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1986 - 1999

1987 :

The Palestinian Intifada (Uprising) against the Israeli occupation in the West Bank and Gaza begins on 8 December.

The U.N. Security Council adopts resolution 605 (1987) on 22 December deploring Israeli practices violating the human rights of the Palestinian people in the occupied territories and requesting the Secretary-General to submit a report containing his recommendations on ways and means for ensuring the safety and protection of Palestinian civilians under Israeli occupation. At a later stage, the Secretary-General submits a report on the matter.

1988 :

On 16 January, Israel announces that the Intifada will be met with an “Iron Fist Policy” which involves severe beatings (termed the “breaking of bones”), mass arrests and detentions, deportations, home demolitions, destruction of private property, and the use of live ammunition and rubber bullets.

On 16 February, 2 Israelis soldiers are accused of burying alive 4 Palestinians.

On 16 April,
Israel assassinates PLO leader Khalil Al-Wazir (Abu Jihad) at his home in Tunis , Tunisia .

On 11 May, the Unified Leadership of the Intifada declares civil disobedience.

On 31 July, King Hussein of
Jordan declares the disengagement between the West Bank and Jordan . In his speech, he declares that a series of measures have been initiated “with the aim of enhancing the Palestinian national orientation, and highlighting the Palestinian identity.” The King states that “since there is a general conviction that the struggle to liberate the occupied Palestinian land could be enhanced by dismantling the legal and administrative links between the two banks, we have to fulfill our duty, and do what is required of us.”

The International Court of Justice issues an advisory opinion at the request of the U.N. General Assembly. The crux of the opinion is against the U.S. attempts to close down the PLO Mission to the U.N. and its refusal to accept arbitration between itself and the U.N.

The PNC convenes its 19th session and adopts, on 15 November, the Declaration of Independence of Palestine. It also adopts a political communiqué. In the declaration, there is an acceptance of General Assembly resolution 181(II) of 1947 and, in the communiqué, an acceptance of Security Council resolution 242 (1967). A large number of states recognize the Palestinian state and/or the proclamation.

On 13 December, the General Assembly moves its session to Geneva to consider the question of Palestine after the U.S. fails to approve an entry visa for Yasser Arafat.

At a news conference in
Geneva on 14 December, Yasser Arafat accepts General Assembly resolution 181 (II) (1947) and Security Council 242 (1967), recognizes Israel ’s right to exist and renounces terrorism. On the same day, the U.S. government issues a statement in which the president authorizes the State Department to enter into a substantive dialogue with PLO representatives.

The U.N. General Assembly, on 15 December, adopts resolution 43/177 in which it acknowledges the proclamation of a state of Palestine by the PNC and decides that the designation Palestine should be used instead of PLO in the U.N. system.

That December, Palestinians mark the 1st anniversary of the Intifada. By the end of the 1st year, 318 Palestinians are killed, 20,000 wounded, 15,000 arrested, 12,000 jailed and 34 deported.

1989 :

On 16 May, the Israeli government issues a Peace Initiative, based on the “Shamir Four Point Initiative”. While reaffirming the Camp David Accords, the initiative rejects a Palestinian state and rejects any negotiations with the PLO. It also rejects any change in the status of “Judea, Sumaria, and Gaza ” (the West Bank and Gaza ). It calls upon Arab states to renounce their belligerency, recognize Israel ’s right to exist, and begin negotiations. The initiative proposes elections in the West Bank and Gaza to choose representatives for negotiations with Israel on a transitional period of self-rule, after which negotiations would be conducted on a permanent solution. It also calls upon the international community to improve the living conditions and rehabilitate the Palestine refugees.

1990 :

On 20 May, an Israeli opens fire at Palestinian workers in the Israeli town of Herzelyia , near Tel Aviv, killing 8. The Security Council convenes in Geneva to consider the situation after, again, the U.S. government refuses to issue an entry visa to Yasser Arafat.

On 2 August,
Iraq occupies Kuwait . The Palestinian public largely sides with Iraq ’s Saddam Hussein and the Palestinian leadership’s position is understood to be in the same direction. The Arab world is polarized and split, and Palestinian relations with some Arab countries suffer. Arab institutions and the standing of the Palestinian cause in those institutions consequently weaken.

The Israeli army kills 8 Palestinians and injures more than 150 at Al-Aqsa Mosque inside Haram Al-Sharif in
Jerusalem on 8 October. The U.N. Security Council responds to the killings with resolution 672 (1990), which condemns the Israeli actions and recommends the dispatch of a fact-finding mission to investigate the circumstances surrounding the tragic events.

In the month of December, Jewish immigration to
Israel from the Soviet Union, at 187,000, reaches its highest number for one year since the establishment of Israel .

1991 :

PLO leader Abu Iyad (Salah Khalaf), as well as Hayil Abdul Hamid and Abu Mohammad, are assassinated in Tunisia on 15 January by a Palestinian member of the Abu Nidal terrorist group.

On 19 January, Iraqi scud missiles hit

Israel , which, at the request of the U.S. , does not retaliate.

The Gulf War erupts in the Middle East and the coalition forces, led by the
U.S. , oust the Iraqi forces from Kuwait . In the aftermath of the war, only about 30,000 of the approximately 400,000 Palestinians who live in Kuwait remain there. The rest of the Palestinians return to the occupied Palestinian territories and to Jordan .

U.S. President George H. W. Bush, in a statement on 6 March to the U.S. Congress, states that “We must do all that we can to close the gap between Israel and the Arab states, and between Israelis and Palestinians.” Further, he states that “a comprehensive peace must be grounded in United Nations Security Council resolutions 242 and 338 and the principle of territory for peace. This principle must be elaborated to provide for Israel ’s security and recognition, and, at the same time, for legitimate Palestinian political rights.” At a later stage, Secretary of State James Baker undertakes continuous efforts to reach a Middle East peace deal.

In mid-October, the
U.S. issues Letters of Assurances on the Terms of the Peace Conference to the participating parties. The U.S. Letter of Assurances to the Palestinian side states that “we do not recognize Israel ’s annexation of East Jerusalem or the extension of its municipal boundaries.” The letter also states that “the United States has long believed that no party should take unilateral actions that seek to predetermine issues that can only be resolved through negotiations. In this regard, the United States has opposed and will continue to oppose settlement activity in the territories occupied in 1967, which remains an obstacle to peace.”

U.S. and the Soviet Union issue invitations to the Madrid Peace Conference with the aim of achieving a just, lasting and comprehensive peace settlement through direct negotiations along two tracks, between Israel and the Arab states, and between Israel and the Palestinians, based on Security Council resolutions 242 and 338. Invited governments include Israel , Syria , Lebanon and Jordan . Palestinians are invited to attend as part of a joint Jordanian-Palestinian delegation. Egypt , as well as the EU, are invited as participants. The Gulf Cooperation Council is invited to send an observer, and the U.N. is also invited to send an observer. With respect to negotiations between Israel and the Palestinians, who are part of the joint Jordanian-Palestinian delegation, negotiations are to be conducted in phases, beginning with talks on an interim self-governing arrangement, which would last for 5 years. Beginning in the 3rd year, negotiations are to take place on permanent status issues on the basis of U.N. Security Council resolutions 242 (1967) and 338 (1973)

On 30 October, the Middle East Peace Conference convenes in Madrid under the chairmanship of Presidents Bush and Gorbachev. The PLO does not participate. Members of the Palestinian delegation (chosen by the PLO) represent inhabitants of the West Bank and Gaza , without the participation of Palestinian Jerusalemites. The Arab states are represented at the level of Foreign Minister. Israel ’s delegation is headed by Prime Minister Shamir and the Palestinian Delegation is headed by Dr. Haidar Abdel Shafi.

On 16 December, the General Assembly adopts resolution 48/86, revoking the determination made by General Assembly. United Nations Resolution 339 of November 1979 determins that Zionism is a form of racism and discrimination.

By the end of the year, the Soviet Union begins to disintegrate after a series of changes in Eastern European countries. Russia , however, remains a co-sponsor of the peace process.

1992 :

On 17 December, Israel deports approximately 415 Palestinian civilians from the occupied Palestinian territory, mostly Islamic militants, to the south of Lebanon . The following day, the Security Council adopts resolution 799 strongly condemning the deportations and demanding their safe and immediate return.

1993 :

Representatives of Israel and the PLO initial an agreement in Oslo , Norway , on 20 August, which is publicly announced by the two sides on the 29th of August.

On the 9th and 10th respectively of September 1993, PLO leader Yasser Arafat and Israeli PM Yitzhak Rabin exchange letters of mutual recognition. In his letter to Rabin, Arafat recognizes “the right of the state of Israel to exist in peace and security” and renounces “the use of terrorism and other acts of violence.” Inhis letter, Rabin recognizes the PLO as the representative of the Palestinian people.”

U.S. President Bill Clinton, in response to the letter of mutual recognition, lifts the ban on U.S. contact with the PLO on 10 September.

The PLO and
Israel sign the Declaration of Principles on Interim Self-Government Arrangements (DOP) on 13 September in Washington DC , under the auspices of President Clinton. The famous handshake between Yasser Arafat and Yitzhak Rabin takes place. The DOP provides for a 5-year transitional period and the election of a Palestinian Authority. Negotiations on the final status issues, which specifically include Jerusalem , refugees, and settlements, are to begin no later than the 3rd year. The aim of the process is the implementation of Security Council resolution 242 (1967).

In October, an International Donors Conference is held in
Washington , DC to raise funds to assist the Palestinian people. At the conference, donor countries, mainly the U.S. , Japan , the EU, Norway , and the Gulf States , pledged $2.3 billion in assistance over the next 5 years.

1994 :

An Israeli settler massacres about 30 Palestinian worshippers at Al Haram al-Ibrahimi in Al-Khalil ( Hebron ), on 25 February, during the holy month of Ramadan. The Security Council adopts resolution 904 (1994), condemning the massacre and calling upon the Israeli government to take measures to reign in the illegal and violent settlers.

The PLO and
Israel conclude the Agreement on the Gaza Strip and Jericho Area on 4 May.

On 25 May, the U.N. Secretary-General appoints Ambassador Terje Larson as “U.N. Special Coordinator in the
Occupied Territories .”

On 1 July, Yasser Arafat returns to
Palestine , arriving in Gaza on 12 July, where he establishes his headquarters. He is welcomed back by tens of thousands of Palestinians.

On 29 August, the PLO and
Israel sign the Agreement on the Preparatory Transfer of Powers and Responsibilities (Israel-PLO).

The U.N. convenes a Special Commemorative Meeting on the 50th Anniversary of the United Nations in October. During the meeting, the same arrangements extended to member states are also extended to
Palestine in its capacity as Observer.

Israel and Jordan sign a Treaty of Peace on 26 October.


The PLO and Israel sign the Israeli-Palestinian Interim Agreement on the West Bank and the Gaza Strip in Washington , D.C. on 28 September. This agreement supersedes previous implementation agreements.

Israeli Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin is assassinated on 4 November in Tel Aviv by an Israeli extremist.

1996 :

On 5 January, Yahya Ayyash, a leading member of the military wing of Hamas is assassinated by a rigged portable telephone in the Gaza Strip. It is believed that the Israeli security service “Shin Bet” was behind the killing.

Palestinians hold their first free democratic elections in the
West Bank and the Gaza Strip on 20 January, voting for a President, as well as a 188-member Palestinian Legislative Council. Yasser Arafat is elected president by an overwhelming majority.

On 21 April, the Palestine National Council (PNC) holds its twenty-first session in
Gaza City in Palestine for the first time since 1964, and decides by majority vote to “abrogate the provisions of the PLO Charter that are contrary to the exchanged letters between the PLO and the Government of Israel of 9 and 10 September 1993.”

On 1 May, Yasser Arafat, President of the Palestinian Authority, makes his first official visit to the U.S. and meets with President Bill Clinton at the White House.

On 30 May, Mr. Benjamin Netanyahu defeats the incumbent Shimon Peres by a slim margin in the, Israeli elections, receiving 50.3% of the vote against 49.6% for Mr. Peres. A right wing government is formed.

The Israeli government opens a tunnel near Al Haram Al-Sharif in the
Old City in East Jerusalem on 24 September. Palestinians demonstrate against the Israeli action throughout the Occupied Palestinian Territory and in the ensuing days demonstrations continue and clashes take place between the Palestinian police and the Israeli occupying forces, resulting in casualties on both sides. The Israeli occupying forces uses tanks and gun helicopters against both Palestinian police and civilians. The events result in the killing of 69 Palestinians, 15 Israeli occupying forces and one Egyptian.

On 28 September 1996, the Security Council adopts resolution 1073 (1996) in response to the opening of the tunnel. The resolution calls for the immediate cessation and reversal of all acts which resulted in the aggravation of the situation, and also calls for ensuring the safety and protection of the Palestinian people and for the timely implementation of the agreements reached.

1997 :

On 17 January, the Palestine Authority and the Government of Israel conclude the Protocol Concerning the Redeployment in Hebron which is accompanied by a note from the US Secretary of State, leading to the withdrawal of Israeli occupying forces from 80% of the city.

On 19 January, President Arafat visits Hebron for the first time, where he is welcomed by 60,000 Palestinians.

7 March, the
U.S. vetoes a Security Council draft resolution on Jerusalem , presented by the four European members of the Council. The resolution calls upon Israel to abandon its impending construction of a new settlement at Jabal Abu Ghneim, to the south of East Jerusalem .

On 21 March, the U.S. again vetoes a Security Council resolution calling upon Israel to halt the construction at Jabal Abu Ghneim.

On 24-25 April, the U.N. General Assembly, in reaction to the two U.S. vetoes, convenes for the first time in 15 years an Emergency Special Session (ESS) to consider “Illegal Israeli Actions in Occupied East Jerusalem and the rest of the Occupied Palestinian Territory ”. It overwhelmingly adopts resolution ES-10/2 condemning Israel ’s construction at Jabal Abu Ghneim, demanding cessation of all illegal Israeli actions, recommending collective measures, and establishing mechanisms for follow-up.

On 7 May, the U.N. Committee against Torture in
Geneva summons Israel for a hearing to face charges that it violates the International Convention against Torture. The committee criticizes Israel for being the sole nation to have codified and legalized the use of torture in interrogation.

The 5th of June marks the 30th anniversary of the June 1967 War and the Israeli occupation of the West Bank, the Gaza Strip, and East Jerusalem . The United Nations holds a solemn meeting on 9 June, organized by the Committee on the Exercise of the Inalienable Rights of the Palestinian People, to commemorate the 30th year of the occupation.

On 15 July, the U.N. General Assembly reconvenes the 10th Emergency Special Session to consider the report of the Secretary-General on the actual in the occupied territory with regard to Jabal Abu Ghneim and to recommend the convening of a conference of the High Contracting Parties to the 4th Geneva Convention on measures to enforce the Convention in the Occupied Palestinian Territory, including Jerusalem.

1998 :

22 January, during a visit by President Yasser Arafat to Washington, D.C, President Clinton states, inter alia, the following: “I also would like to take just a second to underline the principles of the peace process: mutual obligations and the concept of land for peace, so that Israelis can live in security, recognized by all their neighbors; and the Palestinians can realize their aspirations to live as a free people”.

The Secretary-General of the U.N., H.E. Kofi Annan, visits
Gaza and the West Bank from 23-25 March. The Secretary-General meets with President Arafat and with members of the PLC. He also visits a refugee camp and meets with Palestinian leaders in East Jerusalem .

On 7 July 1998, the General Assembly adopts resolution 52/250, entitled “Participation of
Palestine in the work of the United Nations,” voting overwhelmingly to upgrade Palestine ’s representation at the United Nations to a unique and unprecedented level. The resolution conferred upon Palestine additional rights and privileges of participation that had traditionally been exclusive to Member States.

The Wye River Memorandum is signed by President Arafat and Prime Minister Netanyahu and witnessed by President Clinton and King Hussein during a ceremony at the White House on 23 October. The Memorandum, reached after nearly 10 days of secluded meetings at the Wye Plantation Center in Maryland , provides steps for the long-overdue implementation of the interim agreements.

U.S. President Bill Clinton visits Gaza and Bethlehem on 14-16 December 1998, becoming the first American president ever to visit any Occupied Palestinian Territory and to deal directly with Palestinian leaders and institutions on their land. President Clinton addresses a meeting in Gaza which is attended by the Chairman Arafat, the speaker of the PNC, the speaker of the Palestinian Council, members of the PNC, the Central Council and the Palestinian Legislative Council, as well as by Palestinian heads of Ministries and other personalities.

1999 :

On 7 February, King Hussein of Jordan Dies, his son Prince Abdullah II takes control of the Hashemite Kingdom .

12 May, Ehud Barak of the Labor Party is elected Prime Minister of Israel.

4 September, Israel and the PLO sign the Sharm el-Sheikh Memorandum known as Wye II.

10 November, Israel opens one of the “safe passage routes” along existing roads that connect the West Bank and Gaza .