U.N. says Gaza is ‘de-developing’ even faster than expected, but omits main cause

U.N. says Gaza is ‘de-developing’ even faster than expected, but omits main cause

A Palestinian woman fills water from a tank near the remains of her house, in Khan Younis, Gaza (Reuters)

By Kathryn Shihadah

The United Nations has often provided valuable reports on the situation in the Palestinian Occupied Territories (although in at least one case the UN removed such a report following pressure from Israel and the United States – see thisthis, and this).

The UN’s latest report on the region, “Gaza Ten Years Later,” contains much valuable, factual information. However, parts of the report exhibit a troubling lack of proportionality. This flaw is then maintained in quoted comments on the UN report by National Public Radio journalist Daniel Estrin.

Below is the NPR news story on the UN report, with comments in Italics that discuss some of its statements:  

U.N. Says Gaza Is ‘De-Developing’ Even Faster Than Expected,  by Merrit Kennedy, NPR

Five years ago, the U.N. warned that Gaza is expected to be unlivable by 2020. A new report now says conditions are deteriorating there even faster than it forecast.

“What needed to happen has not happened, and the indicators are accelerating instead of slowing down,” Robert Piper, the U.N. Coordinator for Humanitarian Aid and Development Activities in the Occupied Palestinian Territory, told NPR’s Daniel Estrin.

“In a nutshell, Gaza continues to de-develop in front of our eyes,” Piper adds. “From health care, to unemployment, to energy, to access to water, across all of these fields, Gaza’s 2 million people are seeing faster and faster decline in their living conditions.”

The population of Gaza, a 130-square-mile strip of land on the Mediterranean, is growing faster than projected, while infrastructure and services haven’t been able to keep up. The population is now forecast to reach 2.2 million people in 2020, up from the 2012 projection of 2.13 million.

The UN report, and the NPR discussion, correctly highlight the rapid pace at which Gaza is moving toward humanitarian disaster. However, as the discourse continues, a moral equivalence fallacy begins to emerge. Daniel lists three sources of Gaza’s trouble:

“Many of the problems stem from the Hamas takeover of Gaza 10 years ago, Israel and Egypt’s blockade of Gaza and the Palestinian Authority’s recent reduction of electricity to Gaza to pressure its rival Hamas,” Daniel reports.

What’s wrong with this picture?

Undoubtedly, Hamas’ feud with the PA is part of the problem; so are the electricity shortage and the closed crossing to Egypt. But placing these factors on par with Israel’s now ten-year-long blockade ignores the facts—some of which are spelled out in the UN report:

Israel retains full control of all movement of people and goods to and from Gaza by sea, air and land, with the exception of a 12 km strip of border with Egypt…Following the expulsion of the PA by Hamas in the summer of 2007, the Israeli Government declared Gaza “hostile territory” and, again citing security concerns, announced a number of new sanctions and restrictions on the access and movement of people and goods, ultimately amounting to a blockade by sea, air and land. Many of the restrictions imposed then, are still in place. (Italics added)

It is worth taking a moment to discuss the question of Hamas, which continues to be a scapegoat for Gaza’s ongoing crisis. Hamas’ complicated rivalry with, and appropriation of power from, Fatah and the PA–and its reputation as a terrorist organization–need to be challenged.

Hamas won a democratic election in Gaza and the West Bank (in spite of the US spending $2.3 million to support Fatah and Israeli obstruction), and was promptly discredited by the US and the EU. Israel commenced sanctions only 3 days after the election. These reactions were nothing short of collective punishment by world superpowers, simply because the “wrong” party won. The charge that Hamas is nothing but a terrorist group, and Palestinians elected Hamas leaders to destroy Israel, shows a profound misunderstanding of Hamas and its rise to power.

Neve Gordon explained in this excellent 2006 article that “the organization’s popularity in the Occupied Territories actually stems from its being seen as the voice of Palestinian dignity and the symbol of the defense of Palestinian rights at a time of unprecedented hardship, humiliation, and despair…In other words, Hamas was elected not only because it is considered an alternative to the corrupt Palestinian Authority, but also because Israel created the conditions that made it an indispensable social movement.”

Back to the de-development of Gaza. In his discussion of the Gaza crisis, Daniel also neglects to mention the three assaults by Israel in 2008, 2012, and 2014. The UN report does mention them, but the description is problematic:

In addition to the impact of the violent Hamas takeover and ensuing Israeli measures imposed in 2007, three rounds of armed hostilities between Israel and Hamas – with the most devastating round in 2014 – have dealt repeated blows to the Gazan economy and damaged essential infrastructure.

These words may be technically accurate: yes, Hamas took over Gaza amid violence; yes, Israel imposed “measures” in 2007; yes, there have been three rounds of “armed hostilities”—but the statement is egregiously inequitable. It is absurd to suggest that the Hamas takeover was equally as damaging to Gaza as the three deadly assaults by Israel were. And the portrayal of the hostilities as though between two equal, evenly-matched armies when Israel has the latest weaponry and Gaza is essentially unarmed, is patently false. Here is a more precise description of the lopsided outcome of the hostilities, found further along in the UN report:

The first major round of hostilities broke out on 27 December 2008 and lasted for more than three weeks. During this time, nearly 1,400 Palestinians and 13 Israelis18 were killed and some 60,000 homes were damaged or destroyed…The second major escalation of hostilities began on 14 November 2012 and lasted for one week, in which 174 Palestinians, including 107 civilians, and six Israelis, of which three were civilians, were killed, and some 10,000 homes damaged. The latest, and most devastating round of hostilities, took place between 8 July and 26 August 2014. During these 51 days, 2,251 Palestinians, including at least 146 civilians, and 71 Israelis, of whom five were civilians, were killed, and 171,000 homes were damaged.

The death toll after three “rounds of hostilities” was 3,825 Palestinians and 90 Israelis. The total number of homes damaged was 241,000—all Palestinian. In addition, schools, hospitals, and power plants were decimated. This is not a description of the aftermath of “war,” but of blitzkrieg.

The NPR story goes on to mention in passing Israel’s regulation of the border—without acknowledging the seriousness of the closure and how it affects any attempts at reconstruction. He even equates Israel’s meddling with Egyptian actions, although Egypt shares only a 7-mile border vs. Israel’s which is 32 miles long and a much greater object of hostility. Here is the statement:

Israel maintains tight control over the movement of people and goods from all sides of Gaza, aside from the 7-mile-long border Gaza shares with Egypt, which is rarely open.

The UN report describes more fully the impact the closure is having on efforts to rebuild over the last three years. This is not just “tight control”—it is crippling restriction on building materials and other critical supplies:

[Restrictions] imposed on the Strip continue to significantly impact the daily lives of Gaza’s inhabitants and the efforts of the international community to implement humanitarian and development projects. Israel considers many materials needed for these projects to be ‘dual-use’ and posing security concerns, thus subjecting them to severe import restrictions. These include construction materials, raw material for the productive sectors, including wood and pesticides, medical equipment and water pumps necessary to deal with seasonal flooding.

It is worth noting that Israeli limitation of imports included (in 2010, and is mostly still in place) wood for construction, cement, iron, tarps (for roofs on huts), fishing rods, farm animals, many spare parts for farming equipment, notebooks, pens, pencils, and toys.

The NPR report then moves on to the topic of water:

By the end of 2017, the U.N. projects Gaza’s only water aquifer will be depleted. The damage could be irreversible by 2020 due to salt water entering the aquifer. That would be “catastrophic,” the report says, and the “living and health conditions of the people of Gaza can only further deteriorate, exposing the population to water-borne illnesses, and other threats.”

The U.N. had previously said that the aquifer would be depleted by 2016, earlier than the current projection. Piper says this small piece of positive news is more akin to “re-arranging the deck chairs on the Titanic than really having much to celebrate.”

This is objectively true—although the image of “deck chairs on the Titanic” makes the Gaza situation sound more like a movie trailer than a humanitarian crisis. Let’s add some detail from the UN report to shed light on the reality:

Access to safe drinking water in Gaza through the public water network plummeted [after 2000]…As a result, reliance on water tanks, containers and bottled water rose from 1.4% to 89.6%…Having to rely on water trucking comes at a high cost on consumers, as trucked water is 15-20 times more expensive than water from the network. This particularly impacts the most vulnerable who are often poor and unemployed and do not have access to piped network water. Trucked water is also unregulated and unreliable in terms of quality.

This gives us a clearer picture of not only the expense but also the continued risk posed as the public water network becomes unusable. People of Gaza pay a premium for water that may or may not be safe.

Israel has an obligation to the people of Gaza which should be part of any conversation about the crisis. A number of prominent human rights organizations have determined that whether Gaza is considered occupied, in armed conflict with Israel, or under Israel’s control, international law demands that Israel solve the water crisis. 

NPR then moves on to waste water, describing the nightmare scenario that is happening today:

At the same time, the amount of poorly treated sewage dumped into the sea is increasing, now equivalent to 43 Olympic size pools daily. That is expected to increase by almost 10 percent by 2020, which could have “significant environmental consequences,” the report warns.

The U.N. says new water treatment facilities need to be constructed to address the water crisis. However, Israel is limiting imports on many of the materials needed for construction because it says they could be used for military purposes.

Electricity is another critical need in Gaza. The NPR report continues:

And any future new [sewage treatment] plants would require a steady electrical supply, which at the moment is highly uncertain.

In fact, “an 11-year-old child has not experienced more than 12 hours of electricity in a single day in his/her lifetime,” according to the report. It says that in the most pessimistic 2020 estimate, only 25 percent of Gaza’s electricity demand would be met.

The economy of Gaza, its employment figures, and health care provisions are also notable. NPR reports:

The economy in Gaza has significantly declined in the last decade, with per capita GDP decreasing by 5.3 percent between 2006 and 2016. The report describes Gaza’s economic trajectory as “de-development,” even as the occupied West Bank has seen 48.5 percent growth in per capita GDP between 2006 and 2016.

Gaza’s unemployment rate is at more than 40 percent, according to the latest figures. It’s particularly severe for 20-24 year olds, at 60.3 percent, and for women, at 64.4 percent.

The number of doctors, nurses and hospital beds has also not been able to keep pace with the growing population. The report says, “while the population has doubled since 2000, the number of functioning primary health care clinics has decreased from 56 to 49.”

Given these “unacceptable” conditions, Piper acknowledges that for some, Gaza would already be deemed unlivable. “For many of us, we’d say that threshold is well and truly passed,” he said. “How do you manage in these sorts of conditions?”

In the report, Piper states: “It is profoundly unjust and inhuman to put Gaza’s civilians through such an ordeal.” He calls them “the victims of various policies by many different actors.”

When there is a victim, there is also a perpetrator. Gaza’s often goes almost unnamed. We must not forget who it is or rest until the humanitarian crisis is averted. 

But at least NPR reported on the humanitarian crisis in Gaza, unlike most other mainstream news organizations, including the New York Times, ABC, CBS, NBC, CNN, MSNBC and Fox News.


Kathryn Shihadah is a staff writer for If Americans Knew.

 

RELATED:

On 50th Anniversary of Israeli Occupation, Palestinian Opinions Largely Ignored

The Illusion of Balance: NPR’s coverage of Mideast deaths doesn’t match reality



[Video] Gaza City like You’ve Never Seen Before

 

 

🔊 PlayJohn Vibes of The Free Thought Project has brought an illuminating video to attention, showing a side of Gaza City not seen in the States or other Western Nations. As pointed out in Vibes’ report, Western governments, and by default the Western media, likes to portray only the negative aspects of non-NATO countries when in fact these nations are no different from our own, save the mass-destruction that’s hit many of them—much of which was caused by Western hands.

The daily lives of the people who live in foreign countries is much the same as ours, with culture being the main difference. Like Western nations, citizens in the Middle East, Africa, and other areas of the world have “thriving music scenes, talented artists, brilliant philosophers, exceptional athletes, and children that play games similar to those played by Western children.”

The fact is, if people from other countries judged America based on our crime and corruption, as we so often do with those in the previously mentioned regions, imagine the picture that’s painted; police brutality and murder on a daily basis, crime on our streets, poverty in our ghettos, corrupt politicians, and greedy corporate moguls. The fact is, these things exist everywhere, and a society as a whole cannot be accurately judged by the actions of a smaller percentage. The same rule applies to any nation.

Aside from the negative aspects, every culture expresses happiness and joy. The average citizen of every nation knows what love is, and wants only to live a peaceful existence. The people of the various nations that are currently torn by war, and terrorized by militant groups, are innocent victims who—after many of which lost everything—now find themselves hated the world over because of their religion, culture, or the color of their skin.

The following video, shot and edited by Andrea DiCenzo, is meant to capture the true essence of Gaza City, and it may not be what you expect:

 

 


 

This Article (Gaza City like You’ve Never Seen Before) is a free and open source. You have permission to republish this article under a Creative Commons license with attribution to the author and AnonHQ.com.


Sources:

Vibes, John. The Free Thought Project. Dec 20, 2015. (http://thefreethoughtproject.com/decline-western-civilization-defined-citizens-rest-world/)

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History of Palestine – Chronology
Palestine:  Adaptation of a Greek word meaning Land of Philistines. A historic region on the east coast of the Mediterranean Sea.

8000 BC
Permanent agricultural settlements appeared in Jericho.

1000 BC
Palestine divides into the regions of Judea and Samaria.

 721 BC
Samaria destroyed by Assyria.

587 BC
Judea destroyed by Babylonia.

70 AD
Romans shatter Hebrew Statehood.

641
The Muslim conquest brings Palestine under the sway of the Islamic Caliphate.

1099
Roman Crusaders overtake Jerusalem.

1291
Mamelukes of Egypt take back Jerusalem.

1516-1918
Palestine occupied by the Turkish Ottoman Empire.

1895
The total population of Palestine was 500,000 of whom 47,000 were Jews who owned 0.5% of the land.

1896
Following the appearance of anti-Semitism in Europe, Theodore Herzl, the founder of Zionism tried to find a political solution for the problem in his book, “The Jewish State”. He advocated the creation of a Jewish state in Argentina or Palestine.

1897
First Zionist Congress (Basle, Switzerland) declared Palestine the Jewish Homeland. Participants developed a structure of government which could be transferred to Palestine at some future time, including the World Zionist Organization to link all Jews together, the Jewish National Fund to acquire land, a committee to manage finances, a political committee to govern the land.

1900
Keren Keyemeth (Jewish National Fund) founded as land-acquisition organ of WZO with the function of acquiring land in Palestine to be inalienably Jewish with exclusively Jewish labour employed on it.

1904
Publication of “Le Reveil de la Nation Arabe”, by Najib Azoury, warning of Zionist political aims in Palestine.
Fourth Zionist Congress decided to establish a national home for Jews in Argentina.

1906
The Zionist congress decided the Jewish homeland should be Palestine.

1908
Palestinian journal “Al-Karmil” founded in Haifa for the purpose of opposing Zionist colonization.

1910
Arabic newspapers in Beirut, Damascus and Haifa express opposition to Zionist land acquisition in Palestine.

1911
Jan: Palestinian journalist Najib Nassar publishes first book in Arabic on Zionism, entitled “Zionism: Its History, Objectives and Importance”.
Feb: Palestinian newspaper “Filastin” begins addressing its readers as “Palestinians” and it warns them about consequences of Zionist colonization.

1913
First Arab Nationalist Congress meets in Paris.

1914
With the outbreak of World War I, Britain promised the independence of Arab lands under Ottoman rule, including Palestine, in return for Arab support against Turkey which had entered the war on the side of Germany.

1915
July 14: Correspondence begins between Sherif Hussein of Mecca and Sir Henry McMahon, British High Commissioner in Egypt.
Aug. 21: Jamal Pasha, Ottoman military governor, has the first group of martyrs of the Arab nationalist movement executed in Beirut.
– Herbert Samuel, future High Commissioner of Palestine, in a memorandum entitled `The Future of Palestine’, proposes “… the British annexation of Palestine [where] we might plant 3 or 4 million European Jews.”.

1916
Jan 30: Hussein-McMahon correspondence concluded with Arabs understanding it as ensuring postwar independence and the unity of Arab provinces of the Ottoman Empire, include. Palestine.
May: Jamal Pasha has 21 Arab leaders and intellectuals, incl. 2 Palestinians, hanged in Beirut and Damascus.
May 16: The British and French Governments sign secret Sykes-Picot Agreement dividing Arab provinces of Ottoman Empire into French and British administered areas.
June 10: Sherif Hussein proclaims Arab independence from Ottoman rule on the basis of his correspondence with McMahon. Arab revolt against Constantinople begins.
Oct 2: Sherif Hussein is proclaimed as “King of the Arab Countries” and performs the ceremony of the bai’a, the traditional Arab custom in which the investiture is accompanied by a formal declaration of allegiance.

November 2, 1917
British government issues Balfour Declaration. Promising the Jewish people an independent Jewish state in Palestine. At that time the population of Palestine was 700,000 of which 574,000 were Muslims, 74,000 were Christian, and 56,000 were Jews.

December 1917
British troops invade Palestine capturing Jerusalem.
Surrender of Ottoman forces in Jerusalem to Allied forces under General Sir Edmund Allenby.

1919
The Palestinians convened their first National Conference and expressed their opposition to theBalfour Declaration.

1920
The San Remo Conference granted Britain a mandate over Palestine and two years later Palestine was effectively under British administration, and Sir Herbert Samuel, a declared Zionist, was sent as Britain’s first High Commissioner to Palestine.

1922
The Council of the League of Nations issued a Mandate for Palestine. The Mandate was in favor of the establishment for the Jewish people a homeland in Palestine.
June 3: The British government issues White Paper on Palestine excl. Transjordan from scope of Balfour Declaration.
June 30: US Congress endorses Balfour Declaration.
July 24: League of Nations Council approves Mandate for Palestine without consent of Palestinians.
Aug 20: Fifth Palestinian National Congress, meeting in Nablus, agrees to economic boycott of Zionists.
Oct: First British census of Palestine shows total population of 757,182 (11% Jewish).

1923
Feb 16: Sixth Palestinian National Congress, held in Yaffa
Sept 29
: British Mandate for Palestine comes officially into force.

1935
March 27: Official establishment of the Palestine Arab Party (al-Hizb al-Arabi al-Filastini) in Jerusalem; Jamal al-Husseini elected as president.
May 10: Second meeting of the Congress Executive of Nationalist Arab Youth held in Haifa.
June 23: Announcement of The Reform Party (al-Hizb al-Islah) in Jenin; run by three secretaries: Hussein al-Khalidi, Mahmoud Abu Khadra, and Shibli al-Jamal.
Oct 5: Announcement of formation of The National Bloc (al-Kutlah al-Wataniyah) in Nablus; led by elected Abdul Latif Salah.
Oct: Irgun Zvai Leumi (National Military Organisation) founded by dissident members of Haganah; Jabotinsky named Commander-in-Chief.
Nov: Sheikh Izz al-Din al-Qassam, leading first Palestinian guerrilla group, dies in action against British security forces.

1936
The Palestinians held a six-month General Strike to protest against the confiscation of land and Jewish immigration.

1939
London Round Table Conference produces the White Paper of the Year which promises Arabs to establish an independent Arab Palestine in Palestine 10 years from the date, and eliminate the Jewish migration to Palestine to 1,400 per year until 1944, after which Jewish migration will cease.

1942
Jan: Dr. Chaim Weizmann writes in “Foreign Affairs”, urging the creation of a Jewish state in Palestine after the war.
May: Zionist Biltmore Conference, held at Biltmore Hotel in New York, formulates new policy of creating “Jewish Commonwealth” in Palestine and organizing Jewish army.

1944-47
Jewish-British War. Jewish groups in Palestine try to expel Britain. Mainstream Jewish fighters under David Ben Gurion are called Hagana. They later become the Israeli army. Two separate military groups (Irgun Zvai Leumi led by Menachem Begin and Lehi or the Stern Gang led by Yitzhak Shamir) resort to assassination and bombings. Many British soldiers and Arab civilians are killed.

1947
Britain decides it cannot bring peace to Palestine and turns the matter over to the United Nations. In Resolution 181 the UN votes to partition Palestine into Jewish and Palestinian states with an international enclave around Jerusalem and Bethlehem. Arab leaders reject the plan and insist on a united Palestine with a secular government. Fighting begins between Jews and Palestinians. Many Palestinians become refugees.

1948
Approximate population of Palestine: 1,650,000 Palestinians and 750,000 Jews.
April 8: Abd al-Qadir Husseini killed in counter-attack at Qastel, western suburb of Jerusalem, without any military reason or provocation of any kind.
April 9: Irgun and Stern Gangs lead by Menahem Begin and Yitzhaq Shamir massacre 245 Palestinians in the village of Deir Yassin, western suburb of Jerusalem.
April 11: Haganah destroy village of Kalonia near Qastel and occupy Deir Yassin.
April 30: All Palestinian quarters in West Jerusalem occupied by Haganah and Palestinians were driven out.
May 2: The Jewish Agency completes mobilisation of Jewish manpower.
May 13: UN appoints Count Folke Bernadotte as mediator to resolve conflict in Palestine.
May 14: State of Israel proclaimed in Tel-Aviv at 4:00 p.m.
May 15: British Mandate ends.
– The Arab States dispatch around 25,000 of their armed forces to Palestine.
– The Haganah, made up of 60,000 to 70,000 trained members become the backbone of the Israeli Army.
May 15-17: USA and USSR recognise Israel.
June 28: Bernadotte’s first peace plan: Jerusalem to be Arab.
July 5: Ben-Gurion, replying to Moshe Sharett, with regard to allowing the return of Arabs to Jaffa: “The Prime Minister opposes the return of Arab residents to their localities so long as the fighting continues and the enemy is at our gates. The PM is of the opinion that only the cabinet as a whole can decide to alter this policy.”
July 7: Mount Scopus area in Jerusalem divided into 3 sectors: a Jewish sector (incl. the Hadassah Hospital and Hebrew University, which were completely isolated from Israel); an Arab sector (the village of Issawiya); and a third sector incl. the Arab Augusta Victoria Hospital.
Sept 1: Palestinian National Conference in Gaza. Formation of All-Palestine Government.
Sept 17: UN Mediator Count Folke Bernadotte assassinated in Jerusalem.
Sept: Ben-Gurion notifies Moshe Sharett that he was told by the commander of the central front that it would be necessary to destroy portions of 14 Arab villages lying east of Lod [Saffariyya, Haditha, Innaba, Daniel, Jimzu, Kafr Onno, Yahudiyya, Barfiliyya, Birya, Qubab, Beit Nabala, Deir Sherif, Tira, Qula], “because of the shortage of manpower to hold the area and to fortify it in depth it is urgently necessary to create defence bases ….”
Oct 1: All-Palestine Government announces Palestinian independence.
Oct 15: The recognition of the All-Palestine Government by Egypt, Syria, Lebanon and Saudi Arabia.
Dec 1: Jericho conference composed of notables and mayors indicates the West Bank’s approval of unity with Jordan.
Dec 11: UN Gen. Assembly Res. 194 (III): the right of Palestinian refugees to return.
Dec 20: Sheikh Hussam Addin Jarallah appointed Mufti of Jerusalem (replacing Haj Amin Husseini); Amin Abdul-Hadi appointed head of the Supreme Muslim Council in Jerusalem.

April-May 1948
Massacres of Palestinians by Zionist groups Haganah and Irgun throughout Palestine.

1948-50
Britain withdraws from Palestine. The state of Israel is established resulting in the 1948 War on May 14th between Israel and the Arab countries. 846,000 Palestinians are driven out of their homeland or flee the fighting that accompanied the creation of a Jewish state. Only 160,000 Palestinians remain in Israel itself.

Article 49 (6) of the Geneva Convention IV states: the occupying power (Israel) shall not deport or transfer parts of its own civilian population into the territory it occupies, it also rejects and forbids the settlement of Jews in the West Bank area.

The Israeli government allows only a very few Palestinians to return after the war is over. By 1950, over one million Palestinians live in UN-supported refugee camps in Gaza, West Bank, Lebanon, and Jordan.

1964
The establishment of the Palestinian Liberation Organization (PLO) in Jerusalem.

1965
The Palestine “Revolution” began on January 1st.

1967
Approximate population of Israel and Occupied Territories: 1,660,000 Palestinians and 2,384,000 Jews.

The 1967 War begins June 5th with Israel occupying the West Bank, Gaza Strip, and Jerusalem. UN issues Resolution 242 demanding Israel to withdraw from the West Bank and Gaza Strip. Approximately 250,000 more Palestinian refugees flee, or are forced into Jordan. After the 1967 Six Day War, Yasser Arafat is announced the leader of the PLO.

1973
October or Ramadan or Yom Kippur War. Egypt and Syria attempt to regain lost territories. They push Israel back in the Sinai peninsula and initially in the Golan province. A massive airlift of US arms to Israel tips the balance.

1974
United Nations issues Resolution 338 reaffirming the rights of the Palestinians to self-determination and national independence.

Yasser Arafat speaks to the UN exclaiming, “I come to you with an olive branch and a freedom fighter’s gun; do not let the olive branch fall from my hand.”

The Arab Nations issue the Rabat Resolution which proclaims the PLO as the legitimate representative of the Palestinian people.

1977
Menechem Begin becomes Prime Minister of Israel. His Likud Party traditionally advocates a “Greater Israel” including the West Bank and Gaza and perhaps Jordan with unlimited settlements of Jews in Arab-populated areas under Israeli occupation. Anwar Sadat President of Egypt goes to Jerusalem to open talks.

1978
Egypt and Israel sign the Camp David Accords. Israel invades Lebanon and seizes a “security zone” up to the Litani River.

1982
Israel invaded Lebanon with the aim of destroying the PLO. Tens of thousands were killed and made homeless in the wake of the invasion which culminated in the massacres of Sabra and Shatilla.

1983
The United Nations called for the convening of a Peace Conference with the participation of the PLO on an equal footing with the other delegates as the legitimate representative of the Palestinian people.

August 1985
Israel creates “Iron Fist Policy.” Defense Minister Yitzhak Rabin orders troops to break bones, demolish homes, hold administrative detention, and deport Palestinians.

December 1987
Palestinian Intifada (Uprising) begins. Palestinians commit themselves to goals which include; Palestinians have the same rights as all other people including, the right to determine their own future and to live in security and freedom.

1988
Abu Jihad (PLO’s number 2 leader) is assassinated on April 14th by an Israeli hit team. The PLO recognizes Israel, proclaims a Palestinian state, renounces terrorism, and calls for negotiations; as a result of the Israeli election. Yitzhak Shamir returns as Prime Minister. Following the United States government refusing President Arafat a visa to enter the US, the UN General Assembly held a special session on the question of Palestine in Geneva.

June 28, 1989
EEC Madrid Conference issued a new declaration calling for the PLO to be involved in any peace negotiations.

May 20, 1990
Seven Palestinian workers from Gaza were massacred by the Israeli gunman near Tel Aviv. Yasser Arafat addressed the UN Security Council in Geneva after the massacre in which he called for the deployment of a UN emergency force to provide international protection for the Palestinian people to safeguard their lives, properties and holy places. The US vetoed a motion which called for the Security Council to send a fact finding mission to the area. At the end of their hunger strike, Palestinian leaders in the Occupied Territories decided to boycott the US.

June 26, 1990
The EEC in Dublin issued a new declaration on the Middle East which condemned Israeli human rights violations and the settlement of Soviet Jews in the Occupied Territories. It also doubled its economic aid program to the Occupied Territories.

1991
October 30: Madrid Peace Conference is held.
December 3: The bi-lateral talks between Israel and the Palestinians, Syrians, Jordanians, and Lebanese started in Washington.

1992
Yitzhak Rabin becomes Prime Minister of Israel.

1993
On September 13th Palestine and Israel sign Declaration of Principles in Washington, DC.

May 4, 1994
Gaza strip and Jericho Agreement in Cario.

August 29, 1994
Transfer of the power Agreement.

September 28, 1995
Palestinian Israeli Interim Agreement signed in Washington.

November 4, 1995
Israeli extremist Yagil Amir assassinates Israeli Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin.

January 1996
Palestinians hold first Democratic Election. Yasser Arafat is elected President of Palestine.

May 28, 1996
Israel elects Benjamin Netanyahu Prime Minister, who since has refused to implement previous peace agreement.

September 1996
Israeli government opens tunnel in Jerusalem going against previous peace agreement which states the Jerusalem must not be altered in any way by either side until the final status of the peace agreement has been reached.

January 1997
Agreement of the redeployment from Hebron.

March 1997
The construction of the new Israeli settlement of Jabal Abu Ghneim (Har Homa) started. Cease of the peace talks because of the continuous of the settlements policy of the Netanyahu Government.

July 7, 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, somewhere in between the other observers on the one hand and Member States on the other. The resolution conferred upon Palestine additional rights and privileges of participation that had traditionally been exclusive to Member States.

September 1998
In September, the latest Israeli Central Bureau of Statistics census indicates that Israel’s population has reached approximately 5.9 million. Of that number, 4.7 million are Jews, approximately 230,000 of whom live in settlements in the occupied territories, and nearly 1.0 million are Israeli Arabs. It also indicates that the population of settlers in the West Bank and Gaza rose by 3%.

December 1998
U.S. President Bill Clinton visits Gaza and Bethlehem on 14-16 December 1998, becoming the first American president ever to visit any Palestinian territory and to deal directly with Palestinian leaders and institutions on their land. During the visit, the President makes many important statements, coming very close to recognizing the Palestinian right to self-determination. The president is accompanied by his family and by a large official delegation which includes the Secretary of State and the National Security Advisor. 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 .

October 1998
Wye River Memorandum signed by Israel and Palestine. The Memorandum dictates that Israel must withdraw from an additional 13% of and stop building settlements in the Occupied Territory. Palestine must fight terrorism and change the PLO Charter to acknowledge Israel as a state. Palestine complies…Israel does not.

May 17, 1999
Ehud Barak defeated Benjamin Netanyahu in the Israeli election.

September 29, 2000
Palestinian Intifada (Uprising) of Al-Aqsa begins.

February 6, 2001
Ariel Sharon defeated Ehud Barak in the Israeli election.

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