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1961 - 1985

1964 :  

The Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) is established and Mr. Ahmad Al-Shukairi is elected as the Chairman of the Executive Committee.

1965 :  

On 1 January, the Al-‘Asifa military wing of the Fateh movement starts armed struggle against Israel . The Fateh movement had been organized underground in the mid-1950s as a Palestinian national movement.

1966 :   

Israeli military units attack the village of Al-Samuh , to the south of Al-Khalil, causing extensive damage and large numbers of casualties. 

1967 :

On 5 June, war breaks out in the Middle East . Prior to the war, Egypt closes the Strait of Tiran and requests the withdrawal of the UNEF. Israel , however, carries out a devastating offensive 1st strike, and within a few days, its forces occupy the rest of mandated Palestine- the West Bank , including Arab East Jerusalem, and the Gaza Strip- in addition to the Syrian Golan and the Sinai Peninsula of Egypt.

The war creates another population of Palestinian refugees as approximately 325,000 persons flee from the West Bank and the Gaza Strip to neighboring
Egypt , Jordan , and Syria . Significant portions of this population are already refugees from 1948, and this new refugee population comes to be known as “displaced persons.” 

On 8 June, Israeli air force planes sink a U.S. navy electronic ship, the USS Liberty, in international waters of the Mediterranean Sea . 34 American officers are killed and 171 are wounded.

Immediately after occupying East Jerusalem in the war,
Israel destroys the entire Magharbi quarter in the walled Old City and in its place builds a large plaza for Jewish worshippers.

The U.N. Security Council adopts resolution 237 on 14 June which, inter alia, calls upon the government of  Israel to “. . . facilitate the return of those inhabitants who have fled the areas since the outbreak of hostilities.”

On 27 June, Israel adopts a law enabling the government to extend its laws, jurisdiction, and administration to East Jerusalem . The Israeli government also expands the municipal borders of Jerusalem to an area equivalent to ten times its original area.

Soon after its occupation of the West Bank, Gaza Strip and East Jerusalem , Israel begins to confiscate Palestinian land and to establish Jewish settlements (housing and other infrastructure in specific locations) in all of the occupied territories, as well as to transfer parts of its population into these settlements.

On 22 November, the Security Council adopts resolution 242 (1967), the provisions of which are meant to serve as the framework for peace in the Middle East . The resolution emphasizes “the inadmissibility of the acquisition of territory by war” and affirms that “a just and lasting peace in the Middle East” should be based on the following principles: “(i) Withdrawal of Israel armed forces from territories occupied in the recent conflict; (ii) Termination of all claims or states of belligerency and respect for and acknowledgment of the sovereignty, territorial integrity and political independence of every state in the area and their right to live in peace within secure and recognized boundaries free from any threats or acts of force.” The resolution also affirms the necessity of “achieving a just settlement of the refugee problem”.

The U.N. Secretary-General appoints Ambassador Gunnar Jarring of  Sweden as a Special Representative Mediator for the Middle East under Security Council resolution 242.

1968 :

In January, Fateh declares its political program calling for the establishment of a democratic state in Palestine where Arabs and Jews live together without discrimination.

On 21 March, Israeli forces cross over the border into
Jordan , attacking the Fateh bases in Al-Karameh. The Palestinian side (fida’iyyin) wages a heroic resistance and the battle becomes a turning point for the Fateh movement, which becomes the main Palestinian political force.

1968 :

Palestinian armed factions join the PLO. The Charter of the organization is amended at the Palestine National Council (PNC) meeting in Cairo .

1969 : 

In February, Yasser Arafat of Fateh is chosen by the PNC as the Chairman of the Executive Committee of the PLO.

On 21 August, Israeli arsonists set fire to Al-Aqsa Mosque in Jerusalem , causing extensive damage and destruction of the holy site. The U.N. Security Council responds with resolution 271 (1969) of 15 September, calling the act of destruction a danger to peace and security, and calling upon Israel to refrain from hindering the functions of the Supreme Muslim Council of Jerusalem, and condemning its failure to comply with U.N. resolutions.

The Islamic world is outraged at the desecration of the Islamic holy site in
Jerusalem . More than 28 leaders from Islamic countries, led by King Hassan II of Morocco , meet on 22 September in Rabat , Morocco , to discuss the situation. This meeting sets the groundwork for the establishment of the Organization of the Islamic Conference (OIC). The PLO is invited and attends as an observer, at the 2nd OIC conference, held in Lahore , Pakistan on 22 February 1974, Palestine , represented by the PLO, becomes a full member.

On 9 December, the U.N. General Assembly adopts resolution 2535 (XXIV) reaffirming the inalienable rights of the people of  Palestine .

1970 :

In June, U.S. Secretary of State William Rogers proposes a peace plan, which essentially calls for a cease-fire and provides a mechanism for the implementation of S.C. resolution 242. The initiative involves negotiations by the representatives of the parties concerned under the auspices of Ambassador Gunnar Jarring. The United Arab Republic ( Egypt ), Jordan , and Israel accept the plan.

In September, the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP) hijacks four airplanes and lands them at Al-Mafrak airport in
Jordan .

That same month, the Jordanian army successfully wages a full-fledged military campaign to root out the Palestinian forces. Yasser Arafat leaves
Jordan and the Palestinian forces leave Amman for the northern part of the country. The battle becomes known as “Black September.”

1971 :

Jordanian armed forces, with the help of units from the Syrian army, continue to battle Palestinian forces in the northern part of the country, leading to the end of armed Palestinian presence in Jordan . The legendary Palestinian leader Abu Ali Iyad is killed.

Ambassador Jarring presents an aide-memoire to
Egypt and Israel proposing the conclusion of a peace agreement between the two states, as well as the Israeli withdrawal from Egyptian territory. Egypt accepts but Israel informs Jarring that it would not withdraw to the pre-5 June 1967 armistice lines, marking the end of both the Rogers Plan and the Jarring Mission. 

1972 :

Jordan’s King Hussein, in a statement on 15 March, proposes a “United Arab Kingdom” composed of two parts, a Palestinian, represented by the West Bank and any other liberated territory, and a Jordanian, represented by the East Bank. The King would be the head of state.

During the Olympics in
Munich , the Palestinian Black September Group kills 9 Israeli athletes. Israel retaliates by bombing Lebanon and killing 400 civilians.

On 16 October, Wael Zaitar, a Palestinian representative, is assassinated in

Rome . The assassins are believed to be from the Israeli Mossad. This killing is followed over the years by a series of political assassinations by Israel of PLO officials in several European capitals, including Mahmoud Al Hamsharee in Paris and, at a later stage, Atef Bseisso also in Paris .

1973 :

On 10 April, 3 PLO leaders, Kamal Adwan, Abu Mohammad Yussef Al-Najjar, and Kamal Nasser, are assassinated in their homes in Beirut by a special Israeli military unit.

On 6 October (coinciding with the Yom Kippur holidays), Egypt and Syria go on the offensive and attack Israeli military positions in the occupied territory in what is considered the 4th Arab-Israeli War. The Egyptian army dramatically succeeds in crossing the
Suez Canal , destroying the Israeli “Bar Lev” defense line and makes advances into the Sinai. At a later stage, the Israeli army sends units across the canal into Egyptian territory.

On 17 October, the ministers of the Arab oil producing states decide to cease oil exports to the U.S. and the Netherlands and decide to reduce oil production by 5% monthly until the withdrawal of Israeli forces.

On 22 October, the U.N. Security Council adopts resolution 338 calling for an immediate cease-fire, for the implementation of resolution 242 in all of its parts, and for the start of negotiations between the parties concerned under appropriate auspices aimed at establishing a just and durable peace in the Middle East.

On 21 December, the United Nations Peace Conference on the Middle East is convened by the Secretary-General and attended by Egypt , Jordan , Israel , the Soviet Union and the United States .

1974 :

At its 12th session in Cairo on 12 June, the PNC adopts a new political program which becomes known as the “10 Point Program,” calling for the establishment of the Palestinian Authority on any liberated part of Palestine . Several Palestinian factions form the “Rejection Front” within the PLO.

In September, at the 29th Session of the U.N. General Assembly, the item “Question of Palestine” is again placed on the agenda upon the request of 55 member states.

On 14 October, General Assembly resolution 3210 (XXIX) is adopted, inviting the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) to participate in the deliberations on the question of

Palestine in plenary meetings. On 13 November, Yasser Arafat, Chairman of the Executive Committee of the PLO, becomes the first individual representing a liberation movement, not a member state of the U.N., to address the United Nations in a plenary meeting.

On 28 October, the Arab Summit adopts a resolution recognizing the PLO as the sole legitimate representative of the Palestinian people.

U.N. General Assembly Resolution 3236 (XXIX) is adopted on 22 November, reaffirming the inalienable rights of the Palestinian people, including the right to self-determination, the right to national independence and sovereignty, and the right to return to their homes and property. The resolution also requests the Secretary-General to establish contacts with the PLO on all matters concerning the question of
Palestine .

On that same day, the PLO is granted observer status under General Assembly resolution 3237 (XXIX), which invited the PLO to participate in the sessions and the work of the General Assembly, and of all international conferences convened under the auspices of the General Assembly and other organs of the U.N.


In April, civil war erupts in Lebanon and Palestinian forces become engaged on the side of the Lebanese Patriotic Movement. 

The Committee on the Exercise of the Inalienable Rights of the Palestinian People is established on 10 November by the General Assembly, in resolution 3376 (XXX). Composed of twenty member states, the Committee is requested to recommend a program for the implementation of the rights of the Palestinian people.

On that day, the General Assembly also adopts resolution 3379 (XXX) determining that Zionism is a form of racism.

1976 :

The Syrian army intervenes in Lebanon at the request of the Lebanese president, and military clashes take place between Palestinian and Syrian forces.

In July, a split group from the PFLP group hijacks an Air France airliner and forces it to land in Entebbe , Uganda . Israel sends airborne commandos to Entebbe who conducts an attack on the hijackers, who are holding Israeli passengers hostage. A number of people are killed, including the hijackers, but the remainder of the hostages are rescued.

After subjecting it to a long siege, the Syrian army enters the Palestinian refugee camp of Tel Al-Zaatar in
Lebanon on 2 August, inflicting severe damage and causing a large number of casualties.

The 5th Annual Summit of the Movement of Non-Aligned Countries (NAM) convenes in Colombo , Sri Lanka and accepts the PLO, which has been an observer since 1970, as a full member of the Movement.

At its 66th session in Cairo in September, the Arab League Council accepts Palestine , represented by the PLO, as a full and equal member of the Arab League.

In October, Israeli Foreign Minister Yigal Allon puts forward a plan based on the idea that Security Council resolution 242 (1967) does not require withdrawal to the 1949 armistice lines and that the final border should provide
Israel with the “essential minimum of security.” Basically, the plan calls for retaining the area between the Jordan River to the east, and the eastern chain of mountains to the west, leaving most of the Palestinian population under Arab rule. Jerusalem would remain Israel ’s capital but “a solution for the religious interests connected with it can be found.”

1977 :

In May, the Israeli Labor party loses national elections and the Likud party, under Menachem Begin, forms the Israeli government. The government then unleashes waves of settlement activity in what becomes Real Settler Colonialism of the territories occupied by Israel in 1967.

On 4 October, the
U.S. and the Soviet Union issue a Joint Statement on the Middle East in which both sides state that “the settlement should be comprehensive, incorporating all parties concerned and all questions.” They also affirm that “all specific questions of the settlement should be resolved , including key issues as the withdrawal of Israeli armed forces from territories occupied in the 1967 conflict; the resolution of the Palestinian question, including ensuring the legitimate rights of the Palestinian people.” Both sides also affirm their intention “to facilitate in every way, the resumption of the work of the ( Geneva ) Conference not later than December 1977.”

On 21 November, Egyptian President Anwar Sadat goes to Jerusalem and addresses the Israeli parliament. Consequently, Egypt starts to become isolated in the Arab world.

1978 :

In January, President Jimmy Carter makes a statement in which he recognizes the Palestinian right to a homeland.

In March, a Fateh naval commando unit attacks the Israeli coast (Dalal al-Mughrabi). In retaliation,
Israel sends 30,000 soldiers into Lebanon , occupying the south of the country and causing enormous losses and causalities.

In September, U.S. President Jimmy Carter hosts a summit between Sadat and Begin at
Camp David . The two sides conclude the Camp David Accords, which consist of the “Framework for Peace in the Middle East” and the “Framework for the Conclusion of a Peace Treaty between Egypt and Israel .” There were also letters exchanged on Jerusalem , Sinai settlements, and the implementation of a comprehensive settlement. The first accord (Framework for Peace in the Middle East) states that, with regard to the West Bank and Gaza , a Palestinian self-governing authority would be elected for a transitional period not exceeding 5 years (replacing the Israeli military government). It further states that Egypt and Jordan will participate in the negotiations and that their delegations may include Palestinians from the West Bank and Gaza , or other Palestinians as mutually agreed. Not later than the third year, negotiations, which would be based on Security Council resolution 242 (1967), will take place to determine the final status of the West Bank and Gaza . It states that “solution must recognize the legitimate rights of the Palestinian people and their just requirements.”

On 29 November, the first annual International Day of Solidarity with the Palestinian People, as designated by the U.N., is observed.

1979 :

On 22 March, the U.N. Security Council adopts resolution 446 (1979), which determines that the Israeli policy of establishing settlements in the Palestinian territories has no legal validity and constitutes a serious obstacle to peace. It calls upon Israel to rescind its previous measures and to desist from taking any actions that would change the legal status, geographic nature, and demographic composition of the occupied territories, including Jerusalem . The resolution also establishes a commission consisting of three Security Council members to examine the situation relating to settlements and to submit a report thereafter.

On 26 March, a peace treaty is signed between Egypt and Israel in Washington , DC .

1980 :

The European Economic Community Summit adopts the Venice Declaration on 13 June. The Declaration states that “a just solution must finally be found to the Palestinian problem, which is not simply one of refugees. The Palestinian people . . . must be placed in a position . . . to exercise fully their right to self-determination.” The Declaration also calls for the association of the Palestinian people and the PLO in the negotiation of peace. With regard to Jerusalem , the Declaration states that “any unilateral initiative designed to change the status of Jerusalem is unacceptable” and “that Israeli settlements are illegal under international law.”

On 30 July, in flagrant disregard of international opposition and international law, the Israeli Knesset adopts the Basic Law of Jerusalem, reaffirming the de facto annexation of pre-1967 Palestinian East
Jerusalem , and declaring that “ Jerusalem , whole and united, is the capital of Israel .”

In response, the U.N. Security Council adopts resolution 478 (1980) of 20 August in which it “censures in the strongest terms the enactment by Israel of the ‘basic law’ on Jerusalem” and affirms that it “constitutes a violation of international law and does not affect the continued application of the Fourth Geneva Convention of 12 August 1949 in the Palestinian and other Arab territories occupied since June 1967, including Jerusalem.” The resolution also “determines that all administrative measures and actions taken by Israel, the occupying Power, which have altered or purport to alter the character and the status of the Holy City of Jerusalem, and in particular, the recent ‘basic law’ on Jerusalem, are null and void and must be rescinded forthwith.” It also calls upon member states with diplomatic Missions in
Jerusalem to “withdraw such Missions from the Holy City.”

1981 :

On 23 February, the Soviet Union proposes the Brezhnev Initiative for Peace in the Middle East , which includes an international conference under the auspices of the United Nations, with the participation of the 5 permanent members of the Security Council and all parties concerned, and which calls for the establishment of a Palestinian state.

On 7 June, Israeli military planes destroy the Iraqi nuclear plant.

On 17 July, Israeli jets bomb PLO structures in
Beirut , killing 300 people.

On 21 July, an informal understanding on a cease-fire is reached between the government of
Israel and the PLO in the south of Lebanon , which lasts approximately one year.

On 6 October, President Sadat of
Egypt is assassinated during a military parade.


On 5 June, Israel conducts large-scale air attacks on Lebanon , and on 6 June, it launches a full scale land, air and sea invasion of Lebanon . The Israeli invading army occupies the entire south of the country, causing enormous destruction and thousands of civilian casualties (by 30 June alone, more than 15,000 civilian are killed, 50% of them children under the age of 13).

The Israeli army seals off Beirut on 13 June, placing it under siege. Israeli warships and armored units begin a summer long bombardment of West Beirut , aiming at Palestinian residential neighborhoods and refugee camps, destroying entire neighborhood and killing thousands. Palestinians forces heroically resist for 87 days.

PLO forces begin to leave Beirut on 21 August, and Yasser Arafat, along with most of his troops, departs by ship. The PLO establishes its headquarters in Tunis , Tunisia .

On 9 September, the Arab Summit in
Fez adopts the Arab Plan for Peace, which is, with some slight changes, the initiative proposed by then Prince Fahad of Saudi Arabia on 7 August 1981. It calls for a Palestinian state with its capital in Jerusalem and calls for the U.N. Security Council to establish guarantees for peace among all the states of the region.

The Lebanese president Bashir Gemayel is assassinated on 14 September and, on the next day, Israeli forces enter West Beirut, despite assurances given prior to the PLO’s departure, regarding the safety of Palestinian civilians living in
Lebanon .

On 15 September, Israeli forces surround the Palestinian refugee camp of Sabra and Shatilla, and on 16 September, they allow the Lebanese Phalangist units to enter the camps. Under Israeli surveillance, the Phalangist units massacre over 800 Palestinian civilians, including women and children.

U.S. president Ronald Reagan, in a statement on 22 September, proposes what becomes known as the Reagan Initiative. The initiative proposes, as outlined in the Camp David Accords, a 5-year period of transition, beginning with free elections for a self-governing Palestinian Authority, and it calls for a freeze in settlement activity. In it, the U.S. does not support the establishment of a Palestinian state in the West Bank and Gaza Strip, nor does it support the annexation or permanent control by Israel of those territories. With regard to the Final Status, the initiative promotes the idea of a Palestinian self-government in association with Jordan and it affirms that UN Security Council resolution 242 (1967) applies to all fronts, including the West Bank and Gaza . Concerning Jerusalem , it proposes that city remains undivided but that its final status be decided through negotiations. Israel fiercely rejects the initiative.

In September, multi-national forces arrive in
West Beirut and the Israeli forces begin to pull out. The invasion and occupation result in widespread destruction and more than 30,000 casualties.

1983 :

Yasser Arafat clandestinely returns to northern Lebanon , where he joins his besieged forces. Fighting intensifies with Palestinian opposition groups allied with Syria , including a split faction of Fateh. After international intervention, Arafat leaves Tripoli, Lebanon , along with the Palestinian fighters.

1985 :

On 3 January, Israel discloses its Falasha Transfer Operation, which it had been conducting for the past 5 years, bringing Jews from Ethiopia to Israel .

The Israeli air force bombs the PLO headquarters in Hamam al-Shat,
Tunis , destroying most of the place and causing numerous casualties among Palestinians and Tunisians.

A Palestinian-Jordanian agreement is reached, confirming the establishment of future confederation between
Jordan and the Palestinian state (when established), and arranging for a joint delegation to the negotiations.

Members of the Palestinian group PFLP hijack the Achille Lauro, an Italian cruise ship, off the Mediterranean coast of
Egypt , and demand the release of Palestinian prisoners in Israel . Egyptian president Mubarak convinces the hijackers to surrender, but not before they kill a Jewish American passenger.

In response to the Achille Lauro incident, the
U.S. demands the removal of the head of the PFLP from the Executive Committee of the PLO. The PLO’s failure to respond leads to the U.S. decision to suspend dialogue with the PLO.