|Map of the West Bank.|
|Map of the Gaza Strip.|
|Map showing the West Bank and Gaza Strip in relation to central Israel (situation of 2007|
|Following the signing of the Oslo Accords in 1993, portions of the territories have been governed in varying degrees by the Palestinian Authority. Israel does not consider East Jerusalem nor the former Israeli - Jordanian no man's land (the former was annexed in 1980, and the latter was annexed in 1967) to be parts of the West Bank. Israel says that both fall under full Israeli law and jurisdiction as opposed to the approximately 58% of the Israeli-defined West Bank that is ruled by the Israeli Judea and Samaria Civil Administration. This claim has not been recognized by any other country, based on unilateral annexation of territory being prohibited by customary and conventional international law. -|
| - Name
||There are disagreements over what the Palestinian territories should be called.
||The United Nations, the International Court of Justice, the European Union,
International Committee of the Red Cross and the Government of the United Kingdom of Great Brita - Northern Ireland all refer to the "Occupied Palestinian Territories".
- 6 ] - -
- 7 ] - - Journalists also use the description to indicate lands outside the Green Line . ] The term is often used interchangeably with the term occupied territories, although this term is also applied to the Golan Heights, which is internationally recognized as part of Syria and not claimed by the Palestinians. The confusion stems from the fact that all these territories were captured by Israel during the 1967 Six-Day War and are treated by the UN as territory occupied by Israel.
||Other terms used to describe these areas collectively include 'the disputed territories', 'Israeli-occupied territories', and 'the occupied territories'. Further terms include "Yesha" (Judea-Samaria-Gaza), Yosh (Judea and Samaria), the Katif Strip (Gaza Strip), "liberated territories", "administered territories", "territories of undetermined permanent status", "1967 territories", and simply "the territories".
||Many Arab and Islamic leaders,who? ] including some Palestinians,who? ] use the designation 'Palestine' and 'occupied Palestine' to imply a Palestinian political or religious claim to sovereignty over the whole former territory of the British Mandate west of the Jordan River, including all of Israel. Manywho? ] of them view the land of Palestine as an Islamic Waqf (trust) for future Muslim generations. A parallel exists in the aspirations of David Ben-Gurion,
- 10 ] - - Menachem Begin,
- 11 ] - -
- 12 ] - - and other Zionists and Jewish religious leaderswho? ] to establish Jewish sovereignty over all of Greater Israel in trust for the Jewish people.
who? ] object to the term "occupied Palestinian territories", and similar descriptions, because they maintain such designations disregard legitimate Israeli claims to parts of the West Bank and Gaza, or prejudice negotiations involving possible border changes, arguing that the armistice line agreed to after the 1948 Arab-Israeli War was not intended as a permanent border. Dore Gold wrote, "It would be far more accurate to describe the West Bank and Gaza Strip as "disputed territories" to which both Israelis and Palestinians have claims."
- 15 ] - -
|| - Boundaries
||Borders of Israel
||The Palestinian territories consist of two (or perhaps three) distinct areas:the Gaza Strip, the West Bank and East Jerusalem. Israel regards East Jerusalem not to be a part of the West Bank, but regards it is as part of a unified Jerusalem, which is unilaterally considered the Capital of the state. The eastern limit of the West Bank is the border with Jordan. The Israel - Jordan peace treaty defined that border as the international border, and Jordan renounced all claims to territory west of it. The border segment between Jordan and the West Bank was left undefined pending a definitive agreement on the status of the territory.
||The southern limit of the Gaza Strip is the border with Egypt. Egypt renounced all claims to land north of the international border, including the Gaza Strip, in the Israel-Egypt peace treaty. The Palestinians were not parties to either agreement.
||In any event, the natural geographic boundaries for the West Bank and the Gaza Strip are the Jordan River and the Mediterranean Sea, respectively.
||It is now generally accepted, at least as a basis for negotiation between the sides, that the boundaries between the West Bank and the Gaza Strip and the State of Israel are what has historically been referred to as the Green Line. The Green Line represents the armistice lines under the 1949 Armistice Agreements, which brought an end to the 1948 Arab-Israeli War and expressly declared armistice lines, not international borders.
||Between the Armistice of 1949 and the Six-Day War of 1967, the West Bank and East Jerusalem were occupied and annexed by Jordan and the Gaza Strip was occupied (but not annexed) by Egypt. The term "Palestinian" began to be applied exclusively to the Arab population of these areas only after Israel's victory in the 1967 War, and consequently the terms "Palestinian territories" and "occupied Palestinian territories" also gained wide usage. Until the start of serious negotiations for a settlement of the Israeli-Palestinian issues (the Peace Process), the Palestinians refrained from defining the boundaries of what they called "the occupied territories," and which some even called "occupied Palestine", which implied a potential Palestinian claim to the whole of Israel. It was in the context of the negotiations that the term "1967 borders" came to be used, as a basis for negotiation. "The 1967 borders" are in fact the 1949 armistice lines (which is the Green Line), which all Arab countries and Palestinians at the time insisted were to be temporary and with no other legal status. The Palestinian negotiators claim a return to those lines as the boundary for a future Palestinian state. The Palestinians also claim that East Jerusalem is a part of the occupied West Bank within the boundaries of the "1967 borders". The Arab League has supported these boundaries as the borders of the future State of Palestine in the 2002 Arab Peace Initiative.
|| - History
||History of the Southern Levant
||claimed area of Palestine by United Nations (Green and Light Coral color
||In 1922 after the collapse of the Ottoman Empire that ruled Greater Syria for four centuries (1517 - 1917), the British Mandate for Palestine was established. Large-scale Jewish immigration from abroad, mainly from Eastern Europe took place during the British Mandate, though Jewish immigration started during the Ottoman period.
- The future of Palestine was hotly disputed between Arabs and Jews. In 1947, the total Jewish ownership of land in Palestine was 1,850,000 dunams or 1,850 square kilometers, which is 7.04% of the total land of Palestine.
- Public property or "crown lands", the bulk of which was in the Negev, belonging to the government of Palestine may have made up as much as 70% of the total land;with the Arabs, Christians and others owning the rest.
||The 1947 United Nations Partition Plan proposed a division of Mandate Palestine between an Arab and a Jewish state, with Jerusalem and the surrounding area to be a corpus separatum under a special international regime. The regions allotted to the proposed Arab state included what became the Gaza Strip, and almost all of what became the West Bank, as well as other areas.
||The Partition Plan was passed by the UN General Assembly on November 1947. The Partition Plan was accepted by the Jewish leadership, but rejected by the Arab leaders. The Arab League threatened to take military measures to prevent the partition of Palestine and to ensure the national rights of the Palestinian Arab population. One day before the expiration of the British Mandate for Palestine, on 14 May 1948, Israel declared its independence within the borders of the Jewish State set out in the Partition Plan. US President Harry Truman recognized the State of Israel de facto the following day. The Arab countries declared war on the newly formed State of Israel heralding the start of the 1948 Arab-Israeli War.
||After the war, which Palestinians call the Catastrophe, the 1949 Armistice Agreements established the separation lines between the combatants, leaving Israel in control of some of the areas designated for the Arab state under the Partition Plan, Transjordan in control of the West Bank and East Jerusalem, Egypt in control of the Gaza Strip and Syria in control of the Himmah Area.
||In 1950 Jordan annexed the West Bank and East Jerusalem. Only the United Kingdom formally recognized the annexation of the West Bank, de facto in the case of East Jerusalem.
- In the Gaza Strip the Arab League formed the All-Palestine Government, which operated under Egypt occupation.
||Article 24 of the Palestinian National Charter of 1964, which established the Palestine Liberation Organization
- stated:"This Organization does not exercise any territorial sovereignty over the West Bank in the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan, on the Gaza Strip or in the Himmah Area" (ie. the areas of the former Mandate Palestine controlled by Jordan, Egypt and Syria respectively).
||Israel captured both territories in the 1967 Six-Day War, besides other territory belonging to Egypt and Syria. Since then these territories have been designated Israeli-occupied territories. Immediately after the war, on June 19, 1967, the Israeli government offered to return the Golan Heights to Syria, the Sinai to Egypt and most of the West Bank to Jordan in exchange for peace. At the Khartoum Summit in September, the Arab parties responded to this overture by declaring "no peace with Israel, no recognition of Israel and no negotiations with Israel."
||UN Security Council Resolution 242 introduced the "Land for Peace" formula for normalizing relations between Israel and its neighbors. This formula was used when Israel returned the Sinai Peninsula to Egypt in 1979 in exchange for a peace treaty. While that treaty mentioned a "linkage" between Israeli-Egyptian peace and Palestinian autonomy, the formerly Egyptian-occupied territory in Gaza was excluded from the agreement, and remained under Israeli control.
||The Oslo Accords of the early 1990s between the Palestine Liberation Organization and Israel led to the creation of the Palestinian Authority. This was an interim organization created to administer a limited form of Palestinian self-governance in the territories for a period of five years during which final-status negotiations would take place. The Palestinian Authority carried civil responsibility in some rural areas, as well as security responsibility in the major cities of the West Bank and the Gaza Strip. Although the five-year interim period expired in 1999, the final status agreement has yet to be concluded despite attempts such as the 2000 Camp David Summit, the Taba summit, and the unofficial Geneva Accords.
||In 2005, Israeli forces withdrew from the Gaza Strip, ceding full effective internal control of the territory to the Palestinian Authority.
||Since the Battle of Gaza (2007) the two separate territories, the Gaza Strip and the West Bank, are divided into a Hamas leadership in the Gaza Strip and a Fatah civil leadership in the autonomous areas of the West Bank. Each sees itself as the administrator of all Palestinian territories and does not acknowledge the other one as the official government of the territories. The Palestinian territories have therefore de facto split into two entities.
|| - Political status
||State of Palestine
||The political status of the territories has been the subject of negotiations between Israel and the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) and of numerous statements and resolutions by the United Nations. (See List of United Nations resolutions concerning Israel.) Since 1994, the autonomous Palestinian National Authority has exercised various degrees of control in large parts of the territories, as a result of the Declaration of Principles contained in the Oslo Accords. The United States government considers the West Bank and Gaza as a single entity for political, economic, legal and other purposes.
- 23 ] - - The State Department and other US government agencies, such as USAID West Bank and Gaza,
- 24 ] - - have been tasked with projects in the areas of democracy, governance, resources, and infrastructure. Part of the USAID mission is to provide flexible and discrete support for implementation of the Quartet Road Map.
- 25 ] - - The Road Map is a internationally-backed plan that calls for the progressive development of a viable Palestinian State in the West Bank and Gaza. Participating states provide assistance through direct contributions or through the Palestinian State account established by the World Bank.
- 26 ] - -
||After Hamas won a majority of seats in elections for the Palestinian Parliament, the United States and Israel instituted an economic blockade of the Gaza Strip.
- 27 ] - -
- 28 ] - - When that failed to topple the new government, a covert operation was launched to eliminate Hamas by force.
- 29 ] - -
- 30 ] - - The covert initiative was exposed when confidential State Department documents were accidentally leaked by the US envoy. The talking points delivered to the Fatah leadership said:|
Hamas should be given a clear choice, with a clear deadline:they either accept a new government that meets the Quartet principles, or they reject it. The consequences of Hamas’ decision should also be clear:If Hamas does not agree within the prescribed time, you should make clear your intention to declare a state of emergency and form an emergency government explicitly committed to that platform.