Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu was meeting with U.S. President Donald Trump Wednesday, potentially establishing a new chapter in the decades-long conflict between Israel and Palestine.
The first meeting between the two leaders came after a White House official said Monday that a two-state solution was not the only option to resolving the dispute. An independent Palestinian state has long been the declared goal of the United States and much of the international community.
But Trump has largely been a staunch supporter of Israel. He has called for the U.S. embassy there to be moved to Jerusalem and criticized the administration of former President Barack Obama for abstaining from a December United Nations vote condemning Israeli settlements. However, Trump's recent more moderate tone has added an air of unpredictability to the government’s future direction.
A timeline of one of the world’s longest-running and costliest disputes, the origins of which began a century ago, follows below.
1917 — After seizing Palestine from the Ottomans, Britain issued the Balfour Declaration, giving its support for a “national home for the Jewish people” within Palestine while vowing that “nothing shall be done which may prejudice the civil and religious rights of existing non-Jewish communities.”
1948 — Israel declared independence as Britain left Palestine and the United Nations recommended it being partitioned into two separate states. Palestine was unhappy with what it viewed as an unfair distribution of territory, which led to fighting breaking out in the form of the first Arab-Israeli war starting between Israel and Palestine and its Arab neighbors.
1949 — Known as the “War of Independence” in Israel and “The Catastrophe” in Palestine, around 700,000 Palestinians, out of a population of around 1.2 million, fled or were expelled from their home in what had been mandated as Palestinian land. By the end of the conflict, Israel had seized around 50 percent more land than the U.N. partition plan had originally envisioned. Jordan took control over the West Bank, with Egypt doing the same over the Gaza Strip. Jerusalem was split between Israel in the west and Jordan in the east.
1949-1960s — More than one million Jewish refugees from the Middle East and Europe settled in Israel.
1967 — The “Six Day War” began as Israel followed up growing tension in the region by launching a preemptive attack against Egypt, which led to Jordan and Syria joining the conflict. But by the end of the war, Israel had nearly tripled the land under its control, seizing the West Bank, Gaza, the Sinai Peninsula, Golan Heights and East Jerusalem. In response, the U.N. Security Council issued resolution 242 mandating the “withdrawal of Israel armed forces from territories occupied in the recent conflict.” It became the basis for all subsequent peace negotiations.
1972 — At the 1972 Olympics in Munich, Palestinian “Black September” gunmen took 11 Israeli team members hostage, with all eventually being killed.
1978 — The Camp David Accord was signed at the retreat of President Jimmy Carter in Maryland. Israel agreed to withdraw from the Sinai Peninsula, while Egypt became the first Arab country to recognize Israel’s existence.
1982 — Israel invaded Lebanon in an attempt to expel the Palestinian Liberation Organization (PLO), during which time Israel-allied Christian militias massacred 2000 unarmed Palestinians at a refugee camp in Beirut. A government commission found Defense Minister Ariel Sharon indirectly responsible.
1987 — The first Palestinian Intifada, or “uprising,” began in the West Bank and Gaza as Palestinians protest continued Israeli rule.
1993 — After secret negotiations in Oslo, Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat and Israeli Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin signed a Declaration of Principles in Washington. Israel recognized the PLO and agreed to give it limited autonomy in the West Bank and the Gaza Strip. In return, Palestinians recognized Israel’s right to exist and agreed to halt further violence.
2000 — The Camp David Summit ended without agreement over competing claims to Jerusalem and continued Israeli withdrawal from the West Bank. Following the breakdown of talks, the hardline conservative future prime minister Ariel Sharon marched up to the holy Jerusalem site known to Jews as Temple Mount and Muslims as Al-Haram al-Sharif along with hundreds of Israeli riot police. The provocative act spurred a wave of violence and a second Intifada.
2002 — In response to a string of suicide bombings, Israel, then under the leadership of Sharon, launched Operation Defensive Shield, the largest military operation in the West Bank since 1967. Israel also constructed the controversial West Bank barrier.
2005 — At the urging of President George W. Bush, Israel withdrew from Gaza. However, it retained control over the region’s airspace and coastline while restricting imports, exports and passenger travel.
2008 — Israel launched “Operation Cast Lead,” a full-scale invasion of Gaza, stating a goal of stopping Palestinian rocket fire into Israel. During the month-long conflict in December, 1,391 Palestinians were killed, including 759 civilians, compared to 13 Israelis.
2014 — Another offensive in Gaza was launched by Israel in the summer of 2014. Over 50 days, “Operation Protective Edge” led to the deaths of 2,104 Palestinians, including 1,462 civilians, and 72 Israelis.