild, 2nd Baron Rothschild, Baron de Rothschild), an international financier of the banking house of Rothschild; the letter was addressed to his London home at 148 Piccadilly. He was an active Zionist and close friend of Chaim Weizmann, and worked to formulate the draft declaration for a Jewish homeland in Palestine. He also inherited the title “Baron de Rothschild” of the Austrian nobility, which was an authorized title in the United Kingdom by Warrant of April 27, 1932.
NOTE: “His Majesty’s Government view with favor the establishment in Palestine of a national home for the Jewish people, and will use their best endeavors to facilitate the achievement of this object, 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. I should be grateful if you would bring this Declaration to the knowledge of the Zionist Federation”
November 23, 1917: Bolsheviks of Russia released a copy of the previously secret Sykes–Picot Agreement, publishing its full text in Izvestia and Pravda, and it was subsequently printed in the Manchester Guardian on November 26; this caused Britain great embarrassment, because of the conflicting plans and promises it revealed. This release was due to Russian claims in the Ottoman Empire were denied following the Bolshevik Revolution.
December 30, 1917: Battle of Jerusalem developed from November 17, with fighting continuing until December 30, 1917, during the Sinai and Palestine Campaign of World War I. Before Jerusalem could be secured, two battles were recognized by the British as being fought in the Judean Hills to the north and east of the Hebron–Junction Station line. These were the Battle of Nebi Samwill from November 17-24 and the Defense of Jerusalem from December 26-30, 1917. They also recognized within these Jerusalem Operations, the successful second attempt on December 21-22, 1917 to advance across the Nahr el Auja, as the Battle of Jaffa, although Jaffa had been occupied as a consequence of the Battle of Mughar Ridge on November 16.
1917: British defeated Ottoman Turkish forces and occupied Ottoman Syria, which would later be divided to British Palestine and Transjordan and French Syria and Lebanon. The land remained under British military administration for the remainder of the war, and beyond.
March 3, 1918: Treaty of Brest-Litovsk was a peace treaty on March 3, 1918, between the new Bolshevik government of Russia (the Russian Soviet Federated Socialist Republic) and the Central Powers (Germany, Austria, Bulgaria, and Turkey), which ended Russia’s participation in World War I.
June 1918: Chaim Weizmann had assured Faisal bin Hussein that – “the Jews did not propose to set up a government of their own but wished to work under British protection, to colonize and develop Palestine without encroaching on any legitimate interests”
September 30, 1918: supporters of the Arab Revolt in Damascus declared a government loyal to the Sharif of Mecca. He had been declared ‘King of the Arabs’ by a handful of religious leaders and other notables in Mecca.
October 19, 1918: Field Marshall Edmund Henry Hynman Allenby reported to the British Government that he had given Faisal: “official assurance that whatever measures might be taken during the period of military administration they were purely provisional and could not be allowed to prejudice the final settlement by the peace conference, at which no doubt the Arabs would have a representative. I added that the instructions to the military governors would preclude their mixing in political affairs, and that I should remove them if I found any of them contravening these orders. I reminded the Amir Faisal that the Allies were in honor bound to endeavor to reach a settlement in accordance with the wishes of the peoples concerned and urged him to place his trust whole-heartedly in their good faith”
NOTE: On his entry of Jerusalem: “…I entered the city officially at noon, December 11, with a few of my staff, the commanders of the French and Italian detachments, the heads of the political missions, and the Military Attaches of France, Italy, and America… The procession was all afoot, and at Jaffa gate I was received by the guards representing England, Scotland, Ireland, Wales, Australia, New Zealand, India, France and Italy. The population received me well…”
November 7, 1918: Anglo-French Declaration was signed between France and Great Britain agreeing to implement a “complete and final liberation” of countries that had been part of the Ottoman Empire including the establishment of democratic governments in Syria and Mesopotamia. The agreement made it explicit that the form of the new governments was to be determined by local populations rather than imposed by the signatory powers. The agreement was meant to allay Arab suspicions of possible European colonialist or imperialist ambitions. In fact France and Great Britain kept control of both regions until after World War II.
December 1918: General Allenby’s troops gain control of the Dead Sea; Britain had been dependent on Germany for its supplies of potash, meaning the prospect of extracting the mineral from the Dead Sea was extremely appealing: “to the Empire as a whole a successful industry of this kind would be invaluable, for it would not only ensure a permanent supply of cheap potash, essential for agriculture and other industries, but make us independent of any foreign source”
NOTE: By 1944 over half of Britain’s potash and 75 per cent of its bromine was being drawn from the Dead Sea
December 5, 1918: Eastern Committee of the Cabinet, had met to discuss the government’s commitments regarding Palestine. Lord Curzon chaired the meeting. General Jan Smuts, Lord Balfour, Lord Robert Cecil, General Sir Henry Wilson, Chief of the Imperial General Staff, and representatives of the Foreign Office, the India Office, the Admiralty, the War Office, and the Treasury were present. T. E. Lawrence also attended.
NOTE: According to the minutes Lord Curzon explained: “The Palestine position is this. If we deal with our commitments, there is first the general pledge to Hussein in October 1915, under which Palestine was included in the areas as to which Great Britain pledged itself that they should be Arab and independent in the future . . . the United Kingdom and France – Italy subsequently agreeing – committed themselves to an international administration of Palestine in consultation with Russia, who was an ally at that time . . .
A new feature was brought into the case in November 1917, when Mr. Balfour, with the authority of the War Cabinet, issued his famous declaration to the Zionists that Palestine ‘should be the national home of the Jewish people, but that nothing should be done – and this, of course, was a most important proviso – to prejudice the civil and religious rights of the existing non-Jewish communities in Palestine. Those, as far as I know, are the only actual engagements into which we entered with regard to Palestine”
1919: Menachem Ussishkin was a Russian-born Zionist leader and head of the Jewish National Fund. In 1919, Ussishkin made aliyah to Palestine. He served as Secretary of the First Zionist Congress. At the Sixth Zionist Congress he opposed the Uganda plan. He was one of the Jewish delegates to the Paris peace conference after World War I. In 1920 he was appointed head of the Zionist Commission in Palestine. In 1923 he was elected President of the Jewish National Fund which he headed until his death.
January 3, 1919: Faisal–Weizmann Agreement, was signed, by Faisal bin Hussein bin Ali al-Hashimi and Chaim Weizmann as part of the Paris Peace Conference, settling disputes stemming from World War I; forging an agreement between Faisal and the Zionist movement to support an Arab Kingdom and Jewish settlement in Palestine. The agreement was never implemented, only surviving only a few months. The decision of the peace conference itself refused independence for the vast Arab-inhabited lands that Faisal desired, mainly because the British and French had struck their own secret Sykes-Picot Agreement of 1916 dividing the Middle East between their own spheres of influence.
Article V. No regulation nor law shall be made prohibiting or interfering with the free exercise of religion; (…)
Article VI. The Mohammedan Holy Places shall be under Mohammedan control.
Article VII: The Zionist Organization proposes to send to Palestine a Commission of experts to make a survey of the economic possibilities of the country, and to report upon the best means for its development. The Zionist Organization will place the aforementioned Commission at the disposal of the Arab State for the purpose of a survey of the economic possibilities of the Arab State and to report upon the best means for its development. The Zionist Organization will use its best efforts to assist the Arab State in providing the means for developing the natural resources and economic possibilities thereof.
NOTE: Main points of the agreement
- The agreement committed both parties to conducting all relations between the groups by the most cordial goodwill and understanding, to work together to encourage immigration of Jews into Palestine on a large scale while protecting the rights of the Arab peasants and tenant farmers, and to safeguard the free practice of religious observances. The Muslim Holy Places were to be under Muslim control.
- The Zionist movement undertook to assist the Arab residents of Palestine and the future Arab state to develop their natural resources and establish a growing economy.
- The boundaries between an Arab State and Palestine should be determined by a Commission after the Paris Peace Conference.
- The parties committed to carrying into effect the Balfour Declaration of 1917, calling for a Jewish national home in Palestine.
- Disputes were to be submitted to the British Government for arbitration.
January 18-21, 1919: Paris Peace Conference was the meeting of the Allied victors following the end of World War I to set the peace terms for the defeated Central Powers following the armistices of 1918. It took place in Paris during 1919 and involved diplomats from more than 32 countries and nationalities. United States Secretary of State Robert Lansing was a member of the American Commission to Negotiate Peace at Paris in 1919. He explained that the system of mandates was a device created by the United Kingdom and France to conceal their division of the spoils of war under the color of international law. At the Paris Peace Conference, US Secretary of State Lansing had asked Chaim Weizmann if the Jewish national home meant the establishment of an autonomous Jewish government. The head of the Zionist delegation had replied in the negative.
NOTE: In testimony before the Senate Committee on Foreign Relations a former US State Department official who had been a member of the American Commission at Paris, testified that the United Kingdom and France had simply gone ahead and arranged the world to suit themselves.
1919: Emir Faisal, speaking on behalf of King Hussein, asked for Arab independence, at the Peace Conference; or at minimum the right to pick the mandatory. In the end, he recommended an Arab state under a British mandate. The World Zionist Organization also asked for a British mandate, and asserted the ‘historic title of the Jewish people to Palestine’.
February 27, 1919: Chaim Weizmann presented the Weizmann-Faisal Agreement to the Allied Supreme Council at the Peace Conference, to the victorious powers, which wanted to know if a Jewish ‘nationality’ would involve eventual statehood?
NOTE: Weizmann told them: ‘Later on, when the Jews formed the large majority, they would be ripe to establish such a Government as would answer to the state of the development of the country and to their ideals”
March 4, 1919: Zionist organization asked to submit its proposals regarding Palestine to the Paris Peace conference. These proposals were considered as background for the British proposal to be granted a mandate over Palestine in order to create a Jewish national home there, in fulfillment of the Balfour Declaration. The proposals include the boundaries envisioned by the Zionist organization. (map)
NOTE: The concluding paragraph in the statement, “WE ASK THAT PALESTINE BE CONSTITUTED AS A FREE AND INDEPENDENT STATE, TO BE GOVERNED UNDER A DEMOCRATIC FORM OF GOVERNMENT RECOGNIZING NO DISTINCTION OF CREED OR RACE OR ETHNIC DESCENT, AND WITH ADEQUATE POWER TO PROTECT THE COUNTRY AGAINST OPPRESSION OF ANY KIND. WE DO NOT WISH TO SEE PALESTINE, EITHER NOW OR AT ANY TIME IN THE FUTURE, ORGANIZED AS A JEWISH STATE.”
May 24, 1919: Prime Minister David Lloyd George told Georges Clemenceau and the other allies that the McMahon-Hussein Correspondence was a treaty obligation and the agreement with Hussein was the basis for the Sykes-Picot Agreement which proposed an independent Arab state or confederation of states; and that the French could not use the proposed League Of Nations Mandate system to break the terms of the agreement. He pointed out that the French had agreed not to occupy the area of the independent Arab state, or confederation of states, with their military forces, including the areas of Damascus, Homs, Hama, and Aleppo. Arthur Balfour (later Lord Balfour, British Foreign Secretary at the time) and President Woodrow Wilson were present at the meeting.
June 28, 1919 – April 19, 1946: League of Nations was founded as a result of the Paris Peace Conference that ended the First World War; at its greatest extent, it had 58 members. It was the first international organization whose principal mission was to maintain world peace. Its primary goals, as stated in its Covenant, included preventing wars through collective security and disarmament, and settling international disputes through negotiation and arbitration.
June 1919: King–Crane Commission, officially called the 1919 Inter-Allied Commission on Mandates in Turkey, was an official investigation by the United States government concerning the disposition of non-Turkish areas within the former Ottoman Empire. It was conducted to inform American policy about the region’s people and their desired future in regard to the previously decided partitioning of the Ottoman Empire and the League of Nations Mandate System. The Commission visited areas of Palestine, Syria, Lebanon, and Anatolia, surveyed local public opinion, and assessed its view on the best course of action for the region. The Commission was appointed by President Woodrow Wilson and comprised Henry Churchill King and Charles R. Crane. It began work in June 1919 and produced its report on 28 August 1919, though the report was not published until 1922.
NOTE: The Commission termed the territory it was investigating “Syria”, which covered the Arab territories of the defunct Ottoman Syria. Although it did not use the term Greater Syria, it looked at what would today encompass Syria, Lebanon, Israel, Jordan and the Palestinian territories. The Commission Report, which was published in 1922, concluded that the Middle East was not ready for independence and urged Mandates be established on the territories whose purpose was to accompany a process of transition to self-determination.
In respect to the creation of a Jewish state in the Middle East, the report cautioned “Not only you as president but the American people as a whole should realize that if the American government decided to support the establishment of a Jewish state in Palestine, they are committing the American people to the use of force in that area, since only by force can a Jewish state in Palestine be established or maintained.” Crane opposed the establishment of a Jewish state in the Middle East, but was as passionate a spokesman for the independence of the Arab states. The report noted that there is a principle that the wishes of the local population need to be taken into account and that there is widespread anti-Zionist feeling in Palestine and Syria, and the holy nature of the land to Christians and Moslems as well as Jews must preclude solely Jewish dominion. It also noted that Jews at that time comprised only 10% of the population of Palestine.
July 1919: Syrian National Congress, also called the Pan-Syrian Congress, was convened in Damascus, Syria to prepare for the King-Crane Commission of inquiry on the future of “Syria”, by which was meant Greater Syria comprising present-day Syria, Lebanon, Israel, State of Palestine and Jordan, after the fall of the Ottoman Empire. The congress was attended by representative from all parts of Syria. Some participants showed support for King Faisal’s demands, while others were beginning to question his willingness to make concessions to pro-Zionist groups.
NOTE: In its final report it pleaded that “there be no separation of the southern part of Syria, known as Palestine, nor of the littoral western zone, which includes Lebanon, from the Syrian country.” In response the King-Crane Commission recommended that “the unity of Syria be preserved.” The congress was considered the first national parliament in the history of Syria, and it was headed by Hashim al-Atassi
July 5, 1919: Arthur Balfour informed the British general then in charge of Palestine that land purchase could continue ‘provided that, as far as possible, preferential treatment is given to Zionist interests’.
October 1919: British forces in Syria and the last British soldiers stationed east of the Jordan were withdrawn and the region came under exclusive control of Faisal bin Hussein from Damascus.
September 21, 1919: after twenty-six days of discussion, the Syrian-Palestinian Congress, issued a public statement to the League of Nations demanding, among other things, recognition of the “independence and national rule (al-Sultan al-Qawmi) of Syria, Lebanon and Palestine“
December 1-4, 1919: Meeting at Deauville in 1919, David Lloyd George of the UK and Georges Clemenceau of France finalized the Anglo-French Settlement. The new agreement allocated Palestine and the Vilayet of Mosul to the British in exchange for British support of French influence in Syria and Lebanon.
1920-1948: Haganah (“The Defense”) was a Jewish paramilitary organization in what was then the British Mandate of Palestine. Which later became the core of the Israel Defense Forces. The predecessor of Haganah was Hashomer established in 1909, itself a successor of Bar-Giora, founded in 1907. The Bar-Giora consisted of a small group of Jewish immigrants who guarded settlements for an annual fee. At no time did the group have more than 100 members.
1920: Haj Mohammed Effendi Amin el-Husseini (Muhammad Amin al-Husayni) was a Palestinian Arab nationalist and Muslim leader in Mandatory Palestine. From as early as 1920, in order to secure the independence of Palestine as an Arab state he actively opposed Zionism, and was implicated as a leader of a violent riot that broke out over the establishment of a national home for the Jewish people in Palestine. Al-Husseini was sentenced to ten years imprisonment, but was pardoned by the British. From 1921 to 1937 al-Husseini was the Grand Mufti of Jerusalem, using the position to promote Islam and rally a non-confessional Arab nationalism against Zionism.
NOTE: In the lead-up to the 1948 Palestine War, Husseini opposed both the 1947 UN Partition Plan and King Abdullah’s designs to annex the Arab part of British Mandatory Palestine to Jordan, and, failing to gain command of the ‘Arab rescue army’ (jaysh al-inqadh al-’arabi) formed under the aegis of the Arab League, formed his own militia, al-jihad al-muqaddas. In September 1948, he participated in establishment of All-Palestine Government. Seated in Egyptian-ruled Gaza, this government won a limited recognition of Arab states, but was eventually dissolved by Gamal Nasser in 1959. After the war and subsequent Palestinian exodus, his claims to leadership, wholly discredited, left him eventually sidelined by the Palestine Liberation Organization, and he lost most of his residual political influence
1920: League of Nations’ Interim Report on the Civil Administration of Palestine stated that there were 700,000 people living in Palestine: “There are now in the whole of Palestine hardly 700,000 people, a population much less than that of the province of Gallilee alone in the time of Christ. Of these 235,000 live in the larger towns, 465,000 in the smaller towns and villages. Four-fifths of the whole population are Moslems. A small proportion of these are Bedouin Arabs; the remainder, although they speak Arabic and are termed Arabs, are largely of mixed race. Some 77,000 of the population are Christians, in large majority belonging to the Orthodox Church, and speaking Arabic. The minority are members of the Latin or of the Uniate Greek Catholic Church, or–a small number–are Protestants. The Jewish element of the population numbers 76,000. Almost all have entered Palestine during the last 40 years.
NOTE: Prior to 1850 there were in the country only a handful of Jews. In the following 30 years a few hundreds came to Palestine. Most of them were animated by religious motives; they came to pray and to die in the Holy Land, and to be buried in its soil. After the persecutions in Russia forty years ago, the movement of the Jews to Palestine assumed larger proportions. Jewish agricultural colonies were founded. They developed the culture of oranges and gave importance to the Jaffa orange trade. They cultivated the vine, and manufactured and exported wine. They drained swamps. They planted eucalyptus trees. They practiced, with modern methods, all the processes of agriculture. There are at the present time 64 of these settlements, large and small, with a population of some 15,000.
1920: Va’ad Leumi, the national committee. The governing body of the Jewish community in mandatory Palestine, chosen by the elected assembly (Aseifat Nivharim). The Va’ad Leumi was founded in 1920 with the foundation of Knesset Yisrael (the electorate of Jews that recognized Zionist leadership) and the Aseifat Nivharim. Several attempts had been made previously to form a governing body, beginning in 1903. These were always stymied by ideological and other divisions. Zionists split in 1903 over the plan to make Uganda a temporary Zionist homeland and orthodox factions did not want to allow women the right to vote.
1920: Nabi Musa Riots in and around the Old City of Jerusalem mark the first large-scale skirmish of the Arab-Israeli Conflict. The riots coincided with and are named after the Nabi Musa festival and followed rising tensions in Arab-Jewish relations. The events came shortly after the Battle of Tel Hai and the increasing pressure on Arab nationalists in Syria on the course of the Franco-Syrian War. Among the slogans used to incite the riots were the implications of Zionist immigration and the previous tensions which coincided with attacks on outlying Jewish settlements in the Galilee.
January 1920: Conference of Ambassadors of the “Principal Allied and Associated Powers“ was an inter-allied organization of the Entente in the period following the end of World War I; consisted of ambassadors of Great Britain, Italy, Japan and France.
January 6, 1920: Faisal bin Hussein bin Ali al-Hashimi initialed an agreement with French Prime Minister Georges Clemenceau which acknowledged ‘the right of Syrians to unite to govern themselves as an independent nation’.
February 24, 1920: Conference of London, following World War I, leaders of Britain, France, and Italy met to discuss the partitioning of the Ottoman Empire and the negotiation of agreements that would become the Treaty of Sèvres; under the leadership of British Prime Minister David Lloyd George, Prime Minister of France Alexandre Millerand, and Prime Minister of Italy Francesco Saverio Nitti, the allied powers reached agreements that would form the basis of their arguments at the San Remo conference.
March 1, 1920: Joseph Trumpeldor was an early Zionist activist. He helped organize the Zion Mule Corps and bring Jewish immigrants to Palestine. Trumpeldor died defending the settlement of Tel Hai in 1920 and subsequently became a Zionist national hero. According to a standard account, to him are attributed the last words, reminiscent of Horace: “It does not matter, it is good to die for our country.”
March 8, 1920: Arab Kingdom of Syria was established under Faisal I of the Hashemite family; a Pan-Syrian Congress meeting in Damascus had declared an independent state of Syria; the new state included portions of Syria, Palestine, and northern Mesopotamia. King Faisal was declared the head of State. At the same time Prince Zeid, Faisal’s brother, was declared Regent of Mesopotamia.
April 19-26, 1920: San Remo conference was an international meeting of the post-World War I Allied Supreme Council; resolutions passed at this conference determined the allocation of Class “A” League of Nations mandates for administration of the former Ottoman-ruled lands of the Middle East. The precise boundaries of all territories were left unspecified, to “be determined by the Principal Allied Powers”
April 20, 1920: Article 22 of the Covenant of the League of Nations, entrusted Britain with the Mandate of Palestine, including Transjordan; Transjordan was jointly ruled by Britain and the Hashemite family. Palestinian independence was designated a Class A Mandate. The preamble of the Mandate document states that the Mandate is granted to Britain “for the purpose of giving effect to the provisions of Article 22 of the Covenant of the League of Nations”.
NOTE: The article states that “Communities formerly belonging to the Turkish Empire have reached a stage of development where their existence as independent nations can be provisionally recognized subject to the rendering of administrative advice and assistance by a Mandatory until such time as they are able to stand alone.” Throughout the period of the Mandate, Palestinian leaders cited this as proving their assertion that the British were obliged under the terms of the Mandate to facilitate the eventual creation of an independent Arab state in Palestine.
Article 22 was written two months before the signing of the Versailles Treaty of June 28, 1919, before it was known what “communities”, “peoples”, or “territories” were related to sub-paragraphs 4, 5, and 6. The treaty was signed, and the peace conference had been adjourned, before a formal decision was made. The mandates were arrangements guaranteed by, or arising out of the general treaty which stipulated that mandates were to be exercised on behalf of the League. The treaty contained no provision for the mandates to be allocated on the basis of decisions taken by four members of the League acting in the name of the so-called “Principal Allied and Associated Powers”. The decisions taken at the conferences of the Council of Four were not made on the basis of consultation or League unanimity as stipulated by the Covenant. As a result, the actions of the conferees were viewed by some as having no legitimacy.
April 25, 1920: San Remo Resolution, “The High Contracting Parties agree to entrust, by application of the provisions of Article 22, the administration of Palestine, within such boundaries as may be determined by the Principal Allied Powers, to a Mandatory, to be selected by the said Powers. The Mandatory will be responsible for putting into effect the declaration originally made on November 8, 1917, by the British Government, and adopted by the other Allied Powers, in favor of the establishment in Palestine of a national home for the Jewish people, 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”
NOTE: The precise boundaries of all territories were not finalized until four years later.
July 1, 1920 – May 14, 1948: Mandatory Palestine was a geopolitical entity under British administration, carved out of Ottoman Southern Syria after World War I. British civil administration in Palestine operated from 1920 until 1948. The British sought to set up legitimacy for their continued control of the region and this was achieved by obtaining a mandate from the League of Nations in June 1922. The formal objective of the League of Nations Mandate system was to administer parts of the defunct Ottoman Empire, which had been in control of the Middle East since the 16th century, “until such time as they are able to stand alone.”
August 10, 1920: Treaty of Sèvres was the peace treaty between the Ottoman Empire and Allies at the end of World War I. The terms of the ‘Treaty of Sèvres’ were far more severe than those imposed on the German Empire in the Treaty of Versailles. The Treaty of Sèvres was annulled in the course of the Turkish War of Independence and the parties signed and ratified the superseding Treaty of Lausanne in 1923. Both Zionist and Arab representatives attended the conference, where they signed the Faisal–Weizmann Agreement.
NOTE: the treaty was never ratified by the Ottoman government, because it required the agreement of Mustafa Kemal Atatürk. Ataturk expressed disdain for the treaty, and continued the fight known as the Turkish War of Independence.
December 23, 1920: Franco-British Boundary Agreement of 1920, properly called the Franco-British Convention on Certain Points Connected with the Mandates for Syria and the Lebanon, Palestine and Mesopotamia, was an agreement signed between the British and French governments in Paris. The agreement contained statements of principle regarding the position and nature of the boundary between the Mandates of Palestine and Mesopotamia, attributed to Great Britain, and the Mandate of Syria and the Lebanon, attributed to France.
NOTE: The boundary between the forthcoming British and French mandates was defined in broad terms. That agreement placed the bulk of the Golan Heights in the French sphere. The treaty also established a joint commission to settle the precise details of the border and mark it on the ground.
1921: Henry Ford sponsored the printing of 500,000 copies (Protocols of the Elders of Zion), and, from 1920 to 1922, published a series of … articles titled “The International Jew: The World’s Foremost Problem“, in The Dearborn Independent, a newspaper he owned. Ford cited evidence of a Jewish threat: “The only statement I care to make about the Protocols is that they fit in with what is going on. They are 16 years old, and they have fitted the world situation up to this time.”
1921: Rabbi Abraham Isaac Kook was the first Ashkenazi chief rabbi of the British Mandatory Palestine, the founder of the Religious Zionist Yeshiva Merkaz HaRav, Jewish thinker, Halachist, Kabbalist and a renowned Torah scholar. He and his son Rabbi Zevi Judah Kook saw great religious and traditional value in many of Zionism’s ideals, while rejecting its anti-religious undertones. They taught that Orthodox (Torah) Judaism embraces and mandates Zionism’s positive ideals, such as the ingathering of exiles, and political activity to create and maintain a Jewish political entity in the Land of Israel. In this way, Zionism serves as a bridge between Orthodox and secular Jews. He was a master of Halakha in the strictest sense, while at the same time possessing an unusual openness to new ideas. This drew many religious and nonreligious people to him, but also led to widespread misunderstanding of his ideas. He was one of the most celebrated and influential rabbis of the 20th century.
NOTE: Kook founded a yeshiva, Mercaz HaRav Kook (popularly known as “Mercaz haRav”), in Jerusalem in 1924. Rabbi Kook decided to name the Yeshiva “Merkaz HaRav” to represent his vision of the Yeshiva being a place where the “Rav,” or “many”, could some to learn from all corners of the World.
1921: Middle East Department of the Colonial Office set out the situation as follows: “Distinction to be drawn between Palestine and Trans-Jordan under the Mandate. His Majesty’s Government are responsible under the terms of the Mandate for establishing in Palestine a national home for the Jewish people. They are also pledged by the assurances given to the Sherif of Mecca in 1915 to recognize and support the independence of the Arabs in those portions of the (Turkish) vilayet of Damascus in which they are free to act without detriment to French interests. The western boundary of the Turkish vilayet of Damascus before the war was the River Jordan. Palestine and Trans-Jordan do not, therefore, stand upon quite the same footing. At the same time, the two areas are economically interdependent, and their development must be considered as a single problem.
NOTE: Further, His Majesty’s Government have been entrusted with the Mandate for “Palestine.” If they wish to assert their claim to Trans-Jordan and to avoid raising with other Powers the legal status of that area, they can only do so by proceeding upon the assumption that Trans-Jordan forms part of the area covered by the Palestine Mandate. In default of this assumption Trans-Jordan would be left, under article 132 of the Treaty of Sevres, to the disposal of the principal Allied Powers. Some means must be found of giving effect in Trans-Jordan to the terms of the Mandate consistently with “recognition and support of the independence of the Arabs”
February 1, 1921: US Senate refused to ratify the Covenant of the League of Nations. The legal issues surrounding the rule by force and the lack of self-determination under the system of mandates were cited by the Senators who withheld their consent. The US government subsequently entered into individual treaties to secure legal rights for its citizens, to protect property rights and businesses interests in the mandates, and to preclude the mandatory administration from altering the terms of the mandates without prior US approval. The United States filed a formal protest because the preamble of the mandates indicated to the League that they had been approved by the Principal Allied and Associated Powers, when, in fact, that was not the case.
March 21, 1921: Cairo Conference was convened in order to establish a unified British policy for the Middle East, in particular to resolve the conflicting policies defined in the McMahon letters (1915), the Sykes-Picot agreement (1916) and the Balfour Declaration (1917). Winston Churchill, the newly appointed Colonial Secretary, called all the British Military Leaders and civil administrators in the Middle East to a conference at the Semiramis hotel in Cairo to discuss these issues. At the conference, it was agreed that Lebanon and Syria should remain under French control and that Britain should maintain the mandate over Palestine and continue to support the establishment of a Jewish Homeland there. A decision about the issue of the land East of the River Jordan was postponed until Churchill could proceed to Jerusalem for further discussions.
March 1921: Colonial Secretary, Sir Winston Leonard Spencer-Churchill, visited Jerusalem. After a discussion with Emir Abdullah it was agreed that the Jewish National Home objective for the proposed Palestinian Mandate territory would not apply to the Mandate territory east of the Jordan River.
May 1921: Haycraft Commission of Inquiry was a Royal Commission set up to investigate the Jaffa riots of 1921, but its remit was widened and its report entitled “Palestine: Disturbances in May 1921″. The report blamed the Arabs for the violence, but identified a series of grievances concerning the way their interests were apparently being subsumed to the interests of the Jewish immigrants, who were then around 10% of the population and increasing rapidly. Some measures to ease Arab unhappiness were taken, but Jewish communities were helped to arm themselves and ultimately the report was ignored. Publishing it (unlike the Palin Report of the previous year) was considered a propitiatory measure.
June 1921: Syrian-Palestinian Congress, also known as the Syria-Palestine Congress or the Syro-Palestinian Congress was an organization founded in June 1921 in Geneva by a group of Syrian and Palestinian exiles. The main aim of the congress was to try to influence the terms of the proposed League of Nations mandate over the region. It was one of a number of congresses held by Arab nationalists following the Arab Congress of 1913.
October 20, 1921: Treaty of Ankara between France and the Grand National Assembly of Turkey; thereby making a general renunciation of its sovereignty over Palestine.
June 3, 1922: Churchill White Paper clarified Britain’s views on the Balfour Declaration, 1917; that Declaration announced the British intent to aid the “establishment in Palestine of a national home for the Jewish people. They would draw attention to the fact that the terms of the Declaration referred to do not contemplate that Palestine as a whole should be converted into a Jewish National Home, but that such a Home should be founded “in Palestine.” It took its name from Winston Churchill, the then-Secretary of State for the Colonies.
“Unauthorized statements have been made to the effect that the purpose in view is to create a wholly Jewish Palestine. Phrases have been used such as that Palestine is to become “as Jewish as England is English.” HMG regard any such expectation as impracticable and have no such aim in view. Nor have they at any time contemplated, as appears to be feared by the Arab Delegation, the disappearance or the subordination of the Arabic population, language or culture in Palestine. They would draw attention to the fact that the terms of the Declaration referred to do not contemplate that Palestine as a whole should be converted into a Jewish National Home, but that such a Home should be founded in Palestine. In this connection it has been observed with satisfaction that at the meeting of the Zionist Congress, the supreme governing body of the Zionist Organization, held at Carlsbad in September, 1921, a resolution was passed expressing as the official statement of Zionist aims “the determination of the Jewish people to live with the Arab people on terms of unity and mutual respect, and together with them to make the common home into a flourishing community, the upbuilding of which may assure to each of its peoples an undisturbed national development”
June 30, 1922: Official Journal of the League of Nations, contained a statement by Lord Balfour in which he explained that the League’s authority was strictly limited.
“The article related that the ‘Mandates were not the creation of the League, and they could not in substance be altered by the League. The League’s duties were confined to seeing that the specific and detailed terms of the mandates were in accordance with the decisions taken by the Allied and Associated Powers, and that in carrying out these mandates the Mandatory Powers should be under the supervision—not under the control—of the League.”
July 24, 1922: British Mandate for Palestine, or simply the Mandate for Palestine, was a legal commission for the administration of the territory that had formerly constituted the Ottoman Sanjaks of Nablus, Acre, the Southern portion of the Beirut Vilayet, and the Mutasarrifate of Jerusalem, prior to the Armistice of Mudros. The draft of the Mandate was formally confirmed by the Council of the League of Nations on July 24, 1922, amended via the September 16, 1922 Transjordan memorandum and which came into effect on September 29, 1923 following the ratification of the Treaty of Lausanne. The mandate ended at midnight on May 14, 1948.
NOTE: preamble of the mandate document declared: “Whereas the Principal Allied Powers have also agreed that the Mandatory should be responsible for putting into effect the declaration originally made on November 2nd, 1917, by the Government of His Britannic Majesty, and adopted by the said Powers, in favor of the establishment in Palestine of a national home for the Jewish people, it being clearly understood that nothing should be done which might 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.”
September 16, 1922: Transjordan memorandum was a British memorandum passed by the Council of the League of Nations; the memorandum described how the British government planned to implement the article of the Mandate for Palestine which allowed exclusion of Transjordan from the provisions regarding Jewish settlement.
The memorandum began by quoting Article 25 of the Mandate. Then it said “In pursuance of the provisions of this article, His Majesty’s Government invite the Council to pass the following resolution: The following provisions of the Mandate for Palestine are not applicable to the territory known as Transjordan, which comprises all territory lying to the east of a line drawn from a point two miles west of the town of Akaba on the Gulf of that name up the centre of the Wady Araba, Dead Sea and River Jordan to its junction with the River Yarmuk: thence up the centre of that river to the Syrian frontier.” Then it listed articles 4, 6, 13, 14, 22, 23, and parts of the Preamble and Articles 2, 7 and 11, and concluded with “In the application of the Mandate to Transjordan, the action which, in Palestine, is taken by the Administration of the latter country will be taken by the Administration of Transjordan under the general supervision of the Mandatory. His Majesty’s Government accept full responsibility as Mandatory for Transjordan, and undertake that such provision as may be made for the administration of that territory in accordance with Article 25 of the Mandate shall be in no way inconsistent with those provisions of the Mandate which are not by this resolution declared inapplicable.”
October 23, 1922: First British census of Palestine shows total population 757,182; division into religious groups was 590,390 Muslims, 83,694 Jews, 73,024 Christians, 7,028 Druze, 808 Sikhs, 265 Bahais, 156 Metawalis, and 163 Samaritans.
November 1922: Conference of Lausanne was the negotiation of a treaty to replace the non-ratified Treaty of Sèvres, which, under the new government of Kemal Pasha was no longer recognized by Turkey. The conference opened, with representatives from the United Kingdom, France, Italy and Turkey. At the conclusion, Turkey assented to the political clauses and the “freedom of the straits”, which was Britain’s main concern. The Treaty of Lausanne was finally signed on July 24, 1923 and ratified on September 28, 1923.
1922: Palestine Order in Council, a Legislative Council, established pursuant to Part III of the Palestine Order in Council, which was to consist of 23 members; 12 elected, 10 appointed and the High Commissioner; of the 12 elected members, eight were to be Muslim Arabs, two Christian Arabs and two Jews; , which was the constitution of the British Mandate; the Muslim and Christian Arabs boycotted the elections
1922: The Bnai Zion Medical Center (Rothschild Hospital), begins service treating the population of Haifa and Northern Israel, Jews, Druze, Muslim and Christian Arabs and Baha’is alike for nearly 90 years.
March 27 1923: In a speech delivered in the House of Lords, Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs, Lord Edward Grey had said: “In the opinion of the Committee it is, however, evident from these statements that His Majesty’s Government were not free to dispose of Palestine without regard for the wishes and interests of the inhabitants of Palestine, and that these statements must all be taken into account in any attempt to estimate the responsibilities which—upon any interpretation of the Correspondence—His Majesty’s Government have incurred towards those inhabitants as a result of the Correspondence”
July 24, 1923: Treaty of Lausanne officially ended the state of war that had existed between Turkey and the Allied British Empire, French Republic, Kingdom of Italy, Empire of Japan, Kingdom of Greece, Kingdom of Romania, and Serb-Croat-Slovene State since the onset of World War I. The treaty was ratified by Turkey on August 23, 1923, Greece on August 25, 1923, Italy on March 12, 1924, Japan on May 15, 1924, Great Britain on July 16, 1924. The treaty came into force on August 6, 1924, when the instruments of ratification had been officially deposited in Paris.
NOTE: The text of the Mandate for Palestine was approved by the Council of the League of Nations on July 24, 1922. However, this would not come into effect until a treaty between the Turkish government and the Allies was ratified and a dispute between France and Italy over the Syria Mandate was settled. The latter requirement was due to the perceived need for the legal regime to begin at the same time as the French Mandate for Syria and the Lebanon. Following the ratification of the Treaty of Lausanne on September 28, 1923, the dispute between France and Italy was reported as settled. The Council of the League of Nations determined that the two mandates had come into effect at its meeting of September 29, 1923.
1923: Jewish Colonization Association was reorganized as the Palestine Jewish Colonization Association (PICA), under the direction of Baron Edmond James de Rothschild. The PICA acquired more than 125,000 acres (50,586 ha) of land and set up business ventures; it played a pivotal role in Israel’s wine industry, under the supervision of his administrators in Ottoman Palestine, farm colonies and vineyards were established, and two major wineries were opened in Rishon LeZion and Zikhron Ya’akov.
1923: Golan Heights was ceded by Britain from Palestine to the French Mandate of Syria, in exchange for an adjacent region on what was to become the Lebanese border.
June 30, 1924: Jacob Israël de Haan was a Dutch Jewish literary writer and journalist who was assassinated in Jerusalem by the Jewish paramilitary organization Haganah for his anti-Zionist political activities and contacts with Arab leaders. de Haan was one of Agudat Yisrael most authoritative spokesmen against the formation of a Jewish State; he is believed to be the first victim of Zionist political violence.
December 3, 1924: US government accepted the de facto, if not de jure, status of the mandates and entered into individual treaties with the mandatory power to secure legal rights for its citizens and to protect property rights and business interests in the mandates. In the case of Palestine, it entered into a bilateral treaty with Britain in the Palestine Mandate Convention, in which the United States “consents to the Administration” (Article 1) and which dealt with eight issues of concern to the United States. The United States was not a member of the League of Nations, and consequently was not required to officially state its position on the legality of the Palestinian Mandate.
1924: James Armand de Rothschild was appointed by his father, Edmond de Rothschild, as President of the Palestine Jewish Colonization Association, the first settlement was Binyamina (his father’s Hebrew name was Avraham Binyamin).
NOTE: James was also elected as Member of the British Parliament; he took an active part in the Parliament’s debates on the White Papers of Passfield (1931) and MacDonald (1939), speaking ill of the failing of the British policy in Eretz Yisrael, and suggested turning it into a British dominion.
1927: British Mandatory, from the High Commissioner, Field Marshal Herbert Charles Onslow Plumer, issues a tender for mining the Dead Sea area to Moshe Novomeysky; a Zionist, who attended the 1903 Zionist Congress in Basel, Switzerland; a developer of the Palestine Potash Company, precursor of the Dead Sea Works. Novomeysky was eventually granted a seventy-five year concession for mining of the Dead Sea in August 1929, to his Palestine Potash Company. In 1951, the company was nationalized by the Israeli government under the Ministry of Development. In 1953, it was renamed the Dead Sea Works.
NOTE: Chaim Weizmann:“Nahalal, Deganiah, the University, the Rutenberg electrical works, the Dead Sea Concession, meant much more to me politically than all of the promises of great governments or great political parties.” The financial interests was to acquire valid title to the Dead Sea and its vast, inexhaustible deposits of potash and other minerals, estimated by experts to be worth several thousand billions of dollars. Hence, any country owning title to the Dead Sea, with its vast mineral reserves would, in time, become one of the wealthiest countries in the world.
August 11, 1929: Jewish Agency, was established by the World Zionist Organization at the 16th Zionist Congress as a partnership between the WZO and non-Zionist Jewish leaders. The Agency was set up in accordance with the stipulation in the League of Nations Mandate for Palestine (1922) — the goal of the mandate system was to eventually transfer authority over territories taken from countries defeated in World War to the local population — that a “Jewish agency ” comprised of representatives of world Jewry assist in the “establishment of the Jewish National Home . . . in Palestine.” The story of the Jewish Agency is virtually identical to the history of the Yishuv (the Jewish community of Palestine).
NOTE: In recognition of his work, Baron Edmond Benjamin James de Rothschild was named honorary president of the Jewish Agency.
August 23-29, 1929: 1929 Palestine riots or the Buraq Uprising, refers to a series of demonstrations and riots in a long-running dispute between Muslims and Jews over access to the Western Wall in Jerusalem escalated into violence. The riots took the form in the most part of attacks by Arabs on Jews accompanied by destruction of Jewish property. During the week of riots, 133 Jews were killed by Arabs and 339 others were injured, while 110 Arabs were killed by British police and 232 were injured while the British were trying to suppress the riots
September 1, 1929: A report compiled by Archer Cust, an officer in the Mandatory government, describing the status quo governing the holy sites in and around Jerusalem, including the respective rights of Christians, Muslims and Jews.
NOTE: These arrangements had been in place since 1757, and confirmed by an Ottoman firman (edict) in 1852 and by the 1856 Treaty of Paris and the 1878 Treaty of Berlin. Despite not including significant sites such as the Temple Mount/Al-Haram al-Sharif, Cust’s report is considered an authoritative source on the status quo, and is currently used by the Israeli authorities in reference to Christian sites.
1929: Rabbi Baruch Kaplan was a student in the Hebron yeshiva (religious school): “the Zionist mobs were yelling that “The Wall is ours!“….. The rabbi of Jerusalem at the time, Rabbi Yosef Chaim Zonnenfeld begged them to stop and to be appreciative to the Arabs for allowing Jews to pray at the Wall for so many centuries undisturbed”
March 1930: Report of the Commission on the Palestine Disturbances of August 1929 or Shaw Report was to look into the reasons for the violent rioting in Palestine in late August 1929; a British report of a Commission of Inquiry, chaired by Sir Walter Shaw, a distinguished jurist, and consisting of three members of the British parliament, Sir Henry Betterton (Conservative), R. Hopkin Morris (Liberal) and Henry Snell (Labour).
NOTE: ‘Delving beneath the immediate causes – i.e., the Western Wall dispute, inflammatory publications on both sides, the enlargement of the Jewish Agency, inadequate forces to maintain order, the report called attention to the underlying causes of friction in England’s wartime pledges and in the anti-Jewish hostility that had resulted from the political and economic frustrations of the Arabs. It went on to criticize the immigration and land-purchase policies that, it said, gave Jews unfair advantages. The commission also recommended that the British take greater care in protecting the rights and understanding the aspirations of the Arabs. The Shaw report was a blow to Zionists everywhere.
October 20, 1930: Passfield White Paper, issued by colonial secretary Lord Passfield, was a formal statement of British policy in Palestine, which previously had been set by the Churchill White Paper of 1922; the white paper limited official Jewish immigration to a much greater degree. The Passfield White Paper found this Zionist policy damaging to the economic development of the Arab population.
October 21, 1930: Report on Immigration, Land Settlement and Development or Hope Simpson Report was an investigation into governance of the British Mandate of Palestine, which had been recommended by the Shaw Report, following the widespread 1929 Palestine riots. Headed by Sir John Hope Simpson, the report was dated October 1, 1930, but was released on October 21, 1930; recommended limiting Jewish immigration due to the lack of agricultural land to support it.
NOTE: Hope Simpson report …. from a communication from Agudath Israel, the body of orthodox Jews: ” …. the attitude towards immigrants of the religious class has been very unsatisfactory up to the present. In Poland, …. young men of this class were refused immigration certificates, in spite of the fact that such religious people have a still greater longing for Palestine owing to the holiness of the land and to the respective religious bidding ….”
1930: Ze’ev Jabotinsky, was visiting South Africa, at that time, he was informed by the British Colonial Office that he would not be allowed to return to Palestine.
1931-1948: Irgun (The National Military Organization in the Land of Israel), was a Zionist paramilitary group that operated in Mandate Palestine. It was an offshoot of the earlier and larger Jewish paramilitary organization Haganah. When the group broke from the Haganah it became known as the Haganah Bet (Second Defense). Irgun members were absorbed into the Israel Defense Forces at the start of the 1948 Arab–Israeli war. The Irgun is also referred to as Etzel (IZL).
NOTE: Irgun has been viewed as a terrorist organization or organization which carried out terrorist acts. In particular the Irgun was branded a terrorist organization by Britain, the 1946 Zionist Congress and the Jewish Agency. Two of the operations for which the Irgun is best known are the bombing of the King David Hotel in Jerusalem on July 22, 1946, and the Deir Yassin massacre, carried out together with Lehi on April 9, 1948.
November 18, 1931: Census of Palestine was carried out by the authorities of the British Mandate of Palestine; total population reported was 1,033,314 – an increase of 36.8% since 1922, of which the Jewish population increased by 108.4%; the population was divided by religion as follows: 759,717 Muslims, 174,610 Jews, 91,398 Christians, 9,148 Druzes, 350 Bahais, 182 Samaritans, and 421 “no religion”. Also, gave the fraction of persons living in Palestine in 1931 who were born outside Palestine: Muslims, 2%; Christians, 20%; Jews, 58%.
March 24, 1933: “Judea Declares War On Germany“, Jews Of All The World Unite In Action, was the front-page headline of the March 24, 1933 edition of the British newspaper Daily Express. It was the headline for an article that announced a boycott against German goods. The rest of the mass media did not describe the boycott as a declaration of war. The Nizkor Project says the attempted boycott was declared in response to the anti-Semitic actions by Nazi Germany under Adolf Hitler.
NOTE: Three days after the headline was published, a meeting of representatives of British Jews, the Jewish Board of Deputies, denied that there was a boycott against Germany.
August 25, 1933: Haavara Agreement was signed after three months of talks by the Zionist Federation of Germany (die Zionistische Vereinigung für Deutschland), the Anglo-Palestine Bank (under the directive of the Jewish Agency) and the economic authorities of Nazi Germany. The agreement was designed to help facilitate the emigration of German Jews to Palestine. While it helped Jews emigrate, it forced them to give up most of their possessions to Germany before departing. Those assets could later be obtained by transferring them to Palestine as German export goods.
1934: Edmond de Rothschild stated in a letter to the League of Nations that “the struggle to put an end to the Wandering Jew, could not have as its result, the creation of the Wandering Arab”
1934: Ze’ev Jabotinsky wrote a draft constitution for the Jewish state which declared that Arabs would be on an equal footing with their Jewish counterparts “throughout all sectors of the country’s public life.” The two communities would share the state’s duties, both military and civil service, and enjoy its prerogatives. Jabotinsky proposed that Hebrew and Arabic should enjoy equal rights and that “in every cabinet where the prime minister is a Jew, the vice-premiership shall be offered to an Arab and vice versa”
NOTE: In Israel, there are more streets, parks and squares named after Jabotinsky than any other figure in Jewish or Israeli history.
1935: Izz ad-Din Abd al-Qadar ibn Mustafa ibn Yusuf ibn Muhammad al-Qassam was a Muslim preacher who was a leader in the fight against British, French, and Zionist organizations in the Levant in the 1920s and 1930s. Born in Syria, he later immigrated to British Mandate Palestine where he eventually found his death in a violent confrontation with the British authorities. By 1935 he had recruited several hundred men,-the figures differ, from 200 to 800,- organized in cells of 5 men, and arranged military training for peasants. The cells were equipped with bombs and firearms, which they used to raid Jewish settlements and sabotage British-constructed rail lines. Though striking a responsive chord among the rural poor and urban underclass, his movement deeply perturbed the Muslim urban elite as it threatened their political and patronage connections with the British Mandatory authorities.
April 25, 1936: The Arab Higher Committee or the Higher National Committee was the central political organ of the Arab community of Mandate Palestine. It was established on , on the initiative of Hajj Amin al-Husayni, the Grand Mufti of Jerusalem, and comprised the leaders of Palestinian Arab clans and political parties under the mufti’s chairmanship.
NOTE: The Committee was outlawed by the British Mandatory administration in September 1937. A committee of the same name was reconstituted by the Arab League in 1945, but went to abeyance after it proved ineffective during the 1948 Arab-Israeli War. It was banned by Jordan in 1948, and sidestepped by Egypt and the Arab League with the formation of the All-Palestine Government in 1948.
1936–1939: Arab revolt in Palestine was a nationalist uprising by Palestinian Arabs in Mandatory Palestine against British colonial rule, motivated by opposition to mass Jewish immigration. The rebellion was brutally suppressed by the British Army and the Palestine Police Force using repressive measures that were intended to intimidate the Arab population and undermine popular support for the revolt. According to official British figures covering the whole revolt, the army and police killed more than 2,000 Arabs in combat, 108 were hanged, and 961 died because of gang and terrorist activities. In an analysis of the British statistics, Walid Khalidi estimates 19,792 casualties for the Arabs, with 5,032 dead: 3,832 killed by the British and 1,200 dead because of terrorism, and 14,760 wounded. Over ten percent of the adult male Palestinian Arab population between 20 and 60 was killed, wounded, imprisoned or exiled. Estimates of the number of Palestinian Jews killed range from 91 to several hundred.
July 7, 1937: Peel Commission (British Royal Commission) proposed a Palestine divided into an Arab state, a Jewish state (about 15%), and an international zone; the report recommended that the Mandate be eventually abolished—except in a “corridor” surrounding Jerusalem, stretching to the Mediterranean coast at Jaffa—and the land under its authority (and accordingly, the transfer of both Arab and Jewish populations) be apportioned between an Arab and Jewish state. The Jewish side was to receive a territorially smaller portion in the mid-west and north, from Mount Carmel to south of Be’er Tuvia, as well as the Jezreel Valley and the Galilee, while the Arab state was to receive territory in the south and mid-east which included Judea, Samaria, and the sizable Negev desert.
July 1, 1937: Palestine Royal Commission Report recommended that the Mandate be eventually abolished—except in a “corridor” surrounding Jerusalem, stretching to the Mediterranean coast at Jaffa—and the land under its authority (and accordingly, the transfer of both Arab and Jewish populations) be apportioned between an Arab and Jewish state. The Jewish side was to receive a territorially smaller portion in the mid-west and north, from Mount Carmel to south of Be’er Tuvia, as well as the Jezreel Valley and the Galilee, while the Arab state was to receive territory in the south and mid-east which included Judea, Samaria, and the sizable Negev desert.
November 1937: Irgun instituted a wave of bombings against Arab crowds and buses. For the first time in the conflict massive bombs were placed in crowded Arab public places, killing and maiming dozens. These attacks substantially increased Arab casualties and sowed terror among the population. The first attack was on November 11, 1937, killing two Arabs at the bus depot near Jaffa Street in Jerusalem and then on November 14, Arabs were killed in simultaneous attacks around Palestine. More deadly attacks followed: on July 6, 1938, 21 Arabs were killed and 52 wounded by a bomb in a Haifa market; on July 25 a second market bomb in Haifa killed at least 39 Arabs and injured 70; a bomb in Jaffa’s vegetable market on August 26, killed 24 Arabs and wounded 39. The attacks were condemned by the Jewish Agency.
November 14, 1937: HaHavlagah was a strategic policy used by the Haganah members with regard to actions taken against Arab groups who were attacking the Jewish settlement during the British Mandate of Palestine. Its core principles were fortification and abstention from taking revenge on Arabs by attacking innocent civilians. The political leadership and many leftwing Zionist groups supported the Havlagah policy. This day later would be commemorated as the “Day of the Breaking of the Havlagah (restraint).
December 31, 1937: Palestine (Defence) Order in Council, authorizing the British High Commissioner in Palestine to enact such regulations – “as appear to him in his unfettered discretion to be necessary or expedient for securing public safety, the defense of Palestine, the maintenance of public order and the suppression of mutiny, rebellion, and riot and for maintaining supplies and services essential to the life of the community”
1937: Churchill to Palestine Royal Commission, “I do not admit… that a great wrong has been done to the Red Indians of America, or the black people of Australia… by the fact that a stronger race, a higher grade race… has come in and taken its place”
1937: Amram Blau was a Haredi rabbi from the Hungarian community of Jerusalem. He was one of the founders of the fiercely Anti-Zionist Neturei Karta. Blau was born in Jerusalem. Like his brother Rabbi Moshe Blau who was a leader in the Agudat Israel movement, he was also active in the Aguda during the British Mandate era and was the editor of its newspaper, Kol Israel (Voice of Israel). But when the Aguda began to lean towards a modus vivendi with the Zionist leaders, Blau claimed that the Aguda had sold out to the Zionist movement and in 1937 broke away and founded Neturei Karta. Unceasingly he denounced the establishment of a Jewish state before the coming of the Messiah as an act of infamy and blasphemy.
NOTE: Rabbi Blau deplored the actions of the Zionists against the Muslim and Christian Palestinians and the grievous harm done by the Zionists to the Jewish people in endeavoring to change them from “a kingdom of priests and a holy nation” to a modern state, devoid of spiritual foundation, based on chauvinism, built on conquest, and relying on military prowess. Rabbi Blau was imprisoned many times in Jerusalem, by the Zionists.
1937: Prince Rashed Al Khuzai, his full name: Prince Rashed bin Prince Khuzai bin Durgham bin Fayad bin Prince Mustapha bin Salameh Al Fraihat, was a Jordanian nationalist and an influential Sunni Islamic political leader and struggler in the British Mandate of Jordan. In 1937, he launched and ignited the Revolution of Ajloun by forming an Arab militant group named Rebels of Ajloun, which he led against colonialism until his death in 1957; he had a very strong and close relationship with Sheikh Izz ad-Din al-Qassam. The majority of Palestinian fighters from the guerrilla during the war in Lebanon in 1982 had pictures of Prince Rashid Al Khuzai in their pockets and ammunition.
NOTE: Prince Rashed Al Khuzai participated in many regional events, and when sectarian strife erupted in Lebanon, Syria, around the end of the Ottoman Empire, Prince Rashed Al Khuzai received refugees from the Christians from all the Levant and the worked for his nation and provided protection of Christians in East Jordan at that time, was the spark that sedition began in 1860 and continued for many years and completed the role of Prince Abdel Khader Aljazaery, and Prince Rashed declared at that time that any assault or abuse that would happen to any Christian, that would be considered an attack on his person and his tribe and all tribes under his rule and would be a penalty.
1937: Jan Christiaan Smuts was a prominent South African and British Commonwealth statesman; he served as Prime Minister of the Union of South Africa. Smuts, who supported the Balfour Declaration, met and became friends with Chaim Weizmann, the future President of Israel, in London. However, Smuts was deputy prime minister when the Hertzog government in 1937 passed the Aliens Act that was aimed at preventing Jewish immigration to South Africa.
NOTE: Smuts was a vocal supporter of segregation of the races and the practice of apartheid: “The old practice mixed up black with white in the same institutions, and nothing else was possible after the native institutions and traditions had been carelessly or deliberately destroyed. But in the new plan there will be what is called in South Africa “segregation”; two separate institutions for the two elements of the population living in their own separate areas. Separate institutions involve territorial segregation of the white and black. If they live mixed together it is not practicable to sort them out under separate institutions of their own. Institutional segregation carries with it territorial segregation”
Smuts once said: “Great as are the changes wrought by this war, the great world war of justice and freedom, I doubt whether any of these changes surpass in interest the liberation of Palestine and its recognition as the Home of Israel”
1938: Haganah actively supported British efforts to suppress the uprising, which reached 10,000 Arab fighters at their peak during the summer and fall of 1938. Although the British administration did not officially recognize the Haganah, the British security forces cooperated with it by forming the Jewish Settlement Police, Jewish Supernumerary Police, and Special Night Squads. The Special Night Squads engaged in activities described by colonial administrator Sir Hugh Foot, as ‘extreme and cruel’ involving torture, whipping, abuse and execution of Arabs.
July 6-15, 1938: Évian Conference was convened at the initiative of US President Franklin D. Roosevelt to discuss the issue of increasing numbers of Jewish refugees fleeing Nazi persecution. For eight days, from July 6 to 15, representatives from 32 countries and 39 private organizations met at Évian-les-Bains, France. Twenty-four voluntary organizations also attended, as observers, many of whom presented plans orally and in writing. Around 200 journalists came from all over the world to observe.
NOTE: With both the United States and Britain refusing to take in substantial numbers of Jews, the conference was ultimately seen as a failure. At that time a German offer was made to release Jews at $250 per person. The Jewish Agency, headed by Golda Meir, decided to ignore the offer.
November 7, 1938: Ernst Eduard vom Rath was a German diplomat, remembered for his assassination in Paris by a Jewish youth, Herschel Grynszpan, which provided the pretext for Kristallnacht, The Night of Broken Glass. Grynszpan was never brought to trial.
November 9-10, 1938: Kristallnacht, also referred to as the Night of Broken Glass, or Reichskristallnacht, was a pogrom (a series of coordinated attacks) against Jews throughout Nazi Germany and parts of Austria, carried out by SA paramilitary and civilians. German authorities looked on without intervening. The attacks left the streets covered with broken glass from the windows of Jewish-owned stores, buildings, and synagogues.
NOTE: At least 91 Jews were killed in the attacks, and 30,000 were arrested and incarcerated in concentration camps. Jewish homes, hospitals, and schools were ransacked, as the attackers demolished buildings with sledgehammers. Over 1,000 synagogues were burned (95 in Vienna alone) and over 7,000 Jewish businesses destroyed or damaged.
November 9, 1938: Woodhead Commission (officially the Palestine Partition Commission) was a Royal Commission committee established by the British Government during the British Mandate to examine the technical aspects of implementing the partition of Palestine as proposed by the Peel Commission and suggest possible modifications. The Commission was appointed at the end of February 1938 and conducted its investigations from April to early August 1938. It published its conclusions on November 9, 1938, ultimately rejecting partition as unfeasible. According to British Prime Minister Ramsay MacDonald, the report of the commission indicated that only the Jewish state (allotted an area of 1,258 square kilometers) would be economically viable.
December 7, 1938: David Ben-Gurion, was an Israeli statesman. He is the main founder and the first Prime Minister of Israel. Ben-Gurion’s passion for Zionism, which began early in life, led him to become a major Zionist leader and Executive Head of the World Zionist Organization in 1946. As head of the Jewish Agency, and later president of the Jewish Agency Executive, he became the de facto leader of the Jewish community in Palestine, and largely led its struggle for an independent Jewish state in Palestine.
NOTE: He declared outright to the “Labor” Zionists: “If I knew it was possible to save all the children in Germany by taking them to England, and only half of the children by taking them to Eretz Israel, I would choose the second solution. For we must take into account not only the lives of these children but also the history of the people of Israel”
1938: Neturei Karta (“Guardians of the City”) is a Jewish sect, formally created in Jerusalem, British Mandate of Palestine, splitting off from Agudas Yisrael. Neturei Karta opposes Zionism and calls for a peaceful dismantling of the State of Israel, in the belief that Jews are forbidden to have their own state until the coming of the Jewish Messiah. They live as a part of larger Haredi communities around the globe; known in some places as “Friends of Jerusalem.”
1938: Mahatma Gandhi rejected Zionism, saying that the establishment of a Jewish national home in Palestine is a religious act and therefore must not be performed by force. He wrote, “Palestine belongs to the Arabs in the same sense that England belongs to the English or France to the French. It is wrong and inhuman to impose the Jews on the Arabs … Surely it would be a crime against humanity to reduce the proud Arabs so that Palestine can be restored to the Jews partly or wholly as their national home … They can settle in Palestine only by the goodwill of the Arabs. They should seek to convert the Arab heart.”
NOTE: Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi, commonly known as Mahatma Gandhi or Bapu (Father of Nation), was the preeminent leader of Indian nationalism in the Raj (British-ruled India). Employing non-violent civil disobedience, Gandhi led India to independence and inspired movements for non-violence, civil rights, and freedom across the world.
March 17, 1939: London Conference, or St James Palace Conference, was called by the British Government to plan the future governance of Palestine and an end of the Mandate. It opened on February 7, 1939 in St James’s Palace after which the Colonial Secretary, Malcolm MacDonald held a series of separate meetings with an Arab and a Jewish delegation, because the Arab delegation refused to sit in the same room as the Jewish delegation. When Maconald first announced the proposed conference he made clear that if no agreement was reached the government would impose a solution. The process came to an end after five and a half weeks with the British announcing proposals which were later published as the 1939 White Paper.
The Palestinian Arab delegation was led by Jamal Husseini and consisted of Awni Abd al-Hadi, Husayin al-Khalidi, Alfred Roch and Musa Alami. They were accompanied by George Antonius and Fu’ad Saba who were to act as secretaries. The Egyptian delegate was Aly Maher and Iraq was represented by its Prime Minister, Nuri Said. The Saudis were represented by Prince Faisal and Prince Khalid, both future kings of Saudi Arabia.
The Jewish Agency delegation was led by Chaim Weizmann, chairman of the World Zionist Organization, but it was David Ben Gurion, leader of the Jewish Agency, who dominated decision making. It was Ben Gurion who argued that the delegation should be in the name of the Jewish Agency rather than be called the Jewish delegation. But since they claimed to represent all Jews it included some non-Zionists such as Sholem Asch and Lord Melchett, as well as the president of Agudat Yisrael. The Zionists from American included Rabbi Stephen Wise and Henrietta Szold. The British Zionists included Selig Brodetsky. A sign of Ben Gurion’s power was his success in blocking Lord Herbet Samuel’s membership of the delegation.
May 23, 1939: White Paper of 1939, also known as the MacDonald White Paper after Malcolm MacDonald, the British Colonial Secretary who presided over it, was a policy paper issued by the British government under Neville Chamberlain in which the idea of partitioning the Mandate for Palestine, as recommended in the Peel Commission Report of 1937, was abandoned in favor of creating an independent Palestine governed by Palestinian Arabs and Jews in proportion to their numbers in the population by 1939.
NOTE: A limit of 75,000 Jewish immigrants was set for the five-year period 1940-1944, consisting of a regular yearly quota of 10,000, and a supplementary quota of 25,000, spread out over the same period, to cover refugee emergencies. After this cut-off date, further immigration would depend on the permission of the Arab majority. Restrictions were also placed on the rights of Jews to buy land from Arabs. The White Paper was published as Cmd 6019. It was approved by the House of Commons by 268 votes to 179.
August 1940: Lehi (“Fighters for the Freedom of Israel”), commonly referred to in English as the Stern Gang, was a militant Zionist group founded by Avraham (“Yair”) Stern in the British Mandate of Palestine. Its avowed aim was forcibly evicting the British authorities from Palestine, allowing unrestricted immigration of Jews and the formation of a Jewish state. It was initially called the National Military Organization in Israel, upon being founded in August 1940, but was renamed Lehi one month later.
November 25, 1940: Patria disaster was the sinking of a French-built ocean liner, the 11,885-ton SS Patria, in the port of Haifa, killing 267 people and injuring 172. At the time of the sinking, the Patria was carrying about 1,800 Jewish refugees from Nazi-occupied Europe whom the British authorities were deporting from Mandatory Palestine to Mauritius because they lacked entry permits. On November 22, Haganah agents smuggled a two-kilogram bomb aboard the ship, timed to explode at 9 p.m. that day. It failed, so a second, more powerful bomb was smuggled aboard on 24 November and hidden next to the ship’s inner hull. At 9 a.m. on November 25, it exploded.
NOTE: The Haganah had miscalculated the effect of the charge and it blew a large hole measuring three meters by two in the ship’s side, sinking her in only 16 minutes. The Haganah admitted that rather than let the passengers go to Mauritius, they blew up the vessel for its propaganda value.
May 15, 1941: Palmach (“strike forces”) was the elite fighting force of the Haganah, the underground army of the Yishuv (Jewish community) during the period of the British Mandate for Palestine. By the outbreak of the Israeli War for Independence in 1948 it consisted of over 2,000 men and women in three fighting brigades and auxiliary aerial, naval and intelligence units. Its members formed the backbone of the Israel Defense Forces high command for many years, and were prominent in Israeli politics, literature and culture.
February 24, 1942: Struma disaster was the sinking of a ship, MV Struma, that had been trying to take several hundred Jewish refugees from Axis-allied Romania to Mandatory Palestine. The Soviet submarine Shch-213 torpedoed her, killing an estimated 781 refugees plus 10 crew, making it the Black Sea’s largest exclusively civilian naval disaster of World War II.
December 17, 1942: Rabbi Dr Solomon Schonfeld was a British rabbi who is heralded as one of the most remarkable, yet least known of the Holocaust heroes. In late summer 1942 he convinced the Colonial Office to allow Jews to find safe haven in Mauritius. He discussed his ideas about rescue with a number of highly positioned church men and Members of Parliament, and organized Parliament-wide support for a motion that asked the government to make a declaration along the following lines:
“That in view of the massacres and starvation of Jews and others in enemy and enemy-occupied countries, this House asks H. M. Government, following the United Nations Declaration read to both Houses of Parliament on December, 17, 1942, and in consultation with the Dominion Governments and the Government of India, to declare its readiness to find temporary refuge in its own territories or in territories under its control for endangered persons who are able to leave those countries; to appeal to the Governments of countries bordering on enemy and enemy-occupied countries to allow temporary asylum and transit facilities for such persons; to offer to those Governments, so far as practicable, such help as may be needed to facilitate their co-operation; and to invite the other Allied Governments to consider similar action.”
NOTE: The Parliamentary motion omitted Palestine as a possible temporary haven and was therefore opposed by a vocal faction.
1943: In his book, “In Days of Holocaust and Destruction,” Yitzchak Gruenbaum writes, “when they asked me, couldn’t you give money out of the United Jewish Appeal funds for the rescue of Jews in Europe, I said, ‘NO!’ and I say again, ‘NO!’…one should resist this wave which pushes the Zionist activities to secondary importance”
February 18, 1943: Yitzhak Gruenbaum was a noted leader of the Zionist movement among Polish Jewry between the two world wars and of the Yishuv in Mandatory Palestine, and the first Interior Minister of Israel. Greenbaum was Rudolf Kasztner’s immediate superior in the Jewish Agency, as head of the Rescue Committee for European Jewry. Yitzhak Gruenbaum’s son, Eliezer Gruenbaum was described as a “exceptionally notorious” Kapo (Jewish policeman) at Auschwitz.
NOTE: He said in a speech in Tel Aviv, concerning the European Jews being slaughtered, “One cow in Palestine is more important than all the European Jews”.
October 6, 1943: Rabbis’ March was a demonstration in support of American and allied action to stop the destruction of European Jewry. It took place in Washington, D.C., three days before Yom Kippur. It was organized by Hillel Kook, nephew of the chief rabbi of Mandate Palestine and head of the Bergson Group, and involved more than 400 rabbis, mostly members of the Union of Orthodox Rabbis of the United States and Canada, from New York and cities throughout the eastern United States. President Franklin D. Roosevelt avoided meeting the rabbis; influenced by the advice of some of his Jewish aides and several prominent American Jews.
1943: Rabbi Stephen Samuel Wise was an Austro-Hungarian-born American Reform rabbi and Zionist leader. Rabbi Wise was a close friend of President Franklin D. Roosevelt, who turned to Wise for advice on issues concerning the Jewish community in the United States. In addition, Wise had also acted a liaison to previous President Wilson.
NOTE: Dr. David Kranzler has criticized Wise for his alleged failure to recognize the Holocaust prior to American entry into World War II, and the allegation that he dismissed early reports of the Final Solution as propaganda.
January 1944: President Franklin D. Roosevelt, under pressure from officials in his own government and an American Jewish community then fully aware of the extent of mass murder, took action to rescue European Jews. Following discussions with Treasury Department officials, he established the War Refugee Board (WRB) to facilitate the rescue of imperiled refugees. With the assistance of the American Jewish Joint Distribution Committee and the World Jewish Congress, as well as resistance organizations in German-occupied Europe, the WRB helped to rescue many thousands of Jews in Hungary, Romania, and elsewhere in Europe.
NOTE: President Roosevelt planned to open gates of America to 150,000 refugees, and Great Britain agreed to follow suit. When Roosevelt’s emissary Morris L. Ernst came to England, the Zionist leaders declared: “This is treason. You are undermining the Zionist movement”. As a result, Roosevelt informed Great Britain that the project must be abandoned: “We cannot put it over because the dominant vocal Jewish leadership won’t stand for it”
May 15, 1944: Rabbi Chaim Michael Dov Weissmandl, and shtadlan, who became known for his efforts to save the Jews of Slovakia from extermination at the hands of the Nazis during the Holocaust. Thanks to the efforts of his “Working Group”, which bribed German and Slovakian officials, the mass deportation of Slovakian Jews was delayed for two years, from 1942 to 1944. He also begged the Allies to bomb the rails leading to Auschwitz, but to no avail.
“And you – our brothers in Palestine, in all the countries of freedom, and you, ministers of all the kingdom – how do you keep silent in the face of this great murder? Silent while thousand on thousands, were murdered. And silent now while tens of thousands are still being murdered and waiting to be murdered? Their destroyed hearts cry to you for help as they bewail your cruelty. Brutal you are and murderers too you are, because of the cold-bloodedness of the silence in which you watch. Because you sit with folded arms and you do nothing, though you could stop or delay the murder of Jews at this very hour. In the name of the blood of the thousands on thousands who have been murdered we beg, we plead, we cry out and demand that you take action, that you do deeds now – at once !
November 6, 1944: Walter Edward Guinness, 1st Baron Moyne was an Anglo-Irish politician and businessman. He served as the British minister of state in the Middle East, when he was assassinated by the Jewish terrorist group Lehi. The assassination of Lord Moyne sent shock waves through Palestine and the rest of the world. Moyne was regarded as personally responsible for Britain’s Palestine policy. In particular, he was regarded as one of the architects of Britain’s strict immigration policy, and to have been responsible for the British hand in the Struma disaster. Lord Moyne was known to the underground as an Arabist who had consistently followed an anti-Zionist line.
1945: 26.4 million dunams (26,400 km²) of land in Mandate Palestine, 12.8 million was owned by Arabs, 1.5 million by Jews, 1.5 million was public land and 10.6 million constituted the desertic Beersheba district (Negev); of the 9.2 million dunams of land that was arable, 7.8 million dunams was owned by Arabs, 1.2 million by Jews and 0.2 million was public land
February 11, 1945: Yalta Conference stipulated that the remaining Mandates (including Palestine) should be placed under the trusteeship of the United Nations, with the dissolution of the League of Nations after World War II; mandates of the League of Nations thus became United Nations Trust Territories.
April 5, 1945: King of Saudi Arabia Ibn Saud expressed his concern in a letter to US President Franklin D. Roosevelt lest the US support for Zionism will infringe on the rights of the Arabs of Palestine.
On April 5, 1945, the President replied in a letter to the King that: “I would take no action, in my capacity as Chief of the Executive Branch of this Government, which might prove hostile to the Arab people”; following Roosevelt’s death, the Truman administration publicly adhered to the policy announced in the letter in an official statement released on October 18, 1945.
August 30, 1945: Rabbi Joel Teitelbaum was the founder and first Grand Rebbe of the Satmar dynasty. A major figure in the postwar renaissance of Hasidism, he espoused a strictly conservative and isolationist line, rejecting modernity. Teitelbaum was renowned for his vocal opposition to Zionism in all arenas. He encouraged his followers to form self-sufficient communities without assistance from the secular State of Israel and forbade any “official” engagement with it.
September 27, 1945: Israeli “Defense (Emergency) Regulations” (b) is declared by the High Commissioner, by notification in the Gazette, The Palestine Gazette, No. 1442. Published by the British Government, Palestine; Reg. 84 – (a) by its constitution or propaganda or otherwise advocates, incites or encourages any of the following unlawful acts, that is to say — (i) the overthrow by force or violence of the constitution of Palestine or the Government of Palestine; (ii) the bringing into hatred or contempt of, or the exciting of disaffection against, His Majesty’s Government in the United Kingdom or the Government of Palestine or the High Commissioner in his official capacity; (iii) the destruction of or injury to property of His Majesty’s Government in the United Kingdom or of the Government of Palestine; (iv) acts of terrorism directed against servants of His Majesty’s Government in the United Kingdom or against the High Commissioner or against servants of the Government of Palestine; (b) is declared by the High Commissioner, by notification in the Gazette, to be an unlawful association; 119. (1) A Military Commander may by order direct the forfeiture to the Government of Palestine of any house, structure, or land from which he has reason to suspect that any firearm has been illegally discharged, or any bomb, grenade or explosive or incendiary article illegally thrown, or of any house, structure or land situated in any area, town, village, quarter or street the inhabitants or some of the inhabitants of which he is satisfied have committed, or attempted to commit, or abetted the commission of, or been accessories after the fact to the commission of, any offence against these Regulations involving violence or intimidation or any Military Court offence ; and when any house, structure or land is forfeited as aforesaid, the Military Commander may destroy the house or the structure or anything on growing on the land. (2) Members of His Majesty’s forces or of the Police Force, acting under the authority of the Military Commander may seize and occupy, without compensation, any property in any such area, town, village, quarter or street as is referred to in subregulation (1), after eviction without compensation, of the previous occupiers, if any.
NOTE: Israel did not become a state until 3 years later
October 24, 1945: United Nations was founded after World War II to replace the League of Nations. The UN officially came into existence upon ratification of the Charter by the five then-permanent members of the Security Council—France, the Republic of China, the Soviet Union, the United Kingdom and the United States—and by a majority of the other 46 signatories. The first meetings of the General Assembly, with 51 nations represented, and the Security Council, took place in Methodist Central Hall Westminster in London beginning January 6, 1946.
November 24, 1945: US President Harry S. Truman recommended that there be no Jewish State; out of concern that it would require excessive US resources to defend it.
1946: Anglo-American Committee of Inquiry was a joint British and American attempt to agree upon a policy as regards the admission of Jews to Palestine. The Committee was tasked to consult representative Arabs and Jews on the problems of Palestine, and to make other recommendations ‘as may be necessary’ to the British and American governments. The Committee’s recommendations addressed the matter of immigration and the future government of Palestine. Although one of many committees of inquiry which examined the situation in Palestine, the Anglo-American committee was the only one to also examine the conditions of Jews in Europe. The committee held a large number of hearings in early 1946.
NOTE: The British government suggested the inquiry in the belief that it would agree with their decision to halt Jewish migration into Palestine and thus disarm American pressure. To this end the British agreed to abide by the committee’s findings, but made sure that British committee members had a record of supporting Palestinian-Arab aspirations. Within several days of the release of the Committee’s findings, its implementation was in jeopardy. U.S. President Harry S. Truman angered the British Labour Party by issuing a statement supporting the 100,000 refugees but refusing to acknowledge other aspects of the finding. The British government had asked for US assistance in implementing the recommendations.
April 20, 1946: Report of the Anglo-American Committee of Enquiry Regarding the Problems of European Jewry and Palestine, was published in Lausanne. The Committee reported. Its recommendations were as follows: Recommendation No. 1. We have to report that such information as we received about countries other than Palestine gave no hope of substantial assistance in finding homes for Jews wishing or impelled to leave Europe. But Palestine alone cannot meet the emigration needs of the Jewish victims of Nazi and Fascist persecution; the whole world shares responsibility for them and indeed for the resettlement of all “displaced persons”. We therefore recommend that our Governments together, and in association with other countries, should endeavor immediately to find new homes for all such “displaced persons”, irrespective of creed or nationality, whose ties with their former communities have been irreparably broken. Though emigration will solve the problems of some victims of persecution, the overwhelming majority, including a considerable number of Jews, will continue to live in Europe. We recommend therefore that our Governments endeavor to secure that immediate effect is given to the provision of the United Nations Charter calling for “universal respect for, and observance of, human rights and fundamental freedoms for all without distinction as to race, sex, language, or religion”; Recommendation No. 3. In order to dispose, once and for all, of the exclusive claims of Jews and Arabs to Palestine, we regard it as essential that a clear statement of the following principles should be made: I. That Jew shall not dominate Arab and Arab shall not dominate Jew in Palestine, II. That Palestine shall be neither a Jewish state nor an Arab state; III. That the form of government ultimately to be established, shall, under international guarantees, fully protect and preserve the interests in the Holy Land of Christendom and of the Moslem and Jewish faiths. Thus Palestine must ultimately become a state which guards the rights and interests of Moslems, Jews and Christians alike; and accords to the inhabitants, as a whole, the fullest measure of self-government, consistent with the three paramount principles set forth above. Recommendation No. 10. We recommend that, if this Report is adopted, it should be made clear beyond all doubt to both Jews and Arabs that any attempt from either side, by threats of violence, by terrorism, or by the organization or use of illegal armies to prevent its execution, will be resolutely suppressed.
June 29, 1946: Operation Agatha, British troops searched the Jewish Agency and confiscated large quantities of documents which contained incriminating information about the Agency’s involvement with violent acts; intelligence information was taken to the King David Hotel, where it was initially kept in the offices of the Secratariat in the southern wing
July 22, 1946: King David Hotel bombing was an attack carried out by the militant right-wing Zionist underground organization the Irgun Tzvai-Leumi on the British administrative headquarters for Palestine, which was housed in the King David Hotel in Jerusalem; 91 people of various nationalities were killed and 46 were injured. It remains the deadliest explosion in the Arab-Israeli Conflict to date.
August 1946: Morrison-Grady Plan, British proposal for the solution of the Palestine problem on the basis of federalization or cantonization. The plan had been raised by Herbert Morrison, Deputy Prime Minister of Britain and Ambassador Henry Grady for the United States.
October 1946: British officials in Jerusalem described a steady build-up of tension as Britain, the US, the United Nations and Zionists moved towards the partition of Palestine; UK officials warned London that Jewish opinion would oppose partition “unless the Jewish share were so enlarged as to make the scheme wholly unacceptable to Arabs”
1946: David K. Niles was a political advisor who worked in the White House from 1942–1951 for the administrations of Franklin Roosevelt and Harry Truman. Niles was one of only two Roosevelt aides retained by Truman upon his assumption of the presidency. Niles was deeply sympathetic to the Zionist hope of establishing a Jewish state in their homeland in Palestine, and was important in providing access to the White House for American Zionists. Niles was said to be capable of bending the president’s ear to Zionist arguments. Niles was able to quell Truman’s fears about Arab reactions by convincing him not to worry about Roosevelt’s promise to Ibn Saud because FDR had once said to his White House staff that “‘he could do anything that needed to be done with Ibn Saud with a few million dollars.” Niles also attempted to downplay the threat of a violent Arab retaliation predicted by the State Department by claiming that “‘the danger of unifying the Moslem world can be discounted because a good part of the Moslem world follows Gandhi and his philosophy of non-resistance.” (Snetsinger 38).
NOTE: There were allegations of Communist connections to Niles: A Venona decrypted message from New York to Moscow reported on a plan to send a husband and wife team of NKVD ‘illegals’ to Mexico. The message reads: Through CAPITAN’S (Roosevelt’s) advisor David Niles –will take 3-4 days, will cost 500 dollars…. [A]round Niles there is a group of his friends who will arrange anything for a bribe. Through them TENOR (Michael W. Burd) obtains priorities and has already paid them as much as 6000 dollars. Whether NILES takes a bribe himself is not known for certain. Burd was a Soviet agent and an officer of the Midland Export Corporation in New York City.
October 4, 1946: US policy had shifted from supporting just Jewish immigration to Palestine to supporting the creation of a “viable Jewish state in an adequate area of Palestine”; this action directly contradicted the US State Department’s policy regarding Palestine.
1947-1949: Arab Liberation Army was an army of volunteers from Arab countries led by Fawzi al-Qawuqji; he hoped to acquire some of northern Palestine for Syria; in 1948, fighters defected from the Arab Liberation Army to the Israel Defense Forces. The Arab Legion was the regular army of Transjordan; the Legion was to secure the West Bank for Transjordan. The Army of the Holy War was a Palestinian Arab irregular force led by Abd al-Qadir al-Husayni and Hasan Salama. The Army of the Holy War had over 50,000 Palestinian Arabs available for local defense but a force of only 5,000 to 10,000 available to be sent where needed. Egypt agreed to participate only four days before the war began on May 15, 1948.
February 7, 1947: Britain announced its intent to terminate the Mandate for Palestine; Recommendation for Termination of the Present, Mandate on a Basis of Partition; Briefly summarized the major recommendation of the commission is that the existing Mandate should be terminated and that there should be in substitution for it two treaties with independent sovereign Arab and Jewish States, covering roughly two-thirds and one-third of Palestine respectively; and the issue of a new permanent mandate. to Great Britain for the government of Jerusalem, Bethlehem and Nazareth, with a corridor from Jerusalem to the sea, and a temporary continuation of British administration in Haifa, Acre and Tiberias, the policy of the Balfour Declaration would not apply to this mandated area.
April 2, 1947: Britain formally asked the United Nations to make recommendations regarding Palestine.
May 1947: A bill was introduced in Congress Rep. William G. Stratton, R-Ill., to permit entry of 400,000 displaced persons (Europeans Jews) into the United States. Design of the bill to take care of the problem of the unsettled and homeless people of Europe who do not dare to return to their former homes for fear of persecution, abuse or death. The Stratton bill was a lifeboat to hundreds of thousands of people, yet it faced stiff opposition and was not passed.
May 14, 1947: USSR supports partition; without changing its official anti-Zionist stance, from late 1944, until 1948 and even later, Joseph Stalin adopted a pro-Zionist foreign policy, apparently believing that the new country would be socialist and would accelerate the decline of British influence in the Middle East.
May 15, 1947: United Nations Special Committee on Palestine (UNSCOP) was created in response to a United Kingdom government request that the General Assembly “make recommendations under article 10 of the Charter, concerning the future government of Palestine”. UNSCOP was made up of representatives of 11 nations; Australia, Canada, Czechoslovakia, Guatemala, India, Iran, Netherlands, Peru, Sweden, Uruguay and Yugoslavia. UNSCOP visited Palestine and gathered testimony from Zionist organizations in Palestine and in the US. The Arab Higher Committee boycotted the Commission, explaining that the Palestinian Arabs’ natural rights were self-evident and could not continue to be subject to investigation, but rather deserved to be recognized on the basis of the principles of the United Nations Charter.
July 11, 1947: SS Exodus was a ship that carried, 4,515 passengers including 1,600 men, 1,282 women, and 1,672 children and teenagers. Sailing from Sète, France to British Mandatory Palestine. All the passengers were Jewish emigrants, most of which were Holocaust survivors who had no legal immigration certificates for Palestine. The British Royal Navy seized the ship, when one crew member and two passengers died of gunshot wounds. The ship was flying a Honduran flag and claiming to be headed for Istanbul. Palmach (Haganah’s military wing) skipper Ike Aronowicz was its captain and Haganah commissioner Yossi Harel was commander. Britain, eventually, deported all the passengers back to Hamburg, Germany, which was then in the British occupation zone.
September 3, 1947: UNSCOP Report: The independent federal state would comprise an Arab State and a Jewish State. Jerusalem would be its capital. During the transitional period a Constituent Assembly would be elected by popular vote and convened by the administering authority on the basis of electoral provisions which would ensure the fullest representation of the population. The federal state would comprise a federal government and governments of the Arab and Jewish States, respectively. Full authority would be vested in the federal government with regard to national defense, foreign relations, immigration, currency, taxation for federal purposes, foreign and inter-state waterways, transport and communications, copyrights and patents. The Arab and Jewish States would enjoy full powers of local self-government and would have authority over education, taxation for local purposes, the right of residence, commercial licenses, land permits, grazing rights, inter-state migration, settlement, police, punishment of crime, social institutions and services, public housing, public health, local roads, agriculture and local industries. Election to one chamber of the federal legislative body would be on the basis of proportional representation of the population as a whole, and to the other on the basis of equal representation of the Arab and Jewish citizens of Palestine. The constitution was to guarantee equal rights for all minorities and fundamental human rights and freedoms. It would guarantee, inter alia, free access to the Holy Places and protect religious interests. The constitution would provide for an undertaking to settle international disputes by peaceful means. There would be a single Palestinian nationality and citizenship. A permanent international body was to be set up for the supervision and protection of the Holy Places, to be composed of three representatives designated by the United Nations and one representative of each of the recognized faiths having an interest in the matter, as might be determined by the United Nations. The minority plan also laid down the boundaries of the proposed Arab and Jewish areas of the federal state.
November 25, 1947: UN General Assembly members vote on the UN Partition Plan and passed the “committee” vote, twenty-five to thirteen with seventeen abstentions; this vote was one short of the 2/3 majority, needed to pass the General Assembly.
November 27-28, 1947: Proponents of the Plan reportedly put pressure on nations to vote yes to the Partition Plan. A telegram signed by 26 US senators with influence on foreign aid bills was sent to wavering countries, seeking their support for the partition plan. Many nations reported pressure directed specifically at them:
United States (Vote: For): President Truman later noted, “The facts were that not only were there pressure movements around the United Nations unlike anything that had been seen there before, but that the White House, too, was subjected to a constant barrage. I do not think I ever had as much pressure and propaganda aimed at the White House as I had in this instance. The persistence of a few of the extreme Zionist leaders—actuated by political motives and engaging in political threats—disturbed and annoyed me.” India (Vote: Against): Indian Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru spoke with anger and contempt for the way the UN vote had been lined up. He said the Zionists had tried to bribe India with millions and at the same time his sister, Vijaya Lakshmi Pandit, had received daily warnings that her life was in danger unless “she voted right.” Liberia (Vote: For): Liberia’s Ambassador to the United States complained that the US delegation threatened aid cuts to several countries. Harvey S. Firestone, Jr., President of Firestone Natural Rubber Company, with major holdings in the country, also pressured the Liberian government. Philippines (Vote: For): In the days before the vote, the Philippines’ representative General Carlos P. Romulo stated “We hold that the issue is primarily moral. The issue is whether the United Nations should accept responsibility for the enforcement of a policy which is clearly repugnant to the valid nationalist aspirations of the people of Palestine. The Philippines Government holds that the United Nations ought not to accept such responsibility”. After a phone call from Washington, the representative was recalled and the Philippines’ vote changed. Haiti (Vote: For): The promise of a five million dollar loan may have secured Haiti’s vote for partition. France (Vote: For): Shortly before the vote, France’s delegate to the United Nations was visited by Bernard Baruch, a long-term Jewish supporter of the Democratic Party who, during the recent world war, had been an economic adviser to President Roosevelt, and had latterly been appointed by President Truman as the United States’ ambassador to the newly-created UN Atomic Energy Commission. He was, privately, a supporter of the Irgun and its front organization, the American League for a Free Palestine. Baruch implied that a French failure to support the resolution might cause planned American aid to France, which was badly needed for reconstruction, French currency reserves being exhausted and its balance of payments heavily in deficit, not to materialize. Previously, in order to avoid antagonizing its Arab colonies, France had not publicly supported the resolution. After considering the danger of American aid being withheld, France finally voted in favor of it. So, too, did France’s neighbors, Belgium, Luxembourg and the Netherlands.
November 29, 1947: UN General Assembly adopted a resolution recommending the adoption of the Partition Plan as Resolution 181(II); approved the United Nations Partition Plan for Palestine; vote was postponed twice and passed on a Saturday; the vote was 33 to 13, with 10 abstentions and 1 absent; the new states would come into existence no later than October 1, 1948; would lead to the creation of independent Arab and Jewish States and the Special International Regime for the City of Jerusalem; composed of three major sections, linked by extraterritorial crossroads; the Arab State would receive the Western Galilee, with the town of Acre, the hill country of Samaria and Judea, and the southern coast stretching from north of Isdud (now Ashdod) and encompassing what is now the Gaza Strip, with a section of desert along the Egyptian border; the Jewish State would receive the Coastal Plain, stretching from Haifa to Rehovot, the Eastern Galilee (surrounding the Sea of Galilee and including the Galilee panhandle) and the Negev, including the southern outpost of Umm Rashrash (now Eilat); the Corpus Separatum included Jerusalem, Bethlehem, and the surrounding areas
November 30. 1947: 1947–48 Civil War in Mandatory Palestine; this period constitutes the first phase of the 1948 Palestine war, during which the Jewish and Arab communities of Palestine clashed, while the British, who had the obligation to maintain order, organized their withdrawal and intervened only on an occasional basis. November 30, 1947 was the date of the United Nations General Assembly vote for the Partition Plan for Palestine. The war lasted until the termination of the British Mandate of Palestine on May 14, 1948.
1947: Population in Palestine – 67% non-Jewish (1,237,000) and 33% Jewish (608,000); under the UN Partition Plan the majority of the land (56 percent) goes to the Jewish state; area under Jewish control contained 45 percent of the Palestinian population; Arab state was given 43 percent of the land, much of which was unfit for agriculture; prior to the Partition Plan, non-Jewish people owned over 92% of the land, Jewish people owned less than 8% of the land
December 5, 1947: US declared an arms embargo in the Middle East; which prevented the Jews from getting arms, but did not affect contracts of the Arab states with Great Britain. The stand of President Truman on this embargo is unclear. Having withdrawn the means of defense, the State Department then tried to prove that the Jews would not be able to defend themselves in case of Arab attack.
December 17, 1947: A secret memo called for the US to renounce partition as impractical and asked that the US should convene a special session of the UN General Assembly to work out a “middle of the road” solution that would win support from Jews and Arabs. If this would be impossible, the US should favor a trusteeship plan, an idea that was favored by Loy Henderson, and that had been incubated for several months in the State Department.
December 1947: Battle for Jerusalem occurred from December 1947 to July 18, 1948, when Jewish and Arab population of Mandatory Palestine and later Israeli and Jordanian armies fought for the control of the city. According to the Partition Plan of Palestine, the city was to be placed under international rule in a corpus separatum. Fights nevertheless immediately broke in the city between Jewish and Arab militias with bombings and attacks coming from both sides. Starting in February 1948, Abd al-Qadir al-Husayni blockaded the road West of the city to prevent the supply of the Jewish population.
1947: In a secret report, at the end of 1947 from the American Consul General in Jerusalem, Robert Macatee, warned that “if the UN expects to be able to partition Palestine without forces to help maintain order and to enforce partition, its thinking is most unrealistic and its efforts will be in vain.” George F. Kennan
1948: United Nations Special Committee on Palestine (UNSCOP) report – the population had risen to 1,900,000, of whom 68% were Arabs, and 32% were Jews (including bedouin). The plan proposed by the majority in Chapter VI of the report of September 3, 1947, with only slight modifications to the proposed recommendations, became the Plan of Partition with Economic Union
January 6, 1948: Semiramis Hotel bombing was an attack carried out by the Haganah on the Christian owned Semiramis Hotel in the Katamon neighborhood of Jerusalem. The explosion killed 26 people.
February 16, 1948: UN Palestine Commission to the security council reported that: “Powerful Arab interests, both inside and outside Palestine, are defying the resolution of the General Assembly and are engaged in a deliberate effort to alter by force the settlement envisaged therein.” The Arabs were against the establishment of an international regime in Jerusalem too. The Arabs opposed any form of partition and continued to demand independence in all of Palestine. The Arabs argued that it violated the rights of the majority of the people in Palestine, which at the time was 67% non-Jewish (1,237,000) and 33% Jewish (608,000).
NOTE: Arabs have always reiterated that it was rejected because it was unfair: it gave the majority of the land (56%) to the Jews, who at that stage legally owned only 7% of it and remained a minority of the population. There were also disproportionate allocations under the plan and the area under Jewish control contained 45% of the Palestinian population. The proposed Arab state was only given 45% of the land, much of which was unfit for agriculture. Jaffa, though geographically separated, was to be part of the Arab state. However, most of the proposed Jewish state was the Negev desert. The plan allocated to the Jewish State most of the Negev desert that was sparsely populated and unsuitable for agriculture but also a “vital land bridge protecting British interests from the Suez Canal to Iraq”
March 19, 1948: Warren Austin, US ambassador to the United Nations, addressed the U.N. with the possibility of postponing the implementation of partition. The day before Austin’s address to the United Nations, Harry Truman had met with Chaim Weizzman, and promised him that the United States, and Truman in particular, still stood behind partition. Truman did make a point to publicly acknowledge and approve of the reversal most likely to give the appearance of a unified American front on the issue of Palestine.
April 1948: Operation Hametz was a Jewish operation towards the end of the British Mandate of Palestine. It was launched at the end of April 1948 with the objective of capturing villages inland from Jaffa and establishing a blockade around the town. The Irgun offensive included a continuous three day mortar bombardment of the town centre.
April 9, 1948: Deir Yassin massacre happened when around 120 fighters from the Irgun Zevai Leumi and Lohamei Herut Israel Zionist paramilitary groups attacked Deir Yassin near Jerusalem, a Palestinian-Arab village of roughly 600 people; around 107 villagers were killed.
April 13, 1948: Hadassah convoy massacre took place when a convoy, escorted by Haganah militia, bringing medical and military supplies and personnel to Hadassah Hospital on Mount Scopus was ambushed by Arab forces; seventy-eight Jewish doctors, nurses, students, patients, faculty members and Haganah fighters, and one British soldier were killed in the attack.
April 20, 1948: Operation Nachshon was a Jewish military operation, lasting from April 5-20, 1948, its objective was to break the Siege of Jerusalem by opening the Tel-Aviv – Jerusalem road blockaded by Palestinian Arabs and to supply food and weapons to the isolated Jewish community of Jerusalem. Nachshon was the first major Haganah operation and the first step of Plan Dalet whose aim was to conquer the area allotted to the Jews by the 1947 UN Partition Plan. The operation was carried out by the Givati and Harel Brigades.
May 8, 1948: Operation Maccabi and Operation Harel was an operation launched by the Haganah and Harel Brigade launched against the Arab Liberation Army and the Palestinian irregulars who occupied several villages along the Jerusalem road and prevented the resupplying of Jerusalem’s Jewish community. The Givati Brigade (on the west side) and Harel Brigade (on the east side) were engaged in fighting, notably in the Latrun area.
May 12, 1948: Minhelet HaAm (People’s Administration) was convened to vote on declaring independence; the decision was between accepting the American proposal for a truce, or declaring independence for Israel; the latter option was put to a vote, with six of the ten members present supporting it.
May 12, 1948: President Harry Truman gathered his advisers at the White House; Secretary of State George Marshall, Clark M. Clifford, special counsel to the president, and David K. Niles. Clark made the case for recognition and Marshall led the opposition. Clark argued that the United States must recognize the Jewish state as soon as possible in order to preempt Soviet recognition and possible Jewish attachment to the Soviet bloc. The members of the State Department found this a weak argument. (Fraser)
May 13, 1948: Operation Ben Ami was one of the last operations launched by the Haganah before the end of the British Mandate. The first phase of this operation was the capture of Acre. After the fall of Jaffa and Haifa the only remaining Arab towns with access to the Mediterranean Sea were Gaza and Acre. The population of Acre was swollen with refugees from Haifa which had been captured three weeks earlier. On the night of May 16/17, a mortar barrage was unleashed on the town and the following night it surrendered. Carmel’s operational order of May 19 read: “To attack in order to conquer, to kill among the men, to destroy and burn the villages…”
May 13, 1948: Kfar Etzion massacre was a massacre of 129 Jews by the Arab Legion, the day before the Israeli Declaration of Independence; all but four of the 133 inhabitants of Kibbutz Kfar Etzion were killed.
May 14, 1948: Operation Klashon, Jevussi and Schfifon were operations of the Haganah for the conquest of the whole of Jerusalem, including the Palestinian quarters, although the city and its environs were envisioned as a corpus separatum under a United Nations trusteeship according to the UN partition recommendation of November 29, 1947.
NOTE: A principal objective was “to seize every military and political opportunity to control the residential quarters of the enemy in order to produce geographic Jewish contiguity throughout the city and to move Jews into these quarters as their inhabitants leave them”
May 14, 1948: British Mandate over Palestine expired; massacres committed in Mandatory Palestine (March 1, 1920 – May 14, 1948); 64 massacres committed by Jews and 49 massacres committed by Arabs; incidents in which at least 3 people were deliberately killed and casualties that resulted from the initial attack on civilians or non-combat military personnel
May 14, 1948: State of Israel declared independence; the declaration states that the State of Israel would ensure complete equality of social and political rights to all its inhabitants irrespective of religion, race or sex, and guaranteed freedom of religion, conscience, language, education and culture. Also, included in the Declaration: “in the very midst of the onslaught launched against us now for months – to the Arab inhabitants of the State of Israel to preserve peace and participate in the upbuilding of the State on the basis of full and equal citizenship and due representation in all its provisional and permanent institutions. We extend our hand to all neighboring states and their peoples in an offer of peace and good neighborliness, and appeal to them to establish bonds of cooperation and mutual help with the sovereign Jewish people settled in its own land. The State of Israel is prepared to do its share in a common effort for the advancement of the entire Middle East”
NOTE: On the border issue, the original Declaration of Independence draft had declared that the borders would be that decided by the UN partition plan, but David Ben-Gurion stated, “We accepted the UN Resolution, but the Arabs did not. They are preparing to make war on us. If we defeat them and capture western Galilee or territory on both sides of the road to Jerusalem, these areas will become part of the state. Why should we obligate ourselves to accept boundaries that in any case the Arabs don’t accept?”; the inclusion of the designation of borders in the text was dropped after the provisional government of Israel, the vote was 5–4 against it.
Since the establishment of the State of Israel, the Zionist movement continues primarily to advocate on behalf of the Jewish state and address threats to its continued existence and security. In a less common usage, the term may also refer to non-political, cultural Zionism; and political support for the State of Israel by non-Jews, as in Christian Zionism.
NOTE: the Knesset maintains that the declaration is neither a law nor an ordinary legal document; the Supreme Court has ruled that the guarantees were merely guiding principles, and that the declaration is not a constitutional law making a practical ruling on the upholding or nullification of various ordinances and statutes.
May 14, 1948: Eleven minutes after the declaration went into force, the United States de facto recognized the State of Israel, the second recognition was from Iran.
May 15, 1948: State of Israel, Law and Administration Ordinance, Article 13, passed; 14. (a) Any power vested under the law in the King of England or in any of his Secretaries of State, and any power vested under the law in the High Commissioner, the High Commissioner in Council, or the Government of Palestine, shall henceforth vest in the Provisional Government, unless such power has been vested in the Provisional Council of State by any of its Ordinances. 15. (a) “Palestine”, wherever appearing in the law, shall henceforth be read as “Israel”.
May 15, 1948: State of Israel declares a state of emergency; thereby enacting the Israeli “Defense (Emergency) Regulations” to grant rule of law over – Meaning of expression “unlawful association”, Newspaper Permits, Police Supervison, Detention, Deportation, Forfeiture and and demolition of property, etc., Curfew, Closed Areas
NOTE: in the entire history of the State of Israel, this state of emergency has never not been in force and is renewed annually by the Knesset Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee at the cabinet’s request
May 15, 1948 – March 10, 1949: 1948 Arab–Israeli War or the First Arab–Israeli War was fought between the State of Israel and a military coalition of Arab states and Palestinian Arab forces. This war was the second stage of the 1948 Palestine war, known in Arabic as al-Nakba and in Hebrew as the Milkhemet Ha’atzma’ut or Milkhemet Hashikhrur. No Arab Palestinian state was created.
May 28, 1948: Jordanian occupation of the West Bank refers to the occupation and annexation of the West Bank (including East Jerusalem) by Jordan (formerly Transjordan), during a period of nearly two decades (1948–1967) in the aftermath of the 1948 Arab-Israeli War. The Arab Legion, trained and led by British officers, conquered the Old City of Jerusalem and took control of territory on the western side of the Jordan River, including the cities of Jericho, Bethlehem, Hebron and Nablus. Jordan’s annexation was regarded as illegal and void by the Arab League and others. It was recognized only by Britain, Iraq and Pakistan. The annexation of the West Bank more than doubled the population of Jordan.
June 30. 1948: State of Israel enacts – Abandoned Areas Ordinance, 5708-1948. defined an “abandoned area” as “any area or place conquered by or surrendered to armed forces or deserted by all or part of its inhabitants, and which has been declared by order to be an abandoned area.” All properties in these areas was also declared ‘abandoned’ and the government was authorized to determine what would be done with this property.
July 26, 1948: State of Israel proclaims captured West Jerusalem as their part of territory. In violation of the Partition Plan, Israel conquered the area which later would become West Jerusalem, along with major parts of the Arab territory allotted to the future Arab State.
September 16, 1948: State of Israel enacts – Area of Jurisdiction and Powers Ordinance, 5708-1948, extended Israeli land laws to “any part of Palestine which the Minister of Defense has defined by proclamation as being held by the Defense Army of Israel”
September 17, 1948: Folke Bernadotte was unanimously chosen to be the United Nations Security Council mediator in the Arab–Israeli conflict of 1947–1948. He was assassinated in Jerusalem in 1948 by the militant Zionist group Lehi while pursuing his official duties. The decision to assassinate him had been taken by Natan Yellin-Mor, Yisrael Eldad and Yitzhak Shamir, who later became Prime Minister of Israel.
September 22, 1948: All-Palestine Government was established by the Arab League, declared to cover the whole of the former Mandatory Palestine.
December 4, 1948: Extracts from a letter signed by Albert Einstein and many other prominent Jews to The New York Times:
“During the last years of sporadic anti-British violence, the IZL and Stern groups inaugurated a reign of terror in the Palestine Jewish community. Teachers were beaten up for speaking against them, adults were shot for not letting their children join them. By gangster methods, beatings, window-smashing, and wide-spread robberies, the terrorists intimidated the population and exacted a heavy tribute. The people of the Freedom Party have had no part in the constructive achievements in Palestine. They have reclaimed no land, built no settlements, and only detracted from the Jewish defense activity. Their much-publicized immigration endeavors were minute, and devoted mainly to bringing in Fascist compatriots.”
December 11, 1948: United Nations General Assembly Resolution 194 was passed, near the end of the 1948 Arab–Israeli War. The Resolution defined principles for reaching a final settlement and solving the refugee problem in the region. It called for an establishment of a U.N. Conciliation Commission to facilitate peace between Israel and Arab states, continuing the efforts of UN Mediator Folke Bernadotte, following his assassination. It also discussed solutions to refugee issues.
NOTE: Article 11; Resolves that the refugees wishing to return to their homes and live at peace with their neighbors should be permitted to do so at the earliest practicable date, and that compensation should be paid for the property of those choosing not to return and for loss of or damage to property which, under principles of international law or in equity, should be made good by the Governments or authorities responsible; Instructs the Conciliation Commission to facilitate the repatriation, resettlement and economic and social rehabilitation of the refugees and the payment of compensation, and to maintain close relations with the Director of the United Nations Relief for Palestine Refugees and, through him, with the appropriate organs and agencies of the United Nations;
1948-1970s: Aliyah from Arab countries, around 900,000 Jews from Arab lands left, fled, or were expelled from various Arab nations. In the course of Operation Magic Carpet (1949–1950), nearly the entire community of Yemenite Jews (about 49,000) immigrated to Israel. Its other name, Operation On Wings of Eagles.
February 1, 1949: Chaim Weizmann became the First President of Israel. He served in this, largely ceremonial, position until his death in 1952.
May 11, 1949: In the aftermath of the 1948 war, and conditional on Israel’s acceptance and implementation of resolutions 181 and 194, the UN General Assembly voted, with Resolution 273 (III), to admit Israel to UN membership as a “peace-loving country”. This resolution reiterated the demands for UN control over Jerusalem and for the return of Palestinian refugees.
NOTE: Resolution 181: United Nations Partition Plan for Palestine; Resolution 194: defined principles for reaching a final settlement and solving the refugee problem in the region.
May 12, 1949: Lausanne Protocol; by signing the Protocol, Arab countries recognized the Resolutions 194 and 181; although Israel had signed the protocol, it ignored the document, characterizing it as a “procedural device” without political significance; on the issue of Jerusalem, the Arab delegations accepted a permanent international regime under United Nations supervision as proposed in the Resolutions 181 and 194, Israel rejected this and preferred a division of Jerusalem into a Jewish and an Arabic zone, and international control and protection only for Holy Places and sites
NOTE: Significant international pressure was placed on both sides during the 1949 Lausanne Conference to resolve the refugee crisis. The parties signed a joint protocol on the framework for a comprehensive peace, which included territories, refugees, and Jerusalem, in which Israel agreed “in principle” to allow the return of all of the Palestinian refugees. According to author Ilan Pappe, this Israeli agreement was made under pressure from the United States, and because the Israelis wanted United Nations membership, which required Israeli agreement to allow the return of all refugees. Once Israel was admitted to the UN, it retreated from the protocol it had signed because it was completely satisfied with the status quo and saw no need to make any concessions with regard to the refugees or on boundary questions. This led to significant and sustained international criticism.
July 24, 1949: Palestinian Exodus (Nakba) occurred during the Arab–Israeli War – 472 Palestinian habitations (including towns and villages) were destroyed; 96% of the villages in the Jaffa area were totally destroyed, 90% of those in Tiberiade, 90.3% of those in Safad, and 95.9% of those in Beisan; 70, 280 Palestinian houses were destroyed; approximately 711,000 to 725,000 Palestinian Arabs left, fled or were expelled from their homes; property abandoned by Arab refugees passed into the control of the new Israeli government
August 1949: Geneva Convention relative to the Protection of Civilian Persons in Time of War, commonly referred to as the Fourth Geneva Convention, is one of the four treaties of the Geneva Conventions. It defines humanitarian protections for civilians in a war zone, and outlaws the practice of total war. There are currently 194 countries party to the 1949 Geneva Conventions, including this and the other three treaties.
NOTE: Section III. Occupied territories; Articles 47-78 impose substantial obligations on occupying powers. As well as numerous provisions for the general welfare of the inhabitants of an occupied territory, an occupier may not forcibly deport protected persons, or deport or transfer parts of its own civilian population into occupied territory (Art.49). Protected persons who are in occupied territory shall not be deprived, in any case or in any manner whatsoever, of the benefits of the present Convention by any change introduced, as the result of the occupation of a territory, into the institutions or government of the said territory, nor by any agreement concluded between the authorities of the occupied territories and the Occupying Power, nor by any annexation by the latter of the whole or part of the occupied territory (Art.47).
August 12, 1949: Israel signs the Fourth Geneva Convention; it was ratified on June 2, 1951. The Israeli Supreme Court ruled that the fundamental principles of international law, accepted as binding by all civilized nations, were to be incorporated in the domestic legal system of Israel. Including Article 47; Protected persons who are in occupied territory shall not be deprived, in any case or in any manner whatsoever, of the benefits of the present Convention by any change introduced, as the result of the occupation of a territory, into the institutions or government of the said territory, nor by any agreement concluded between the authorities of the occupied territories and the Occupying Power, nor by any annexation by the latter of the whole or part of the occupied territory.
December 13, 1949: Mossad was formed, as the “Central Institute for Coordination” at the recommendation of Prime Minister David Ben-Gurion to Reuven Shiloah. Ben Gurion wanted a central body to coordinate and improve cooperation between the existing security services—the army’s intelligence department (AMAN), the Internal Security Service (Shin Bet), and the foreign office’s “political department”. In March 1951, it was reorganized and made a part of the prime minister’s office, reporting directly to the prime minister.
1949: UNRWA estimate of the refugee count was 726,000; by June 1951, the UNRWA had the number of registered refugees to 876,000; the definition of Palestinian refugees as “persons of Arab origin who, after November 29, 1947, left territory at present under the control of the Israel authorities and who were Palestinian citizens at that date” and; “Persons of Arab origin who left the said territory after August 6, 1924 and before November 29, 1947 and who at that latter date were Palestinian citizens”
1949: Israel in control of some 20.5 million dunams (approx. 20,500 km²) of lands in what had been Mandate Palestine: 8% (approx. 1,650 km²) were privately controlled by Jews, 6% (approx. 1,300 km²) by Arabs, with the remaining 86% being public land.
1949: Armistice Agreements: February 24 – Israel–Egypt Armistice Agreement was signed: Egypt remained in control of a strip of land along the coast, which became known as the Gaza Strip; March 23 – agreement with Lebanon was signed; April 3 – agreement with Jordan was signed: Jordanian forces remained in most positions held by them in the West Bank, particularly East Jerusalem which included the Old City; July 20 – agreement with Syria was signed
NOTE: the new military frontiers for Israel, as set by the agreements, encompassed about 78% of mandatory Palestine
1950: Naeim Giladi is an Iraqi Jew, was an enthusiastic Zionist and spoke Arabic, making him potentially very valuable to Israel. When he made aliyah in 1950 he was accidentally given a name that appeared to be Polish. This led him to get many interviews for jobs but then be rejected on sight.
July 20, 1951: Abdullah I bin al-Hussein, King of Jordan is assassinated on the Temple Mount, while visiting Al-Aqsa Mosque in Jerusalem; he was shot dead by a Palestinian from the Husseini clan. At the time of his death, rumors were circulating that Lebanon and Jordan were discussing a joint separate peace with Israel. During World War I, he had allied with Britain and T. E. Lawrence.
April 1954: Baron Edmond Benjamin James de Rothschild died in 1934, his wife Adelheid died a year later; they were interred in Père Lachaise Cemetery in Paris until April 1954 when their remains were transported to Israel aboard a naval frigate. At the port of Haifa, the ship was met with sirens and a nineteen-gun salute. A state funeral was held with former Prime Minister David Ben-Gurion giving the eulogy following which they both were re-interred in Ramat HaNadiv Memorial Gardens near the towns of Zichron Ya’akov and Binyamina, both of which he helped found and are named in his family’s honor.
NOTE: It is estimated that Edmond de Rothschild spent over $50 million in supporting the settlements, and backed research in electricity by engineers and financed development of an electric generating station. Some of the colonies the Baron had founded were named after family members, such as Zichron Yaakov, Mazkeret Batya, Bat Shlomo, Binyamina, Givat Ada, and others. Altogether, the Baron purchased over half a million dunams (about 125,000 acres) in Israel, on which more than 40 villages were built. Upon the establishment of the State of Israel, the Rothschild Family granted most of the lands it owned throughout Israel to the nation as a gift. This is, notably, by far the largest donation of land to any country established in the Western world and a crucial impetus in the founding of the State of Israel. Rothschild Boulevard in Tel Aviv is named after him, as well as various localities throughout Israel which he assisted in founding. Rishon LeZion, the city which he helped to found named one of the central streets Rothschild Street.
October 1954: Attorney-General of the Government of Israel v. Malchiel Gruenwald, commonly known as the Kastner trial, was a libel case in Jerusalem, Israel. Gruenwald had accused Rudolf Kastner of collaborating with the Nazis in Hungary during the Holocaust. The Israeli government sued on Kastner’s behalf, calling him as one of 59 witness. The judge ruled in Gruenwald’s favor, accusing Kastner of having “sold his soul to the devil.” Kastner was assassinated outside his home in Tel Aviv in March 1957 as a result of the decision and the subsequent publicity.
1955: Jordan Valley Unified Water Plan, commonly known as the “Johnston Plan”, was a plan for the unified water resource development of the Jordan Valley. It was negotiated and developed by US ambassador Eric Johnston between 1953 and 1955, and based on an earlier plan commissioned by United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA). Modeled upon the Tennessee Valley Authority’s engineered development plan, it was approved by technical water committees of all the regional riparian countries — Israel, Jordan, Lebanon and Syria. Though the plan was rejected by the Arab League, both Israel and Jordan undertook to abide by their allocations under the plan.
NOTE: The US provided funding for Israel’s National Water Carrier after receiving assurances from Israel that it would continue to abide by the plan’s allocations. Similar funding was provided for Jordan’s East Ghor Main Canal project after similar assurance were obtained from Jordan.
October 29, 1956: The Suez Crisis: A military attack on Egypt by Britain, France, and Israel, with the intention to occupy the Sinai Peninsula and to take over the Suez Canal. The attack followed Egypt’s decision of July 26, 1956 to nationalize the Suez Canal after the withdrawal of an offer by Britain and the United States to fund the building of the Aswan Dam. Despite the denials of the Israeli, British, and French governments, allegations began to emerge that the invasion of Egypt had been planned beforehand by the three powers. British-French forces withdrew before the end of the year, but Israeli forces remained until March 1957, prolonging the crisis. Britain and France failed in their political and strategic aims of controlling the canal and removing Nasser from power; Israel fulfilled some of its objectives, such as attaining freedom of navigation through the Straits of Tiran.
May 7, 1957: James Armand Edmond de Rothschild continued to support his father’s Zionist causes, and donated six million Israeli Pounds towards the construction of the Knesset building in Jerusalem.
1958: Moshe Sharett, the second Prime Minister of Israel, said at Patria memorial service: “Sometimes it is necessary to sacrifice the few in order to save the many,”
NOTE: The Patria was an ocean liner that was the sunk by the Haganah, killing 267 people and injuring 172. At the time, the Patria was carrying about 1,800 Jewish refugees from Nazi-occupied Europe
January 1960: World Zionist Organization (WZO), was founded as the Zionist Organization, in 1897 at the First Zionist Congress, held from August 29 to August 31 in Basel, Switzerland; an umbrella organization for the Zionist movement, whose objective was the creation of a Jewish homeland in Palestine – at that time under the Ottoman Empire and following the First World War The British Mandate of Palestine. It changed its name to World Zionist Organization in January 1960.
NOTE: The WZO today consists of the following institutions: The World Zionist Unions, international Zionist Federations; and international organizations that define themselves as Zionist, such as WIZO, Hadassah, Bnai-Brith, Maccabi, the International Sephardic Federation, the three streams of world Judaism (Orthodox, Conservative, Reform), delegation from the CIS – Commonwealth of Independent States (former Soviet Union), the World Union of Jewish Students (WUJS), and more.
A document which was brought before Israel’s Supreme Court, showed that private Palestinian land was taken and given to Israeli settlers by the World Zionist Organization. The land in question had been ruled off-limits by Israel. The World Zionist Organization had been acting as an agent of the government in assigning land to Jewish settlers in the Israeli-occupied territories. The Israeli government, to avoid responsibilities under international law, used the World Zionist Organization to settle its citizens in the territory occupied in 1967.
December 23, 1963; Egyptian president Gamal Abdel Nasser championed an Arab plan to divert two sources of the River Jordan, the Hasbani River and the Banias. This had been the chosen option out of two proposals of the 1964 Headwater Diversion Plan.
NOTE: He said: “In order to confront Israel, which challenged us last week when its chief-of-staff stood up and said “we shall divert the water against the will of the Arabs and the Arabs can do what they want”, a meeting between Arab kings and Heads of State must take place as soon as possible, regardless of the conflicts and differences between them. Those with whom we are in conflict, we are prepared to meet; those with whom we have a quarrel, we are ready, for the sake of Palestine, to sit with.”
January 13-16, 1964: Arab League summit was the first summit of the Arab League, held in Cairo, Egypt, and attended by all thirteen member states. At the summit, held on the initiative of the United Arab Republic (modern-day Egypt only, following the 1961 secession of Syria from the union), it was decided to carry out planning to resolve inter-Arab conflicts and to adopt common principles regarding the struggle against imperialism and the “aggressive policies” of Israel. The key resolutions from the summit were expanded and recorded in a letter to the United Nations eight months later at the 1964 Arab League summit (Alexandria).
NOTE: On the military front, Cairo Radio announced that the leaders of the Arab League member states agreed to set up a unified military command, the United Arab Command, to be headed by an Egyptian lieutenant general, Ali Ali Amer, and with headquarters in Cairo. No mention of this new body was made in the official communiqué from the summit, although the secretary-general himself, Abdel Khalek Hassouna, had stated that certain adopted resolutions would remain secret.
May 1964: Ahmad al-Shuqayri, a Palestinian diplomat and a former assistant secretary-general of the Arab League (1950 – 1956) was given a mandate to initiate contacts aimed at establishing a Palestinian entity, in which role he would eventually become first chairman of the Palestine Liberation Organization.
NOTE: During the Palestine Mandate era, As’ad Shukeiri, a Muslim scholar (‘alim) of the Acre area, and the father of PLO founder Ahmad Shukeiri, rejected the values of the Palestinian Arab national movement and was opposed to the anti-Zionist movement. He met routinely with Zionist officials and had a part in every pro-Zionist Arab organization from the beginning of the British Mandate, publicly rejecting Mohammad Amin al-Husayni’s use of Islam to attack Zionism.
May 28, 1964: Original PLO Charter stated that “Palestine with its boundaries that existed at the time of the British mandate is an integral regional unit” and sought to “prohibit… the existence and activity” of Zionism. It also called for a right of return and self-determination for Palestinians. Palestinian statehood was not mentioned, although in 1974 the PLO called for an independent state in the territory of Mandate Palestine. The group used multi-layered guerrilla tactics to attack Israel from their bases in Jordan (including the West Bank), Lebanon, Egypt (Gaza Strip), and Syria.
March 1965: Rodger Davies, the director of the State Department’s Office of Near Eastern Affairs, concluded that Israel was developing nuclear weapons. He reported that Israel’s target date for achieving nuclear capability was 1968–69.
1966: Moshe Dayan said: Along the Syria border there were no farms and no refugee camps — there was only the Syrian army… The kibbutzim saw the good agricultural land … and they dreamed about it… They didn’t even try to hide their greed for the land… We would send a tractor to plow some area where it wasn’t possible to do anything, in the demilitarized area, and knew in advance that the Syrians would start to shoot. If they didn’t shoot, we would tell the tractor to advance further, until in the end the Syrians would get annoyed and shoot. And then we would use artillery and later the air force also, and that’s how it was…The Syrians, on the fourth day of the war, were not a threat to us.
April 1967: Headwater Diversion Plan was an Arab League plan to divert two of the three sources of the Jordan River, and prevent them from flowing into the Sea of Galilee, in order to thwart Israel’s plans to use the water of the Hasbani and Banias in its National Water Carrier project for out of Basin irrigation. The plan was approved by the Arab League in 1964 but Israel prevented the project’s development by conducting airstrikes in Syrian territory.
June 5, 1967: Six Day War, began with Israel launching surprise bombing raids against Egyptian air-fields; within six days, the Israeli forces take control of the Gaza Strip and the Sinai Peninsula from Egypt, the West Bank and East Jerusalem from Jordan, and the Golan Heights from Syria.
NOTE: In the aftermath of the 1967 Six-Day War, Israel was in control of the Sinai Peninsula, the Gaza Strip, West Bank and Golan Heights. Immediately after the war, the Israeli government authorized the construction of military settlements for security purposes. They were built on the fringes of the territories, along the Jordanian and Syrian frontiers and along the edges of the Sinai Peninsula. At the same time, Israel conveyed that it was willing in principle to return most of the newly captured territory; Levi Eshkol (the third Prime Minister of Israel) offered to return the territories with only minor border modifications.
June 8, 1967: USS Liberty, a United States Navy technical research ship, specialized in gathering intelligence, was ordered to proceed to the eastern Mediterranean area to perform a signal intelligence collection mission; the ship was attacked by “unmarked” Israeli Air Force jet fighter aircraft and Israeli Navy motor torpedo boats; napalm bombs and torpedoes were used; of the 294 men aboard the vessel, 34 crew members (naval officers, seamen, two Marines, and one civilian) were killed, 171 were wounded, and the ship was severely damaged; the ship was in international waters north of the Sinai Peninsula, about 25.5 nmi (29.3 mi; 47.2 km) northwest from the Egyptian city of Arish
June 19, 1967: National Unity Government of Israel voted unanimously to return the Sinai to Egypt and the Golan Heights to Syria in return for peace agreements; the Golan would have to be demilitarized and special arrangement would be negotiated for the Straits of Tiran; the government also resolved to open negotiations with King Hussein of Jordan regarding the Eastern border; the Israeli decision was to be conveyed to the Arab states by the U.S. government. The U.S. was informed of the decision, but not that it was to transmit it. There is no evidence it was conveyed to Egypt or Syria. The decision was kept a closely guarded secret within Israeli government circles and the offer was withdrawn in October 1967.
June 1967: Allon Plan was a proposal to end the Israeli occupation of the West Bank with a negotiated partition of the territory between Israel and the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan. It is named after Yigal Allon, who drafted it shortly after the Six-Day War in June 1967. The broad aim of the plan was to annex most of the Jordan Valley from the river to the eastern slopes of the West Bank hill ridge, East Jerusalem, and the Etzion bloc to Israel. At the same time, the heavily populated areas of the West Bank hill country, together with a corridor that included Jericho, would be offered to Jordan.
NOTE: The Plan was shown to King Hussein, who rejected it, saying “My problem is how to explain the solution to my nation if it is not a solution that will be acceptable to the Arab awareness”
June 10, 1967: Moroccan Quarter including 135 houses and the Al-Buraq mosque is demolished, in order to broaden the narrow alley leading to the Western Wall and prepare it for public access by Jews seeking to pray there. The quarter was an 800-year old neighborhood in the southeast corner of the Old City of Jerusalem, bordering on the western wall of the Temple Mount on the east, the Old City walls on the south (including the Dung Gate) and the Jewish Quarter to the west.
1967–1970: War of Attrition – A limited war fought between the Israeli military and forces of the Egyptian Republic, the USSR, Jordan, Syria, and the Palestine Liberation Organization from 1967 to 1970. It was initiated by the Egyptians as a way of recapturing the Sinai from the Israelis, who had been in control of the territory since the mid-1967 Six-Day War. The hostilities ended with a ceasefire signed between the countries in 1970 with frontiers remaining in the same place as when the war began.
September 1967: Khartoum Arab Summit issued the “three no’s”, resolving that there would be “no peace, no recognition and no negotiation with Israel”. Egypt and Syria both desired a return of the land lost in the Six-Day War.
September 1967: Kfar Etzion was re-established, becoming the first civilian settlement to be built in the West Bank.
November 22, 1967: United Nations Security Council Resolution 242 (S/RES/242) was adopted unanimously by the UN Security Council, in the aftermath of the Six-Day War; (i) Withdrawal of Israel armed forces from territories occupied in the recent conflict; (ii) Termination of all claims or states of belligerency and respect for and acknowledgment of the sovereignty, territorial integrity and political independence of every State in the area and their right to live in peace within secure and recognized boundaries free from threats or acts of force.
1967: Theodor Meron, legal counsel to the Israeli Foreign Ministry stated in a legal opinion to Adi Yafeh, the Political Secretary of the Prime Minister, “My conclusion is that civilian settlement in the administered territories contravenes the explicit provisions of the Fourth Geneva Convention.”
1967: 1967 Palestinian exodus refers to the flight of around 280,000 to 325,000 Palestinians out of the territories taken by Israel during and in the aftermath of the Six-Day War including the demolition of the Palestinian villages of Imwas, Yalo, and Bayt Nuba, Surit, Beit Awwa, Beit Mirsem, Shuyukh, Jiftlik, Agarith and Huseirat and the “emptying” of the refugee camps of ʿAqabat Jabr and ʿEin Sulṭān. The Special Committee heard allegations of the destruction of over 400 Arab villages, but no evidence in corroboration was furnished to the Special Committee to investigate Israeli practices affecting the human rights of the population of the occupied territories. Approximately 145,000 of the 1967 Palestinian refugees were refugees from the 1948 Arab-Israeli War. By December 1967, 245,000 had fled from the West Bank and Gaza Strip to Jordan, 11,000 had fled from Gaza to Egypt and 116,000 Palestinians and Syrians had fled from the Golan Heights further into Syria. Before the Six-Day War, roughly half of all Palestinians still lived within the boundaries of former British Mandate of Palestine, but after the war the majority lived outside the territory.
NOTE: A 1971 United Nations report stated that: “The continual pressure applied by Israeli authorities on the Palestinian population created a climate of fear within the civil population leading to a cycle of resistance and Israeli reprisals.” The Israeli Government carried out a policy of the destruction of Palestinian society by harassment (parts of the rural population were transferred from their homes) and arbitrary deportation of leaders and intellectuals from among the inhabitants of the occupied territories (judges, barristers, advocates, doctors, teachers, religious leaders). After the psychological warfare unit made a visit to Qalqilya and many of the residents had fled, the UN representative Nils-Göran Gussing noted that 850 of the town’s 2,000 houses were demolished.
May 1, 1968: Israeli ambassador to the UN, Yosef Tekoah, expressed Israel’s position to the Security Council pertaining to Resolution 242: “My government has indicated its acceptance of the Security Council resolution for the promotion of agreement on the establishment of a just and lasting peace. I am also authorized to reaffirm that we are willing to seek agreement with each Arab State on all matters included in that resolution”
NOTE: Israel did not return any of the territory taken in the Six Day War, until long after the Yom Kippur War
May 1, 1968: Undersecretary of State Nicholas Katzenbach told President Johnson that Dimona was producing enough plutonium to produce two bombs a year. The State Department argued that if Israel wanted arms, it should accept international supervision of its nuclear program. Dimona was never placed under IAEA safeguards. Attempts to write Israeli adherence to the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) into contracts for the supply of U.S. weapons continued throughout 1968.
NOTE: Negev Nuclear Research Center is an Israeli nuclear installation located in the Negev desert, about thirteen kilometers to the south-east of the city of Dimona. The purpose of Dimona is widely assumed to be the manufacturing of nuclear weapons. Israel acknowledges the existence of the site, but refuses to either confirm or deny its suspected purpose in a policy known as nuclear ambiguity. Information about the facility remains highly classified.
1968: Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons, is an international treaty whose objective is to prevent the spread of nuclear weapons and weapons technology, to promote cooperation in the peaceful uses of nuclear energy and to further the goal of achieving nuclear disarmament and general and complete disarmament. Opened for signature in 1968, the Treaty entered into force in 1970. On May 11, 1995, the Treaty was extended indefinitely. A total of 190 parties have joined the Treaty, with five states being recognized as nuclear-weapon states: the United States, Russia, the United Kingdom, France, and China (also the five permanent members of the United Nations Security Council).
NOTE: Four non-parties to the treaty are known or believed to possess nuclear weapons: Israel has had a policy of opacity (the practice by a country of being intentionally ambiguous on certain aspects of its foreign policy or whether it possesses certain weapons of mass destruction) regarding its own nuclear weapons program; and India, Pakistan and North Korea have openly tested and declared that they possess nuclear weapons. North Korea acceded to the treaty in 1985, but never came into compliance, and announced its withdrawal in 2003.
1970s: Neo-Zionism is a right-wing, nationalistic and religious ideology that appeared in Israel following the Six Days War in 1967 and the capture of the Gaza Strip and the West Bank, which they call Judea and Samaria. Neo-Zionists consider this land part of Israel and thus advocate the transfer of Jewish Settlers to these territories in accordance with their Zionist beliefs. It has evolved in parallel with Revisionist Zionism and Religious Zionism of which it is a fusion of the two, and in opposition to Post-Zionism and Labor Zionism. Neo-Zionism developed during the “fundamental shaking of the dominant national ethos, Zionism, that generate[d] the historical revision and debate in Israel”.
NOTE: Neo-Zionism has been criticized as an exclusionary, nationalist, even racist, and antidemocratic political-cultural trend, striving to heighten the fence encasing Israeli identity.
1970s: Israel’s Supreme Court regularly ruled that the establishment of civilian settlements by military commanders was legal on the basis that they formed part of the territorial defense network and were considered temporary measures needed for military and security purposes.
September 6, 1970: Dawson’s Field hijackings, four jet aircraft bound for New York City and one for London were hijacked by members of the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine and instead landed at the PFLP’s “Revolutionary Airport”. By the end of the incident, one hijacker had been killed and one injury reported.
1971: Israel erected lines of fortification in both the Sinai and the Golan Heights; Israel spent $500 million fortifying its positions on the Suez Canal, a chain of fortifications and gigantic earthworks known as the Bar Lev Line
1971: President Anwar Sadat in response to an initiative by UN intermediary Gunnar Jarring, declared that if Israel committed itself to “withdrawal of its armed forces from Sinai and the Gaza Strip”, to “achievement of a just settlement for the refugee problem”, to “the withdrawal of the Israeli armed forces from all the territories occupied since June 5, 1967″, and to implementation of other provisions of UN Security Council Resolution 242 as requested by Jarring, Egypt would then “be ready to enter into a peace agreement with Israel.” Israel responded that it would not withdraw to the pre-June 5, 1967 lines
1971: Official Israeli legal argument against the application of Article 2 to the situation in the West Bank is based on a 1971 interpretation by Israeli Attorney-General, Meir Shamgar. His view was presented by Moshe Dayan in a speech before the 32nd session of the United Nations General Assembly in 1977. Shamgar believed that the Convention did not pertain to the territories captured by Israel since they had not previously been recognized as part of a sovereign state and could not be considered “the territory of a High Contracting Party”. According to the argument, the last legal sovereignty over the territories was that of the League of Nations Palestine Mandate, which stipulated the right of the Jewish people to settle in the whole of the Mandated territory. According to Article 6 of the Mandate, “close settlement by Jews on the land, including State lands not required for public use” was to be encouraged. Article 25 allowed the League Council to temporarily postpone the Jewish right to settle in what is now Jordan, if conditions were not amenable. Article 80 of the U.N. Charter preserved this Jewish right to settlement by specifying that: “nothing in the [United Nations] Charter shall be construed … to alter in any manner the rights whatsoever of any states or peoples or the terms of existing international instruments.”
NOTE: Shamgar further stated: “There is no rule of international law according to which the Fourth Convention applies in each and every armed conflict whatever the status of the parties…. The whole idea of the restriction of military government powers is based on the assumption that there has been a sovereign who was ousted and that he was a legitimate sovereign. Any other conception would lead to the conclusion, for example, that France should have acted in Alsace-Lorraine according to rule 42–56 of the Hague Rules of 1907, until the signing of a peace treaty.”
1971-1982: Palestinian insurgency in South Lebanon – PLO relocate to South Lebanon from Jordan and stage attacks on the Galilee and as a base for international operations.
1972: Samson Option is the name that some military analysts have given to Israel’s hypothetical deterrence strategy of massive retaliation with nuclear weapons as a “last resort” against nations whose military attacks threaten its existence.
September 5, 1972: Munich massacre was an attack during the 1972 Summer Olympics in Munich, West Germany on 11 members of the Israeli Olympic team, who were taken hostage and eventually killed, along with a German police officer, by the Palestinian group Black September. Shortly after the crisis began, they demanded the release of 234 prisoners held in Israeli jails, and the release of the founders (Andreas Baader and Ulrike Meinhof) of the German Red Army Faction, who were held in German prisons. Black September called the operation “Ikrit and Biram”, after two Christian Palestinian villages whose inhabitants were expelled by the Haganah in 1948.
1973: Britain and France for the first time sided with the Arab powers against Israel on the United Nations Security Council.
September 25, 1973: King of Jordan, Hussein bin Talal secretly flew to Tel Aviv to warn Israeli Prime Minister Golda Meir of an impending Syrian attack.
October 6-25, 1973: Yom Kippur War, Ramadan War, or October War, also known as the 1973 Arab–Israeli War and the Fourth Arab–Israeli War, was a war fought by the coalition of Arab states led by Egypt and Syria against Israel.
October 8–9, 1973: An alarmed Moshe Dayan told Golda Meir that “this is the end of the third temple”. He was warning of Israel’s impending total defeat, but “Temple” was also the code word for nuclear weapons. Dayan again raised the nuclear topic in a cabinet meeting, warning that the country was approaching a point of “last resort.”
NOTE: That night Meir authorized the assembly of thirteen 20-kiloton-of-TNT (84 TJ) tactical atomic weapons for Jericho missiles at Sdot Micha Airbase, and F-4 aircraft at Tel Nof Airbase, for use against Syrian and Egyptian targets. They would be used if absolutely necessary to prevent total defeat, but the preparation was done in an easily detectable way, likely as a signal to the United States
October 14, 1973: Israel began receiving supplies via US Air Force cargo airplanes. By the beginning of December, Israel had received between 34 to 40 F-4 fighter-bombers, 46 A-4 attack airplanes, 12 C-130 cargo airplanes, 8 CH-53 helicopters, 40 unmanned aerial vehicles, 200 M-60/M-48A3 tanks, 250 armored personnel carriers, 226 utility vehicles, 12 MIM-72 Chaparral surface-to-air missile systems, 3 MIM-23 Hawk surface-to-air missile systems, 36 155 mm artillery pieces, 7 175 mm artillery pieces, large quantities of 105 mm, 155 mm and 175 mm ammunition, state of the art equipment, such as the AGM-65 Maverick missile and the BGM-71 TOW, weapons that had only entered production one or more years prior, as well as highly advanced electronic jamming equipment. Most of the combat airplanes arrived during the war, and many were taken directly from United States Air Force units. Most of the large equipment arrived after the ceasefire. The total cost of the equipment was approximately US$800 million (US$4.14 billion today).
October 17, 1973: In response to U.S. support of Israel, in the Yom Kippur War, the Arab members of OPEC, led by Saudi Arabia, decided to reduce oil production by 5% per month on October 17. On October 19, President Nixon authorized a major allocation of arms supplies and $2.2 billion in appropriations for Israel. In response, Saudi Arabia declared an embargo against the United States, later joined by other oil exporters and extended against the Netherlands and other states, causing the 1973 energy crisis.
October 22, 1973: United Nations Security Council Resolution 338, called for a ceasefire in the Yom Kippur War; in accordance with a joint proposal by the United States and the Soviet Union. The resolution stipulated a cease fire to take effect within 12 hours of the adoption of the resolution. The “appropriate auspices” was interpreted to mean American or Soviet rather than UN auspices. This third clause helped to establish the framework for the Geneva Conference (1973) held in December 1973.
October 24 1973: Anwar Sadat publicly appealed for American and Soviet contingents to oversee the ceasefire; it was quickly rejected in a White House statement.
October 25, 1973: Leonid Ilyich Brezhnev, the General Secretary of the Central Committee of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union sent President Richard Nixon a “very urgent” letter. In that letter, Brezhnev began by noting that Israel was continuing to violate the ceasefire and it posed a challenge to both the US and USSR. He stressed the need to “implement” the ceasefire resolution and “invited” the US to join the Soviets “to compel observance of the cease-fire without delay” He then threatened “I will say it straight that if you find it impossible to act jointly with us in this matter, we should be faced with the necessity urgently to consider taking appropriate steps unilaterally. We cannot allow arbitrariness on the part of Israel”
October 25, 1973: Secretary of State Henry Kissinger appeared before the press at the State Department. He described the various stages of the crisis and the evolution of US policy.
NOTE: “Our position is that… the conditions that produced this war were clearly intolerable to the Arab nations and that in the process of negotiations it will be necessary to make substantial concessions. The problem will be to relate the Arab concern for the sovereignty over the territories to the Israeli concern for secure boundaries. We believe that the process of negotiations between the parties is an essential component of this”
May 15, 1974: Ma’alot massacre involved a two-day hostage-taking of 115 people which ended in the deaths of over 25 hostages. It began when three armed members of the Democratic Front for the Liberation of Palestine (DFLP) entered Israel from Lebanon. Soon afterwards they attacked a van, killing two Israeli Arab women while injuring a third and entered an apartment building in the town of Ma’alot, where they killed a couple and their four-year-old son. From there, they headed for the Netiv Meir Elementary School, where they took more than 115 people (including 105 children) hostage on 15 May 1974, in Ma’alot. Most of the hostages were teenagers from a high school in Safad on a Gadna field trip spending the night in Ma’alot. The hostage-takers soon issued demands for the release of 23 Palestinian militants from Israeli prisons, or else they would kill the students. On the second day of the standoff, a unit of the Golani Brigade stormed the building. During the takeover, the hostage-takers killed the children with grenades and automatic weapons. Ultimately, 25 hostages, including 22 children, were killed and 68 more were injured.
October 28, 1974: Arab League summit designated the PLO as the “sole legitimate representative of the Palestinian people” and reaffirmed “their right to establish an independent state of urgency”
November 22, 1974: UN General Assembly officially “acknowledged” the government of Palestine; as observer status at the United Nations and as a “non-state entity,” which entitled it to speak in the UN General Assembly but not to vote; to use the designation “Palestine” instead of “Palestine Liberation Organization” when referring to the Palestinian permanent observer. United Nations General Assembly recognized the PLO as the “representative of the Palestinian people” in Resolution 3210 and Resolution 3236, and granted the PLO observer status in Resolution 3237.
1975: Committee on the Exercise of the Inalienable Rights of the Palestinian People (CEIRPP) was founded in 1975 by resolution 3376 of the United Nations General Assembly. In its inception year, the CEIRPP urged the SC to promote action for a fair solution- recommending “a two-phase plan for the return of Palestinian to their homes and property, a timetable for the withdrawal of Israeli forces from the occupied territories by June 1, 1977, with the provision, if necessary, of temporary peacekeeping forces to facilitate the process.” The committee oversees “a programme of implementation to enable the Palestinian people to exercise their inalienable right to self-determination without external interference, national independence and sovereignty; and to return to their homes and property.” The committee reports to the Assembly annually, since the mandate is renewed each year.
NOTE: UN General Assembly passed Resolution 3379, which said “Zionism is a form of racism and racial discrimination”. According to the resolution, “any doctrine of racial differentiation of superiority is scientifically false, morally condemnable, socially unjust, and dangerous.” The resolution named the occupied territory of Palestine, Zimbabwe, and South Africa as examples of racist regimes. Resolution 3379 was pioneered by the Soviet Union and passed with numerical support from Arab and African states amidst accusations that Israel was supportive of the apartheid regime in South Africa.
In 1991 the resolution was repealed with UN General Assembly Resolution 46/86, after Israel declared that it would only participate in the Madrid Conference of 1991 if the resolution were revoked.
July 4, 1976: Operation Entebbe was a counter-terrorist hostage-rescue mission carried out by commandos of the Israel Defense Forces (IDF) at Entebbe Airport in Uganda on 4 July 1976. A week earlier, on June 27, an Air France plane with 248 passengers was hijacked, by members of the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine and the German Revolutionary Cells, and flown to Entebbe, near Kampala, the capital of Uganda.
NOTE: The operation, which took a week of planning, lasted 90 minutes. 102 hostages were rescued. Five Israeli commandos were wounded and one, the unit commander, Lt. Col. Yonatan Netanyahu, was killed. All the hijackers, three hostages and 45 Ugandan soldiers were killed, and thirty Soviet-built MiG-17s and MiG-21s of Uganda’s air force were destroyed.
1977: Post-Zionism refers to the opinions of some Israelis, diaspora Jews and others, particularly in academia, that Zionism has fulfilled its ideological mission with the creation of the modern State of Israel in 1948, and that Zionist ideology should therefore be considered at an end. The term is also used by right-wing Jews to refer to the left wing of Israeli politics in light of the Oslo Accords. Many Israeli historians consider Canaanism or pan-Semitism to be beyond the bounds of Zionism. Post-Zionists differ on many important details, such as the status of the Law of Return. Critics tend to associate post-Zionism with anti-Zionism or postmodernism, both of which claims are strenuously denied by proponents.
NOTE: Post-Zionism has been criticized as a polite recasting of anti-Zionism, and therefore a deceptive term. Some right-wing Israelis have accused Jewish post-Zionists of being self-hating Jews.
1977: “The Holocaust Victims Accuse”, a book by Rabbi Moshe Shonfeld, “Why didn’t they try, from their place of freedom, to break through to us and send us a secret messenger? This question becomes greater when we see that the governments of Czechoslovakia and Poland, which were in free lands, sent secret messengers daily to their loyal people in the occupied countries. And therefore our amazement grows. Why don’t the great organizers of Jewry use these messengers if they have no other way? And during all of the years since we developed this method, those in the free countries did not once attempt to send messengers to us – rather, WE had to send them and to pay for them. How many did we send them only for the to return empty-handed – because those over there did not have time to answer why?”
1977: After Likud came to power, seizing land on the basis of the 1907 Hague Regulations, which implied a temporary nature of Israeli presence, was not employed anymore as the new government declared land in the West Bank “state land”.
March 11, 1978: Coastal Road massacre was an attack involving the hijacking of a bus on Israel’s Coastal Highway in which 38 Israeli civilians, including 13 children, were killed, and 71 were wounded. The attack was planned by Abu Jihad and carried out by the PLO faction Fatah. The plan was to seize a luxury hotel in Tel Aviv and take tourists and foreign ambassadors hostage in order to exchange them for Palestinian prisoners held by Israel. The timing was aimed at scuttling peace talks between Menachem Begin and Anwar Sadat. However, due to a navigation error, the attackers ended up 40 miles (64 km) north of their target, and were forced to find alternative transportation to their destination.
April 21, 1978: An opinion by a legal adviser to the U.S. Department of State found the settlements contrary to international law, though no Administration has officially stated so since the Carter Administration. Legal Adviser of the Department of State Herbert J. Hansel issued an opinion, on request from Congress, that creating the settlements “is inconsistent with international law,” and against Article 49 of the Fourth Geneva Convention. Hansell found that “[w]hile Israel may undertake, in the occupied territories, actions necessary to meet its military needs and to provide for orderly government during the occupation, for the reasons indicated above the establishment of the civilian settlements in those territories is inconsistent with international law.” This opinion, “has neither been revoked or revised,” and remains the policy of the United States according to Hansel,
NOTE: The Washington Post, and the Rand Corporation’s Palestinian State Study Project. The Johnson, Nixon, Ford, and Carter administrations all publicly characterized the settlements as illegal.
March 14-21, 1978: 1978 South Lebanon conflict (code-named Operation Litani by Israel) was an invasion of Lebanon up to the Litani River, carried out by the Israel Defense Forces in 1978 in response to the Coastal Road massacre. The conflict resulted in the deaths of 1,100–2,000 Lebanese and Palestinians, 20 Israelis, the internal displacement of 100,000 to 250,000 people in Lebanon, and the PLO forces retreating north of the Litani River. It led to the creation of the UNIFIL peacekeeping force and an almost complete Israeli withdrawal.
September 17, 1978: almost 5 years after the Yom Kippur War, a peace agreement between Israel and Egypt was finally reached in in the famous Camp David Accords after negotiations hosted by President Jimmy Carter. In accordance with the treaty, Israeli forces withdrew gradually from Sinai with last troops exiting on April 26, 1982.
NOTE: There is still no formal peace agreement between Israel and Syria to this day, Israel still holds the Golan Heights.
1978: Nahum Goldmann was a leading Zionist and the founder and longtime president of the World Jewish Congress from 1948 to 1977. As quoted in his book, The Jewish Paradox : A Personal Memoir:
NOTE: Ben-Gurion declared: “I don’t understand your optimism. Why should the Arabs make peace? If I were an Arab leader I would never make terms with Israel. That is natural: we have taken their country. Sure, God promised it to us, but what does that matter to them? Our God is not theirs. We come from Israel, it’s true, but two thousand years ago, and what is that to them? There has been antisemitism, the Nazis, Hitler, Auschwitz, but was that their fault? They only see one thing: we have come here and stolen their country. Why should they accept that? They may perhaps forget in one or two generations’ time, but for the moment there is no chance. So, it’s simple: we have to stay strong and maintain a powerful army. Our whole policy is there. Otherwise the Arabs will wipe us out”
1978 and 1979: Israeli Supreme court, prompted by the new government policies, ruled on two important cases that set out the requirements for Israeli settlement legality under international law. In Ayauub et al. vs. Minister of Defence (the Beit-El Toubas case), the Court determined that the Hague Conventions but not the Geneva Conventions could be applied by Israeli courts on land and settlement issues in the occupied territories. The following year the Court ruled on Dwikat et al. vs. the Government of Israel (the Elon Moreh case), outlining the Hague Conventions’ limitations on Israeli land acquisition and settlements. Settlements, whether on private or public land, could not be considered permanent, nor could the land be permanently confiscated, only temporarily requisitioned. Settlements on private land were legal only if determined to be a military necessity; the original owner retained title to the land and must be paid rental fees for its use. Public lands’ “possession cannot be alienated, nor its basic character transformed.”
1979 and 1980: numerous UN Security council resolutions, including 446, 452, 465, 471 and 476, considered the settlements as having “no legal validity” under the Fourth Geneva Convention.
June 30, 1980: United Nations Security Council resolution 476, declared that “all legislative and administrative measures and actions taken by Israel, the occupying Power, which purport to alter the character and status of the Holy City of Jerusalem have no legal validity and constitute a flagrant violation of the Fourth Geneva Convention”.
NOTE: The resolution was adopted by 14 votes to none, with the United States abstaining.
July 30, 1980: Jerusalem Law is a common name of Basic Law: Jerusalem, Capital of Israel passed by the Knesset – Area of the jurisdiction of Jerusalem, 5. The jurisdiction of Jerusalem includes, as pertaining to this basic law, among others, all of the area that is described in the appendix of the proclamation expanding the borders of municipal Jerusalem beginning June 28, 1967, as was given according to the Cities’ Ordinance. Prohibition of the transfer of authority, 6. No authority that is stipulated in the law of the State of Israel or of the Jerusalem Municipality may be transferred either permanently or for an allotted period of time to a foreign body, whether political, governmental or to any other similar type of foreign body.
August 20, 1980: United Nations Security Council Resolution 478, is one of seven UNSC resolutions condemning Israel’s attempted annexation of East Jerusalem; condemned Israel’s 1980 Jerusalem Law which declared Jerusalem to be Israel’s “complete and united” capital, as a violation of international law.
NOTE: The resolution was passed with 14 votes to none against, with the United States abstaining.
February 1981: President Ronald Reagan announced that he didn’t believe that Israeli settlements in the West Bank were illegal. He added that “the UN resolution leaves the West Bank open to all people, Arab and Israeli alike”. Hoping to achieve a peace deal, he nevertheless asked Israel to freeze construction calling the settlements an “obstacle to peace.” The permissive attitude taken by America accelerated the pace of Israel’s settlement program.
NOTE: Reagan’s view on the settlements legality was not held by the State Department
June 7, 1981: Israeli warplanes make a surprise attack on the French-built Osirak nuclear reactor near Baghdad. Israeli Prime Minister Menachem Begin says that his country had to act before Iraq could successfully build a nuclear weapon to use against the Jewish state. Saddam Hussein’s Iraqi government says the reactor was not part of a plan to build nuclear weapons.
1982: PLO relocated to Tunis, after it was driven out of Lebanon during Israel’s six-month invasion of Lebanon.
1982: Israel’s 1982/5742 Independence Day coin is dedicated to the memory of Baron Edmond Benjamin James de Rothschild and marks the centenary of his first projects in Israel.
1982: Lebanon War – Began in June 6, 1982, when the Israel Defense Forces invaded southern Lebanon to expel the PLO from the territory. The Government of Israel ordered the invasion as a response to the assassination attempt against Israel’s ambassador to the United Kingdom, Shlomo Argov, by the Abu Nidal Organization and due to the constant terror attacks on northern Israel made by the Palestinian guerilla organizations which resided in Lebanon. The war resulted in the expulsion of the PLO from Lebanon and created an Israeli Security Zone in southern Lebanon.
1982 – 1986: Bank of Israel used the portrait of Baron Edmond Benjamin James de Rothschild on the 500 Israeli sheqel note.
1982–2000: South Lebanon conflict – Nearly 20 years of warfare between the Israel Defense Forces and its Lebanese proxy militias with Lebanese Muslim guerrilla, led by Iranian-backed Hezbollah, within what was defined by Israelis as the “Security Zone” in South Lebanon.
1984: Operation Moses refers to the covert evacuation of Ethiopian Jews (known as the “Beta Israel” community or “Falashas”) from Sudan during a famine. Originally called Gur Aryeh Yehuda (“Cub of the Lion of Judah”) by Israelis, the United Jewish Appeal changed the name to “Operation Moses.”
NOTE: Ethiopian Jews (members of the Beta Israel tribe) began moving to Israel as early as 1934, however it was not until the late 1970s-early 1980s that they immigrated en masse. In 1979, aliyah activists began convincing Ethiopians to flee Ethiopia and head to Sudan, where they could be moved from refugee camps to Israel. This led to two major covert operations- Moses in 1984 and Solomon in 1991- that brought nearly the entire tribe over to Israel.
1985: Hezbollah is a Shi’a Islamic militant group and political party based in Lebanon. Its paramilitary wing is regarded as a resistance movement throughout much of the Arab and Muslim worlds, and is considered more powerful than the Lebanese Army. It has taken the side of the government in the Syrian civil war and in May–June 2013 successfully assisted in the recapture of the strategic town of Qusayr. The governments of the U.S., Netherlands, France, Gulf Cooperation Council, U.K., Australia, Canada, the European Union and Israel classify Hezbollah as a terrorist organization.
October 1, 1985: Operation Wooden Leg, was an attack by Israel on the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) headquarters in Hammam al-Shatt, Tunisia, 12 miles from the capital of Tunis. Taking place 1,280 miles (2060 km) away, this was the furthest operation from Israel undertaken by the Israel Defense Forces since the 1976 Entebbe Operation in Uganda. For this reason, Tunisian sources believed that attack must have been known by the United States, if not actually involving US collaboration.
1987–1993: First Intifada was a Palestinian uprising against the Israeli occupation of the Palestinian Territories, which lasted from December 1987 until the Madrid Conference in 1991, though some date its conclusion to 1993, with the signing of the Oslo Accords. The uprising began on December 9, in the Jabalia refugee camp after a series of escalating actions and deaths of Palestinian and Israeli citizens, and tensions reached a boiling point when an Israeli Army truck struck a car killing four Palestinians. Rumors that the crash was a purposefully committed act quickly spread throughout Gaza, the West Bank and East Jerusalem. In response to general strikes, boycotts of Israeli civil administration institutions in the Gaza Strip and the West Bank, civil disobedience in the face of army orders, and an economic boycott consisting of refusal to work in Israeli settlements on Israeli products, refusal to pay taxes, refusal to drive Palestinian cars with Israeli licenses, graffiti, barricading, and widespread throwing of stones and Molotov cocktails at the Israeli military and its infrastructure within Palestinian territories,
NOTE: Israel deployed 80,000 soldiers to put down the uprising, and adopted a policy of “breaking Palestinians’ bones” and using live ammunition against civilians. Over the first two years, according to Save the Children, an estimated 7% of all Palestinians under 18 years of age suffered injuries from shootings, beatings or tear gas. Intra-Palestinian violence was also prominent feature of the Intifada, with widespread executions of alleged Israeli collaborators
1987: Hamas was founded as an offshoot of the Egyptian Muslim Brotherhood. Co-founder Sheik Ahmed Yassin stated in 1987, and the Hamas Charter affirmed in 1988, that Hamas was founded to liberate Palestine from Israeli occupation and to establish an Islamic state in the area that is now Israel, the West Bank, and the Gaza Strip.
1988: Hamas Charter: Article 22 states that the French revolution, the Russian revolution, colonialism and both world wars were created by the Zionists or forces supportive of Zionism: “You may speak as much as you want about regional and world wars. They were behind World War I, when they were able to destroy the Islamic Caliphate, making financial gains and controlling resources. They obtained the Balfour Declaration, formed the League of Nations through which they could rule the world. They were behind World War II, through which they made huge financial gains by trading in armaments, and paved the way for the establishment of their state. It was they who instigated the replacement of the League of Nations with the United Nations and the Security Council to enable them to rule the world through them. There is no war going on anywhere, without having their finger in it.”
November 15, 1988: State of Palestine is a state that was proclaimed by the Palestine Liberation Organization’s (PLO’s) National Council (PNC) in exile in Algiers which unilaterally adopted the Palestinian Declaration of Independence. It claims the Palestinian territories (defined according to the 1967 borders) and has designated Jerusalem as its capital. The proclaimed State of Palestine is recognized by 132 countries. The permanent sovereignty of the Palestinian people over the natural resources of the Palestinian territories has been recognized by 139 countries
December 10, 1988: Dorothy Mathilde de Rothschild continued the Zionist interests of her father-in-law and husband, and was a close friend of Chaim Weizmann. She became chairman of Yad Hanadiv, the Rothschild family charities in Israel, and saw through her husband’s gift of funds to build the Knesset and her own gift of the Supreme Court of Israel building; outside the President’s Chamber is displayed the letter MS Rothschild wrote to Prime Minister Shimon Peres expressing her intention to donate a new building for the Supreme Court.
1988: PLO officially endorsed a two-state solution, contingent on terms such as making East Jerusalem capital of the Palestinian state and giving Palestinians the right of return to land occupied by Palestinians prior to 1948, as well as the right to continue armed struggle until the end of “The Zionist Entity.”
1989: Human Rights Watch (HRW) has said Israel operates a “two-tier” judicial system in the occupied Palestinian territories, to an effect which provides preferential services, development, and benefits for Jewish settlers while imposing harsh conditions on Palestinians. In some cases Israel has acknowledged differential treatment of Palestinians, such as barring them from accessing “settler-only” roads and subjecting them to over 500 roadblocks and checkpoints within the West Bank, asserting that the measures are necessary to protect Jewish settlers from attacks by Palestinian armed groups. HRW rejects Israel’s rationale, saying that no security rationale can explain many instances of differential treatment of Palestinians, such as permit denials that effectively prohibit Palestinians from building or repairing homes, schools, roads, and water tanks. HRW says that repairing a home “does not under any stretch of the imagination constitute a security threat”.
1989: Moshe Dayan said: “It is not in our hands to prevent the murder of workers… and families… but it is in our hands to fix a high price for our blood, so high that the Arab community and the Arab military forces will not be willing to pay it.”
1989: Post-Soviet aliyah began en masse when the government of Mikhail Gorbachev opened the borders of the USSR and allowed Jews to leave the country for Israel.
NOTE: between 1989-2006, about 1.6 million Soviet Jews and their non-Jewish relatives and spouses, as defined by the Law of Return, emigrated from the former Soviet Union. About 979,000, or 61%, migrated to Israel. Another 325,000 migrated to the United States, and 219,000 migrated to Germany. According to the Israeli Central Bureau of Statistics, 240,000 of the immigrants who arrived in Israel, or 26%, were not considered Jewish by Orthodox interpretations of Jewish law (which only recognizes matrilineal descent), but were eligible for Israeli citizenship under the Law of Return due to patrilineal Jewish descent or marriage to a Jew. The majority of the immigrant wave were Ashkenazi Jews
1990: PLO under Yasser Arafat openly supported Saddam Hussein in the Iraqi regime’s invasion of Kuwait, leading to a later rupture in Palestinian-Kuwaiti ties and the expulsion of many Palestinians from Kuwait. Within a single week, some 450,000 Palestinians were expelled in Kuwait, resulting in one of the fastest and largest expulsions in modern history. Most of the Palestinians, who had resided in Kuwait as foreign workers and residents, returned to Jordan.
1991: Operation Solomon was a covert Israeli military operation to airlift Ethiopian Jews (Beta Israel) to Israel. Non-stop flights of 35 Israeli aircraft, including Israeli Air Force C-130s and El Al Boeing 747s, transported 14,325 Ethiopian Jews to Israel in 36 hours.
October 30, 1991: Madrid Conference was hosted by the government of Spain and co-sponsored by the USA and the USSR. It lasted for three days. It was an early attempt by the international community to start a peace process through negotiations involving Israel and the Palestinians as well as Arab countries including Syria, Lebanon, and Jordan. It was the last conference held with both the USSR and US present; the USSR collapsed later that year in December 1991.
September 9, 1993: Yasser Arafat issued a press release stating that “the PLO recognizes the right of the State of Israel to exist in peace and security“
September 1993: Palestine Liberation Organization agreed that Resolutions 242 and 338 should be the basis for negotiations with Israel when it signed the Declaration of Principles of the Oslo Accords; accepts Israel’s right to exist and condemns all forms of terrorism.
1993: The Oslo I Accord or Oslo I, officially called the Declaration of Principles on Interim Self-Government Arrangements or Declaration of Principles (DOP), was an attempt in 1993 to set up a framework that would lead to the resolution of the ongoing Israeli–Palestinian conflict. It was the first face-to-face agreement between the government of Israel and the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO).
1993: per the Oslo Accords, the Palestinian Authority officially controls a geographically non-contiguous area of the West Bank; 11% of Area A (subject to Israeli incursions); 28% of Area B (subject to Israeli military control and Palestinian civil control); and 61% of Area C (under full Israeli control); the Accord provided for the creation of a Palestinian interim self-government, the Palestinian National Authority (PNA). The Palestinian Authority would have responsibility for the administration of the territory under its control. The Accords also called for the withdrawal of the Israel Defense Forces (IDF) from parts of the Gaza Strip and West Bank.
1993: United Nations Security Council adopted a report from the Secretary-General and a Commission of Experts which concluded that the Fourth Geneva Convention had passed into the body of customary international law, thus making them binding on non-signatories to the Conventions whenever they engage in armed conflicts.
NOTE: Section III. Occupied territories; Articles 47-78 impose substantial obligations on occupying powers. As well as numerous provisions for the general welfare of the inhabitants of an occupied territory, an occupier may not forcibly deport protected persons, or deport or transfer parts of its own civilian population into occupied territory (Art.49). Protected persons who are in occupied territory shall not be deprived, in any case or in any manner whatsoever, of the benefits of the present Convention by any change introduced, as the result of the occupation of a territory, into the institutions or government of the said territory, nor by any agreement concluded between the authorities of the occupied territories and the Occupying Power, nor by any annexation by the latter of the whole or part of the occupied territory (Art.47).
September 24, 1995: The Interim Agreement on the West Bank and the Gaza Strip, also known as the Israeli-Palestinian Interim Agreement, the Interim Agreement, Oslo 2, Oslo II, and Taba, was a key and complex agreement governing several aspects of the Palestinian territories of Gaza Strip and the West Bank. The agreement consists of a “preamble” acknowledging its roots in earlier diplomatic efforts of UN Security Council Resolution 242 (1967) and UN Security Council Resolution 338 (1973) the Madrid Conference of 1991 and the other prior agreements that came before it. Most significantly the agreement recognizes the establishment of a “Palestinian Interim Self-Government Authority,” i.e. an elected Council, called “the Council” or “the Palestinian Council”
November 4, 1995: Yitzhak Rabin was an Israeli politician, statesman and general. He was the fifth Prime Minister of Israel, serving two terms in office, 1974–77 and 1992 until his assassination in 1995. In 1994, Rabin won the Nobel Peace Prize together with Shimon Peres and Yasser Arafat. He was assassinated by right-wing Israeli radical Yigal Amir, who was opposed to Rabin’s signing of the Oslo Accords. Rabin was the first native-born prime minister of Israel, the only prime minister to be assassinated and the second to die in office after Levi Eshkol.
NOTE: Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin was voted number one in a 2005 Ynet poll of greatest Israelis
1995-1996: Rothschild (Center) Mall was built in Rishon LeZion; Rothschild Tower was completed in 1995
1996: PLO nullified the articles of the PLO’s Charter, or parts of it, which called for the destruction of Israel and for armed resistance.
1997: According to international law Israel is the custodian of absentee property in the West Bank and may not give it to settlers.
NOTE: The Civil Administration’s legal adviser gave his opinion that: “The Custodian of Absentee Property in the West Bank is nothing but a trustee looking after the property so it is not harmed while the owners are absent from the area … the custodian may not make any transaction regarding the asset that conflicts with the obligation to safeguard the asset as stated, especially his obligation to return the asset to the owner upon his return to the region.”
January 17, 1997: Hebron Agreement, began January 7 and was concluded from January 15 to January 17, 1997 between Israel, represented by Prime Minister of Israel Benjamin Netanyahu, and the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO), represented by PLO Chairman Yasser Arafat, under the supervision of US Secretary of State Warren Christopher, for redeployment of Israeli military forces in Hebron in accordance with the Interim Agreement on the West Bank and the Gaza Strip (the Interim Agreement or “Oslo II”) of September 1995.
1998: Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination, Theo van Boven said: “The status of the settlements was clearly inconsistent with Article 3 of the Convention, which, as noted in the Committee’s General Recommendation XIX, prohibited all forms of racial segregation in all countries. There is a consensus among publicists that the prohibition of racial discrimination, irrespective of territories, is an imperative norm of international law.”
1998: Israeli Minister of Foreign Affairs produced “The International Criminal Court Background Paper“. It concludes: “International law has long recognized that there are crimes of such severity they should be considered “international crimes”. Such crimes have been established in treaties such as the Genocide Convention and the Geneva Conventions…. The following are Israel’s primary issues of concern [ie with the rules of the ICC]: – The inclusion of settlement activity as a “war crime” is a cynical attempt to abuse the Court for political ends. The implication that the transfer of civilian population to occupied territories can be classified as a crime equal in gravity to attacks on civilian population centres or mass murder is preposterous and has no basis in international law.”
October 23, 1998: Wye River Memorandum was an agreement negotiated between Israel and the Palestinian Authority to implement the earlier Interim Agreement of September 28, 1995. Brokered by the United States at the Aspen Institute Wye River Conference Centers near Wye River, Maryland, it was signed on October 23, 1998.
July 1999: High Contracting Parties to the Fourth Geneva Convention ruled that the Convention did apply in the Israeli-occupied territories.
September 4, 1999: Sharm el-Sheikh Memorandum was a memorandum signed on September 4, 1999 by Prime Minister of Israel Ehud Barak and PLO Chairman Yasser Arafat at Sharm el Sheikh in Egypt, overseen by the United States represented by Secretary of State Madeleine Albright. The memorandum was witnessed and co-signed by President Hosni Mubarak of Egypt and King Abdullah of Jordan.
2000: recent study of high-resolution microsatellite haplotypes demonstrated that a substantial portion of Y chromosomes of Jews (70%) and of Palestinian Muslim Arabs (82%) belonged to the same chromosome pool; Nebel A, Filon D, Hohoff C, Faerman M, Brinkmann B, Oppenheim A (2001) Haplogroup-specific deviation from the stepwise mutation model at the microsatellite loci DYS388 and DYS392. Eur J Hum Genet 9:22–26
2000–2005: Second Intifada, also known as the Al-Aqsa Intifada and the Oslo War, was the second Palestinian uprising – a period of intensified Palestinian–Israeli violence, which began in late September 2000 and ended in 2005. The death toll, including both military and civilian, is estimated to be about 3,000 Palestinians and 1,000 Israelis, as well as 64 foreigners. B’Tselem’s figures indicate that through April 30, 2008, 35.2% of the Palestinians who were killed directly took part in the hostilities, 46.4% “did not take part in the hostilities”, and 18.5% where it was not known if they were taking part in hostilities. Of the Israeli casualties, B’Tselem reports that 31.7% were security force personnel and 68.3% were civilians. A 2005 study conducted by Israel’s International Institute for Counter-Terrorism (ICT) concluded that Palestinian fatalities have consisted of more combatants than noncombatants. Up to 2005, the ICT puts Israeli combatant casualties at 22% and civilian at 78%.
January 27, 2001: Taba Summit were talks between Israel and the Palestinian Authority, held from January 21-27, 2001 at Taba, in the Sinai. They were peace talks aimed at reaching the “final status” negotiations to end the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. According to the statement issued by the negotiators at the end of the talks, they came closer to reaching a final settlement than in any previous peace talks. The talks were discontinued on January 27, 2001 as a result of the upcoming Israeli election.
August 31 – September 8, 2001: World Conference against Racism (WCAR), also known as Durban I, was held at the Durban International Convention Centre in Durban, South Africa, under UN auspices. The conference dealt with several controversial issues, including compensation for slavery and the actions of Israel. The language of the final Declaration and Programme of Action produced by the conference was strongly disputed in these areas, both in the preparatory meetings in the months that preceded the conference and during the conference itself. Two delegations, the United States and Israel, withdrew from the conference over objections to a draft document equating Zionism with racism. The final Declaration and Programme of Action did not contain the text that the U.S. and Israel had objected to, that text having been voted out by delegates in the days after the U.S. and Israel withdrew.
NOTE: In parallel to the conference, a separately held NGO Forum also produced a Declaration and Programme of its own, that was not an official Conference document, which contained language relating to Israel that the WCAR had voted to exclude from its Declaration; this document did equate Zionism with racism and censured Israel for what it called “racist crimes, including acts of genocide and ethnic cleansing.
Decmeber 5, 2001: High Contracting Parties to the Fourth Geneva Convention called upon “the Occupying Power to fully and effectively respect the Fourth Geneva Convention in the Occupied Palestinian Territory, including East Jerusalem, and to refrain from perpetrating any violation of the Convention.” The High Contracting Parties reaffirmed “the illegality of the settlements in the said territories and of the extension thereof.”
NOTE: In response, some argued that the conference had amended history and had construed the Convention only for this specific situation. According to barrister and human rights activist Stephen Bowen, arguments dismissing the ruling as applying to more specific cases were rejected “because the Convention also states that it applies ‘in all circumstances’ (Article 1), and ‘to all cases of declared war or of any other armed conflict’ (Article 2).”
2002: Israeli Ministry of Foreign Affairs reiterated that the settlements were being developed consistently with international law and that they did not violate any agreements with either the Palestinians or Jordan. They added that the settlements in the West Bank and Gaza Strip were recognized as legitimate the Mandate for Palestine adopted by the League of Nations, and that the only administration that completely prohibited Jewish settlement was that of Jordan from 1948 to 1967.
NOTE: Regarding the Geneva Convention, they maintained that the Israeli government was not forcibly transferring its population into the territories. Neither had the land that was being settled under the legitimate sovereignty of any state beforehand. It further highlighted that no clauses in the Convention could be used to prohibit the voluntary return of individuals to towns and villages from which they or their ancestors had been previously. It claimed the settlements had only been established after exhaustive investigations making sure none were built on private land.
August 2002: Bertini Agreement is an agreement that Israel has signed with the UN, stating that Gazan territory extends a full 12 nautical miles from the shore; although Israel has not signed the UN Convention on the Law of the Sea.
April 30, 2003: Roadmap for peace was a plan to resolve the Israeli-Palestinian conflict proposed by the Quartet on the Middle East: the United States, the European Union, Russia and the United Nations. The principles of the plan, originally drafted by U.S. Foreign Service Officer Donald Blome, were first outlined by U.S. President George W. Bush in a speech on June 24, 2002, in which he called for an independent Palestinian state living side by side with Israel in peace. A draft version from the Bush administration was published as early as 14 November 2002. The final text was released on April 30, 2003. The process reached a deadlock early in phase I and the plan was never implemented.
October 2003: Israel described as the top threat to world peace, by a European Commission poll of 7,500 Europeans; a survey of 500 people from each of the EU’s member nations included a list of 15 countries with the question, ‘tell me if in your opinion it presents or not a threat to peace in the world’; Israel was reportedly picked by 59 per cent of those interviewed.
2004: UN General Assembly request for an advisory opinion, Resolution ES-10/14 (2004), specifically cited resolution 181(II) as a “relevant resolution”, and asked the International Court of Justice (ICJ) what are the legal consequences of the relevant Security Council and General Assembly resolutions.
2004: International Court of Justice concluded that Israel had breached its obligations under international law by establishing settlements in the West Bank, including East Jerusalem and that Israel cannot rely on a right of self-defense or on a state of necessity in order to preclude the wrongfulness of imposing a régime, which is contrary to international law. The Court also concluded that the Israeli régime violates the basic human rights of the Palestinians by impeding the liberty of movement of the inhabitants of the Occupied Palestinian Territory (with the exception of Israeli citizens) and their exercise of the right to work, to health, to education and to an adequate standard of living.
Judge Abdul Koroma explained the majority opinion: “The Court has also held that the right of self-determination as an established and recognized right under international law applies to the territory and to the Palestinian people. Accordingly, the exercise of such right entitles the Palestinian people to a State of their own as originally envisaged in resolution 181 (II) and subsequently confirmed.” In response, Prof. Paul De Waart said that the Court put the legality of the 1922 League of Nations Palestine Mandate and the 1947 UN Plan of Partition beyond doubt once and for all.
NOTE: United Nations Human Rights Council has also called the Israeli settlements and related activities a violation of international law. The International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) holds that the establishment of Israeli settlements violate Fourth Geneva Convention. The ICRC also holds that the displacement of Palestinians that may occur due to the settlements also violates Article 49 of the Fourth Geneva Convention.
March 8, 2005: Sasson Report is an official Israeli government report published on 8 March 2005 that concluded that Israeli state bodies had been discreetly diverting millions of shekels to build West Bank settlements and outposts that were illegal under Israeli law. The report was commissioned by the Prime Minister Ariel Sharon, and was headed by the former head of the State Prosecution Criminal Department Talia Sasson. Talia Sasson would later run for the Israeli elections as part of the left wing party Meretz.
NOTE: The report detailed how officials in the Ministry of Defense and Ministry of Housing and Construction and the settlement division of the World Zionist Organization spent millions of shekels from state budgets to support the unauthorized outposts. The Sasson report called it a “blatant violation of the law” and said “drastic steps” were needed to rectify the situation. It describes secret cooperation between various ministries and official institutions to consolidate “wildcat” outposts, which settlers began erecting more than a decade ago. Sasson added that the problem was ongoing, saying “the process of outpost expansion is profoundly under way.”
August 2005: Disengagement Plan was a proposal by Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon, adopted by the government on June 6, 2004 and enacted in August 2005, to resettle all Israelis from the Gaza Strip and from four settlements in the northern West Bank. Israel will continue to control Gaza’s coastline and airspace and reserves the right to undertake military operations when necessary.
NOTE: In his first speech before the Knesset following his resignation, Netanyahu spoke of the necessity for Knesset members to oppose the proposed disengagement. “Only we in the Knesset are able to stop this evil. Everything that the Knesset has decided, it is also capable of changing. I am calling on all those who grasp the danger: Gather strength and do the right thing. I don’t know if the entire move can be stopped, but it still might be stopped in its initial stages. [Don’t] give [the Palestinians] guns, don’t give them rockets, don’t give them a sea port, and don’t give them a huge base for terror.” In the cabinet’s initial June vote over the plan Benjamin Netanyahu, then Finance Minister, announced he would vote in favor of the plan only if Sharon promised to hold a national referendum to decide the fate of the Gaza Strip and the northern West Bank. Such a referendum was never held, in spite of Sharon’s commitment.
January 2006: In the Palestinian legislative election, Hamas gained a large majority of seats in the Palestinian Parliament, defeating the ruling Fatah party. After the elections, conflicts arose between Hamas and Fatah, which they were unable to resolve
May 2006: Israel’s Central Bureau of Statistics, of Israel’s 7 million people, 77% were Jews, 18.5% Arabs, and 4.3% “others”. Among Jews, 68% were Sabras (Israeli-born), mostly second- or third-generation Israelis, and the rest are olim — 22% from Europe and the Americas, and 10% from Asia and Africa, including the Arab countries. As
May 24, 2006: Jerusalem’s population was 724,000, of which 65.0% were Jews (approx. 40% of whom live in East Jerusalem), 32.0% Muslim (almost all of whom live in East Jerusalem) and 2% Christian. 35% of the city’s population were children under age of 15.
June 28, 2006: Operation Summer Rains refers to the series of battles between Palestinian militants and the Israel Defense Forces (IDF) during summer 2006. Israel’s stated goals in Operation Summer Rains were to suppress the firing of Qassam rockets from Gaza into the western Negev, and to secure the release of Corporal Gilad Shalit, who was held for over five years, until his release on October 18, 2011 as part of a prisoner exchange deal. Large-scale conventional warfare occurred in the Gaza Strip, starting on June 28, 2006. This was the first major ground operation in the Gaza Strip since Israel’s unilateral disengagement plan was implemented between August and September 2005. A total number of six Israeli civilians were killed and nearly 40 wounded; of the 402 confirmed Palestinian deaths in the conflict approximately 280 were militants of various factions mostly Hamas.
August 14 – September 8, 2006: 2006 Lebanon War began as a military operation in response to the abduction of two Israeli reserve soldiers by the Hezbollah. The operation gradually strengthened, to become a wider confrontation. The principal participants were Hezbollah paramilitary forces and the Israeli military. The conflict started on July 12, 2006 and continued until a United Nations-brokered ceasefire went into effect on August 14, 2006, though it formally ended on September 8, 2006, when Israel lifted its naval blockade of Lebanon. The war resulted in the pacification of southern Lebanon and in the weakness of the Hezbollah (which suffered serious casualties but managed to survive the Israeli onslaught).
November 1, 2006: Operation Autumn Clouds is an Israeli military operation, following numerous Rocket and mortar attacks on southern Israel, when the Israeli Defense Forces entered the Gaza Strip triggering sporadic fighting near Beit Hanoun. The operation is the largest military endeavor undertaken by the Israeli military since Operation Summer Rains. Palestinian government officials said on 7 November 7, that IDF troops were beginning to withdraw, thus ending the operation. Fifty-three Palestinians, including 16 civilians, and an IDF soldier, were killed since October 31.
2007: Noam Chomsky, Norman Finkelstein, Irfan Khawaja, and Tariq Ali have suggested that the characterization of anti-Zionism as anti-Semitic is inaccurate, sometimes obscures legitimate criticism of Israel’s policies and actions, and is sometimes a political ploy to stifle criticism of Israel.
March 2007: a poll for the BBC World Service – poll asked 28,000 people in 27 countries to rate a dozen countries, a majority of people believe that Israel has a mainly negative influence in the world
June 2007: Hamas defeated Fatah in a series of violent clashes, and since that time Hamas has governed the Gaza portion of the Palestinian Territories, while at the same time they were ousted from government positions in the West Bank. Israel and Egypt then imposed an economic blockade on Gaza and largely sealed their borders with the territory.
NOTE: After acquiring control of Gaza, Hamas-affiliated and other militias launched rocket attacks upon Israel, which Hamas ceased in June 2008 following an Egyptian-brokered ceasefire. The ceasefire broke down late in 2008, with each side accusing the other of responsibility.
August 2007: a delegation of the All India Organization of Imams and mosques led by Maulana Jamil Ilyas visited Israel. The meet led to a joint statement expressing “peace and goodwill from Indian Muslims”, developing dialogue between Indian Muslims and Israeli Jews, and rejecting the perception that the Israeli-Palestinian conflict is of a religious nature. The visit was organized by the American Jewish Committee. The purpose of the visit was to create meaningful debate about the status of Israel in the Muslim eyes worldwide, and strengthen the relationship between India and Israel. It is suggested that the visit could “open Muslim minds across the world to understand the democratic nature of the state of Israel, especially in the Middle East”.
2007: Israel Land Administration (ILA) manages 93% of Israel’s land (in what had been Mandate Palestine) comprising 19,508 km² under the following laws and land policy; the remaining 7% of land is either privately owned or under the protection of religious authorities.
2007: Jewish National Fund owned 13% of the total land in Israel. Since its inception, the JNF says it has planted over 240 million trees in Israel. It has also built 180 dams and reservoirs, developed 250,000 acres (1,000 km2) of land and established more than 1,000 parks.
December 27, 2008 – January 21, 2009: Gaza War, three-week armed conflict between Israel and Hamas during the winter of 2008–2009. In an escalation of the ongoing Israeli–Palestinian conflict, Israel responded to ongoing rocket fire from the Gaza Strip with military force in an action titled “Operation Cast Lead”. Israel opened the attack with a surprise air strike on December 27, 2008. Israel’s stated aim was to stop such rocket fire from and the import of arms into Gaza.
NOTE: Israeli forces attacked military and civilian targets, police stations, and government buildings in the opening assault. Israel declared an end to the conflict on January 18 and completed its withdrawal on January 21, 2009. 1,417 Palestinian and 13 Israeli deaths (4 from friendly fire); Gaza has a population density per square kilometer equal that of Moscow, Tel Aviv or Tokyo
January 30, 2009: Israeli political group Yesh Din plans to use a classified Israeli Government database to prove that many West Bank Israeli settlements were built on land privately owned by Palestinian citizens without compensation
July 2009: Khaled Meshal, Hamas’s political bureau chief, said the organization was willing to cooperate with “a resolution to the Arab-Israeli conflict which included a Palestinian state based on 1967 borders”, provided that Palestinian refugees hold the right to return to Israel and that East Jerusalem be the new nation’s capital.
August 17, 2009: Four ministers embarked on a tour of West Bank outposts; including Netanyahu cabinet (Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Internal Affairs Eli Yishai (Shas), Vice Prime Minister and Minister of Strategic Affairs Moshe Ya’alon (Likud), Minister of Information Yuli Edelstein (Likud), and Minister of Science and Technology Daniel Hershkowitz (The Jewish Home).
NOTE: During the tour, Yishai stated that the outposts are not illegal: “These are legal settlements built by the governments of Israel. The people of Israel should know this settlement is legal. If someone thinks otherwise and plans to evacuate them, it will have to be approved by the government. You cannot just evacuate people from their homes without due process.”
July 1, 2010: B’Tselem released a report showing Israeli settlements have jurisdiction over more than 42% of the West Bank; these areas are off-limits to Palestinians, they are not allowed to live in Israeli settlements, drive on Israeli-only roads, or live or travel through “security zones” surrounding the settlements
October 10, 2010: the Netanyahu government passed an amendment to the Israeli Citizenship Act that replaced the requirement that naturalized Israeli citizens pledge allegiance to “the State of Israel” with a requirement that they take an oath of loyalty to the State of Israel “as a Jewish and democratic state.”
NOTE: The Israel Democracy Institute: the Israeli government passed a bill that makes the receipt of Israeli citizenship contingent upon an oath of loyalty to Israel as a “Jewish and democratic state.” This expanded the existing law, which only required allegiance to “the State of Israel.” The new legislation only applies to aspiring citizens who are not Jewish; as such, it is invalid because it is discriminatory.
November 5, 2010: Interviewed by Haaretz, Baron Benjamin Rothschild, a Swiss-based member of the banking family, said that he supported the peace process: “It is not easy to elaborate on such a complicated problem. You know, when you don’t live in a country you don’t know all the ins and outs. More than 10 years ago, when my father died, Benjamin Netanyahu called and asked if he could help with anything. I told him, ‘Make peace, advance the process.’ I told Netanyahu that I know it’s complicated but that if he is asking me if my father had a wish, it was to see peace in the Middle East. “I understand that it is a complicated business, mainly because of the fanatics and extremists – and I am talking about both sides. I think you have fanatics in Israel: They do not serve in the army and they attack the soldiers who guard them. Extremists are a disaster on any side. In France there are the extremists of Le Pen. I am especially against religious extremists: It infuriates me to see the pope asking for 40 euro so people can attend a mass in London. In general I am not in contact with politicians. I spoke once with Netanyahu, as I mentioned. I met once with an Israeli finance minister, but the less I mingle with politicians the better I feel.”
“So we decided to open ourselves a little bit more to the Israeli public, so we can be better known, if only because my great-grandfather started the country. We would not want people to forget that.”
“Even now. We do business with all kinds of countries, including Arab countries.”
“The first question they always ask us is how we managed to maintain the family and the business dynasty for such a long time. And by the way, that is something the Israelis will have to learn. You never see more than two or three generations in Israel. For that, you need a good tax system and you need to open up to the world. International consultants who specialize in this should be brought to Israel. Your financial system needs to open up, in the same way the industrial sector did.”
“We were the first to launch activity aimed at forging a dialogue between Muslims, Christians and Jews, between imams and rabbis, and it was very successful.”
February 2011: Netanyahu called German Chancellor Angela Merkel to complain about Germany’s vote in favor of a resolution at the United Nations Security Council to declare Israeli settlements to be illegal and she responded “How dare you! You are the one who disappointed us. You haven’t made a single step to advance peace.” A few days later veteran Israeli diplomat Ilan Baruch resigned saying that Netanyahu’s policies were leading to Israel’s delegitimization.
February 3, 2011: The Knesset’s Constitution, Law and Justice Committee accepted “Admission Committees Law”. According to the amended draft, only communities of up to 400 families will be allowed to appoint reception committees as opposed to 500 in the original draft. In addition, the law will only apply to communal settlements in the Negev and Galilee and not all over the country. Arab lawmakers have claimed the bill is aimed at preventing Arabs from purchasing homes in Jewish communities while violating a High Court ruling.
NOTE: Association for Civil Rights in Israel (ACRI) and The Abraham Fund Initiative argue that the law authorized more than 300 villages or neighborhoods to screen potential residents on the basis of “obscure” criteria. They claim that a clause that enables the rejection of candidates for “lack of suitability to the socio-cultural makeup” of the village discriminates against Arabs and other minorities. They also claim that the law circumvents past High Court decisions forbidding the creation of villages for Jews only.
March 14, 2011: Knesset’s Constitution, Law and Justice Committee approved a controversial bill known as “the Nakba Bill,” which would impose financial sanctions on institutions that commemorate Israel’s Independence Day as a day of mourning. The bill was passed into law by the Knesset plenum on March 22, 2011.
NOTE: The Israel Democracy Institute: The imposition of broad budgetary sanctions on public bodies such as local councils, educational institutions, and community centers is an act of collective punishment that is meted out indiscriminately on an entire public.
July 11, 2011: “Bill to Prevent Harm to the State of Israel Through Boycotts” passed its second and third reading in the Knesset. This controversial law imposes sanctions on bodies that advocate economic, academic, or cultural boycotts of Israel or of specific areas of the country. The law drew criticism from the EU, the United States and the Anti-Defamation League.
NOTE: The Israel Democracy Institute: According to the bill, a public institution that supported a boycott would lose the funds that it is entitled to according to the Budget Foundation Law. Alternatively, it could be denied funds that it would have received under the Sports Gambling Arrangement. Similarly, it would not be recognized as a public institution under the Income Tax Ordinance, which would preclude it from receiving tax exempt donations, and it would not be entitled to additional economic benefits.
September 23, 2011: Palestine 194 initiative asked to join as a full member of the United Nations; never went to a vote in the United Nations Security Council; only eight of fifteen members had supported the measure, one less than the affirmative majority vote of nine members, including the concurring votes of the permanent members, required by Article 27 of the UN Charter; furthermore, the United States indicated an intention to veto the resolution should it come to a vote.
July 9, 2012: Levy Report is an 89 page report on West Bank settlements, authored by a three member committee headed by former Israeli Supreme Court justice Edmund Levy. The committee, dubbed the “outpost committee”, was appointed by Israel’s Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu in late January 2012 to investigate the legal status of unauthorized West Bank Jewish settlements, but also examined whether the Israeli presence in the West Bank is to be considered an occupation or not, The report comes to the conclusion that Israel’s presence in the West Bank is not occupation, that the Israeli settlements are legal under international law, recommends state approval for unauthorized Jewish settlement outposts, and provides proposals for new guidelines for settlement construction; and is based on “an eccentric legal doctrine that’s been circulating for years on the fringes of the far right”. Its advocates assert that the resolution of the post-World War I San Remo conference which called for “the establishment in Palestine of a national home for the Jewish people” retains its validity to the present day and constitutes a binding international commitment to make all of historic Palestine as under the British mandate into a Jewish state. The report contradicts the world community’s interpretation of the Fourth Geneva Convention.
NOTE: According to the Israeli newspaper Haaretz, the “members were meticulously chosen”; the report, while recommending the legalization of illegal outposts, is critical of government policies that allowed their establishment, stating “we wish to stress that the picture that has been displayed before us regarding Israeli settlement activity in Judea and Samaria does not befit the behavior of a state that prides itself on, and is committed to, the rule of law”. As of June 2013, the report has not been brought before the Israeli cabinet or any parliamentary or governmental body which would have the power to approve it.
November 14-22, 2012: Operation Pillar of Defense was an eight-day Israel Defense Forces (IDF) operation in the Hamas-governed Gaza Strip, officially launched with the killing of Ahmed Jabari, chief of the Gaza military wing of Hamas
November 29, 2012: UN General Assembly grants Palestine non-member observer State status at UN; resolution 67/19; adopted by a vote of 138 in favor to nine against with 41 abstentions by the 193-member Assembly; nations who voted against: Canada, Czech Republic, Israel, Marshall Islands, Micronesia, Nauru, Palau, Panama, United States of America.
NOTE: BBC puts the significance of the status change this way: “The change would allow the Palestinians to participate in General Assembly debates. It would also improve the Palestinians’ chances of joining UN agencies and the International Criminal Court (ICC), although the process would be neither automatic nor guaranteed. If they are allowed to sign the ICC’s founding treaty, the Rome Statute, the Palestinians hope to take legal action in the court, for example, to challenge Israel’s occupation of the West Bank”
December 17, 2012: UN Chief of Protocol Yeocheol Yoon decided that “the designation of ‘State of Palestine’ shall be used by the Secretariat in all official United Nations documents”. UN has authorized Palestine to title its representative office to the UN as ‘The Permanent Observer Mission of the State of Palestine to the United Nations’, and Palestine has started to re-title its name accordingly on postal stamps, official documents and passports, whilst it has instructed its diplomats to officially represent ‘The State of Palestine’, as opposed to the ‘Palestine National Authority’.
2012: Israeli interior ministry, 350,150 Jewish settlers live in the 121 officially-recognized settlements in the West Bank and 300,000 Israelis live in settlements in East Jerusalem; though 164 nations refer to the West Bank, including East Jerusalem, as “Occupied Palestinian Territory”; the “settlements” are illegal according to the fourth Geneva Convention; the state of Israel insists that only territories captured in war from “an established and recognized sovereign” should be considered occupied territories; Israel’s occupation of this territory is not recognized by any state
February 21, 2013: Israel has authorized drilling for oil on the disputed Golan Heights, local media report. The first license has been awarded to the US-Israeli energy company Genie (GNE). The process of granting the license began following geological tests, which indicated a large potential oil discovery in the southern Golan Heights – an area of thousands of hectares. The license covers half the area of the Golan from the latitude of Katzrin in the north to Tzemach in the south. Media tycoon Rupert Murdoch, former US Vice President Dick Cheney and banker Nathaniel Charles Jacob Rothschild, 4th Baron Rothschild are among the shareholders of GNE, a New Jersey-based company. It is headed by Effie Eitam, a Golan settler and former hardline rightwing Israeli cabinet minister. Genie Energy is the parent company of Israel Energy Initiatives Ltd. (IEI), which is moving forward on a venture to develop shale oil deposits in the coastal plain.
April 2013: International recognition of the State of Palestine: 132 (68.4%) of the 193 member states of the United Nations have recognized the State of Palestine.
2013: Israeli settlements in the occupied West Bank stand on 207.84 square miles (538.3 km²); more than 656,000 Israeli settlers live in 196 settlements, including tourist settlements, and 232 outposts distributed all over the West Bank, including East Jerusalem; all built in contradiction to international law
NOTE: the number of Palestinian refugees has grown to over 4 million; of which 33% live in the West Bank and Gaza; almost 33% in Jordan; 17% in Syria and Lebanon and around 15% in other Arab and Western countries
July 19, 2013: Israel-Palestinian peace talks resume; US Secretary of State John Kerry, Martin Indyk, special U.S. envoy to the Middle East, Tzipi Livni, Chief Israeli negotiator and Minister of Justice of Israel, and Chief Palestinian negotiator, Saeb Erekat began first substantive talks in five years.
August 11, 2013: Ministry of Construction and Housing – Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the Israel Lands Authority published plans for 3,100 new settler homes over the pre-1967 lines; including, but not limited to: 63 in East Talpiot, 400 in Gilo, 210 in Har Homa, 183 in Pisgat Ze’ev, 117 in Ariel, 149 in Efrat, 92 in Ma’aleh Adumim and 36 in Betar Illit. Palestinians say Israeli construction in the battle-won West Bank and east Jerusalem is a war crime that violates the Fourth Geneva Convention. Israel says the settlements don’t fall under the convention because the territory wasn’t recognized as belonging to anyone before the 1967 war, in which Israel prevailed, and therefore isn’t occupied.
August 26, 2013: Palestinian officials said they called off a planned round of peace talks Monday after Israeli soldiers killed three protesters during clashes following an arrest raid in the West Bank. But in comments that suggested the meeting had gone ahead as planned, State Department deputy spokeswoman Marie Harf said that “no meetings have been canceled. We’ve been clear that the two parties are engaged in serious and sustained negotiations.” Israeli officials refused to comment. Witnesses said the Israeli forces opened fire and hospital officials told Reuters three men were killed.
NOTE: The United Nations Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA), which provides aid to Palestinian refugees, said one of its employees, a 34-year-old father of four, was among the dead. “Credible reports say that (Robeen Zayed) was on his way to work and was not engaged in any violent activity. He was shot in the chest,” said UNRWA spokesman Christopher Gunness.
A Closing Thought: Averroes, Moses Maimonides, and Thomas Aquinas
Abž al-Wal”d Muhammad Ibn Rushd, known in the West by as Averro‘s, was born in Cordoba in southern Spain in the year 1126 and died in 1198. He is without question the greatest mind produced by Islamic civilization in Al-Andalus. As a young man, Ibn Rushd already excelled in theology, religious law, astronomy, literature, mathematics, music, zoology, medicine and philosophy.
Rabbi Moses Maimonides was born 12 years after Ibn Rushd. His name in his mother tongue of Arabic was Musa ibn Maymun al-Qurtubi, and he is universally considered the most important Jewish thinker in the last 2,000 years. Please note the similarities between Ibn Rushd and Rabbi Musa: both were born in Cordoba in Al-Andalus; both became “philosopher/theologians” and the foremost interpreters of Aristotle within Islam and Judaism, with both attempting to harmonize the truths of reason with the revelations of the Holy Qur’an and the Torah; both became jurists and authorities in religious law (the sharia in Islam, the halakhah in Judaism) that is still central to Muslim and Jewish observance; both lived part of their lives in Fez in Morocco; and both became court physicians to their local rulers, Ibn Rushd to the Caliph of Cordoba, Rabbi Musa to the great Salah-ah-Din in Egypt.
Thomas Aquinas was born near Naples, Italy in the year 1225. He is the most important and influential Christian philosopher of the Middle Ages. His masterpiece, the Summa Theologiae, is widely considered the most comprehensive exploration of philosophy and theology in the entire history of Christianity. And like Ibn Rushd and Rabbi Musa before him, Thomas was primarily concerned with finding a way of incorporating Aristotle’s rationalism into Christian theology.
But it is not only the writings of these three great thinkers that speak to us today; it is their life stories and their courage in pursuing, in the words of Rabbi Musa, “the truth from whatever source it proceeds.” Herein lies part of the contemporary importance of our three wise men, for they dared to advance the notion that wisdom about the universe was not the exclusive property of one tradition, one people, one faith.
Psalm 127: “Like arrows in the hands of a warrior, so are the children of one’s youth” Concordia, Integritas, Industria (Unity, Integrity, Industry)
By the rivers of Babylon, there we sat, we also wept when we remembered Zion.
On willows in its midst we hung our harps.
For there our captors asked us for words of song and our tormentors [asked of us] mirth, “Sing for us of the song of Zion.”
“How shall we sing the song of the L-rd on foreign soil?”
If I forget you, O Jerusalem, may my right hand whither.
May my tongue cling to my palate, if I do not remember you, if I do not bring up Jerusalem at the beginning of my joy…