Until 1948, Palestine was the name used to describe the geographic area found between the Jordan River and the Mediterranean Sea. In the entirety of its history, several empires have controlled this land. These empires are the Romans, Assyrians, Byzantine, Babylonian, and the Ottoman.
After World War I, the League of Nations issued a Mandate in 1922 that gave the United Kingdom the right to rule over this land. The story of modern-day Palestine started with the termination of the Mandate given to the British, the creation of the state of Israel, and the Israeli-Palestinian conflict that followed.
The Partition of the Palestinian Land
The United Nations in 1947 proposed a plan to partition this land. This planned partition was titled the “United Nations General Assembly Resolution 181 (II).” In this resolution, Britain’s plan to end its rule over the land and its recommendation that the land be divided into two states, one for the Arabs and one for the Jews was noted. It went on to recommend that the United Nations protect and administer the Jerusalem-Bethlehem area.
In the resolution, there were also plans for the protection of religious minorities and for an economic union between the two proposed states. Apart from that, there were highly detailed descriptions of the recommended boundaries for the proposed Jewish and Arab states. The British were to withdraw their forces by August 1948 and by October of that same year, the two new independent states were to be established.
First Arab-Israeli War (1948)
The Partition Plans were accepted by the Jewish leaders, but the Arabs rejected it. Threats of taking up military actions to prevent the partition of this land were made by the Arab League. The Jews went ahead and declared their independence by establishing the state of Israel in August, a day before the expiry of the British Mandate. They established their state within the borders set out in the Partition Plans. The neighboring Arab countries then declared war on the just formed State of Israel. This marked the beginning of the Arab-Israeli War.
The war ended in 1949 and the borders between the countries that engaged in the war were established under the Armistice Agreements. Egypt was given the Gaza Strip, Jordan got control over East Jerusalem and the West Bank, and Israel got control over some of the areas that were set aside for the Arab state in 1948.
The Six Day War
This war was begun on 5th June 1967 and ended on 10th June of the same year. The country that emerged victoriously was Israel where it also seized control from the Syrians of the Golan Heights, East Jerusalem and the West Bank from Jordan, and from Egypt the control over the Sinai Peninsula and the Gaza Strip.
Rise of the Palestinian Liberation Organization (PLO)
The PLO was recognized by the Arab League as the only legitimate representative of the Palestinian people in 1974. The League then relinquished its role as the representative of the Palestinians and PLO gained observer status at the UN General Assembly. In 1988, the Palestinian Declaration of Independence was approved by the PLO in Algiers, Tunisia.
Between 1987 and 1993, there was a Palestinian uprising called the Intifada in the West Bank and Gaza Strip and parts of Jerusalem. This was as a result of military occupation, confiscation of land, and repression.
The Peace Process and Drive for Recognition of Palestinian Statehood
The Oslo Accords were signed in 1993. These accords were to provide a framework for the peaceful relationship between the two parties. However, the implementation of these accords suffered a major setback following the assassination of Yitzhak Rabin who was the Prime Minister of Israel and signer of the accords. Other peace summits have been held ever since to try and solve the conflict.
Mahmoud Abbas, President of the Palestinian National Authority, which is a branch of the PLO gave a speech in September 2011 declaring his intentions to request for the recognition of the Palestinian land as a state. This application was delivered to the UN Secretary-General in 23rd September 2011.