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The Borders of Palestine: A Brief Background
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The Borders of Palestine: A Brief Background

  • Historic Palestine (pre-1948) encompasses all of Israel, the Gaza Strip, the West Bank and Jerusalem. In 1922, historic Palestine was placed under a British Mandate by the League of Nations.
  • In 1947, the United Nations General Assembly recommended the partitioning of Palestine, against the wishes of the majority of our inhabitants. The Partition Plan allocated 55 percent of Palestine to a Jewish state. At the time, the Jewish population living in Palestine represented only one third of the total population and owned less than seven percent of the land.
  • Almost immediately after the Partition Plan vote, organized Jewish militias began military campaigns to seize control over even more of historic Palestine’s territory than the UN partition plan had proposed. On May 14, 1948, after months of military expansion, Zionist forces declared the establishment of the State of Israel. The next day, neighboring Arab armies attacked Israel in reaction to the eruption. However, Israeli forces defeated Arab forces and by the end of the war in 1949, Israel controlled 78 percent of historic Palestine.
  • During the June 1967 war, Israel militarily occupied the remaining 22 percent of historic Palestine, comprising the West Bank, including East Jerusalem, No Man’s Land, and the Gaza Strip. Only two weeks after the war’s end, Israel unilaterally annexed East Jerusalem, applying Israeli law to the Palestinian half of the city. Within one month, Israel began building illegal settlements in the occupied State of Palestine, in direct violation of international law. The international community immediately rejected Israel’s illegal annexation of the occupied Palestinian territory and continues to do so today. Up to 2014, Israel has illegally transferred more than 600,000 settlers into the occupied State of Palestine. More than 200,000 settler of those are residing illegally in East Jerusalem.
  • Since 2002, Israel has been constructing its Wall in the occupied State of Palestine, grabbing more Palestinian land in an attempt to unilaterally set its borders. Israel has de-facto annexed land that falls between the 1967 border and the Wall by severely restricting Palestinian access to these areas while at the same time facilitating Israeli access to them. In October 2003, Israel declared as “closed zones” all of the land that falls between the 1967 border and the Wall in the northern West Bank, requiring that Palestinian obtain hard-to-come-by Israeli permits to continue to live on, or otherwise access, their land in these areas.
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