Wars and peace: Israeli ties with the Arab world

The Bahraini, Israeli and US flags are picture attached to an air-plane of Israel's El Al, adorned with the word "peace" in Arabic, English and Hebrew, ahead of the flight to Bahrain's capital Manama at Israel's Ben Gurion Airport near Tel Aviv on October 18, 2020, after the two states reached a US-brokered normalisation deal last month. - Israel and Bahrain will officially establish diplomatic relations at a ceremony in Manama, an Israeli official said, after the two states reached a US-brokered normalisation deal last month. (Photo by RONEN ZVULUN / POOL / AFP)

The United Arab Emirates and Bahrain became the third and fourth Arab states to agree to normalise ties with Israel, following Egypt’s peace deal with Israel in 1979 and a 1994 pact with Jordan. 

Israel, which on Sunday is set to officially establish diplomatic relations with Bahrain, has had a turbulent history with the Arab world, including eight wars.

The United Arab Emirates and Bahrain became the third and fourth Arab states to agree to normalise ties with Israel, following Egypt’s peace deal with Israel in 1979 and a 1994 pact with Jordan.

Sunday’s meeting follows a September 15 ceremony at the White House when Israel, the UAE and Bahrain inked the so-called Abraham Accords brokered by President Donald Trump’s administration.

– Creation of Israel –

Israel is created on May 14, 1948, formed out of part of Palestine three years after the end of World War II, when the Nazis killed more than six million Jews.

Israel immediately comes under attack by its Arab neighbours, but repels them.

More than 760,000 Palestinians are driven out or flee, becoming refugees.

In 1956, Israel attacks Egypt alongside Britain and France, which are seeking to overturn the nationalisation three months earlier of the strategic Suez Canal.

They eventually withdraw under pressure from both the United States and the then-Soviet Union.

In June 1967, Israel wins a crushing victory over its Arab neighbours in the Six-Day War.

It seizes the West Bank including east Jerusalem from Jordan and the Golan Heights from Syria as well as the Gaza Strip and the Sinai Peninsula from Egypt.

In 1973, Egypt and Syria launch a surprise attack on the Jewish holiday of Yom Kippur to try to win back their lost territories but are held off.

– First peace treaty –

The year after the historic visit in 1977 by Egyptian President Anwar Sadat to Jerusalem, Israel and Egypt agree on peace terms after talks brokered by the United States.

The Camp David accords are the first peace agreement between Israel and an Arab state.

The peace treaty is signed in 1979 by Israeli prime minister Menachem Begin and Sadat.

– Lebanon invasion –

In 1978 and again in 1982 Israel invades civil war-wracked Lebanon in a bid to halt cross-border attacks by Palestinian militants.

Israeli troops will remain in southern Lebanon until 2000.

– Peace treaty with Jordan –

A second peace accord, with Jordan, comes in 1994, signed by prime ministers Yitzhak Rabin and Abdel Salam Majali.

The Wadi Araba Treaty formally ends 46 years of war between the two neighbours.

– Intifadas, Oslo accords –

The first Palestinian intifada, or uprising, erupts in 1987.

It ends in 1993 when Israel agrees to limited Palestinian autonomy in the West Bank and Gaza Strip as an interim step towards a comprehensive peace agreement, which has yet to emerge.

The so-called Oslo accords are sealed with a historic handshake between Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat and Rabin, who is assassinated two years later by a Jewish extremist.

The second intifada breaks out in 2000 when right-wing Israeli opposition leader Ariel Sharon pays a provocative visit to the Al-Aqsa mosque compound in annexed east Jerusalem.

The Israeli army reoccupies much of the West Bank in a series of large-scale military operations and begins building a separation barrier between the two communities that in places cuts deep into occupied territory.

In 2005, Israel withdraws all troops and settlers from Gaza after 38 years of occupation.

It imposes a crippling blockade after Islamist group Hamas seizes control in 2007.

It carries out three deadly offensives against the territory in six years, the latest in 2014.

– Trump’s support –

In December 2017 President Trump recognises Jerusalem as Israel’s capital, a declaration condemned by the Palestinians, who regard east Jerusalem as the capital of their future state.

In May 2018 Washington transfers its embassy to Jerusalem.

In March 2019 Trump formally recognises Israel’s 1981 annexation of the Golan Heights.

On January 28, 2020 Trump unveils a controversial Middle East peace plan that paves the way for the annexation of swathes of the West Bank by Israel.

– Relations with UAE, Bahrain –

On August 13 Trump, in a surprise announcement, says that Israel and the United Arab Emirates have reached a “historic” agreement to normalise ties.

Under the deal Israel agrees to “suspend” annexation of parts of the occupied West Bank, without saying for how long.

On September 11 Trump announces that Bahrain and Israel will also normalise relations.

The Palestinian authorities condemn the agreements as a “stab in the back”.

Within a month of the September 15 signing of the accords, Israel approves plans for 4,948 more settler homes in the West Bank.

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