History of Palestine
New Kingdom Egyptian period
Independent Israelite, Philistine and Canaanite period
Neo-Assyrian and Neo-Babylonian Empires period
Persian (Achaemenid) Empire period
Hellenic Kingdoms (Ptolemaic / Seleucid / Hasmonean) period
Roman Iudaea period
Roman Syria Palaestina period
Late Antiquity period
Late Roman Empire period
Rashidun, Umayyad and Abbasid Caliphates period
Fatimid Caliphate period
Kingdom of Jerusalem (Crusaders) period
Ayyubid, Mamluk Bahri and Mamluk Burji period
Early modern period
Early Ottoman period
Decline of the Ottoman Empire period
British Mandate period
Infrastructure and development
Between 1922 and 1947, the annual growth rate of the Jewish sector of the economy was 13.2%, mainly due to immigration and foreign capital, while that of the Arab was 6.5%. Per capita, these figures were 4.8% and 3.6% respectively. By 1936, the Jewish sector had eclipsed the Arab one, and Jewish individuals earned 2.6 times as much as Arabs. In terms of human capital, there was a huge difference. For instance, the literacy rates in 1932 were 86% for the Jews against 22% for the Arabs, but Arab literacy was steadily increasing.
The office of “Mufti of Jerusalem”, traditionally limited in authority and geographical scope, was refashioned by the British into that of “Grand Mufti of Palestine”. Furthermore, a Supreme Muslim Council (SMC) was established and given various duties, such as the administration of religious endowments and the appointment of religious judges and local muftis. During the revolt (see below) the Arab Higher Committee was established as the central political organ of the Arab community of Palestine.
During the Mandate period, many factories were established and roads and railroads were built throughout the country. The Jordan River was harnessed for production of electric power and the Dead Sea was tapped for minerals – potash and bromine.
1936–1939 Arab revolt in Palestine
World War II and Palestine
When the Second World War broke out, the Jewish population sided with Britain. David Ben Gurion, head of the Jewish Agency, defined the policy with what became a famous motto: "We will fight the war as if there were no White Paper, and we will fight the White Paper as if there were no war." While this represented the Jewish population as a whole, there were exceptions (see below).
As in most of the Arab world, there was no unanimity amongst the Palestinian Arabs as to their position regarding the combatants in World War II. A number of leaders and public figures saw an Axis victory as the likely outcome and a way of securing Palestine back from the Zionists and the British. Mohammad Amin al-Husayni, Grand Mufti of Jerusalem, spent the rest of the war in Nazi Germany and the occupied areas, in particular encouraging Muslim Bosniaks to join the Waffen SS in German-conquered Bosnia. About 6,000 Palestinian Arabs and 30,000 Palestinian Jews joined the British forces.
In 1942, there was a period of anxiety for the Yishuv, when the forces of German General Erwin Rommel advanced east in North Africa towards the Suez Canal and there was fear that they would conquer Palestine. This period was referred to as the two hundred days of anxiety. This event was the direct cause for the founding, with British support, of the Palmach—a highly-trained regular unit belonging to Haganah (which was mostly made up of reserve troops).
End of the British Mandate 1945–1948
UN partition and the 1948 Israeli-Arab War
Partition between Israel, Jordan and Egypt
Six Day War and Yom Kippur War
First Intifada and Oslo Accords
From 1987 to 1993, the First Palestinian Intifada against Israel took place. Attempts at the peace process in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict were made at the Madrid Conference of 1991. As the process progressed, in 1993 the Israelis allowed Chairman and President of the Palestine Liberation Organization Yassir Arafat to return to the region.
Following the historic 1993 Oslo Peace Accords between Palestinians and Israel (the "Oslo Accords"), which gave the Palestinian Arabs limited self-rule in some parts of the Disputed Territories through the Palestinian Authority, and other detailed negotiations, proposals for a Palestinian state gained momentum. They were soon followed in 1994 by the Israel-Jordan Treaty of Peace. To date, efforts to resolve the conflict have ended in deadlock, and the people of the region, Jews and Arabs, are engaged in a bloody conflict, called variously the "Arab-Israeli conflict" or "Israeli-Palestinian conflict".
After few years of on-and-off negotiations, the Palestinians began an uprising against Israel. This was known as the Al-Aqsa Intifada. The events were highlighted in world media by Palestinian suicide bombings in Israel that killed many civilians, and by Israeli Security Forces full fledged invasions into civilian areas along with some targeted killings of Palestinian militant leaders and organizers. Israel began building a complex security barrier to block suicide bombers invading into Israel from the West Bank in 2002.
Also in 2002, the Road map for peace calling for the resolution of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict was proposed by a "quartet": the United States, European Union, Russia, and United Nations. U.S. President George W. Bush in a speech on June 24, 2002 called for an independent Palestinian state living side by side with Israel in peace. Bush was the first U.S. President to explicitly call for such a Palestinian state.
Following Israel's unilateral disengagement plan of 2004, it withdrew all settlers and most of the military presence from the Gaza strip, but maintained control of the air space and coast. Israel also dismantled four settlements in northern West Bank in September 2005. Following Israel's withdrawal, Palestinian militia groups fired Qassam rockets into Israel and smuggled weapons and ammunition into Gaza from Egypt. After the kidnap of Israeli soldiers in June 2006, Israel launched a military operation and reentered some parts of the Gaza Strip. Amidst severe criticism, they built the Israeli West Bank barrier.
Following the January 2006 election of the Hamas government, Fatah resistance took the form of street battles that resulted in a victory for Hamas. Hamas took over the ministries of the (Fatah) Palestinian Authority and Gaza became a Hamas enclave outside PA control.
As of July 2009, approximately 305,000 Israelis live in the 121 officially-recognised settlements in the West Bank. The 2.4 million West Bank Palestinians (according to Palestinian evaluations) live primarily in four blocs centered in Hebron, Ramallah, Nablus, and Jericho. In 2005, Israel withdrew its army and all the Israeli settlers were evacuated from the Gaza Strip, in keeping with Ariel Sharon's plan for unilateral disengagement, and control over the area was transferred to the Palestinian Authority. However, due to the Hamas-Fatah conflict,and to local elections, the Gaza Strip has been in control of Hamas since 2006. Even after this disengagement, the UN, Human Rights Watch, and many other international bodies and NGOs consider Israel to be the occupying power of the Gaza Strip because Israel controls Gaza's airspace and territorial waters, and does not allow the movement of goods in or out of Gaza by air or sea.
Graphical Overview of Palestine's Historical Sovereign Powers
- Continuous Jewish Presence in the "Holy Land"
- Population of Palestine in Ottoman and Mandate Times
- A brief history of Israel, Palestine and the Conflict Balanced and comprehensive history of Palestine and Israel from earliest times.
- Picturesque Palestine, Sinai and Egypt by Colonel Sir Charles William Wilson, ed. (published 1881-1884) image gallery at New York Public Library
- hWeb - Israel-Palestine in Maps
- Holy land Maps
- Burma (Myanmar)
- People's Republic of China
- East Timor (Timor-Leste)
- North Korea
- South Korea
- Saudi Arabia
- Sri Lanka
- United Arab Emirates
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