In the Yom Kippur War, Arabs failed to regain the lands that they had lost to Israel in 1967. Arabs referred to these lands as the “occupied territories.” Later, Israel annexed East Jerusalem and the Golan Heights. Israel then allowed Jewish settlers to build homes in some of these territories, which increased bitterness among the Palestinians.

The PLO and Intifada

The number of Palestinians in refugee camps grew in the decades after 1948. The majority of these camps were overcrowded, and lacked adequate services such as roads and sewers. Unable to return to Israel, the refugees were also not granted rights in the countries that hosted them. Such conditions fed growing anger. Many Palestinians came to support the Palestinian Liberation Organization (PLO), which led the struggle against Israel.

Led by Yasir Arafat, the PLO called for the destruction of Israel and waged guerrilla war against Israelis at home and abroad. The PLO gained world attention with airplane hijackings and the killing of Israeli athletes at the 1972 Olympic Games.

In 1987, Palestinians in the West Bank and Gaza started to resist Israel with intifadas, or uprisings. Young Palestinians demanded an end to Israeli control and hurled rocks at or fired on Israeli soldiers. Suicide bombers blew up buses, stores, and clubs in Israel. Israel responded by sealing off and raiding Palestinian towns and targeting terrorist leaders. The violence killed many civilians on both sides.

The Difficult Road to Peace

During the Cold War, efforts to solve the Arab-Israeli conflict had little success, despite ongoing attempts by the UN, the United States, and other nations. However, as you have read, Egyptian leader Anwar Sadat did take a courageous first step by agreeing to peace talks, the first Arab leader to do so. Israel and Egypt signed a peace accord in 1979 in which Israel returned the Sinai Peninsula to Egypt

The collapse of the Soviet Union led to renewed peace talks. Without Soviet aid, some Arab governments accepted the need to negotiate with Israel. In 1994, Jordan and Israel signed a peace agreement. Talks between Syria and Israel stalled over issues such as the future of the Golan Heights. Israel had taken control of the heights, which Syria had long used to fire on its neighbors.

A map shows Israel in 1949.
Image Long Description

Analyze Maps

This map shows the boundaries of the State of Israel in 1949. How does the map illustrate one challenge to achieving Mideast peace?

The Oslo Accords

In 1993, Yasir Arafat and Israeli Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin(rah BEEN) signed the Oslo Accords.

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Table of Contents

World History Topic 1 Origins of Civilization (Prehistory–300 B.C.) Topic 2 The Ancient Middle East and Egypt (3200 B.C.–500 B.C.) Topic 3 Ancient India and China (2600 B.C.–A.D. 550) Topic 4 The Americas (Prehistory–A.D. 1570) Topic 5 Ancient Greece (1750 B.C.–133 B.C.) Topic 6 Ancient Rome and the Origins of Christianity (509 B.C.-A.D. 476) Topic 7 Medieval Christian Europe (330–1450) Topic 8 The Muslim World and Africa (730 B.C.-A.D. 1500) Topic 9 Civilizations of Asia (500–1650) Topic 10 The Renaissance and Reformation (1300–1650) Topic 11 New Global Connections (1415–1796) Topic 12 Absolutism and Revolution Topic 13 The Industrial Revolution Topic 14 Nationalism and the Spread of Democracy (1790–1914) Topic 15 The Age of Imperialism (1800–1914) Topic 16 World War I and the Russian Revolution (1914–1924) Topic 17 The World Between the Wars (1910–1939) Topic 18 World War II (1930–1945) Topic 19 The Cold War Era (1945–1991) Topic 20 New Nations Emerge (1945–Present) Topic 21 The World Today (1980-Present) United States Constitution Primary Sources 21st Century Skills Atlas Glossary Index Acknowledgments