July 28, 1914 – At the outbreak of World War I, the Eastern Mediterranean is under the control of two world powers. The region of Palestine has been part of the Ottoman Empire for hundreds of years, and Egypt is newly declared a protectorate of Great Britain. 


1915-1916 – the British government secretly communicates with the Sharif of Mecca promising to recognize Arab independence in the region after the war in exchange for launching a revolt against the Ottomans. 


1917 – The British government publicly supports the establishment of a “national home for the Jewish people” in Palestine. 


1918 – After the war, the League of Nations grants mandates to the British and French for control of the region. The French are given control of Syria and Lebanon while the British gain Iraq, Jordan and Palestine. 


1922 – The Kingdom of Egypt declares its independence but is still heavily influenced by the British. 


1937 – Since the late 1800s, over 400,000 Jews had immigrated to Palestine, mostly from Eastern Europe, leading to increased unrest between Jews and Palestinians. The Peel Commission recommends dividing into two states, one for Jews and one for Arabs. 


1939-1945 – World War II breaks out. Britain uses both Egypt and Palestine as a base of operations in fighting the Axis powers in North Africa and the Eastern Mediterranean. 


1947 – The British commit to ending their mandate in Palestine and ask the United Nations to find a solution for the region’s future. In November, the UN adopts a proposal to partition Palestine into independent Arab and Jewish states, with Jerusalem as an international zone. Civil War between Jews and Palestinians breaks out as the British withdraw. 


May 14, 1948 – The British Mandate for Palestine formally ends, and an Israeli Declaration of Independence is issued. The following day, a coalition of forces from Egypt, Jordan, Syria and Iraq invade, sparking the 1948 Palestine War. After 10 months of fighting, armistices are reached. Israel controls all territory promised by the UN plus around 60% of territory designated for an Arab state. Jordan controls the West Bank, and Egypt occupies the Gaza strip. Over 700,000 Palestinian Arabs flee their homes in what comes to be called the Nakba (Arabic for “the catastrophe”). Over the next 30 years, 650,000 Jews living in other Middle Eastern and North African countries migrate to Israel.  


1952 – Officers from the Egyptian military instigate a revolution, overthrowing the monarchy and declaring the Republic of Egypt. British forces withdraw over the next two years. 


July 26, 1956 – Egyptian President Gamal Abdel Nasser nationalizes the Suez Canal and closes the Straits of Tiran to Israeli shipping, sparking the Suez Crisis.


October 29, 1956 – Israel invades the Sinai peninsula, reopening the Gulf of Aqaba to Israeli shipping. 


November 5, 1956 – Britain and France attempt to retake the Canal, but the European powers are condemned by the US, Soviet Union and United Nations. They abandon the invasion two days later. Israel returns Sinai and Gaza to Egypt after guarantees of access to the Gulf of Aqaba, and a UN Emergency Force is deployed to the Egypt-Israel border. 


May-June 1967 – Egypt again closes the Straits of Tiran to Israeli shipping and orders the withdrawal of the UN border forces. On June 5th, Israel launches pre-emptive strikes against Egypt and seizes the Gaza Strip and Sinai Peninsula from Egypt, and then also seizes the West Bank from Jordan and the Golan Heights from Syria in what is called the Six-Day War.


September 28, 1970 – Egyptian President Nasser dies. His fourteen years in power saw significant modernization of Egyptian society and a cultural boom, with over 100 Egyptian films made and released annually during this era. 


October 1973 – The Yom Kippur War begins as a coalition of forces led by Egypt and Syria attempt to retake the Sinai Peninsula and the Golan Heights in a surprise attack on the Jewish holy day. The Arab forces are supplied by the Soviet Union and the Israeli forces by the United States in an escalation of Cold War tensions. After early success by the Arab coalition, Israel halts the advances and counter-attacks before a ceasefire is imposed. 


September 17, 1978 – After being invited to secret negotiations by US President Jimmy Carter, Egypt and Israel agree to the Camp David Accords, which outline “A Framework for the Conclusion of a Peace Treaty between Egypt and Israel” as well as “A Framework for Peace in the Middle East” which attempts to address Palestinian autonomy. The second framework is rejected by the UN for not complying with previously stated requirements. Egyptian President Anwar Sadat and Israeli Prime Minister Menachem Begin are awarded the Nobel Peace Prize. 


March 26, 1979 – The Egypt-Israeli peace treaty is formally signed in Washington, D.C., with Egypt becoming the first Arab nation to officially recognize the state of Israel. In exchange, Israel returns the Sinai Peninsula to Egypt and withdraws its forces. As a result of the treaty, Egypt is suspended from the Arab League regional organization until 1989. 


October 6, 1981 – Egyptian President Sadat is assassinated in Cairo by radicals upset about the peace treaty. Hosni Mubarak becomes President two weeks later. 


1987-1991 – A series of protests and civil unrest begins in the Israeli-occupied Palestinian territories, after twenty years of occupation since the Six-Day War. Egypt voices support for the Palestinians and urges a resumption of peace talks. Referred to as the First Intifada, the uprising lasts until the revival of the Israel-Palestinian peace process at the Madrid Conference of 1991. 


September 13, 1993 – Secret negotiations between the government of Israel and the Palestinian Liberation Organization yield the Oslo I Accord, a framework for the continued resolution of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict that creates the Palestinian National Authority with limited self-governance over parts of the West Bank and Gaza Strip. During the negotiations, the PLO acknowledges the State of Israel, and Israel acknowledges the PLO as a representative of the Palestinian people. Israeli Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin, Israeli Foreign Minister Shimon Peres, and PLO Chairman Yasser Arafat are awarded the Nobel Peace Prize the following year. 


October 26, 1994 – Jordan and Israel sign a peace treaty, making it the second Arab country after Egypt to establish formal peace with Israel.  


November 4, 1995 – Israeli Prime Minister Rabin is assassinated by a Jewish extremist in opposition to the Palestinian peace talks. 


June 1996 – Benjamin Netanyahu becomes Prime Minister of Israel for the first time.