* The settlement of Jewish immigrants in unpopulated areas has been a cornerstone of Zionism since its founding at the end of last century.

Jewish settlers, who have emerged as the main obstacle to implementing the Israeli-Palestinian peace accord, began moving to Israeli-occupied Arab territories after the 1967 Arab-Israeli conflict.

1947-48: United Nations decides to divide Palestine into separate Jewish and Arab states. Israel created by Jewish government. War erupts. Israel wins back half of land earmarked for Arabs.

1967: In war with Arabs, Israel captures the West Bank, Gaza, the Golan Heights, the Sinai Peninsula, and East Jerusalem.

1968: First Jewish settlers cross into the occupied West Bank.

1972: First settlement established at Kiryat Arba.

1974: Settlements outside Jerusalem established.

1977: Right-wing Likud Party wins election and makes settlement of occupied territories a central part of their platform.

1978: Camp David accord between Israel and Egypt paves the way for the return of the Sinai Peninsula to Egypt and the evacuation of some 5,000 settlers. But settlement of the West Bank, Gaza, and Golan Heights accelerates.

1980: Israel annexes East Jerusalem. Settlement of East Jerusalem gains momentum.

1992: Yitzhak Rabin becomes Israel's prime minister and pledges to prevent new ``political'' settlements. Israel-PLO peace talks begin.

1993: Settlements assured of continued existence under five-year peace accord leading to Palestinian self-rule. Final status of settlements to be resolved in talks beginning May 1996.

May 1994: Israel withdraws from Gaza and the West Bank enclave of Jericho.

December 1994: Palestinians protest expansion of Efrat settlement near Jerusalem. Israel brokers deal for developing an alternative site.

January 1995: Israel approves expansion of two large settlements close to Jerusalem.

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