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View series: The Middle East since the beginning of the 20th century

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Continuation of the Israeli-Palestinian Conflict

This map is part of a series of 18 animated maps showing the history of The Middle East since the beginning of the 20th century.

Used by Arab States to resolve territorial disagreements with Israel, the Israeli-Palestinian conflict was neglected while Israelis and Arabs continued to argue right through during the 1980s.

The 1967 war, and Israel’s occupation of the West Bank and Gaza, reinforced the Palestinian tragedy.

For 20 years, the Palestinians, most of whom supported PLO leader Yasser Arafat, continued to defend their cause from bases in Jordan, Syria and, in particular, Lebanon.

In December 1987 a popular uprising, known as the “Intifada”, broke out in the Occupied Territories. With the emergence of new groups of radical Palestinians, the PLO opened up diplomatic negotiations from within the territories.

For the time had come to negotiate, with the support of the international community. In 1991, the Madrid Conference, held immediately after the first Gulf War, saw the Americans confirm their commitment to ending the conflicts in the Middle East.

In 1993, Israel and the Palestinians entered into negotiations leading to the Oslo Accords, which marked the beginning of the peace process. They included the creation, for an interim period lasting five years, of a Palestinian National Authority and of an autonomous territory, Zone A, covering part of Gaza and the West Bank. Zone B would be controlled jointly by Israel and the Palestinian Authority, while the rest of the territory, Zone C, would remain under Israeli control.

In a climate of high tension, made all the more difficult by the construction of new Jewish colonies, general elections were held in Palestine in January 1996 and Yasser Arafat became Chairman of the Palestinian Authority set up in Gaza.

In May 1996, the right-wing Likud party won the Israeli legislative elections, indicating Israelis’ lack of confidence in the peace process, since it had not ended the violence.

Distrust between the two camps continued during discussions on the most sensitive questions which had been left for the end of the peace negotiations: the frontiers of the future Palestinian State, the refugees’ right of return, and the very delicate question of the status of Jerusalem. Negotiations failed twice in July 2000, at Camp David in the US, and again in January 2001 at Taba in Egypt.

A new Intifada broke out in September 2000. Much more violent than the first rebellion, it gave the Israeli army an excuse for a violent reoccupation of Palestinian towns.

This new crisis forced the Americans and the international community to intervene. In March 2002, the UN adopted Resolution 1397, which, for the first time, referred to the “two States of Israel and Palestine living side by side within recognized and secure frontiers” and in April 2003, international diplomacy was rewarded when both parties agreed to the adoption of a "road map" for peace.

Confrontation between radical Palestinian groups and the Israeli army continued, making hopes for peace seem even more elusive. At the same time, Israel began building a wall of separation, which often does not respect the borders of the West Bank, in order to ensure secure its own territories.