Gilo settlement - Beit Jala (photo by GZ) Bypass road north-south - Jerusalem (photo by GZ) Mahmoud Darwish in the presence of absence (photo by GZ) Hisham's Palace, Jericho (photo by GZ) Drone flying over KhanYounis, Gaza. (Photo by CdV) Anti-wall demonstration in Bi'lin. (Photo by LS) Old city of Hebron (photo by GZ) Wall grafitti made by Berlin residents. (Photo by CdV) Mahmoud Darwish on Yasser Arafat- Ramallah (photo by GZ) Cremisan Road, Beit Jala (photo by GZ) Corridor from Erez crossing into Gaza (Photo by CdV)

1968-1989 Resisting the occupation: The first Intifada

The larger part of this time line is an adaptation of the historic overview in ‘Before their Diaspora, a photographic history of the Palestinians 1876-1948’ by Walid Khalidi.


The Palestinian resistance becomes the predominant component of the PLO institutions. The PLO carries out a series of international operations, including hijackings. Yasser Arafat is elected chairman of a new executive committee of the PLO. Fatah proclaims its objective of creating a democratic, secular state in all of Palestine, later changing the goal to "an independent Palestinian state".

The PLO in Jordan becomes a serious threat to Jordanian authority.  In September 1970 Jordanian tanks attack the headquarters of Palestinian organizations in Amman.  The armored troops get immersed in heavy urban warfare with the Palestinian fighters. (The Black September uprising) King Hussein succeeds to avert the threat, but is maligned throughout the Arab world and his legitimacy  suffers a crippling blow.

UN General Assembly resolution 2787 recognizes the right of the Palestinians to struggle for the recovery of their homeland. The October War breaks out. Egypt and Syria fight but fail to regain the Arab territories occupied by Israel in 1967.



The UN General Assembly recognizes the PLO as the representative of the Palestinian people in its resolution 3210. Chairman Yasser Arafat addresses the UN in New York.


The UN General Assembly passes resolution 3379 defining Zionism as a form of racism and racial discrimination. The Arab League accepts Palestine, represented by the PLO, as a full member of the Arab League equal to all other members. The US State Department releases a Human Rights Report, charging Israelis with illegal expulsion of Palestinians from their homes and properties; detention without charge; the destruction of properties; lack of judicial remedy for detainees.


US President Jimmy Carter recognizes Palestinians right to a homeland. The Israeli army invades South Lebanon leaving scores of Lebanese villages devastated and some 700 Lebanese and Palestinians, mainly civilians, dead. The UN Security Council adopts resolution 425 calling for an immediate Israeli withdrawal from Lebanese territory and deploys a UNIFIL force to southern Lebanon. In September, US president Carter, Israel Prime minister Begin and Egyptian president Sadat sign the Camp David Accords, bypassing the Palestinian people and the PLO.



UN Security Council resolution 446 calls on Israel to dismantle the settlements in the occupied Palestinian territories including Jerusalem. The Israeli Knesset adopts the Jerusalem Basic Law "officially" annexing the pre-1967 Palestinian eastern part of the city of Jerusalem. The occupied Golan Heights, an area of 500 square miles, are "annexed" to Israel.


Israel invades Lebanon with estimated 100,000 troops. Casualties are estimated at 15,000 civilians. Yasser Arafat meets in Beirut with a US Congressional Delegation and signs a statement acknowledging all UN resolutions pertaining to Palestine. In September Lebanese Phalangist militia, in collusion with the IDF, carry out a massacre in Sabra and Shatila refugee camps in southern Lebanon, killing thousands of Palestinian refugees. 


In an article in Reader’s Digest, former Presidents Jimmy Carter and Gerald Ford denounce Israeli settlement policies as "major obstacle to peace" and urge resolution of Palestinian issues according to Camp David framework. Israeli authorities expel 34 academics from West Bank universities for refusal to sign pledge not to support PLO. Syria declares PLO chairman Yasser Arafat, "persona non grata" and orders him to leave the country. Arafat flies to Tunis and calls Syria's action "regrettable".



Yasser Arafat and King Hussein reach an agreement on common approach to Middle East peace accord calling for the exchange of land for peace within the context of an international conference. Israeli officials discount the agreement. Israel bombs Tunisian headquarters of PLO, killing more than 70 people, in retaliation for the killing of 3 Israelis in Larnaca, Cyprus.



The Jordanian Government closes all 25 PLO offices in Amman and deports PLO leader Khalil al-Wazir from Amman. The Sunday Times of London publishes a report quoting former Israeli nuclear arms technician Mordechai Vanunu, saying that Israel has been building and stockpiling atomic weapons at Dimona nuclear facility for 20 years.


Israeli authorities attempt to confiscate over 10,000 dunums of land from West Bank villages. The Islamic resistance movement Hamas is founded. Over 400,000 Palestinians join in general strike to demand equal rights and an end to discriminatory practices. Israeli military authorities ban fishing in the Gaza Strip indefinitely for Palestinian residents. The First intifada begins in Jabalia refugee camp in Gaza and quickly spread throughout Gaza, the West Bank and East Jerusalem. The uprising is mainly non-violent and actions primarily include civil disobedience, general strikes, boycotts on Israeli products, refusal to pay taxes, demonstrations and barricades.



Amnesty International charges Israel with arresting Palestinians arbitrarily in OPT and with quick military trials in violation of international standards. Foreign ministers of 12 European countries condemn Israeli violations of international law and human rights in OPT.  The UN Security Council urges Israel to refrain from deporting any Palestinian from the OPT. A US veto defeats a UN Security Council resolution demanding that Israel abide by terms of 4th Geneva Convention.

On November 15th, The Palestinian declaration of independence is issued at the 19th Palestinian national Convention in Algiers. The Palestinian independent state has since been recognized by more than 100 countries. After one year of the Intifada 318 Palestinians have been killed, 20,000 wounded, 15,000 arrested, 12,000 jailed, 34 deported, and 140 houses demolished.  Israeli casualties number 8, 2 of whom soldiers.