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Introduction

The struggle between the Israelis and the Palestinians is one of the most enduring and explosive of all the world's conflicts.

It has its roots in the historic claim to the land which lies between the eastern shores of the Mediterranean Sea and the Jordan river.

For the Palestinians the last 100 years have brought colonisation, expulsion and military occupation, followed by a long and difficult search for self-determination and for coexistence with the nation they hold responsible for their suffering and loss.

For the Jewish people of Israel, the return to the land of their forefathers after centuries of persecution around the world has not brought peace or security. They have faced many crises as their neighbours have sought to wipe their country off the map.

BBC News Online highlights some of the key dates of recent Middle East history and looks back at the origins and development of the Arab-Israeli conflict.

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