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Published September 2003 All Rights Reserved

Israel: the unraveling border state

Palestine continues fight for homeland

    Quick-check time line

    1948-1949: War of Independence. Israel fought for independence after Arab attacks. Nearly 800,000 Palestinian Jews, Muslims, and Christians fled Israel. The Armistice Agreements of 1949 between Israel and Egypt, Lebanon, Jordan, and Syria was translated by Israel as "peaceful coexistence," but the Arab Nations understood cease-fire, not end-of-war.

    1951-1956: Arab Nations practice Israel embargo and product boycotts. Fedayeens, suicide fighters, train with assistance of Arab Nations; enter Israel to kill civilians. In retaliation for blocking the Suez Canal, in October 1956, Israel strikes Egypt, destroys villages of fedayeens in the Gaza Strip and along the Sinai border, and secures the Gulf of Eilat away from Egypt.

    1957-1966: No major outbreaks occurred, but sporadic shelling, suicide bombings, and territorial disputes continued to plague Israel. Arab Nations build Palestinian Liberation Organization (PLO), and base them in Syria, Lebanon, and Jordan.

    1967: Syria grows nervous, and appeals to Egypt for assistance should Israel retaliate against the PLO. Arab Nations rally, Egypt positions itself at the Sinai border, Iraq and Saudi Arabia move to Israel's eastern line. They plan invasion of Israel.

    June 5, 1967: Israel carries out preemptive strikes on Arab neighbors, destroys Arab air force and airfields in three hours. Days later, Israel takes control of the Sinai Peninsula, the Gaza Strip, Judea, Samaria, and the Golan Heights. Israel suffers nearly 800 casualties, Arab Nations lose more than 14,000.

    1970: Syria ousts the PLO. Jordan accepts the PLO until fighting breaks out with Jordanian military. PLO leaves for Lebanon.

    October 1973: Egypt and Syria (with Iraq) attack Israel. The U.S. and U.S.S.R. intervene after 18 days of intense fighting and negotiate a cease-fire.

    1993: PLO signs the Oslo Declaration of Principles, renounces violence and agrees to honor UN SC Resolution 242, and recognizes Israel. Israel to give control of the West Bank and Gaza strip to Palestinians.

    2001: U.S. State Department charges Israel with excessive force against Palestinians, using live ammunition without times of imminent danger. Israel shelled Palestinian Authority institutions and civilian areas without just cause, which is in violation of U.S. Arms Export Control Act.

    2003: The U.S. has not sanctioned Israel for violating policy. No United Nations resolution violations (99) in the past 50 years have taken Israel to task. Israel plans Yassar Arafat's death.