Eastern Mediterranean 1988: First Intifada
In late 1987 unrest broke out in the West Bank and Gaza Strip as disaffected Palestinians rose up against the twenty-year-long Israeli occupation. Despite the deployment of 80,000 Israeli troops to the territories, suppressing the uprising (the Intifada) was costly and in 1991 Israel and the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) agreed to negotiate peace.
Lebanese Civil War
The Lebanese Civil War was a complicated affair which involved dozens of factions and saw fighting both between and within political/religious groups, especially within Beirut, which was often split between multiple factions. As such it is only possible to give an approximate guide on these maps, showing only the major factions. These are listed as follows, grouped by their religious and political stance: Maronite Christian and Rightist: Lebanese Front (L.F.), Free Lebanon State/South Lebanon Army (F.L.S./S.L.A.); Palestinian and Leftist: Lebanese National Movement (L.N.M.); Druze: Druze militia (D.); Shia Muslim: Amal Movement (A.), Hezbollah (H.).
9 Dec 1987–1 Nov 1991 First Intifada▲
In December 1987, in the wake of a traffic accident in which an Israeli army vehicle killed multiple Palestinians, protests and riots broke out across the Israeli-occupied West Bank and Gaza Strip. The ensuing uprising, or Intifada, caught the Tunis-based Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) by surprise, as Palestinian groups in the occupied territories organized the Unified National Leadership of the Uprising (UNLU), refusing to cooperate with Israelis and used stones and Molotov cocktails to attack Israeli authorities. Although Israel sent in 80,000 troops, the struggle lasted for almost 4 years—at a cost of almost 300 Israelis and 2,000 Palestinians dead—until the Madrid Conference opened up Israeli–Palestinian negotiations in 1991.
5 Apr 1988–9 Nov 1990 War of Brothers▲
Following the War of the Camps, Hezbollah began encroaching on the Amal Movement’s territory, leading to war between the two Shia militia movements. The conflict started in southern Lebanon, but soon spread to West Beirut and the southern Beqaa valley. Under pressure from Syria and Iran, the rivals accepted a return to the status quo in the Damascus Agreement (January 1989), only to renew fighting in July. Peace was finally settled at the Second Damascus Agreement in November 1990.
15 May 1988–15 Feb 1989 Soviet withdrawal from Afghanistan▲
Soon after Gorbachev became General Secretary of the Soviet Union, he gained the support of the Politburo in seeking a withdrawal from the war in Afghanistan. In the 1988 Geneva Accords, the Soviets agreed to withdraw immediately, removing their last troops out in February 1989, but continuing political support of the moribund People’s Republic of Afghanistan.
31 Jul 1988 Jordanian cession of West Bank▲
On 28 July 1988 King Hussein of Jordan announced the cessation of a $1.3 billion development program for the West Bank—a territory which was claimed by Jordan but had been under Israeli occupation since 1967 and was now being subjected to a Palestinian uprising. The king explained his move as allowing the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) to take more responsibility for the territory. Three days later he severed Jordan’s legal and administrative ties with the West Bank, formally recognizing it as part of the PLO’s claim to the State of Palestine.
15 Nov 1988 Palestinian Declaration of Independence▲
In November 1988, at its 19th session, the Palestinian National Council (PNC), the legislative body of the Palestinian Liberation Organization (PLO), voted for the adoption of the Palestinian Declaration of Independence, referencing past United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) resolutions calling for a “two-state solution” (i.e. the peaceful co-existence of Israel and Palestine) as a legal basis for the establishment of a State of Palestine. Subsequently, on the 15th, the PLO Chairman Yasser Arafat proclaimed the independence of Palestine and assumed the title “President of Palestine”, even though the PLO controlled no territory at this point. As the declaration implyied that the PLO was now willing to recognize the State of Israel, the UNGA adopted Resolution 43/177, acknowledging the proclamation of the State of Palestine by 104 votes, with 44 abstaining and the United States and Israel voting against. This was soon followed by the recognition of Palestine by many UN member states.