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 country of Israel and the Palestinian territories.
The Palestinian territories
or occupied Palestinian territories
(OPT or oPt) comprise the West Bank
(including East Jerusalem
) and the Gaza Strip
. Since 1993, following the Oslo Accords, parts of the territories politically came under the jurisdiction of the Palestinian National Authority
; since 2007, the Gaza Strip
did violently split from the Palestinian Authority, governing the area of Gaza independently since. Israel still exercises full Israeli civil control over 61 % of the West Bank (Area C
) and military control over all Palestinian territories.
The areas of West Bank and Gaza Strip were part of the territory west of the Jordan River of Mandatory Palestine under British governance, formed in 1922. Since the 1948 Arab–Israeli War until the 1967 Six Day War, the West Bank was occupied and annexed by Jordan (annexation recognized only by UK and Pakistan) and the Gaza Strip occupied by Egypt, though limited authority had been exercised in Gaza by the All-Palestine Government from September 1948 until 1959. The borders of the Palestinian territories are currently considered to be delineated by the 1949 Armistice Agreements.
Since Israel captured the territories of West Bank and Gaza Strip from Jordan and Egypt in 1967, the international community, including UN and international legal bodies, has usually referred to those areas as the occupied Palestinian territories.
In 1980 Israel officially annexed East Jerusalem. The annexation however lacks international recognition. In 1988, with the PLO intention to declare a Palestinian State, Jordan renounced all territorial claims to East Jerusalem and the West Bank. Since the Palestinian Declaration of Independence in 1988, some 130 UN Member Nations have recognized the State of Palestine, comprising the Palestinian territories. It has not been recognized by Israel and some Western nations, including the United States. Shortly, however the Palestinian Authority was formed in the outcome of the 1993 Oslo Accords, exercising limited control over parts of the West Bank and the Gaza Strip.
Palestinians are for the greater part banned from the territorial waters of the Gaza Strip and West Bank. About 220 km2 of the Dead Sea are exploited by Israel, whereas Palestinians are barred from it.
The Hamas takeover of Gaza politically divided the Palestinian territories, with Abbas’s Fatah left largely ruling the West Bank and recognized internationally as the official Palestinian Authority. Both West Bank and Gaza Strip are currently considered to be still occupied by Israel, according to the international community. The Gaza Strip within the borders is governed by Hamas, while much of the West Bank is governed by the Palestinian National Authority, which some countries consider to be the State of Palestine. In April 2011, the Palestinian parties signed an agreement of reconciliation, but its implementation has stalled since. Subsequent reconciliation efforts in 2012 did not succeed as well.