Palestine (Arabic: فلسطين Filasṭīn, Falasṭīn, Filisṭīn; Greek: Παλαιστίνη, Palaistinē; Latin: Palaestina; Hebrew: פלשתינה Palestina) is a conventional name, among others, used to describe the geographic region between the Mediterranean Sea and the Jordan River, and various adjoining lands. The region is also known as the Land of Israel (Hebrew: ארץ־ישראל Eretz-Yisra'el) Holy Land and the Southern Levant, and historically has been known by other names including Canaan, Zion, Syria Palaestina, Southern Syria, Jund Filastin and Outremer.
The boundaries of the region have changed throughout history, and were first defined in modern times by the Franco-British boundary agreement (1920) and the Transjordan memorandum of 16 September 1922, during the mandate period. Today, the region comprises the State of Israel and the State of Palestine.
The State of Palestine
: دولة فلسطين
) is a state
that was proclaimed on 15 November 1988 by the Palestine Liberation Organization
's (PLO's) National Council
(PNC) in exile
, which unilaterally adopted the Palestinian Declaration of Independence
. Since November 2012, State of Palestine is a non-member state, having an observer status in the UN, and controlling 40% of the West Bank. Though recognized by more than 100 countries worldwide, it has not yet received a recognition by Israel and US.
The State of Palestine claims the West Bank and the Gaza Strip (defined according to the pre-1967 borders and has designated Jerusalem as its capital. Areas constituting the State of Palestine have been occupied by Israel since 1967. The 1974 Arab League summit designated the PLO as the "sole legitimate representative of the Palestinian people" and reaffirmed "their right to establish an independent state of urgency." The PLO held observer status at the United Nations as a "non-state entity" from 22 November 1974, which entitled it to speak in the UN General Assembly but not to vote. After the Declaration of Independence, the UN General Assembly officially "acknowledged" the proclamation and voted to use the designation "Palestine" instead of "Palestine Liberation Organization" when referring to the Palestinian permanent observer. In spite of this decision, the PLO did not participate at the UN in its capacity of the State of Palestine's government. On 29 November 2012 the UN General Assembly passed resolution 67/19, upgrading Palestine from an "observer entity" to a "non-member observer state" within the United Nations system, and implicitly recognizing PLO's sovereignty.
In 1993, in the Oslo Accords, Israel acknowledged the PLO negotiating team as "representing the Palestinian people", in return for the PLO recognizing Israel's right to exist in peace, acceptance of UN Security Council resolutions 242 and 338, and its rejection of "violence and terrorism". As a result, in 1994 the PLO established the Palestinian National Authority(PNA or PA) territorial administration, that exercises some governmental functions[iii] in parts of the West Bank and the Gaza Strip. In 2007, the Hamas takeover of Gaza Strip politically and territorially divided the Palestinians, with Abbas's Fatah left largely ruling the West Bank and recognized internationally as the official Palestinian Authority, while Hamas has secured its control over the Gaza Strip. In April 2011, the Palestinian parties signed an agreement of reconciliation, but its implementation has stalled since.
On November 29, 2012, in a 138-9 vote (with 41 abstentions and 5 absences). General Assembly resolution 67/19 passed, upgrading Palestine to "non-member observer state" status in the United Nations. The new status equates Palestine's with that of the Holy See; similarly, Switzerland was a non-member observer state for more than 50 years (until 2002). The UN has permitted Palestine to title its representative office to the UN as 'The Permanent Observer Mission of the State of Palestine to the United Nations' and Palestine has instructed its diplomats to officially represent 'The State of Palestine', and no longer the 'Palestine National Authority.' On 17 December 2012, UN Chief of Protocol Yeocheol Yoon declared that 'the designation of "State of Palestine" shall be used by the Secretariat in all official United Nations documents', thus recognizing the title 'State of Palestine' as the nation's official name for all UN purposes. As of 27 September 2013, 134 (69.4%) of the 193 member states of the United Nations have recognized 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". The PLO's executive committee is empowered by the PNC to perform the functions of government of the State of Palestine.