Israel Border Map

Yearbook 2003

Israel. In the January 28 parliamentary elections, Prime Minister Ariel Sharon and his Conservative party Likud stepped forward strongly and received 37 of the 120 seats in the Knesset (Parliament). Sharon had gone to election with a bold message that Israel sooner or later must accept a Palestinian state. Extended government negotiations followed with the other eleven parties that were awarded seats in the Knesset. The Labor Party, which backed to 19 terms, demanded concessions to the Palestinians as a condition of joining the government and was therefore suspended.

At the end of March Likud was able to form government together with the left-wing Liberal Party Shinui, the right-wing National Union and the Orthodox National Religious Party. The turnout was 68%, the lowest in the country’s history.

According to Countryaah.com, Israel Independence Day is April 14. Amram Mitzna resigned May 4 from his post as leader of the Labor Party. He pointed out that in his fight for peace he felt discouraged by colleagues in the party leadership. Veteran politician Shimon Peres was appointed acting party leader. New party leader would be elected in 2004.

During the year, I was hit by a number of suicide attacks and other terrorist attacks that claimed a total of nearly 150 Israelis’ lives. The military responded with massive efforts in the occupied areas. More and more Israelis perceived the uncompromising attitude as counterproductive.

A group of Israeli pilots were threatened with imprisonment this fall after refusing to carry out missions in which civilian Palestinians risked firing.

Commander-in-chief Moshe Yaalon claimed in October that the Gaza Strip and West Bank blockades created a Palestinian desperation that only made life more insecure for Israelis. In November, four former Shin Beth security chiefs also demanded that Israel leave the Gaza Strip and demolish all settlements.

A state audit firm criticized Sharon in August for having his government propose changes to the property laws that he would personally benefit from. Sharon was also the subject of an investigation into illegal campaign finance in connection with the election to the Prime Minister’s post in 2001.

Israeli warplanes attacked Palestinian refugee camp Ein Sahed outside Syria’s capital Damascus on October 5, where Israelis claimed that Hamas and Islamic Jihad militants had their bases. It was the first time in over 20 years that Israel attacked Syrian soil. The attack came in response to an unusually bloody suicide attack the day before, when 19 people, including four children, were killed at a restaurant in Haifa.

The contradictions between Israel and the EU persisted. In November, the EU demanded that Israel suspend the construction of the so-called security barrier on the West Bank. The EU also accused Israel of stamping “Made in Israel” on goods produced in the occupied territories, something the EU believes was a breach of the organization’s trade agreement with Israel

About 700,000 public servants went on strike for five days in April and May in protest of the government’s plans for cuts and reduced pensions.

On May 18, the government reached an agreement with the trade union federation Histadrut, and on May 29, Parliament voted on a budget containing savings of Shekel 10 billion ($ 2.2 billion). It was 1 billion shekels less than in the Ministry of Finance’s original savings package.

1993 Oslo principle agreement

After many months of secret negotiations in Oslo, on September 13, 1993, Israel and the PLO signed a ” Declaration on the Principles of a Temporary Palestinian Self-Government Agreement ” in Washington. The agreement included the establishment of limited autonomy for the Palestinians in the Gaza Strip and the city of Jericho in the occupied West Bank. The autonomy was to be for a 5 year period and then extended to the entire West Bank. Subsequent negotiations in Cairo were made more difficult by border disputes and access to water. The PLO also demanded the release of 1,000 political prisoners from Israeli prisons. The agreement also lacked clarity on the status of Jerusalem, the Zionist settlements in the occupied territories as well as the right of refugees to return.

The agreement was sharply criticized by the radical Palestinian group, Hamas and the pro-Iranian Hezbollah. At the same time, Israeli settlers in the Occupied Territories rejected the agreement, which would involve the withdrawal of not only themselves, but also the Israeli army. The settlers had already been armed by the Israeli government. The tense situation quickly exploded. On February 25, 1994, a member of the ultra-right-wing Israeli Kach movement, Baruch Goldstein, entered the Patriarchs Tomb in Hebron. Armed with an M-16 automatic rifle, he killed dozens of Palestinians gathered for prayer. He was subsequently killed by agitated Palestinians.

The official investigation into the Hebron Massacre reveals that the Israeli soldiers in the occupied territories had orders not to shoot at armed settlers under any circumstances. At the same time, it was revealed that several soldiers had shot into the crowd of assembled Palestinians and that the doors had been locked, which had prevented escape. The PLO withdrew from the negotiations and demanded the immediate disarmament of the settlers and a condemnation from the UN. The United Nations adopted a sharp condemnation of the massacre and adopted the deployment of a Peace Force to the Occupied Territories (TIPH).

Following the UN declaration, Syria, Lebanon and Jordan resumed negotiations with Israel. Jordan wanted to force Israel to withdraw from the area south of the Dead Sea and from the northern part of Jordan, the sharing of water from the Jordan and Yarmuk rivers, and the repatriation of 57,000 Palestinian refugees.

Negotiations with Lebanon and Syria were far more difficult as Damascus demanded total Israeli withdrawal from the Golan Heights, while Tel Aviv demanded a Syrian pledge for complete peace, mutual recognition and the establishment of diplomatic relations. With US Secretary of State Warren Christopher as a mediator, at the beginning of 94 both parties accepted a widespread demilitarization of the Golan Heights and the deployment of international observers. In early May of that year, Israeli Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin and PLO President Yasser Arafat in Cairo signed an agreement on Gaza and Jericho autonomy. At the end of the month, the Israeli army withdrew from Gaza, thus ending 27 years of occupation. However, some Israeli military missions continued to exist Gaza, which guarded Israeli settlements in the area.

Negotiations with some Arab states were accelerated. This was particularly true of Jordan, with which Israel signed an agreement in July that concluded the “state of war” between the two countries. However, Syria did not succeed as Israel refused to complete a Golan withdrawal that had been occupied since 1967.

Peace meant increased economic growth. GDP rose by 7%, investment by 20% while unemployment fell from 11% to 7.6% in 1994. The following year, growth was once again at 7%, while inflation fell from 14.5% to 8.5%.

Al-Aqsa Intifada

In late September 2000, the violence erupted again when ultra-right-wing Ariel Sharon visited the Temple Mount in Jerusalem, which is sacred to both Jews and Muslims. The visit was carefully planned, was a major provocation against the Palestinians and triggered the Al-Aqsa Intifada. Hundreds of people, almost all Palestinians, died in the following months for the bullets of Israelis. The Barak government lost ground, the peace process was completely halted, Israel barred all Palestinian territories and Barak printed new elections, won in February 2001 by Ariel Sharon at the head of the Likud coalition.

Throughout 2001, Sharon escalated the attacks into the Palestinian territories, imposed curfews, carried out so-called “targeted assassinations” against Palestinian politicians. A practice that has been sharply condemned by Amnesty International and the International Red Cross, but not from the West. In the United States, George W. Bush had taken over the presidential post in January 2001, bringing with him political advisers closely linked to Israel. In 2001, Israel succeeded in completely slowing down the peace process. Palestinian groups responded in desperation with terrorist attacks inside Israel, but on average, 3 Palestinians were killed by Israelis each time an Israeli was killed.

Sharon was Minister of Defense during the occupation of Lebanon in 1982, and had never forgiven the fact that the government then allowed Arafat to escape. Now Sharon sat in the prime minister’s seat and used his power to almost ruin Arafat’s and self-government headquarters in Ramallah. At the same time he flatly refused to meet with Arafat. Israel did not want peace, and not at all with Arafat.

As part of the executions of Palestinian politicians, in August 2001, Israel executed PFLP President Mustafa Zibri at his Ramallah office. The PFLP responded again by executing the Israeli Minister of Tourism and Settlement 1 month later.

In September 2001, the United Nations Conference on Racism, conducted in Durban, South Africa, decided to characterize the state of Israel as racist, guilty of war crimes, genocide and ethnic cleansing. The United States and Israel withdrew their delegations in protest.

Israel took advantage of the chaos after September 11 to assert that there was a similarity between terror and Palestinians and escalated the war against them. The war culminated with the full re-occupation of the Palestinian territories.

Israel Border Map