from the end of the cold war to 2001


  1. Before World War I

  2. Between the World Wars

  3. Establishment of the State of Israel 

  4. The Cold War

  5. The Cold War Recedes

  6. To 2001

1990  Nov. 21 - at a Paris summit, Presidents Bush of the United States, Gorbachev of the Soviet Union, and other leaders declare that the Cold War is over.
1991 The Gulf War erupts after Saddam Hussein of Irag invades the neighboring state of Kuwait. A massive coalition of western and some Arab nations repel Iraq. During the conflict, Iraq launches 40 Scud missiles at Israel and 46 at Saudi Arabia, sets 600 Kuwaiti oils fields aflame, and releases millions of gallons of oil into the Persian Gulf.

May, Aug, Nov - Inconclusive Middle East Peace talks occur in Madrid, jointly hosted by the U.S. and the U.S.S.R.

1992 1992 Israel and the U.S. wrangle over the Likud 3 government's policy of constructing Israeli settlements in the occupied territories.

June - The Labor Party is elected to power in Israel after campaigning on a platform that includes an openness to exchanging land for peace.

1993 Sept 13 - A peace treaty is signed in Washington between Israel and the PLO that includes eventual autonomy for the Gaza Strip and the West Bank City of Jericho. Israeli troops are to withdraw from those places by Dec. 13th. The next day an agenda is signed between Israel and Jordan to advance formal peace talks between them.

Nov - Jordanian elections bring centrist secular politicians into a majority, thereby strengthening King Hussein's peace initiatives.

1994 Prospects of peace trigger extremist reactions. In Feb, a radical Israeli settler kills many Muslims at Abraham's tomb in Hebron.

Sept 13 - A Declaration of Principles based upon secret negotiations that had been occurring in Oslo, is signed in Washington. It outlines self-government for the Palestinians in the West Bank and the Gaza Strip. Signatories include Israeli Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin and Foreign Minister Shimon Perez and P.L.O. Chairman Yasser Arafat. U.S. President Clinton prompts a famous handshake between Rabin and Arafat.

1995 Yasser Arafat is elected President of the Palestinian Authority in the first Palestinian election.

Sporadic bus-bombings by an extremist group, Hamas, intensifies debate in Israel over the Labor government's land for peace policies.

Israel-Syria peace talks stall over the strategic Golan Heights.

May 4 - Cairo: the signing of an agreement of implementation of self-governance in the Gaza Strip and the Jericho area. Israeli forces begin withdrawing from these areas and the P.L.O. assumes their governance.

June 15 - full diplomatic relations are established between Israel and the Holy See (the Vatican).

July 25 - Washington: An end to a state of war between Israel and Jordan is declared by King Hussein and Prime Minister Rabin. They had been conducting secret talks for some time.

Sept 28 - After tense negotiations, Israel and the PLO sign an agreement which will ultimately extend Palestinian self-rule to most of the West Bank.

Oct 26 - A Treaty of Peace is signed between Israel and Jordan at their border by the Jordan River.  President Clinton witnesses the event.

Nov 4 - Israeli Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin is assassinated by a right-wing extremist Israeli who declares his opposition to the peace process. Heads-of-state from over forty nations and representatives from another 40 nations attend his Rabin's funeral. Notable dignitaries include three U.S. presidents, King Hussein of Jordan, President Mubarak of Egypt, and royalty from the Arab states of Morocco, Oman, and Brunei.

1996  Feb-March - Palestinian terrorists explode bombs in Jerusalem and Tel Aviv, killing 57 people.

March - Israel shells Lebanese sites in response to attacks by Hamas on the Galilee.

May 29 - The Likud party is re-elected to power in the wake of the terrorist bombings. New Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu delays the withdrawal of Israeli forces from the Palestinian city of Hebron. Later, Israeli settlements in the Occupied Territories increase. Between 1992 and 2000 the number of Israeli settlers in the Occupied Territories will increase from 125,000 to 200,000 persons.

Sept. 25 - Violence claiming the lives of 61 Arabs and 15 Israeli soldiers erupts over the opening of a second entrance to an archaeological tunnel near the Temple Mount.

1997 Jan 1 - An off-duty Israeli soldier fires into an Arab market in Hebron, wounding seven.

Jan. 15 - After months of strained talks, "The Hebron Protocol" is signed. Shortly thereafter, Hebron comes under Palestinian Authority jurisdiction. A timetable for the withdrawal of Israeli forces from rural areas of the West Bank is achieved.

Mar. 7 - Israel’s cabinet approves only 1/3 of expected territories to be handed over to the Palestinian Authority.

Mar. 18 - ground is broken at Har Homa (Jabu Abu Ghneim) for the the construction of Israeli residential units in a predominantly Palestinian neighborhood in east Jerusalem.

Mar. 21, July 30, Sept. 4 - explosions set by Palestinian suicide bombers rock commercial districts in Tel Aviv and Jerusalem.

Sept 9-11 - U.S. Secretary of State Madeline Albright visits the area and meets with Netanyahu and Arafat. She urges Arafat to crack down on terrorists, Netanyahu to undertake no further provocative building projects or settlements, and both to tone down their rhetoric.

1998 Oct. 23 - At Wye Mills, Maryland, with the assistance of King Hussein, Arafat, Netanyahu, and Clinton engage in marathon negotiations. They reach an agreement to transfer more of the West Bank land to Palestinian Authority control, combat terrorists, establish safe passages for Palestinians between Gaza and the West Bank, release of 750 Palestinians from Israeli prisons and construct a Palestinian airport in Gaza. Implementation of these accords is slow. 

1999 May - Labor Party candidate Ehud Barak is elected as Israeli Prime Minister in a landslide win over Netanyahu. He swiftly proceeds to implement the Wye Accords. He also withdraws Israeli troops from a buffer zone in Lebanon where they had been since the Lebanese civil war. 
2000 The Holy See and the PLO sign a "Basic Agreement" that calls for an internationally-guaranteed statute for Jerusalem in order to protect basic religious freedoms. 

According to the Oslo peace process, a final peace accord was to be reached by Sept. 13 of this year. Consequently, a second Camp David summit was held in July. Barak verbally offered the Palestinians governance of  most, but not all, of the Occupied Territories, and East Jerusalem as the capital of a State of Palestine. The "take- it- or- leave- it" approach left few options when Arafat rejected the proposal and the summit disbanded. 

A "Second Intifada" begins in the wake of the failure of the Camp David summit. A cycle of violence begins. According to the Dec. 6th issue of the Palestinian daily, Al Ayyam "Palestinian Minister of Communications, Imad Al-Falouji, confirmed that the Palestinian Authority had begun preparations for the outbreak of the current intifada from the moment the Camp David talks concluded this in accordance with instructions given by Chairman Arafat himself. Mr. Falouji went on to state that Arafat launched this intifada as a culminating stage to the immutable Palestinian stance in the negotiations."

December - With his popularity plummeting, Barak resigns as Prime Minister and calls for a special election. 

2001 Feb. 6 -  Ariel Sharon defeats Barak by a landslide in Israel's special election for prime minister. 

Palestinian terrorist bombings and Israeli military responses multiply in the ensuing months. These intensify when the Sharon government begins to target for assassination certain militant Palestinian leaders and after the assassination of an Israeli cabinet minister. 

Sept. 11 - Terrorists hijack four U.S. passenger airliners and crash them into the twin towers of the World Trade Center in New York, causing their collapse, the Pentagon building in Washington, and a field in Pennsylvania. It the latter case it appears that passengers fought to regain control of the aircraft. Over 3,000 persons from dozens of nations are killed.

Dec.  - Palestinian suicide-bombers cause explosions in Jerusalem and Haifa, killing more than two dozen Israelis.  Major Israeli military strikes against Palestinian targets in the West Bank follow.  

2002 Palestinian suicide bombings and Israeli military actions continue.  Israeli forces invade Palestinian refugee camps to flush out violent militants, while multiple suicide bombings are carried out by Hamas, Islamic Jihad and the Al Aqsa Martyrs Brigades, the military wing of Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat's Fatah movement. Israeli forces have Arafat under virtual house arrest . 

Jan. and Feb. - The United States having declared that the Sept. 11th attacks were the work of the Al Qaeda terrorist network, headed by Saudi millionaire Osama bin Laden, attacks the Taliban government in Afghanistan which had treated Al Qaeda as their guests. Assisted by a coalition of nations, the Taliban are toppled and an interim government is installed. 

Jan. - Israeli official seize a ship in the Red Sea that is smuggling 50 tons of weapons to the Palestinian Authority from Iran. Included in the cargo are ammunition, Katyusha rockets, rifles, mortar shells, mines and a variety of anti-tank missiles.

Feb. - Saudi Crown Prince Abdullah proposes that the  Arab states should recognize Israel's right to exist in exchange for Israel's return to pre-1967 borders.

March 8 - in the deadliest day of the past 17 months of the "Second Intifada" 45 people are killed.

March 27- A Palestinian suicide bomber detonates explosives in a hotel as a  Jewish Passover seder is about to begin, killing 21 people and injuring over 100. Israel blames Arafat. 

It is estimated that 1000 Palestinians and nearly 400 Israelis have died since the beginning of the "Second Intifada" 

March 28 - The Arab League, meeting in Beirut, votes to endorse the Saudi peace proposal. This is the first time that the Arab nations collectively recognize the existence of the State of Israel. 

March 29 - Israel invades Arafat's headquarters in Ramallah and takes 70 persons into custody. Daily Palestinian suicide bombings within Israel continue. Two days later, Sharon declares that Israel is in a state of war against terrorism. 




Concluding Remarks (March 31, 2001)

Recent events have demolished any feelings of trust among the combatants with a consequent polarizing of positions and rhetoric. Israel questions whether Chairman Arafat has ever really accepted the existence of Israel and if he has been planning its destruction all along. Many Palestinians have concluded that the government of Prime Minister Sharon has deliberately pursued a policy of disassembling the Palestinian Authority ever since it assumed office. Whether Arafat has the ability or desire to curtail the stream of suicide bombings, or if he perhaps encouraged them, is a major question.  

Any peace settlement will ultimately have to address the definition of borders between Israel and a Palestinian state, the parameters of a "right of return" for Palestinian refugees, the status of the city of Jerusalem and the governance of the Temple Mount, and Israel's borders and relationship with other neighboring Arab states. 

Normalization requires that obvious economic and lifestyle benefits result from the slow steps toward peace. It also requires the education of different populations about their opponents and neighbors in order to dispel stereotypes and hatreds.  Peace requires that leaders focus on the long-term greater regional good.


  1. Before World War I

  2. Between the World Wars

  3. Establishment of the State of Israel 

  4. The Cold War

  5. The Cold War Recedes

  6. To 2001