September 2005: Israel withdraws from the Gaza Strip, ending 38 years of occupation. The disengagement, led by Ariel Sharon, included evacuation of 7,000 Jewish settlers and all IDF forces. Opening the boarder crossings between Gaza and Israel was not addressed.
January 26, 2006: Hamas wins some seats in the Palestinian parliamentary elections.
February, 2006: U.S. and Europe stop direct aid to the Hamas government in Gaza. Rocket shelling from Israel's southern town of Sderot increases, met by Israeli airstrike's and artillery fire.
June 25, 2006: Hamas militants launch an attack against IDF forces outside the Gaza border, killing two soldiers and kidnapping Corporal Gilad Shalit. Israel responds with an air and ground military operation that fails to release Shalit.
November 2006: Israel takes military action in an attempt to end rocket fire from Gaza.
December 2006: Fighting between Hamas and Fatah forces in Gaza Intensifies.
June 13, 2007: Following days of fighting between Hamas and Fatah, Hamas takes over the Gaza Strip, driving out Palestinian Authority officials loyal to President Mohmoud Abbas.
January 2008: Israel closes border crossings into Gaza, cutting off supplies, including fuel. Gaza power plants are shut down. Israel later eases the embargo and allows limited supplies to enter the Gaza Strip.
January 23, 2008: Palestinians blow up the border fence between Gaza and Egypt. Tens of Thousands of Palestinians pour into Egypt's Rafah, seeking food and supplies.
June 19, 2008: An agreement on a period of calm between Israel and Hamas is reached after indirect negotiations brokered by Egypt. The informal agreement, demanding both sides stop military actions, was set for six months.
November 4, 2008: Israeli forces cross the Gaza border and blew up a tunnel that was meant to be used for kidnapping soldiers. Six Hamas militants are killed.
November 14, 2008: Hamas fires dozens of rockets at Israel's southern region. Hamas leaders argue that this is a response to Israeli attack on the tunnel.
December 19, 2008: Hamas announces that the truce has ended and launches rocket barrages against southern Israel.
December 27, 2008: Israel opens a wide - scale military assault on the Gaza Strip, targeting rocket sites and Hamas installations.
January 3, 2009: Israel begins its ground offensive in Gaza.
January 17, 2009: Israel announces a unilateral end to Operation Cast Lead.
November 14, 2012: Israel launches Operation Pillar of Defense in response to days of rocket fire out of Hamas-ruled Gaza. The offensive, which included 20 airstrikes, resulted in the assassination of Ahmad Jabari, the military commander of Hamas; he had been long on Israel's most wanted list for several deadly attacks and the kidnapping of Israeli soldier Gilad Schalit in 2006.(1)
November 21, 2012: Israel and the Hamas militant group agreed to a cease-fire Wednesday to end eight days of the fiercest fighting in nearly four years, promising to halt attacks on each other and ease an Israeli blockade constricting the Gaza Strip. The deal was brokered by the new Islamist government of Egypt. Under the agreement, Egypt will play a key role in maintaining the peace.(1)
No other country in the world would be expected to allow thousands of missiles to come across its borders over a period of a few years and not respond. What if missiles were falling in the town that you live in? Would you want the government to stop them if they could?
Other articles of interest may include:
Timeline first published in the Forward Newspaper, January 16, 2009.