A deadly, coordinated assault by Palestinian militants in Israel has reignited the long-standing Israeli-Palestinian conflict. The death toll exceeds 1,000, sparking renewed international concern for peace in the region.
In a shocking and coordinated assault on Israel, Palestinian militants carried out one of the deadliest and boldest attacks in years, further reigniting the long-standing Israeli-Palestinian conflict that has plagued the Middle East for decades. The death toll has tragically risen to over 1,000 people, with at least 900 Israelis and 680 Palestinians losing their lives, according to reports from Israeli media and the Palestinian Health Ministry. Additionally, dozens of Israeli soldiers, civilians, and possibly foreign nationals have been taken as captives, with Israeli media stating that more than 100 individuals are currently missing.
The roots of this complex and deeply entrenched conflict date back to well before the establishment of the state of Israel in 1948. The struggle for control over the land between the Jordan River and the Mediterranean Sea is deeply tied to the religious and historical significance that both Palestinians and Israelis attach to the region. Christians, Jews, and Muslims all consider parts of this land sacred, which has only deepened the animosity and complexity of the conflict.
Over the past seven decades, the region has experienced periods of war, uprisings, and, at times, fleeting hopes for compromise. Below is a timeline highlighting some of the key events, including the latest surge of violence in the Gaza Strip:
World War I: The Question of Palestine
During World War I, the Ottoman Empire controlled the Middle East, with the region falling under British control following the war. This era saw the beginning of the struggle for self-determination and sovereignty over the Palestinian territories by both Israelis and Palestinians. Controversial diplomatic efforts by the Great Powers, including the McMahon-Hussein Correspondence and the Sykes-Picot Agreement, further complicated the situation.
In 1917, the Balfour Declaration expressed British support for the establishment of a national home for the Jewish people in Palestine, marking a turning point in the conflict. However, the declaration also emphasized the importance of preserving the rights of the existing non-Jewish communities in the region.
1948: Israel Declares Independence
Following World War II and the end of the British Mandate for Palestine, the United Nations General Assembly passed Resolution 181 in 1947, urging the partition of the land into two independent states, one Arab and one Jewish, with Jerusalem under international administration. Israel declared independence in May 1948, leading to a coalition of Arab states and Palestinian factions attacking Israeli forces, resulting in Israel gaining control of a significant portion of territory and the displacement of hundreds of thousands of Palestinians, which they refer to as the “Nakba” or catastrophe.
July 1956: The Suez Crisis
Egypt’s nationalization of the Suez Canal in 1956 led to an invasion by Israel, followed by forces from Britain and France. A peace deal mediated by the United States and the Soviet Union eventually ended the conflict, although the canal remained blocked until 1957.
June 1967: 1967 War
The Six-Day War in June 1967, sparked by conflicts such as Egypt’s blockade of the Gulf of Aqaba, led to Israel gaining control of the Gaza Strip, Sinai, the West Bank, the Golan Heights, and East Jerusalem.
September 1972: Munich Olympics Attack
At the 1972 Munich Summer Olympics, Palestinian extremists from the Black September group attacked the Olympic Village, resulting in the deaths of two athletes and the taking of nine hostages, who were later killed.
October 1973: Arab Coalition Attacks Israel
An Arab coalition, led by Egypt and Syria, launched a coordinated attack on Israel on Yom Kippur, a Jewish holy day, leading to heavy casualties on both sides.
September 1978: Camp David Accords
A peace agreement between Egyptian President Anwar Sadat and Israeli Prime Minister Menachem Begin, known as the Camp David Accords, was brokered by U.S. President Jimmy Carter. This laid the foundation for peace between Egypt and Israel and outlined a framework for Palestinian self-government in the West Bank and Gaza.
December 1987: First Intifada
The first Intifada, a Palestinian uprising against Israeli occupation, resulted in clashes, protests, and civil disobedience, leading to a heavy Israeli military crackdown.
1993: Oslo Accords
The Oslo Accords, signed between Israel and the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO), aimed to establish a peace process based on UN resolutions and limited Palestinian self-rule in the West Bank and Gaza.
2000: Second Intifada
The second Intifada began after a visit by Israeli political figure Ariel Sharon to a compound in Jerusalem, resulting in years of violence and unrest.
2006: Hamas Elected in Gaza
Hamas won legislative elections in Gaza, leading to tensions with the Fatah party in the West Bank. Israel imposed a blockade on Gaza, worsening the humanitarian crisis.
December 2008: Israel Attacks Gaza
Israel launched a three-week-long attack on Gaza in response to rocket barrages from Palestinian militants.
November 2012: Israel Kills Hamas Military Chief
Israel’s assassination of Hamas military chief Ahmed Jabari led to a week of rocket fire from Gaza and Israeli airstrikes.
Summer 2014: Hamas Kills Three Israeli Teenagers
Hamas militants’ abduction and murder of three Israeli teenagers led to a seven-week conflict that resulted in many casualties.
December 2017: U.S. Recognizes Jerusalem as Capital
The U.S. recognition of Jerusalem as the capital of Israel stirred outrage among Palestinians.
2018: Protests in Gaza
Protests took place in Gaza, leading to clashes with Israeli troops, with numerous casualties on the Palestinian side.
May 2021: Israeli Police Raid Al-Aqsa Mosque
Tensions in Jerusalem escalated, leading to Israeli police raiding Al-Aqsa Mosque, followed by a violent exchange of rocket attacks and airstrikes.
Spring 2022: String of Terrorist Attacks in Israel
A wave of attacks by Palestinians against Israelis led to increased violence, with Israel responding with clampdowns and military operations in the West Bank.
January 2023: Israeli Raid on Jenin
Israeli forces conducted a raid in Jenin, leading to a shootout and retaliatory violence.
Summer 2023: Retaliatory Attacks Flare
Tit-for-tat attacks erupted, including Israeli airstrikes in Gaza, attacks in the West Bank, and a declaration of war on Hamas by Netanyahu.
October 2023: Israel Says It’s ‘At War’ After Hamas Attack
Netanyahu formally declared war on Hamas following a surprise assault, further escalating the conflict, with significant casualties reported on both sides.
This ongoing conflict continues to be a major concern for the international community, with calls for peace and a resolution to the Israeli-Palestinian issue growing louder.