Monday, April 20, 1998 Published at 14:13 GMT 15:13 UK
Israel builds a nation
The former BBC Middle East correspondent, Tim Llewellyn, looks back at the history of Israel.
Israel and its Arab neighbours signed armistice agreements in 1949 but the Arab aim remained the defeat and destruction of Israel.
Zionist agents encouraged this exodus to Israel by mounting sabotage operations in Arab countries which they knew would be blamed on the Jews.
Money poured into Israel: from the United States, from Jews overseas and from German war reparations. The Israelis built on and developed nearly a million acres of abandoned or seized Arab land.
Withing a few years, the young country developed an efficient agrarian and more and more developed technological society with a rich mixture of peoples to drive it. By 1961, Israel's population was more than two and a quarter million, 10% of it Arab.
The Anglo-French conspiracy failed, but the Israelis achieved their objective and occupied the Sinai peninsula. Although American pressure forced their withdrawal in 1957, it was a telling indication of Israel's territorial ambitions.
Throughout the 1950s and until the mid-1960s, the Israeli forces and Arab-backed Palestinian guerrillas fought increasing skirmishes along the Syrian, Jordanian and Egyptian borders. Both sides tried to make inroads into their neighbours' territory.
Six days of war
The Egyptian leader had been increasingly well-armed and supported by the Soviet Union since the mid-1950s. But he calamitously overplayed his hand in May 1967, after a series of border incidents and false reports of Israeli troop movements.
He ordered the removal of United Nations forces from the Sinai, which had been stationed there after Suez. At the same time his forces blockaded the Gulf of Tiran, Israel's only outlet to the Red Sea and its Eastern markets - a casus belli, as he must have known and the Israelis had made clear.
On June 5, 1967, the Israelis made a pre-emptive strike, destroying Egypt's air force and reaching the Suez Canal within three days.
For the Arabs, it was their lowest ebb since 1948, a depth from which they have yet totally to emerge. For the Israelis, it was a triumph, a succes d'estime they were never to emulate.
But the conflict was set to continue.
The History of Israel
Part 1: The return of the Jews to the promised land
Part 2: The birth of Israel
Part 3: Israel builds a nation
Part 4: Israel in war and peace
Part 5: Israel and the PLO
Part 6: The Intifada
Part 7: The road to Oslo