Israel in Biblical Times
The difficult boundary, territorial, and resource problems associated with the presence of an Israeli state surrounded by Arab peoples can be understood only in the context of the long history of the Jewish people. In that history, a united, independent Israel has existed during only a few relatively short periods. Biblical writings indicate that King David first united the Jewish tribes around 1000 B.C.; his influence probably extended from the Gulf of Aqaba to the Euphrates but did not included Philistia – the vicinity of the present-day Gaza
Strip. Following the death of his son Solomon some 70 years later, the kingdom split into two weaker states: Israel, conquered by Assyria in 722 B.C.; and Judah, conquered by Babylon in 586 B.C.
Israel and Occupied Territories Since June 1967
In the aftermath of the 1967 war, the Israelis occupied the West Bank, the Gaza Strip, the western portion of Syria’s Al Qunaytirah Province (the Golan Heights), and Egypt’s Sinai Peninsula. The Israelis reaffirmed their control of these territories during the 1973 war. In late June 1967, Israel unilaterally incorporated some 67 square kilometers of West Bank land within the city bounds of Jerusalem and in 1980 proclaimed a united Jerusalem as its capital – a move that amounted to de facto annexation. In 1981 Israel also unilaterally
annexed the Golan Heights. The international community has not recognized these declarations. Israel returned the Sinai to Egypt as part of the Camp David accords; an din September 1993, Israel and the PLO – after formal mutual recognition – signed a Declaration of Principles eventually extending limited self-rule to Palestinians in the West Bank and Gaza Strip.
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