The West Bank of the Jordan River, which has been administered by Israel for 13 years, is no stranger to occupation by foreign armies.
Periodically, the West Bank was conquered by the Assyrians, Babylonians, Persians, Greeks, Egyptians, Romans, Arabs, Christian crusaders and Ottoman Turks before it was granted to Britain in the Palestine mandate carved out at the 1920 San Remo conference.
Four years earlier, however, England, anxious to foment an Arab uprising against Germany's Turkish allies, promised the Arabs a vast independent state in the region. Spurred by the colorful T. E. Lawrence, the Arabs launched their famous revolt, only to see Britain renege on its promises.
In 1917, in its Balfour Declaration, England promised the land once again, this time to allow Jews to establish a "national home" in Palestine. Subsequent Jewish immigration led to the bloody riots of 1929 and 1936 that left hundreds of Jews and Arabs dead.
The 1947 U.N. partition plan also called for Jewish and Arab states, leading to further battles and Israel's war of independence. By the time the cease-fire was effected in 1949, the Israelis had won control of the coastal plain, secured Upper Galilee and driven the Egyptians from the Negev. But the Arabs had routed the Jews out of the old city of Jerusalem, and Transjordan formally annexed the West Bank, renaming its whole region Jordan.
Seventeen years later, in six brief days of fighting, the Israeli Army captured the old city and drove the Jordanian army east of the Jordan River, Israel annexed East Jerusalem and part of the West Bank 18 days later.