Palestinian territories

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The article is NPOV disputed. New version is under development at Palestinian territories/NPOV version

The term Palestinian territories (or Occupied Palestinian territories) refers to lands sought by Palestinian nationalists as a new nation-state.

Various meanings of the term

  • Many advocates use the term Palestinian territories to imply that these ought to belong to the nationalists -- or that they already do so, either by right or by international law.
  • Some journalists use the term merely to indicates lands where Palestinian Arabs dwell.

Not all users of the term intend to convey the same meaning, which can lead to confusion.

Status of the territories

Arab nationalists seeking to create a new Palestinian state in the West Bank and the Gaza Strip generally argue that the presence of Israeli settlements or military forces in them is a violation of international law, two points adamantly disputed by Israel [1] and occasionally by other countries.

The position that the West Bank, the Gaza Strip, East Jerusalem, and the Golan Heights are "occupied territories" (with Israel as the occupying power) is maintained by Palestinian Arabs [2], the Arab states, the UK [3], the EU, the United Nations and (usually) the USA ([4], [5]).

Jordan occupied the West Bank, and Egypt occupied the Gaza Strip for nearly two decades after the 1948 Arab-Israeli War. Israel has occupied these territories since the Six-Day War of 1967. See also UN Security Council Resolution 242.

Israel has pointed out that the lands are currently not contested by any existing country but Israel and are therefore not "occupied", but this argument has been repeatedly rejected by other nations, most recently the UK's Foreign Secretary. Since the early 1990s, Israel has negotiated with the Palestinians concerning the establishment of an independent Palestinian state on these territories. Following the Oslo Accords, it seemed that Israel had implemented limited Palestinian self-administration on the West Bank and Gaza.

The international community, however, did not declare any change in their percieved status of the territories as a result of the transfer of limited administrative control (but not sovereignty) of some parts of the Occupied Territories to the Palestinian Authority between 1993 and 2002. The UN's 1999 assessment in [6] indicates that any such change is considered unlikely to occur. Since those areas are now once again under effective Israeli military control, however, any discussion along those lines is largely moot.

The term "Palestinian Territories" is seldom used in the simple sense of "parts of Palestine". Thus the Kingdom of Jordan, although a part of what was historically known as Palestine, is not generally considered a Palestinian territory in this sense of the term.

Some Palestinian nationalists consider the land within Israel's de jure boundaries to be de facto part of "Palestine". Some advocates have claimed that maps used in schools under the jurisdiction of the Palestinian Authority depict "Palestine" as consisting of all the territory between the Mediterranean Sea, Lebanon, Syria, the Jordan River and Egypt -- including Israel, the West Bank and Gaza Strip -- though it has been argued that the maps referred to are geological and historical maps (which show regions and geographical features), rather than political maps (which show countries).

The Golan Heights and East Jerusalem, captured in 1967, were unilaterally annexed by Israel. Golan is still contested by Syria, and both regions are also classified as "occupied" by the international community.

See also: Occupied territories.