History of Conflict

Israel-Palestine Conflict: A Brief, Simple History

(VOX, 10:20 mins.)
This overview of the history of the Israel-Palestine conflict is a brief and simple presentation of what has transpired since the early 1900s.


This website documents and educates the Israeli public and policymakers as well as a larger audience about human rights violations in the Occupied Territories—reporting on restriction of movement, Israeli settlements, separation barrier, Gaza, East Jerusalem, house demolitions, military detention, Palestinian violence, and other topics.

In the 19th century, historic Palestine was inhabited by a multi-cultural/religious population—approximately 86 percent Muslim, 10 percent Christian, and 4 percent Jewish—that lived in relative peace within the Ottoman Empire.

1) By 1947, the Jews represented about 30% of the total population and owned only 7% of the land.

2) UN PLAN FOR DIVISION—1947 In the partition plan, 55% of historic Palestine was to be given to the Jewish people and 45% to the Palestinian Arabs (despite the fact that Jews owned only 7% of the land). Jerusalem was to be an international area accessible to all.

3) 1947-49 WAR By the end of the war, the Jews had declared themselves to be the state of Israel and had expanded control to 78% of historic Palestine, resulting in 750,000 Palestinian refugees and razing over 400 Palestinian Arab towns and villages. After the war, the West Bank was under Jordanian jurisdiction while Gaza was administered by Egypt.

4) 1967 SIX-DAY WAR Israel then occupied the 22% of the land that remained under Arab control—the West Bank (including East Jerusalem) and Gaza, plus the Golan Heights taken from Syria. Since that time, settlements (over 650,000 settlers), access roads for settlers only, the separation wall, and military areas have confiscated much of this territory.

Since 1967, issues to be negotiated in a final peace agreement include borders, refugees, status of Jerusalem, etc.

BY INTERNATIONAL LAW, settlements on occupied land are illegal. Fourth Geneva Convention, Article 49: Deportations, transfers, evacuations (adopted August 1949)

Individual or mass forcible transfers, as well as deportations of protected persons from occupied territory to the territory of the Occupying Power or to that of any other country, occupied or not, are prohibited, regardless of their motive.

The Occupying Power shall not deport or transfer parts of its own civilian population into the territory it occupies.