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.
Israel now intends to remove Arafat from Palestine just as the United States removed Hussein from power. Israel acts alone. Not even the United States supports Israel's "regime change" plans for Palestine. While the media dances around saying this --as if they'd suddenly be held accountable for murder-- Israel plans for Arafat's death.
Unlike the United States with Iraq, Israel is building a grave; however, this burial site won't be for Arafat.
Sahar Odeh's clean smile serves to hide her family's past, "I'm glad to stay in one place," she said. She doesn't wish to move again, having fled from Egypt to the Gaza strip, to the West Bank, and then to Jordan where her family lived three years ago.
Flight to freedom was a dangerous goal, she reports during a classroom discussion at Columbia University. Odeh, 34, speaks without emotion of Palestinian people battling Israeli military police as regularly as going to worship. Those in the classroom of 24 listen, but admit they don't understand Palestine's reasons for killing Israelis.
Odeh's convictions grew through personal experience and left no questions. Palestine isn't located. It is not a place. How many play Israel the victim? If for no other reason than religious family roots, or the media depiction's of Israelis as innocent bystanders, Odeh's experiences tell a different story -- that of mixed races, balanced religions -- living together with nowhere to call home. And a hand-full of men set to destroy them all.
Historical review of media trends do not support bias towards Israel over its Arab neighbors, or the Palestinians. The media reported news of both, Israeli government actions and Arab Nations' since the end of W.W.II. But unlike Arab states, Israel is socially alike the United States, which lends reporters to discuss events with an affinity towards the Israeli.
"They are people like us," Dan Rather of CBS News tells students at a seminar on the Israeli conflict at Fordham University, November 2002.
Describing Arab cultures, tribal cultures, monarchies, and religious sects don't resonate with the average television reporter from the suburban US home. There is no culture, for that matter, that can be told in a 20-second news byte. But Israelis eat, drink, sleep, and live like us -- in some ways -- no explanation required.
Arab cultural icons don't exist in US-media, Arabs are private people, their religious preference is largely Islamic. Their society has not experienced medical revolutions like those of Europeans, or Japanese, or cultural shifts brought about by television and radio in the US. Reporters run after the fast-talk, thus they avoid the complex explanations of this ever changing map called the Middle East. And the US has set plans on long-term change for that region.
Cultural heritage of many religions date centuries ago when settlers flourished east of the Mediterranean Sea. Rain was plentiful and the area was naturally green with grass and trees. Archeological finds in the Dead Sea corroborate stories of plentiful food and thriving civilizations, until a catastrophic change. Today the region is irreconcilably different than three thousand years ago. It holds scant resources, a growing modern and hostile population, and water needs for both Israel and Arab Nations drain the Jordan river.
During early stages of W.W.II, Winston Churchill, a longtime Zionist sympathizer, became prime minister of England, and thus grew a period of close British-Jewish cooperation, especially in Palestine, an area under British control.
Arabs on the other hand, were sympathetic towards the Nazis. They accepted Nazi philosophy and cause. Palestine experienced its calmest period of the 20th century during W.W.II. The only concern was the approach of Italians and Germans on their effort to take the Suez Canal early in the war.
In June 1941, the British and Free French forces entered Syria from Palestine, preventing fascist invasion, and pro-British regimes maintained the region for the duration of the war.
In contrast to Britain's support of Jews, Arabs revered Adolph Hitler. Iraq declared a holy war against Britain in May 1941. Other Arab Nations played small parts by confiscating supplies enroute to the Allied Forces. While W.W.II intensified, Muslim clerics in Bosnia and Kosovo encamped Serbian, Jewish, and Roma people from Yugoslavia. From 1941 until 1945, a Nazi regime under Ante Pavelic in Croatia emerged, 800,000 Yugoslav citizens were killed; 750,000 Serbs, 60,000 Jews, and 26,000 Roma. Islamic fundamentalists across Arab Nations encouraged Muslims to join Nazi units.
After the war, in 1951 a young Palestinian, Yasser Arafat, kept his postwar sympathies with the Nazi cause at The University of Cairo.
The United States recognized Israel as a state in 1948, although it first pushed for a Jewish state in 1922 without success. US-led weapons embargo on Israel lifted in 1962, after having already sold millions of dollars with of weaponry to Arab states.
Israel won US military support as the Vietnam conflict closed, and as oil shortages grew at home. The US replaced France as Israel's largest arms supplier, and in return Israel helped secure the region for oil exploration. Aid to Israel quadrupled under President Richard Nixon. Arab nations retaliated against the US by restricting oil exports, and expelling the Shah of Iran, placing that country under fundamentalist control.
Fearing the fall of other Arab Nations, the US again increased aid to Israel and partnered intelligence efforts to thwart proliferation of weapons of mass destruction by rogue regimes; end state-sponsored terrorism by Islamic fundamentalists; and to ensure oil flowed freely out of the Middle East. The relationship has not changed. In exchange for oil protection, the US turns a blind eye to Israel's homeland trouble.
In 1993, the Oslo Declaration of Principles married the Palestinian and Israel peace talks. The marriage hemorrhaged after misinterpretation. Both governments took the accord to different corners, and neither clarified intention.
Israel allowed Palestinians to live freely within occupied cities or towns, but did not allow for passage to or from. Palestinian populations were cutoff from each other and the world. Income dropped by 53 percent in the West Bank, and fell 64 percent in Gaza by year 2000.
Palestinians agreed in Oslo to recognize the state of Israel, and renounce claim to 78 percent of [their] homeland. In return, they were given full control over the West Bank and Gaza. In 2000, Israel changed strategy and told Arafat they will renegotiate because the territories were now populated by Israelis. Arafat was furious and walked away from the table.
Viewed as close allies, the U.S. did verbally condemn Israel for violating United Nations resolutions on 60 incidents between 1973-2000. The US sold Israel $7.2 billion in weapons during the past decade, and in 2003, the Bush administration will give Israel $2.76 billion, plus $28 million cash to purchase counter terrorism equipment.
Further complicating matters, the United Nations does not recognize an official border for Israel, only a cease-fire line. And depending upon which map you view, the borders differ.
Israel's Prime Minister, Ariel Sharon, fractured the Oslo agreement, closed the door to future negotiation with Arafat, and the quagmire of Palestine makes Sharon look almost noble.
During 2002, nearly 80 percent of Israelis thought that terror attacks were the most pressing crisis affecting their country. Of Arabs living in Israel, 70 percent identify with Palestinian cause, yet half prefer to be Israelis and not Palestinians.
History is unkind to countries in dispute of their borders. France, Britain, Rome, and Greece were all scaled back at times of less population and plentiful land. Israel conquered surrounding land once before, when a young Sharon helped his country invade Egypt. Israel was forced to pullback. Scaling-down Israel today would be like cutting-up the state of New Jersey. But who best to slice up the state than those from within? "They could," said Odeh, "We've already agreed to settle in what is basically wasteland and without further bloodshed. It is not good enough for Israel's government."