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Israel - Origins and Evolution

Israel - Origins and Evolutions
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Israel in Biblical Times
Map - Land of Canaan Map - Israel 1020 BC
The land promised for an everlasting inheritance to Abraham and his seed was the scene of the principal events recorded in Scripture. The difficult boundary, territorial, and resource problems associated with the presence of an Israeli state surrounded by Arab peoples can be understood only in the context of the long history of the Jewish people. In that history, a united, independent Israel has existed during only a few relatively short periods.

Map - 12 Tribes of Israel Map - 12 Tribes of Israel

The exact boundaries of the tribes cannot be defined, but their relative position and the comparative extent of their territories are indicated approximately on maps. The effacing hand of time has thoroughly obliterated them; but their relative position, magnitude, and importance may be noted.

Ministry of Foreign Affairs Map - Kingdom of David and Solomon Ministry of Foreign Affairs Map - Kingdom of David and Solomon
Biblical accounts indicate that King David first united the Jewish tribes around 1000 BC; and many published maps indicate that the influence of this kingdom extended from the Gulf of Aqaba to the Euphrates but did not included Philistia - the vicinity of the present-day Gaza Strip.

The Israeli Ministry of Foreign Affairs cautions that "The maps contained in this publication are for illustrative purposes only and should not be considered authoritative." And indeed, the Ministry publishes two manifestly contradictory maps on its website.

Map - Kingdoms of Israel and Judah Map - Kingdoms of Israel and Judah
Following the death of David's son Solomon, Biblical accounts indicate that the kingdom split into two weaker states: Israel, conquered by Assyria in 722 BC; and Judah, conquered by Babylon in 586 BC.

Map - Roman Palestine
After a series of foreign rulers, Jews again experienced approximately a century of self-rule under the Maccabees between 166 B.C. and 63 B.C. Although the bounds of this kingdom extended into what is now western Jordan, they did not encompass parts of the Negev and Galilee that are now Israeli territory. The Roman conquest ended Jewish autonomy, and, after several Jewish revolts, Rome expelled many Jews from their homeland, which the Romans called Palestine. Most of the world's Jewish population remained outside Palestine for the next 18 centuries.
Palestine (British Mandate) 1920-48
Map Sykes Pict Agreement 1916 Map Israel 1920 Map Transjordan Partition 1921
Although Jews kept alive the hope of returning to Palestine, the concept of a Jewish state there did not crystallize until the founding of the World Zionist Organization in 1897. Subsequently, immigration by European Jews accelerated, and - after the Balfour Declaration of 1917 extended British encouragement to Zionist aspirations - Jews increasingly settled in Palestine. Following the Great War and the dissolution of the Ottoman Empire, Palestine came under the control of the United Kingdom through the Sykes-Picot Agreement and a League of Nations mandate in 1920. Palestine Arabs resented this immigration into their homeland. Tensions between Arab and Jewish groups in the region erupted into physical violence--the 1920 Palestine riots, the 1921 Palestine riots, the 1929 Hebron massacre and the 1936-1939 Arab revolt in Palestine. The British tried to maintain a precarious peace, but Hitlers anti-Semitic policy increased the influx of Jews into Palestine and caused further Arab resentment. The Jewish population rose to nearly half a million in 1935. The Arab rebellion started in 1936 and continued to expand until a major British Military effort suppressed it two years later.
Palestine (UN Partition Plan) 1947
Map Israel 1947
Jewish settlement during the mandate years aroused Arab resentment and led to frequent strife. The 1947 United Nations partition plan - which would have created a Jewish sate, an Arab state, and a UN-administered Jerusalem - sought to resolve this conflict, but the surrounding Arab countries opposed the plan and invaded Israel immediately after it proclaimed its independence in May 1948.
Israel 1949-1967
Map Israel 1949
By the end of the 1948-49 war, the Israelis held more land than the UN plan had prescribed for them. About 750,000 Palestinians - some 80 percent of the Palestinians who lived in what became Israeli territory - fled or were pushed out by advancing Israeli forces to surrounding Arab countries. Jordan occupied the West Bank, which it later annexed - an act recognized only by Britain and Pakistan - and Egypt occupied and administered the Gaza Strip. Jerusalem had become a divided city: Israelis held the western, Jewish-inhabited part and Jordaniands the eastern portion, including the religiously significant Old City. Israel unilaterally proclaimed West Jerusalem its capital in 1950, a move still unrecognized by most of the international community.
Israel and Occupied Territories Since June 1967
Map Israel 1982
In the aftermath of the 1967 war, the Israelis occupied the West Bank, the Gaza Strip, the western portion of Syria's Al Qunaytirah Province (the Golan Heights), and Egypt's Sinai Peninsula. The Israelis reaffirmed their control of these territories during the 1973 war. In late June 1967, Israel unilaterally incorporated some 67 square kilometers of West Bank land within the city bounds of Jerusalem and in 1980 proclaimed a united Jerusalem as its capital - a move that amounted to de facto annexation. In 1981 Israel also unilaterally annexed the Golan Heights. The international community has not recognized these declarations. Israel returned the Sinai to Egypt as part of the Camp David accords; an din September 1993, Israel and the PLO - after formal mutual recognition - signed a Declaration of Principles eventually extending limited self-rule to Palestinians in the West Bank and Gaza Strip.



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