1948: A regional conflict grows amid the end of the British mandate for Palestine and Israel’s declaration of independence in May 1948. A coalition of Arab states, allied with Palestinian factions, battle Israeli forces. In the end, Israel controls a large portion of territory. Hundreds of thousands of Palestinians flee or are driven from their land.
July 1956: Egyptian President Gamal Abdel Nasser nationalizes the Suez Canal, a vital trade route connecting the Red Sea and Mediterranean. Israel invades Egypt, followed by forces from Britain and France. A peace deal, backed by the United States and Soviet Union, ends the fighting. But the canal was blocked by sunken ships and did not reopen until 1957.
June 1967: The “Six-Day War” begins with Israeli warplanes striking Egyptian airfields and Israeli ground forces entering the Sinai Peninsula. The war broke out amid lingering conflicts, including Egypt’s continued block of shipping into the Gulf of Aqaba. Jordan joins the fighting alongside Egypt, but Israeli forces have the upper hand after nearly wiping out Egypt’s air power. Israel takes control of the Gaza Strip, Sinai, the West Bank, the Golan Heights and predominantly Arab East Jerusalem. Hundreds of thousands of Palestinians flee or are displaced.
October 1973: A coalition of Arab nations, led by Egypt and Syria, launch a surprise attack on Israel. The Arab forces initially gained ground, but were driven back by an Israeli counteroffensive aided by supplies from allies, including the United States.
1978: A peace deal between Egyptian President Anwar Sadat and Israeli Prime Minister Menachem Begin, known as the Camp David accords, is brokered on Sept. 17, 1978, by President Jimmy Carter. Potential Palestinian peace proposals were discussed, but never carried out.
December 1987: A Palestinian uprising, or intifada, brings clashes and protests in the West Bank, Gaza and Israel. Unrest continues for years, with many killed or injured on both sides.
1993: The first of two pacts, known as the Oslo accords, are signed between Israel and the Palestine Liberation Organization, setting out a peace process based on previous U.N. resolutions. (A follow-up accord was signed in 1995.) The agreements created the Palestinian Authority, to oversee most administrative affairs in the West Bank and Gaza. The PLO is recognized by Israel and the United States as a negotiating partner. Left unresolved, however, are key issues such as Israeli settlements in the West Bank and the status of Jerusalem, which is viewed by the Palestinians as the capital of any future state.
2000: The second intifada, or Palestinian uprising, begins after riots broke out following a visit by right-wing Israeli political figure Ariel Sharon (and later prime minister) to a compound in Jerusalem venerated in Judaism, Christianity and Islam. Clashes and other violence continue until 2005, leaving hundreds dead on both sides.
2006: The Palestinian militant group Hamas wins elections in Gaza, leading to political strains with the more moderate Fatah party controlling the West Bank.
December 2008: Israel begins three weeks of attacks on Gaza after rocket barrages into Israel by Palestinian militants, who are supplied by tunnels from Egypt. More than 1,110 Palestinians and at least 13 Israelis are killed.
November 2012: Israel kills Hamas military chief Ahmed Jabari, touching off more than a week of rocket fire from Gaza and Israeli airstrikes. At least 150 Palestinians and six Israelis are killed.
Summer 2014: Hamas militants kill three Israeli teenagers kidnapped near a Jewish settlement in the West Bank, prompting an Israeli military response. Hamas answers with rocket attacks from Gaza. A seven-week conflict leaves more than 2,200 Palestinians dead in Gaza. In Israel, 67 soldiers and six civilians are killed.
December 2017: The Trump administration recognizes Jerusalem as the capital of Israel and announces that it plans to shift the U.S. Embassy from Tel Aviv, stirring outrage from Palestinians.
2018: Protests take place in Gaza along the fence with Israel, including demonstrators hurling rocks and gasoline bombs across the barrier. Israeli troops kill more than 170 protesters over several months. In November, Israel stages a covert raid into Gaza. At least seven suspected Palestinian militants and a senior Israeli army officer are killed. From Gaza, hundreds of rockets are fired into Israel.
May 2021: After weeks of tension in Jerusalem led to Israeli police raiding al-Aqsa Mosque, one of the holiest sites in Islam, Hamas fired rockets toward the city for the first time in years, prompting Israel to retaliate with airstrikes. The fighting, the fiercest since at least 2014, saw thousands of rockets fired from Gaza and hundred of airstrikes on the Palestinian territory, with more than 200 killed in Gaza and at least 10 killed in Israel.