The History of Palestine
The State of Palestine is very rich is history. From geographic point of view, this particular region is situated in the Southern Levant between the Mediterranean Sea and the Jordan River (where Israel and the State of Palestine are today), and various adjoining lands. Situated at a strategic point between Europe, Asia, and Africa, and the birthplace of Judaism and Christianity, the region has a long and tumultuous history as a crossroads for religion, culture, commerce, and politics. It has been considered as the HUB for the Europe, Africa and Arab World. Being known as the heart of the Middle-East, Palestine region and parts of it have been controlled by numerous different peoples and regional powers at different times.
The Palestinian region was one of the most fertile lands and state of the art advanced region amongst the world. The region was among the earliest in the world to see human habitation, agricultural communities and civilization. The Palestinian region was under Ottoman Rule for centuries between 1517 till 1917. Mostly number of Muslims, small number of Christians and very small number of Jewish people were living in harmony and peace together. The Holy City of Jerusalem and Bethlehem is also situated in this particular region.
In the mean time, Jews people from all over the European region were moving through Zionism of making their own State. Under this circumstance, after World War I, the British & French Empires curved up the Middle East. In 02 November, 1917 Arthur James Balfour, the British conservative politician who was the Prime Minister of the United Kingdom and later Foreign Secretary, declared –
“His Majesty’s government view with favour the establishment in Palestine of a national home for the Jewish people, and will use their best endeavors to facilitate the achievement of this object, it being clearly understood that nothing shall be done which may prejudice the civil and religious rights of existing non-Jewish communities in Palestine, or the rights and political status enjoyed by Jews in any other country”.
As it had already been plotted, the creation of Israel was just a matter of time and opportunity after this historic Balfore declaration. The British captured Jerusalem a month later. The League of Nations formally awarded Britain a mandate over Palestine in 1922. The British took control of the region called “British Mandate for Palestine” from 1919 till 1940. Under their cooperation and supervision, Jewish people across different parts of the world kept coming and entering into the land of Palestine. With time, the Jewish immigration, when more Jews started arriving, tension between Arabs and Jews grew deeply. By 1930, the British started limiting Jewish Immigration as the acts of violence were growing every day. In response, Jewish militants began to form to fight the local Arabs and to resist that British rule.
Then came the Nazi Holocaust leading many more Jews fled from Europe to Palestine and galvanized much of the world support of Jewish state. In 1947, the violence Between Jews & Arabs grew so intense that the British Government announced its intention to terminate the Mandate. The United Nations General Assembly voted to partition Palestine into two independent states for Arab and Jewish, with a special international regime for Jerusalem. The Arabs rejected the partition of Palestine, but the Jews declared the independence of the State of Israel. During the 1948 Palestine War, Israel overran far more territory than was proposed by the Partition Plan; Jordan captured the region today known as the West Bank, while in the Gaza Strip the All-Palestine Government was announced in September 1948. In what is known as the “Nakba”, or “Catastrophe”, hundreds of Palestinian villages and over 70,000 Palestinian homes were ruined and destroyed. Almost two-third of the entire population of Palestine was forcibly ripped up and fled from own country by the Israeli Zionists.
During and after the 1948 war, a wave of Jewish community arrived in Palestine, further exacerbating the situation for Palestinians who became homeless by the time. The question of the right to return of the refugees and their descendants remains a source of dispute. The Palestinian refugees were unable to return following the Lausanne Conference, 1949. The Palestinian national movement gradually regrouped in the West Bank and Gaza, and in refugee camps in neighboring Arab states. The Palestine Liberation Organisation (PLO) emerged as its leading umbrella group.
In this situation, the Palestinian Revolution was inevitable due to the brutal, unlawful oppression of the Israeli force which finally started in January, 1965 under the leadership of Yasser Arafat. The vast majority of Palestinian people stood behind this revolution for justice of humanity for the People of Palestine. In order to sustain this Revolution for a convenient result, the whole nation fought with everything that they had at that time. Many brave soldiers of Palestinian soil gave away their lives for the sake of their national independence. At this, the Israeli forces became more furious and aggressive than before. According to their newly adopted strategy, they launched the 1967 war to capture the rest of the land of Palestine. During the Six Day War in June 1967, Israel seized East Jerusalem and the West Bank from Jordan and Gaza from Egypt, as well as the Golan Heights from Syria. Despite international objections and UN resolutions calling them illegal, Israel began a policy of establishing Israeli settlements in the Israeli-occupied territories.
The PLO under Yasser Arafat gradually won international recognition as the representative of the Palestinian people. The Palestine Liberation Organisation (PLO) has adopted a peaceful policy in 1990 “The Madrid Conference.”
From 1987 to 1993, the First Palestinian Intifada i.e. Palestinian uprising against the Israeli occupation of the West Bank and Gaza, which lasted from December 1987 until 1993, with the signing of the OSLO Peace Accords. The signing of the OSLO accord between PLO & Israel clearly stated that in 5 years of time, the final settlement will be achieved among the two parties. Both will be abide by the complete Security Council related resolutions. But no actual results have been observed at all. To make things worse, more & more Jewish settlement is being constructed over the land of the future state of Palestine specially in & around Jerusalem and the West-Bank. Out of 27,000 square Kilometers of the historic Palestine, the present country is left with 6,000 square Kilometers only. And the government of Israeli is confiscating these lands also, by building their illegitimate settlement. In fact, this is one of the major reasons that jeopardized the entire peace development.
These accords established a Palestinian National Authority PNA – also referred to as the Palestinian Authority or PA, as an interim body to run parts of Gaza and the West Bank pending an agreed solution to the conflict.
During the Second Intifada, also known as the Al-Aqsa Intifada (2000–2005), Israel withdrew from the Gaza Strip and began building the West Bank barrier. In 2006, Hamas won the Palestinian legislative elections and took control of the Gaza Strip in 2007, triggering the Israeli and Egyptian Blockade of the Gaza Strip that continues still today. In 2008-09 and again in 2014, Israel bombed in Gaza furiously killed hundreds of innocent Palestinian men, women & children. These operations were highly criticized by the entire world for causing huge Palestinian civilian deaths.
On 23 September 2011, President Mahmoud Abbas on behalf of the Palestine Liberation Organisation submitted an application for membership of Palestine in the United Nations. In October 2011, UNESCO admitted the “State of Palestine” as a member of the respective organisation. In sixty-seventh session of the United Nations General Assembly on 29 November 2012, majority of the UN members voted for Palestine and this is how, Palestine had been upgraded as non-member observer state status in the United Nations, a move that allows it to take part in General Assembly debates and improves its chances of joining other UN agencies.
As of February 2013, 131 (67.9%) of the 193 member states of the United Nations have recognised the State of Palestine. Many of the countries that do not recognise the State of Palestine nevertheless recognise the PLO as the ‘Representative of the Palestinian people’.