Jerusalem conflict: A timeline | The Daily Star
02:09 PM, December 07, 2017 / LAST MODIFIED: 03:32 PM, December 07, 2017

Jerusalem conflict: A timeline

Conflicts over Jerusalem go back thousands of years — including biblical times, the Roman Empire and the Crusades — but the current one is a distinctly 20th-century story, with roots in colonialism, nationalism and anti-Semitism.

1917, The British Mandate

December 1917 — 100 years ago this month — the British general Edmund Allenby seized control of Jerusalem from its Ottoman Turkish defenders setting off the British mandate. .

The three decades of British rule that followed Allenby’s march on Jerusalem saw an influx of Jewish settlers drawn by the Zionist vision of a Jewish homeland, while the local Arab population adjusted to the reality of the collapse of the Ottoman Empire, which had ruled the city since 1517.

A picture dated before 1937 during the British Mandate in Palestine shows Arabs demonstrating in the Old City of Jerusalem against the Jewish immigration to Palestine. Jamal al-Husayni, Chairman of the Palestinian Arab Party and member of the influential Husayni family, can be seen (C, with a fez, his head a little bent) in the middle of the crowd. The Arab Revolt which lasted from 1936 to 1939 was an uprising against the British authority of Palestinians opposed to the growing immigration of European Jews and to the establishment in Palestine of a National home for the Jewish people as stated in the Balfour Declaration of 1917. On November 29, 1947, the United Nations' General Assembly voted resolution 181 on the partition of Palestine in two states, one Jewish and one Arab. Jerusalem was to remain under international control. The State of Israel was proclamed on 14 May 1948 by the Jewish National Council and was recognized by the United States and the Soviet Union 15 and 17 May the same year. Arab States of Lebanon, Syria, Jordan, Egypt and Iraq crossed the borders from north, east and south with their regular armies 15 May 1948. Agreements signed in 1949 between Israel and the Arab States ended the 1948 Arab-Israeli War, and established the armistice lines between Israel and the West Bank, also known as the Green Line, until the 1967 Six-Day War. Photo: FRANCE PRESSE VOIR / AFP

Opposition to that migration fueled several deadly riots by Palestinians, while Jews chafed at British rule and at immigration restrictions imposed in 1939 — restrictions that blocked many Jews fleeing the Holocaust from entering.

1947, UN Partition Plan

Picture dated 29 November 1947 showing a general view of the Zionist Labor Convention in New York during a ceremony celebrating the adoption by the United Nations of the Palestine partition plan. On November 29, 1947, the United Nations' General Assembly voted resolution 181 on the partition of Palestine in two states, one Jewish and one Arab. Jerusalem was to remain under international control. The State of Israel was proclamed on 14 May 1948 by the Jewish National Council and was recognized by the United States and the Soviet Union 15 and 17 May the same year. Arab States of Lebanon, Syria, Jordan, Egypt and Iraq crossed the borders from north, east and south with their regular armies 15 May 1948. Agreements signed in 1949 between Israel and the Arab States ended the 1948 Arab-Israeli War, and established the armistice lines between Israel and the West Bank, also known as the Green Line, until the 1967 Six-Day War. Photo: JACK DOWNEY / INP / AFP

After the war, in 1947, the United Nations approved a partition plan that provided for two states — one Jewish, one Arab — with Jerusalem governed by a “special international regime” owing to its unique status.

1948, Israel’s Declaration of Independence

(FILES) Picture dated 14 May 1948 shows Israeli Prime Minister David Ben Gourion flanked by members of his provisionnal gouvernement reading Israel's declaration of independence in Tel Aviv. On November 29, 1947, the United Nations' General Assembly voted resolution 181 on the division of Palestine in two states, one Jewish and one Arab. The State of Israel was proclamed on 14 May 1948 by the Jewish National Council and was recognized by the United States and the Soviet Union 15 and 17 May the same year. Arab States of Lebanon, Syria, Jordan, Egypt and Iraq crossed the borders from north, east and south with their regular armies 15 May 1948. Agreements signed in 1949 between Israel and the Arab States ended the 1948 Arab-Israeli War, and established the armistice lines between Israel and the West Bank, also known as the Green Line, until the 1967 Six-Day War. Photo: AFP

On May 14, 1948, David Ben-Gurion read Israel’s Declaration of Independence, in Tel Aviv after the end of the British mandate.

Arabs Attack the New State

The Arabs rejected the partition plan, and a day after Israel proclaimed its independence in 1948, the Arab countries attacked the new state. They were defeated. Amid violence by militias and mobs on both sides, huge numbers of Jews and Arabs were displaced.

A Divided Jerusalem

Jerusalem was divided: The western half became part of the new state of Israel (and its capital, under an Israeli law passed in 1950), while the eastern half, including the Old City, was occupied by Jordan.

While Israel moved many government functions to Jerusalem during the country’s first two decades, foreign governments largely avoided Jerusalem and opened embassies in Tel Aviv, in recognition of the United Nations resolution.

Arab-Israeli War of 1967

People gather Ben Yehuda street in Jerusalem after a bomb exploded destroying several buildings 22 February 1948. On November 29, 1947, the United Nations' General Assembly voted resolution 181 on the partition of Palestine in two states, one Jewish and one Arab. Jerusalem was to remain under international control. The State of Israel was proclamed on 14 May 1948 by the Jewish National Council and was recognized by the United States and the Soviet Union 15 and 17 May the same year. Arab States of Lebanon, Syria, Jordan, Egypt and Iraq crossed the borders from north, east and south with their regular armies 15 May 1948. Agreements signed in 1949 between Israel and the Arab States ended the 1948 Arab-Israeli War, and established the armistice lines between Israel and the West Bank, also known as the Green Line, until the 1967 Six-Day War. Photo: INTERCONTINENTALE / AFP

No event has shaped the modern contest over Jerusalem as much as the Arab-Israeli War of 1967, in which Israel not only defeated invading Arab armies but also seized control of the Gaza Strip and the Sinai Peninsula from Egypt; the West Bank and East Jerusalem from Jordan; and the Golan Heights from Syria.

After the victory Jerusalem became the center of a cult like devotion that had not really existed previously

The victory of the right-leaning party Likud in 1977, under the leadership of Menachem Begin, helped solidify this new emphasis on Jerusalem as integral to Israel’s identity.

1980, Bill Declaring Jerusalem the Capital of Israel

This process culminated in 1980, when lawmakers passed a bill declaring that “Jerusalem, complete and united, is the capital of Israel” — although Israel stopped short of annexing East Jerusalem, a move that would most likely have drawn international outrage.

The 1993 Oslo accords

US President Bill Clinton (4th R) prepares to give the opening address of the historic Israel-PLO Oslo Accords signing ceremony on September 13, 1993 at the White House in Washington, D.C. next to Israeli Foreign Minister Shimon Peres (L), Russian Foreign Minister Andrei Kozyrev (2nd L), Israeli Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin (3rd L), PLO Chairman Yasser Arafat (3rd R), US Secretary of State Warren Christopher (2nd R) and PLO political director Mahmoud Abbas (R). Photo: LUKE FRAZZA / AFP

The 1993 Oslo accords provided for the creation of a Palestinian Authority to govern the West Bank and the Gaza Strip, while deferring a resolution on core issues: borders, refugees and Jerusalem’s status.

2000, Ariel Sharon’s Visit

A visit by the right-wing politician Ariel Sharon in 2000 to the sacred complex known to Jews as the Temple Mount and to Muslims as the Noble Sanctuary — which contains Al Aqsa Mosque and the Dome of the Rock — set off violent clashes and led to a second Palestinian uprising that claimed the lives of about 3,000 Palestinians and 1,000 Israelis over five years.

The Fight Continues

Palestinians say that Jewish settlers have encroached on East Jerusalem, and that Israel has compounded the problem by revoking residency permits.

The entire international community has been in accord that Israeli annexation and settlement of East Jerusalem since 1967 is illegal, and refuses to recognize Jerusalem as Israel’s capital.

Thus, Jerusalem has been fought over in varying ways, not only by Jews, Christians and Muslims but also by external powers and, of course, modern-day Israelis and Palestinians.

The fight continues.

 

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