Overall Chronology

Overall Chronology

VII. From A Sense Of Victory To Separate Peace And Civil War
6 October 1973 to 25 May 1982

The period between the 1973 war and the 1982 Israeli invasion of Lebanon was a tumultuous one in Palestinian history. Beginning on a high note, the 1973 war and the 1973–74 oil embargo inspired a sense of Arab confidence and unity. At the same time, the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) achieved increasing regional and international recognition as the legitimate representative of the Palestinian people, allowing the Palestinians a voice in the global diplomatic arena where they had long been denied one. By the beginning of the 1980s, however, many of these gains had proven short-lived or illusory. Fissures emerged within the PLO, and the Arab world was riven by division: civil war raged in Lebanon and Egypt signed a separate peace treaty with Israel. Other changes, including the ascendance of the Right in Israeli politics, the entrenchment of colonization in the West Bank and Gaza, and the development of Islamist political movements, would continue to have long-term implications well beyond 1981.

In October 1973, Egyptian and Syrian forces launched a combined surprise attack against Israeli positions. Initial Arab military successes were reversed after the United States intervened to resupply Israel with arms, but many Arabs felt that the war had at least partially redeemed the humiliation of 1967. The oil-producing Arab states initiated an embargo against Israel’s supporters, with significant economic and political impact.

The PLO also made significant diplomatic gains. At the November 1973 Arab summit in Algiers, the Arab heads of state agreed to recognize the PLO as the sole representative of the Palestinian people. In November 1974, the United Nations General Assembly recognized the right of the Palestinian people to self-determination, national independence, and sovereignty in Palestine. It also recognized the PLO as the representative of the Palestinian people and granted it observer status at the UN. For the first time, PLO Chairman Yasir Arafat addressed the General Assembly and dramatically called on the world community to decide between the olive branch and the freedom fighter’s gun.

The PLO paid a cost for its increased international acceptance, however. The Rejection Front—a coalition of PLO member groups that included the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine and a number of smaller factions mostly sponsored by Syria and Iraq—rejected the Ten-Point Program adopted by the Palestinian National Council in 1974, which expressed a willingness to establish Palestinian sovereignty within parts of historic Palestine and was thus seen to implicitly accept Israel’s rule over the rest. Already destabilized by internal divisions, the PLO then became embroiled in the lengthy and brutal civil war in Lebanon that started in April 1975. The 1969 Cairo Agreement had given the PLO autonomy in Lebanon’s refugee camps, and it had built up significant military and civil infrastructure there. When the civil war erupted, the PLO became a key player, engaging in direct conflict with various Lebanese and Syrian forces. In March 1978, Israel invaded southern Lebanon and established its proxy, the South Lebanon Army, on areas south of the Litani River.

The extent of the Arab world’s internal conflicts became even more acute as the Egyptian president Anwar al-Sadat visited Jerusalem in November 1977, six months after Menachem Begin’s Likud electoral victory. Separate Egyptian-Israeli negotiations, presided over by President Jimmy Carter, resulted in the September 1978 Camp David Accords (one of which consisted in a framework for Palestinian autonomy in the West Bank and Gaza) and the March 1979 Egyptian-Israeli peace treaty. As Jordan refused to join talks on autonomy, Egypt and Israel started to negotiate on the issue bilaterally. Between May 1979 and November 1981, they held a dozen negotiation sessions in which they defined their positions on issues such as modalities of elections in the West Bank and Gaza; participation of East Jerusalem Palestinians in elections; powers of the Palestinian self-governing authority (whether administrative or legislative); and the territorial jurisdiction for the autonomous area. However, no real progress was made: Having gained a separate peace treaty with Egypt, Israel had no incentive to make concessions on the Palestinian question.    

In fact, the colonization of the West Bank and Gaza accelerated while negotiations with Egypt were under way. In April 1979, Jewish settlement in the Old City of Hebron started. In July 1980, the annexation of East Jerusalem was further consolidated through the Basic Law on Jerusalem, which declared Jerusalem, “complete and united,” to be Israel’s capital. By 1981, more than 100,000 settlers were living in the West Bank and Gaza, benefiting from the institutional support of the state as well as non-state groups like Gush Emunim (the Bloc of the Faithful), a religious-nationalist organization formed in 1974 that called for Jewish settlement throughout the occupied territories. To further strengthen control over the occupied territories and impose its concept of Palestinian autonomy unilaterally, the Military Government established in November 1981 the “Civil Administration” in the West Bank and Gaza, while the Knesset voted in December 1981 to apply Israeli law in the Golan Heights.

The Palestinian population inside Israel, though, became increasingly active in the 1970s. With the lifting of military rule in 1966 and renewed contacts with Palestinians in the West Bank and Gaza after the 1967 war, Palestinians inside Israel reasserted their political voice and resisted attempts to manipulate them through a coopted leadership. Palestinians in Israel formed new organizations (such as the Committee for the Defense of Arab Lands, founded in 1975) and elected more vocal and activist political leaders (such as Tawfiq Zayyad, who was elected mayor of Nazareth in 1975). When Israel announced that it would expropriate thousands of dunams of land in the Galilee to expand Jewish settlements, Palestinians demonstrated and held general strikes on 30 March 1976 not only in Arab localities in Israel, but also in the West Bank, the Gaza Strip, and in Palestinian camps in Lebanon. Israeli security forces violently repressed the protests, killing six unarmed demonstrators, wounding nearly one hundred, and arresting hundreds more. The event, which came to be known as Land Day, has been observed annually ever since.

The period from 1973 to 1981 also saw the rise of political Islam in the Arab world, including Palestine. The perceived failure of Arab nationalism to achieve its goals (regionally, and particularly with regard to Palestine) had led to widespread disillusionment with secular Arab politics, and the repression of Islamic political movements had led to a rise of militant political Islam, particularly in Egypt and Syria. In 1979, the Islamic revolution in Iran inspired those who envisioned a revolutionary politics rooted in Islam. Inside Israel, Abdallah Nimr Darwish, who had in 1971 founded the Islamic Movement primarily to provide welfare services for Muslim communities, became active in the Family of Jihad (Usrat al-jihad), an underground group inside Israel that was inspired by the militant Islamic politics of the Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt and Syria as well as the Islamic revolution in Iran. In Gaza, Ahmad Yasin (who in December 1987 was one of the founding members of Hamas) was active in al-Mujamma‘ al-Islami, an Islamic charity that funded religious and civil society institutions; Fathi Shiqaqi and Abd al-Aziz Awda, two Palestinian refugees inspired by militant Islamic politics in Egypt and the Iranian revolution, founded the Islamic Jihad movement in Palestine in 1979.

The significance of these developments would only become apparent in later decades. Yet even by the beginning of the 1980s, it was clear that the optimism sparked in 1973 had borne only partial fruit. The PLO had achieved unprecedented international recognition for the Palestinian people, but it was also beset by internal friction and mired in the bloody Lebanese civil war. Palestinians within Israel were increasingly vocal in resisting marginalization and oppression, but the colonization of the West Bank and Gaza became ever more entrenched. Meanwhile, regional instability, at the roots of which laid the unresolved Palestine question, escalated and would continue to do so.



Selected Bibliography

al-Dajani, Ahmad Sidqi. “The PLO and the Euro-Arab Dialogue.Journal of Palestine Studies 9, no.3 (Spring 1980): 81–98.

Sayigh, Rosemary. Too Many Enemies: The Palestinian Experience in Lebanon. London: Zed Books, 1993.

Sayigh, Yezid. Armed Struggle and the Search for State: The Palestinian National Movement, 1949–1993. Washington, DC: Institute for Palestine Studies and Oxford University Press, 1997.

Taylor, Alan R. “The PLO in Inter-Arab Politics.Journal of Palestine Studies 11, no.2 (Winter 1982): 70–81.

Zayyad, Tawfiq. “The Fate of the Arabs in Israel.Journal of Palestine Studies 6, no.1 (Autumn 1976): 92–103.

Overall Chronology
E.g., 2020/08/14
E.g., 2020/08/14
Event Date Subject
October War 6 October 1973 - 27 October 1973
October War, 1st Day 6 October 1973
October War, 2nd Day 7 October 1973
October War, 3rd Day 8 October 1973
October War, 4th Day 9 October 1973
October War, 5th Day 10 October 1973
October War, From the 6th to 10th Day 11 October 1973 - 14 October 1973
American Airlift 14 October 1973 - 14 November 1973
Israeli Army Crosses the Suez Canal Westwards 15 October 1973 - 22 October 1973
Arab Oil, a Weapon in the Battle 17 October 1973 - 21 October 1973
American-Soviet Agreement on a Cease-fire 21 October 1973
Security Council Resolution S/RES/338 22 October 1973
Israeli Advance Continues and an International Nuclear Crisis Looms 23 October 1973 - 27 October 1973
Kilometer 101 Talks 11 November 1973
6th Arab Summit Is Held in Algiers 26 November 1973 - 28 November 1973
Israel Deports Eight Leaders of the Palestine National Front 10 December 1973
Opening of an Arab-Israeli Peace Conference in Geneva 21 December 1973
Sinai I Agreement 18 January 1974 - 3 March 1974
Arab Oil Embargo Is Lifted 8 March 1974
Attrition in the Golan 12 March 1974 - 15 April 1974
Palestinian Operations in Northern Israel 11 April 1974
Israel and Syria Sign a Disengagement Agreement 31 May 1974
12th Palestine National Council Is Held in Cairo 1 June 1974 - 8 June 1974
Palestine Question Is Placed on the Agenda of the UN General Assembly 21 September 1974
Egypt and Syria Support PLO Representativeness 21 September 1974
Palestinian Rejection Front 10 October 1974
GA Resolution 3210 (XXIX) 14 October 1974
7th Arab Summit Meeting in Rabat 28 October 1974
Arafat Addresses the UN General Assembly 13 November 1974
GA Resolutions 3236 and 3237 (XXIX) 22 November 1974
Palestinian Operations from South Lebanon 5 March 1975 - 20 November 1975
Negotiations for Sinai II Fail 7 March 1975 - 22 March 1975
Start of Civil War in Lebanon 13 April 1975
Sinai II Agreement Reached 20 August 1975 - 4 September 1975
US-Israel Memorandum of Agreement 1 September 1975
PLO Official Office in Paris 31 October 1975
Civil Disobedience in West Bank November 1975 - March 1976
PLO Observer at the Food and Agriculture Organization 8 November 1975
GA Resolution 3375 (XXX) 10 November 1975
GA Resolution 3376 (XXX) 10 November 1975
GA Resolution 3379 (XXX) 10 November 1975
Security Council Resolution S/RES/381 and Presidential Statement 30 November 1975
Premeditated Israeli Air Attack Against Palestinians in Lebanon 2 December 1975
The PLO at the Security Council 4 December 1975
Draft Security Council Resolution S/11898 8 December 1975
Palestinians in Israel Mobilize Against Confiscation 1 January 1976 - 6 March 1976
The PLO at the Security Council 12 January 1976
Draft Security Council Resolution S/11940 26 January 1976
Draft Security Council Resolution S/12022 25 March 1976
Palestinian "Land Day" 30 March 1976
Municipal Elections Are Held in the West Bank 12 April 1976
Syrian Forces Enter Lebanon 31 May 1976
Evacuation of US Nationals from Beirut with PLO Assistance 16 June 1976 - 20 June 1976
Plane Hijacked to Entebbe 27 June 1976 - 4 July 1976
Draft Security Council Resolution S/12119 29 June 1976
Fall of Tal al-Za'atar 12 August 1976
PLO Becomes a Full Member of the Arab League 6 September 1976
Six-Party Arab Summit in Riyadh on Palestinian-Syrian Ceasefire in Lebanon 16 October 1976 - 18 October 1976
8th Arab Summit Meets in Cairo 25 October 1976 - 26 October 1976
13th Palestine National Council Meets in Cairo 12 March 1977 - 22 March 1977
President Carter for a Palestinian Homeland 16 March 1977 - 26 May 1977
US State Department Releases First Human Rights Report May 1977
Likud's Victory in Israeli Elections 17 May 1977
Menachem Begin: "Territories Are Not Occupied" 19 May 1977
Municipalities in the West Bank and Gaza Affirm the PLO Program in a Message to the US and USSR 8 August 1977
Israel's Conditions for Geneva Conference 25 September 1977
Joint US-Soviet Statement on Geneva Conference 1 October 1977
US Steps Back from the US-Soviet Statement on the Geneva Conference 5 October 1977
Sadat's Visit to Jerusalem 19 November 1977 - 21 November 1977
The PLO Central Council Condemns Sadat's Visit to Jerusalem 30 November 1977
Arab States Take Position Against Sadat's Visit to Jerusalem 5 December 1977
Israel's Autonomy Plan for the West Bank and Gaza Strip 28 December 1977
29th Zionist Congress Is Held in Jerusalem 20 February 1978 - 1 March 1978
Fatah Commando Operation and Israel's "Litani Operation" 11 March 1978 - 18 March 1978
Security Council Resolution S/RES/425 19 March 1978
Wadi Haddad Dies in Berlin, East Germany 28 March 1978
Israel Establishes a "Security Zone" in South Lebanon 13 May 1978
Camp David Summit; Camp David Accords 5 September 1978 - 17 September 1978
The PLO Executive Condemns the Camp David Accords 19 September 1978
Palestinians in the West Bank and Gaza Reject the Camp David Autonomy Plan 16 October 1978 - 4 November 1978
9th Arab Summit Meets in Baghdad and Condemns the Camp David Accords 5 November 1978
14th Palestine National Council Is Held in Damascus 15 January 1979 - 22 January 1979
Ali Hassan Salameh Is Killed in Beirut 22 January 1979
Islamic Revolution in Iran 11 February 1979
Security Council Resolution S/RES/446 22 March 1979
Egyptian-Israeli Peace Treaty Is Signed in Washington, DC 26 March 1979
Arab Sanctions Against Egypt 27 March 1979 - 31 March 1979
A PLF Operation in Nahariya 22 April 1979
1st Session of Israeli-Egyptian Talks on Palestinian Autonomy Is Held in Beersheba 25 May 1979
2nd Session of Israeli-Egyptian Talks on Palestinian Autonomy Is Held in Alexandria 11 June 1979 - 12 June 1979
3rd Session of Israeli-Egyptian Talks on Palestinian Autonomy Is Held in Herzliya 25 June 1979 - 26 June 1979
4th Session of Israeli-Egyptian Talks on Palestinian Autonomy Is Held in Alexandria 5 July 1979 - 6 July 1979
5th Session of Israeli-Egyptian Talks on Palestinian Autonomy Is Held in Haifa 5 August 1979 - 6 August 1979
Israelis Are Permitted to Buy Land in Occupied Territories 16 September 1979
6th Session of Israeli-Egyptian Talks on Palestinian Autonomy Is Held in Alexandria 26 September 1979 - 27 September 1979
Israeli-Egyptian Talks on Palestinian Autonomy Are Held in London 25 October 1979 - 26 October 1979
Deportation of Bassam al-Shak'a Reversed After West Bank Mayors Threaten Resignation 11 November 1979 - 5 December 1979
7th Session of Israeli-Egyptian Talks on Palestinian Autonomy Is Held in Cairo 18 December 1979 - 19 December 1979
Palestinian Autonomy Is Discussed at the Sadat-Begin Summit in Aswan 7 January 1980 - 10 January 1980
Israeli Model for Palestinian Self-Governing Authority 17 January 1980
Egyptian Model for Palestinian Self-Governing Authority 28 January 1980
8th Session of Israeli-Egyptian Talks on Palestinian Autonomy Is Held in Herzliya 31 January 1980 - 1 February 1980
Israeli Settlement in the Old City of Hebron 10 February 1980 - 23 March 1980
Session of Israeli-Egyptian Talks on Palestinian Autonomy Is Held in Scheveningen 27 February 1980 - 29 February 1980
Security Council Resolution S/Res/465 1 March 1980
Session of Israeli-Egyptian Talks on Palestinian Autonomy Is Held in Alexandria 27 March 1980
Session of Israeli-Egyptian Talks on Palestinian Autonomy Is Held in Herzliya 1 May 1980 - 7 May 1980
Palestinian Operation Against Settlers in Hebron 2 May 1980 - 3 May 1980
Egypt Decides to Suspend Talks with Israel on Palestinian Autonomy 10 May 1980
Assassination Attempts Against West Bank Mayors 2 June 1980
Venice Declaration 13 June 1980
Committee Session of Israeli-Egyptian Talks on Palestinian Autonomy Is Held in Cairo 14 July 1980 - 15 July 1980
Israel's Basic Law on Jerusalem 30 July 1980
Egypt's Response to Israel's Basic Law on Jerusalem 2 August 1980
Security Council Resolution S/RES/478 20 August 1980
Foreign Embassies Leave Jerusalem 20 August 1980 - September 1980
Start of the Iraq-Iran War 22 September 1980
Birzeit University Is Closed 14 November 1980
The Knesset Issues Amendment 16 to the Planning and Building Law, 1965 12 February 1981
15th Palestine National Council Is Held in Damascus 11 April 1981 - 19 April 1981
Israeli-Syrian Mounting Tension in Lebanon 28 April 1981 - 5 May 1981
Israeli Air Force Destroys Iraqi Nuclear Reactor Under Construction Near Bagdad 7 June 1981
Severe Israeli-Palestinian Clashes in Lebanon 10 July 1981 - 20 July 1981
Philip Habib's Mediation for Cease-fire in South Lebanon 24 July 1981
Fahd Plan Is Announced 7 August 1981
Palestinian Writers in Occupied Territories Affirm Commitment to Palestine Cause 18 August 1981
Session of Israeli-Egyptian Talks on Palestinian Autonomy Is Held in Cairo 23 September 1981 - 24 September 1981
Sadat Is Assassinated; Husni Mubarak Becomes President of Egypt 6 October 1981
Majid Abu Sharar Is Assassinated in Rome 9 October 1981
Civil Administration Is Established by the Military in the Occupied Territories 8 November 1981 - 1 December 1981
Session of Israeli-Egyptian Talks on Palestinian Autonomy Is Held in Cairo 11 November 1981 - 12 November 1981
12th Arab Summit Meets in Fez and Adjourns 25 November 1981
Israeli Knesset Votes to Apply Israeli Law in the Golan Heights 14 December 1981
Security Council Resolution S/RES/497 17 December 1981
Draft Security Council Resolution S/14832/Rev.1 20 January 1982
Israel's Proposal for the Palestinian Self-Governing Authority 31 January 1982
GA Resolution ES/9-1 5 February 1982
Strike in the Golan Heights Against Annexation 12 February 1982 - 11 May 1982
Popular Resistance and Israeli Measures in West Bank 16 February 1982 - 30 March 1982
Draft Security Council Resolution S/14943 2 April 1982
Shooting Spree at the Haram al-Sharif 11 April 1982 - 15 April 1982
Draft Security Council Resolution S/14985 20 April 1982
South Lebanon Cease-fire Is Broken 21 April 1982 - 9 May 1982
Last Stage of Israeli Withdrawal from the Sinai 25 April 1982
Palestinian Mayors Stand with Those Dismissed by Israel 2 May 1982