Israel Palestine conflict explained: A simple timeline and map

Israel Palestine: Iron Dome intercepts rockets in Fox broadcast

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Despite international attempts to broker a ceasefire, conflict in the region is intensifying, with civilian casualties increasing and concerns of a full-blown humanitarian crisis mounting. On Monday, Israel conducted dozens of airstrikes on the Gaza Strip, after Palestinian militants fired barrages of rockets at southern Israeli cities in the latest fighting. But while this marks some of the worst violence seen in the region, the history of the conflict goes back decades.

A timeline of the conflict


Britain takes control of the region known as Palestine after the Ottoman Empire is defeated in World War One.

At this time, the land is inhabited by an Arab majority, with a Jewish minority, but without conflict.

1920s to 1940s

Britain begins establishing a ‘national home’ for Jews in the region as more and more Jewish people flee persecution in Europe.

This leads to an increase in tensions between the groups – the area is seen as the ancestral home of both Jews and Arabs, with both groups claiming rights to the land.

After World War Two as more Jews flee to the region, violence between the groups grows, as well as against British rule.


The UN votes for Palestine to be split into separate Jewish and Arab states, with Jerusalem becoming an international city.

The move is accepted by Jewish leaders but rejected by the Arab side and never implemented.


Unable to solve the problem, British rulers leave the region.

The state of Israel is created by Jewish leaders.

Palestinians object to the creation of Israel and a war follows, with neighbouring Arab countries forming a coalition with Palestinian factions.

Hundreds of thousands of Palestinians flee or are forced out of their homes in what they call Al Nakba, or the ‘Catastrophe’.


The fighting ends in a ceasefire, and Israel controls most of the territory.

Jordan occupies land which became known as the West Bank, and Egypt occupied Gaza.

Jerusalem is divided between Israeli forces in the West, and Jordanian forces in the East.

Without a peace agreement, tensions continue simmering.


The “Six-Day War” begins with Israeli warplanes striking Egyptian airfields and Israeli ground forces entering the Sinai Peninsula.

Jordan joins the fighting alongside Egypt, but Israeli forces have the upper hand and take control of the Gaza Strip, Sinai, the West Bank, the Golan Heights and predominantly Arab East Jerusalem.

Hundreds of thousands of Palestinians flee or are displaced.

None of the Palestinians displaced – or their descendants – have ever been allowed to return home, as Israel said it would overwhelm the country and threaten its existence as a Jewish state.


A coalition of Arab nations, led by Egypt and Syria, launch a surprise attack on Israel.

The Arab forces initially gain ground, but are driven back by an Israeli counter-offensive aided by supplies from allies, including the United States.


A peace deal between Egyptian President Anwar Sadat and Israeli Prime Minister Menachem Begin, known as the Camp David accords, is brokered on September 17 by USA President Jimmy Carter.

Potential Palestinian peace proposals are discussed, but never carried out.


A Palestinian uprising – or intifada – erupts, bringing clashes and protests in the West Bank, Gaza and Israel.

The unrest continues on and off for years, with many lives lost on both sides.


The first of two pacts, known as the Oslo accords, is signed between Israel and the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO), setting out a peace process.

Left unresolved, however, were key issues such as Israeli settlements in the West Bank and the status of Jerusalem, which is viewed by the Palestinians as the capital of any future state, meaning peace was still not achieved.


Another Palestinian intifada begins after a visit by right-wing Israeli political figure Ariel Sharon to a compound in Jerusalem venerated in Judaism, Christianity and Islam.

Clashes and violence continue until 2005, leaving hundreds dead on both sides.


The Palestinian militant group Hamas wins elections in Gaza, leading to political strains with the more moderate Fatah party controlling the West Bank.


Israel begins three weeks of attacks on Gaza after rocket barrages into Israel by Palestinian militants, who are supplied by tunnels from Egypt.

More than 1,110 Palestinians and at least 13 Israelis are killed.


Israel kills Hamas military chief Ahmed Jabari, triggering more than a week of rocket fire from Gaza and Israeli airstrikes.

At least 150 Palestinians and six Israelis are killed.


Hamas militants kill three Israeli teenagers kidnapped near a Jewish settlement in the West Bank, prompting an Israeli military response.

A seven-week conflict leaves more than 2,200 Palestinians dead in Gaza.

In Israel, 67 soldiers and six civilians are killed.


The Trump administration recognizes Jerusalem as the capital of Israel and announces that it plans to shift the US Embassy from Tel Aviv, stirring outrage from Palestinians.


Protests take place in Gaza along the fence with Israel, including demonstrators hurling rocks and gasoline bombs across the barrier.

Israeli troops kill more than 170 protesters over several months.


Tensions rise in Jerusalem during Ramadan, with Palestinians saying Israeli police imposed unnecessarily harsh restrictions on them during their month of fasting.

Israeli policing of Palestinians leads to the use of CS gas and stun grenades inside al-Aqsa mosque, a holy site for both Muslims and Jews.

Palestinians are threatened with eviction from their homes in Sheikh Jarrah – a Palestinian neighbourhood outside the walls of the Old City – with land and property claimed by Jewish settler groups in the Israeli courts.

Hamas issues an ultimatum to Israel to remove its forces from the al-Aqsa compound and from Sheikh Jarrah, and fires rockets at Jerusalem, which is met with resistance by Israel and fighting begins.

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