State of Palestine
|State of Palestine[i]
دولة فلسطين (Arabic)
Territory claimed by the State of Palestine (green)
Territory also claimed by Israel (light green)
|Status||Partially recognized state, UN observer state
Recognized by 136 UN member states
|Largest city||Gaza City|
|Government||Unitary semi-presidential republic|
|15 November 1988|
|29 November 2012|
• Sovereignty dispute with Israel
|6,020 km2 (2,320 sq mi) (163rd)|
• Water (%)
• 2014 estimate
|731/km2 (1,893.3/sq mi)|
|GDP (PPP)||2008a estimate|
|$11.95 billiona (–)|
• Per capita
|HDI (2014)|| 0.677
medium · 113th
|Time zone||Palestine Standard Time (UTC+2)|
• Summer (DST)
|Palestine Summer Time (UTC+3)|
|Drives on the||right|
|ISO 3166 code||PS|
Palestine (Arabic: فلسطين Filasṭīn), officially the State of Palestine[i] (Arabic: دولة فلسطين Dawlat Filasṭīn), is a de jure sovereign state in the Middle East claiming the West Bank (bordering Israel and Jordan) and Gaza Strip (bordering Israel and Egypt) with East Jerusalem as the designated capital although its administrative center is located in Ramallah.[ii] Most of the areas claimed by the State of Palestine have been occupied by Israel since 1967 in the consequence of the Six-Day War. The population is 4,550,368 as of 2014, ranked 123rd in the world.
In antiquity, the territories in modern Palestine is regarded as the birthplace of Judaism and Christianity, the region has a long and tumultuous history as a crossroads for religion, culture, commerce, and politics. The territories of what is now the State of Palestine were formerly ruled by the Kingdom of Judah and the Ghassanids. For 4000 years, Gaza, formerly a Canaanite settlement, was ruled, destroyed and repopulated by various dynasties, empires, and peoples that began with the ancient Egyptians before becoming one of the Philistines' principal cities. In 720 BCE, the Neo-Assyrian Empire conquered the Israeli Kingdom while the Kingdom of Judah fell to the Babylonian, Persian, Achaemenid and Hellenistic empires and became their respective Jewish autonomous provinces. The Maccabean Revolt in 110 BCE led to an Jewish kingdom, which became a client state of the Roman Republic in 63 BCE. Judea was ruled as a Roman province until the attempted Jewish revolts resulted in widespread destruction, forcible expulsion of Jewish population and the region was renamed from Iudaea to Syria Palaestina. Jewish presence in Eretz Israel has persisted over several centuries. By the 7th century Palestine was conquered by the Arabs from the Byzantine Empire and remained under Muslim rule until the First Crusade of 1099, followed by the Ayyubid conquest of 1187, then ruled by the Mamluk Sultanate of Egypt who extended its control over the Levant in the 13th century, and finally its defeat by the Ottoman Empire in 1517. Throughout the 19th century, national awakening among Jews led to the establishment of the Zionist movement followed by waves of immigration to Palestine. Following the collapse of the Ottoman Empire after World War I, the British Empire had governed the territory created from Southern Syria in 1920 as an League of Nations mandate.
Following World War II, on 29 November 1947, the United Nations adopted a Partition Plan for Mandatory Palestine recommending the creation of independent Arab and Jewish states and an internationalized Jerusalem. After the establishment of a Jewish state in Eretz Israel, to be known as the State of Israel on 14 May 1948, neighboring Arab armies invaded the former British mandate on the next day and fought the Israeli forces which led to the displacement and expulsion of 700,000 Palestinians from their homes. Later, the All-Palestine Government was established by the Arab League on 22 September 1948 to govern the Egyptian-controlled enclave in Gaza. It was soon recognized by all Arab League members except Transjordan. Though jurisdiction of the Government was declared to cover the whole of the former Mandatory Palestine, its effective jurisdiction was limited to the Gaza Strip. Israel later captured the Gaza Strip and the Sinai Peninsula from Egypt, the West Bank (including East Jerusalem) from Jordan, and the Golan Heights from Syria in June 1967 following the Six-Day War.
Following the withdrawals of Egypt from Sinai and Gaza (1982) and Jordan from the West Bank (1988), the State of Palestine proclaimed its independence on 15 November 1988 by the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) in Algiers as a government-in-exile. Since the signing of the Oslo Accords in 1993, the Palestinian National Authority was formed the following year to govern the areas A and B in the West Bank and Gaza Strip. Gaza would later be ruled by Hamas in 2007 after Israel withdrawal from Gaza two years prior.
The State of Palestine is recognized by 136 UN members and since 2012 has a status of a non-member observer state in the United Nations – which amounts to a de facto, or implicit, recognition of statehood. It is a member of the Arab League, Organisation of Islamic Cooperation, G77, and the International Olympic Committee.
- 1 Etymology
- 2 History
- 3 Geography
- 4 Politics
- 5 Security
- 6 Demographics
- 7 Economy
- 8 Infrastructure
- 9 Education
- 10 Culture
- 11 See also
- 12 Notes
- 13 References
- 14 Bibliography
- 15 Further reading
- 16 External links
Since the British Mandate, the term "Palestine" has been associated with the geographical area that currently covers the State of Israel, the West Bank and the Gaza Strip. General use of the term "Palestine" or related terms to the area at the southeast corner of the Mediterranean Sea beside Syria has historically been taking place since the times of Ancient Greece, with Herodotus writing of a "district of Syria, called Palaistine" in which Phoenicians interacted with other maritime peoples in The Histories.[non-primary source needed]
The region was among the earliest in the world to see human habitation, agricultural communities and civilization. During the Bronze Age, independent Canaanite city-states were established, and were influenced by the surrounding civilizations of ancient Egypt, Mesopotamia, Phoenicia, Minoan Crete, and Syria. Between 1550-1400 BCE, the Canaanite cities became vassals to the Egyptian New Kingdom who held power until the 1178 BCE Battle of Djahy (Canaan) during the wider Bronze Age collapse. The Philistines arrived and mingled with the local population, and according to Biblical tradition, the United Kingdom of Israel was established in 1020 BCE and split within a century to form the northern Kingdom of Israel, and the southern Kingdom of Judah. The region became part of the Neo-Assyrian Empire from c740 BCE, which was itself replaced by the Neo-Babylonian Empire in c.627 BCE. A war with Egypt culminated in 586 BCE when Jerusalem was destroyed by the Babylonian king Nebuchadnezzar II and the local leaders were deported to Babylonia, only to be allowed to return under the Achaemenid Empire.
In the 330s BCE, Alexander the Great conquered Palestine, and the region changed hands numerous times during the wars of the Diadochi, ultimately joining the Seleucid Empire between 219-200 BCE. In 116 BCE, a Seleucid civil war resulted in the independence of certain regions including the minor Hasmonean principality in the Judean Mountains. From 110 BCE, the Hasmoneans extended their authority over much of Palestine, creating a Judean-Samaritan-Idumaean-Ituraean-Galilean alliance. The Judean (Jewish, see Ioudaioi) control over the wider region resulted in it also becoming known as Judaea, a term which had previously only referred to the smaller region of the Judean Mountains. Between 73-63 BCE, the Roman Republic extended its influence into the region in the Third Mithridatic War, conquering Judea in 63 BCE, and splitting the former Hasmonean Kingdom into five districts. The three year Ministry of Jesus, culminating in his crucifixion, is estimated to have occurred from 28-30 CE, although the historicity of Jesus is disputed by scholars. In 70 AD, Titus sacked Jerusalem, resulting in the dispersal of the city's Jews and Christians to Yavne and Pella. In 132 CE, Hadrian joined the province of Iudaea with Galilee to form the new province of Syria Palaestina, and Jerusalem was renamed "Aelia Capitolina". Between 259-272, the region fell under the rule of Odaenathus as King of the Palmyrene Empire. Following the victory of Christian emperor Constantine in the Civil Wars of the Tetrarchy (306–324), the Christianization of the Roman Empire began, and in 326, Constantine's mother Saint Helena visited Jerusalem and began the construction of churches and shrines. Palestine became a center of Christianity, attracting numerous monks and religious scholars. The Samaritan Revolts during this period caused their near extinction.
Palestine joined the Islamic Empire following the 636 CE Battle of Yarmouk during the Muslim conquest of Syria. In 661 CE, with the assassination of Ali, Muawiyah I became the uncontested Caliph of the Islamic World after being crowned in Jerusalem. In 691, the Dome of the Rock became the world's first great work of Islamic architecture. The Umayyad were replaced by the Abbasids in 750. From 878 Palestine was ruled from Egypt by semi-autonomous rulers for almost a century, beginning with Ahmad ibn Tulun, and ending with the Ikhshidid rulers who were both buried in Jerusalem. The Fatimids conquered the region in 969. In 1073 Palestine was captured by the Great Seljuq Empire, only to be recaptured by the Fatimids in 1098, who then lost the region to the Crusaders in 1099. Their control of Jerusalem and most of Palestine lasted almost a century until defeat by Saladin's forces in 1187, after which most of Palestine was controlled by the Ayyubids. A rump Crusader state in the northern coastal cities survived for another century, but, despite seven further Crusades, the Crusaders were no longer a significant power in the region. The Mamluk Sultanate was indirectly created in Egypt as a result of the Seventh Crusade. The Mongol Empire reached Palestine for the first time in 1260, beginning with the Mongol raids into Palestine under Nestorian Christian general Kitbuqa and reaching an apex at the pivotal Battle of Ain Jalut. In 1486, hostilities broke out between the Mamluks and the Ottoman Turks in a battle for control over western Asia and the Ottomans captured Palestine in 1516. In 1832 Palestine was conquered by Muhammad Ali's Egypt, but in 1840 Britain intervened and returned control of the Levant to the Ottomans in return for further capitulations. The end of the 19th century saw the beginning of Zionist immigration and the Revival of the Hebrew language. Jewish immigration throughout the century created relatively large Jewish concentrations in Jerusalem, Safed, Tiberias and Jaffa.
20th century to present day
The British government issued the pro-Zionist Balfour Declaration of 1917 during World War I. The British captured Jerusalem a month later, and were formally awarded as a legal instrument for the administration of Palestine. The draft of which was formally confirmed by the Council of the League of Nations on 24 July 1922 and which came into effect on 26 September 1923. The document was based on the principles contained in Article 22 of the draft Covenant of the League of Nations and the San Remo Resolution of 25 April 1920 by the principal Allied and associated powers after the First World War. The mandate formalised British rule in the Southern part of Ottoman Syria from 1923–1948. With the League of Nations' consent on 16 September 1922, the UK divided the Mandate territory into two administrative areas, Palestine, under direct British rule, and autonomous Transjordan, under the rule of the Hashemite family from Hijaz Saudi Arabia, in accordance with the McMahon Pledge of 1915. Transjordan was exempt from the Mandate provisions concerning the Jewish National Home. During those periods, the Arab Palestinians revolted in 1920, 1929 and 1936 in protest against mass Jewish immigration.
In 1947, the UN adopted a partition plan for a two-state solution in the remaining territory of the mandate. The plan was accepted by the Jewish leadership but rejected by the Arab leaders, and Britain refused to implement the plan. On the eve of final British withdrawal, the Jewish Agency for Israel declared the establishment of the State of Israel according to the proposed UN plan. The Arab Higher Committee did not declare a state of its own and instead, together with Transjordan, Egypt, and the other members of the Arab League of the time, commenced military action resulting in the 1948 Arab–Israeli War. During the war, Israel gained additional territories that were designated to be part of the Arab state under the UN plan. Egypt occupied the Gaza Strip and Transjordan occupied the West Bank. Egypt initially supported the creation of an All-Palestine Government, but disbanded it in 1959. Transjordan never recognized it and instead decided to incorporate the West Bank with its own territory to form Jordan. The annexation was ratified in 1950 but was rejected by the international community. The Six-Day War in 1967, when Israel fought against Egypt, Jordan, and Syria, ended with Israel occupying the West Bank and Gaza Strip, besides other territories.
In 1964, when the West Bank was controlled by Jordan, the Palestine Liberation Organization was established there with the goal to confront Israel. The Palestinian National Charter of the PLO defines the boundaries of Palestine as the whole remaining territory of the mandate, including Israel. Following the Six-Day War, the PLO moved to Jordan, but later relocated to Lebanon after Black September in 1971.
The October 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." In November 1974, the PLO was recognized as competent on all matters concerning the question of Palestine by the UN General Assembly granting them observer status as a "non-state entity" at the UN. After the 1988 Declaration of Independence, the UN General Assembly officially acknowledged the proclamation and decided to use the designation "Palestine" instead of "Palestine Liberation Organization" in the UN. In spite of this decision, the PLO did not participate at the UN in its capacity of the State of Palestine's government.
In 1979, through the Camp David Accords, Egypt signaled an end to any claim of its own over the Gaza Strip. In July 1988, Jordan ceded its claims to the West Bank—with the exception of guardianship over Haram al-Sharif—to the PLO. In November 1988, the PLO legislature, while in exile, declared the establishment of the "State of Palestine". In the month following, it was quickly recognised by many states, including Egypt and Jordan. In the Palestinian Declaration of Independence, the State of Palestine is described as being established on the "Palestinian territory", without explicitly specifying further. Because of this, some of the countries that recognised the State of Palestine in their statements of recognition refer to the "1967 borders", thus recognizing as its territory only the occupied Palestinian territory, and not Israel. The UN membership application submitted by the State of Palestine also specified that it is based on the "1967 borders". During the negotiations of the Oslo Accords, the PLO recognised Israel's right to exist, and Israel recognised the PLO as representative of the Palestinian people. Between 1993 and 1998, the PLO made commitments to change the provisions of its Palestinian National Charter that are inconsistent with the aim for a two-state solution and peaceful coexistence with Israel.
After Israel took control of the West Bank from Jordan and Gaza Strip from Egypt, it began to establish Israeli settlements there. These were organised into Judea and Samaria district (West Bank) and Hof Aza Regional Council (Gaza Strip) in the Southern District. Administration of the Arab population of these territories was performed by the Israeli Civil Administration of the Coordinator of Government Activities in the Territories and by local municipal councils present since before the Israeli takeover. In 1980, Israel decided to freeze elections for these councils and to establish instead Village Leagues, whose officials were under Israeli influence. Later this model became ineffective for both Israel and the Palestinians, and the Village Leagues began to break up, with the last being the Hebron League, dissolved in February 1988.
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 secured its control over the Gaza Strip. In April 2011, the Palestinian parties signed an agreement of reconciliation, but its implementation had stalled until a unity government was formed on 2 June 2014.
As envisioned in the Oslo Accords, Israel allowed the PLO to establish interim administrative institutions in the Palestinian territories, which came in the form of the PNA. It was given civilian control in Area B and civilian and security control in Area A, and remained without involvement in Area C. In 2005, following the implementation of Israel's unilateral disengagement plan, the PNA gained full control of the Gaza Strip with the exception of its borders, airspace, and territorial waters.[iii] Following the inter-Palestinian conflict in 2006, Hamas took over control of the Gaza Strip (it already had majority in the PLC), and Fatah took control of the West Bank. From 2007, the Gaza Strip was governed by Hamas, and the West Bank by Fatah.
On 29 November 2012, in a 138–9 vote (with 41 abstentions and 5 absences), the United Nations General Assembly passed resolution 67/19, upgrading Palestine from an "observer entity" to a "non-member observer state" within the United Nations system, which was described as recognition of the PLO's sovereignty. Palestine's new status is equivalent to that of the Holy See. 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"—no longer the Palestinian 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 recognising the title 'State of Palestine' as the state's official name for all UN purposes. As of 14 September 2015, 136 ( 70.5%) 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". The PLO's Executive Committee is empowered by the Palestinian National Council to perform the functions of government of the State of Palestine.
The areas claimed by the State of Palestine lie in the Levant. The Gaza Strip borders the Mediterranean Sea to the west, Egypt to the south, and Israel to the north and east. The West Bank is bordered by Jordan to the east, and Israel to the north, south, and west. Thus, the two enclaves constituting the State of Palestine have no geographical border with one another, being separated by Israel. These areas constitute the world's 163rd largest country by land area.
The State of Palestine consists of the following institutions that are associated with the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO):
- President of the State of Palestine[iv] – appointed by the Palestinian Central Council
- Palestinian National Council – the legislature that established the State of Palestine
- Executive Committee of the Palestine Liberation Organization – performs the functions of a government in exile, maintaining an extensive foreign-relations network
These should be distinguished from the President of the Palestinian National Authority, Palestinian Legislative Council (PLC) and PNA Cabinet, all of which are instead associated with the Palestinian National Authority.
The State of Palestine's founding document is the Palestinian Declaration of Independence, and it should be distinguished from the unrelated PLO Palestinian National Covenant and PNA Palestine Basic Law.
The State of Palestine is divided into sixteen administrative divisions.
|Name||Area (km2)||Population||Density (per km2)||muhfaza or district capital|
|Ramallah & Al-Bireh||855||348,110||407.14||Ramallah|
|Jericho & Al Aghwar||593||52,154||87.94||Jericho|
|Jerusalem||345||419,108a||1214.8a||Jerusalem (De Jure and disputed)|
|North Gaza||61||362,772||5947.08||Jabalya|
|Deir Al-Balah||58||264,455||4559.56||Deir al-Balah|
|Khan Yunis||108||341,393||3161.04||Khan Yunis|
a. Data from Jerusalem includes occupied East Jerusalem with its Israeli population
The governorates in the West Bank are grouped into three areas per the Oslo II Accord. Area A forms 18% of the West Bank by area, and is administered by the Palestinian government. Area B forms 22% of the West Bank, and is under Palestinian civil control, and joint Israeli-Palestinian security control. Area C, except East Jerusalem, forms 60% of the West Bank, and is administered by the Israeli Civil Administration, except that the Palestinian government provides the education and medical services to the 150,000 Palestinians in the area. More than 99% of Area C is off limits to Palestinians. There are about 330,000 Israelis living in settlements in Area C, in the Judea and Samaria Area. Although Area C is under martial law, Israelis living there are judged in Israeli civil courts.
East Jerusalem, the proclaimed capital of Palestine, is administered as part of the Jerusalem District of Israel, but is claimed by Palestine as part of the Jerusalem Governorate. It was annexed by Israel in 1980, but this annexation is not recognised by any other country. Of the 456,000 people in East Jerusalem, roughly 60% are Palestinians and 40% are Israelis.
Representation of the State of Palestine is performed by the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO). In states that recognise the State of Palestine it maintains embassies. The Palestine Liberation Organization is represented in various international organizations as member, associate or observer. Because of inconclusiveness in sources in some cases it is impossible to distinguish whether the participation is executed by the PLO as representative of the State of Palestine, by the PLO as a non-state entity or by the PNA.
On 29 November 2012, UN General Assembly resolution 67/19 passed, upgrading Palestine to "non-member observer state" status in the United Nations. The change in status was described as "de facto recognition of the sovereign state of Palestine".
On 3 October 2014, new Swedish Prime Minister Stefan Löfven used his inaugural address in parliament to announce that Sweden would recognise the state of Palestine. The official decision to do so was made on 30 October, making Sweden the first EU member state outside of the former communist bloc to recognise the state of Palestine. Most of the EU's 28 member states have refrained from recognising Palestinian statehood and those that do – such as Hungary, Poland and Slovakia – did so before accession.
On 13 October 2014, the UK House of Commons voted by 274 to 12 in favour of recognising Palestine as a state. The House of Commons backed the move "as a contribution to securing a negotiated two-state solution" – although less than half of MPs took part in the vote. However, the UK government is not bound to do anything as a result of the vote: its current policy is that it "reserves the right to recognise a Palestinian state bilaterally at the moment of our choosing and when it can best help bring about peace".
On 2 December 2014, the French parliament voted by 331 to 151 in favour of urging their government to recognise Palestine as a state. The text, proposed by the ruling Socialists and backed by left-wing parties and some conservatives, asked the government to "use the recognition of a Palestinian state with the aim of resolving the conflict definitively".
On 31 December 2014, the United Nations Security Council voted down a resolution demanding the end of Israeli occupation and statehood by 2017. Eight members voted for the Resolution (Russia, China, France, Argentina, Chad, Chile, Jordan, Luxembourg), however following strenuous US and Israeli efforts to defeat the resolution, it did not get the minimum of nine votes needed to pass the resolution. Australia and the United States voted against the resolution, with five other nations abstaining.
On 10 January 2015, the first Palestinian embassy in a western European country is open in Stockholm, Sweden.
On 13 May 2015, the Vatican announced it was shifting recognition from the PLO to the State of Palestine, confirming a recognition of Palestine as a state after the UN vote of 2012. Monsignor Antoine Camilleri, Vatican foreign minister, said the change was in line with the evolving position of the Holy See, which has referred unofficially to the State of Palestine since Pope Francis's visit to the Holy Land in May 2014.
On 23 December 2015 the UN General Assembly adopted a resolution demanding Palestinian sovereignty over the natural resources in the Palestinian territories under Israeli occupation. It called on Israel to desist from the exploitation, damage, cause of loss or depletion and endangerment of Palestinian natural resources, the right of Palestinians to seek restitution for extensive destruction. The motion was passed by 164 votes to 5, with Canada, Federated States of Micronesia, Israel, Marshall Islands, and the United States opposing.
Raising the flag at the UN
In August 2015, Palestine's representatives at the UN presented a draft resolution that would allow the non-member observer states Palestine and the Holy See to raise their flags at the United Nations headquarters. Initially, the Palestinians presented their initiative as a joint effort with the Holy See, which the Holy See denied.
In a letter to the Secretary General and the President of the General Assembly, Israel’s Ambassador at the UN Ron Prosor called the step "another cynical misuse of the UN ... in order to score political points".
After the vote, the US Ambassador Samantha Power said that "raising the Palestinian flag will not bring Israelis and Palestinians any closer together". US state department spokesman Mark Toner called it a "counterproductive" attempt to pursue statehood claims outside of a negotiated settlement.
There are a wide variety of views regarding the status of the State of Palestine, both among the states of the international community and among legal scholars. The existence of a state of Palestine, although controversial, is a reality in the opinions of the states that have established bilateral diplomatic relations.
The State of Palestine has a number of security forces, including a Civil Police Force, National Security Forces and Intelligence Services, with the function of maintaining security and protecting Palestinian citizens and the Palestinian State.
According to the Palestinian Central Bureau of Statistics, the State of Palestine had population of 4,420,549 people in 2013. Within an area of 6,220 square kilometres (2,400 sq mi), there is a population density of 731 people per square kilometre. To put this in a wider context, the average population density of the world was 53 people per square kilometre based on data from July 5, 2014.
93% of Palestinians are Muslim, the vast majority of whom are followers of the Sunni branch of Islam, with a small minority of Ahmadiyya, and 15% being nondenominational Muslims. Palestinian Christians represent a significant minority of 6%, followed by much smaller religious communities, including Druze and Samaritans.
Tourism in the Palestinian territories refers to tourism in East Jerusalem, the West Bank and the Gaza Strip. In 2010, 4.6 million people visited the Palestinian territories, compared to 2.6 million in 2009. Of that number, 2.2 million were foreign tourists while 2.7 million were domestic. Most tourists come for only a few hours or as part of a day trip itinerary. In the last quarter of 2012 over 150,000 guests stayed in West Bank hotels; 40% were European and 9% were from the United States and Canada. Lonely Planet travel guide writes that "the West Bank is not the easiest place in which to travel but the effort is richly rewarded." In 2013 Palestinian Authority Tourism minister Rula Ma'ay'a stated that her government aims to encourage international visits to Palestine, but the occupation is the main factor preventing the tourism sector from becoming a major income source to Palestinians. There are no visa conditions imposed on foreign nationals other than those imposed by the visa policy of Israel. Access to Jerusalem, the West Bank, and Gaza is completely controlled by the Government of Israel. Entry to the occupied Palestinian territories requires only a valid international passport.
Water supply and sanitation
Water supply and sanitation in the Palestinian territories are characterized by severe water shortage and are highly influenced by the Israeli occupation. The water resources of Palestine are fully controlled by Israel and the division of groundwater is subject to provisions in the Oslo II Accord.
Generally, the water quality is considerably worse in the Gaza strip when compared to the West Bank. About a third to half of the delivered water in the Palestinian territories is lost in the distribution network. The lasting blockade of the Gaza Strip and the Gaza War have caused severe damage to the infrastructure in the Gaza Strip. Concerning wastewater, the existing treatment plants do not have the capacity to treat all of the produced wastewater, causing severe water pollution. The development of the sector highly depends on external financing.
The literacy rate of Palestine was 96.3% according to a 2014 report by the United Nations Development Programme, which is high by international standards. There is a gender difference in the population aged above 15 with 5.9% of women considered illiterate compared to 1.6% of men. Illiteracy among women has fallen from 20.3% in 1997 to less than 6% in 2014.
There are a number of newspapers, news agencies, and satellite television stations in the State of Palestine. News agencies include Ma'an News Agency, Wafa, Palestine News Network and the satellite television includes Al-Aqsa TV, Al-Quds TV, Sanabel TV.
Football is the most popular sport among the Palestinian people. Rugby is also a popular sport. The Palestine national football team represents the country in international football.
- Palestinian self-determination
- Palestinian territories
- Israeli-occupied territories
- Israeli settlement
- Water Rights in Israel-Palestine
|i.||^ Note that the name Palestine can commonly be interpreted as the entire territory of the former British Mandate, which today also incorporates Israel. The history was expressed by Mahmoud Abbas in his September 2011 speech to the United Nations: "... we agreed to establish the State of Palestine on only 22% of the territory of historical Palestine – on all the Palestinian Territory occupied by Israel in 1967." The name is also officially used as the short-form reference to the State of Palestine and this should be distinguished from other homonymous uses for the term including the Palestinian Authority, the Palestine Liberation Organization, and the subject of other proposals for the establishment of a Palestinian state.|
|ii.||^ The Palestinian Declaration of Independence proclaims the "establishment of the State of Palestine on our Palestinian territory with its capital Jerusalem (Al-Quds Ash-Sharif)." The same decision was taken also by the PLC in May 2002 when it approved the PNA Basic Law, which states unambiguously "Jerusalem is the Capital of Palestine". Ramallah is the administrative capital where government institutions and foreign representative offices are located. Jerusalem's final status awaits future negotiations between Israel and the Palestinian Authority (see "Negotiating Jerusalem", University of Maryland at the Wayback Machine (archived 14 May 2006)). The United Nations and most countries do not accept Israel's annexation of East Jerusalem through the Jerusalem Law of 1980 (see Kellerman 1993, p. 140) and maintain their embassies to Israel in Tel Aviv (see The World Factbook. Central Intelligence Agency). The international community also does not recognize either Israeli or Palestinian sovereignty over Jerusalem.|
|iii.||^ Israel allows the PNA to execute some functions in the Palestinian territories, depending on the area classification. It maintains minimal interference (retaining control of borders: air, sea beyond internal waters, land) in the Gaza Strip (its interior and Egypt portion of the land border are under Hamas control), and varying degrees of interference elsewhere. See also Israeli-occupied territories.|
|iv.||^ So far both presidents of the State of Palestine, Yasser Arafat and his successor Mahmoud Abbas, were appointed beforehand as Chairman of the Executive Committee of the Palestine Liberation Organization, the committee performing the functions of State of Palestine government. See also Leaders of Palestinian institutions.|
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The attitude of the Palestinians was expressed inter alia in 1988 and 2002. When the Palestine National Council proclaimed in November 1988 the establishment of a Palestinian State, it asserted that Jerusalem was its capital. In October 2002, the Palestinian Legislative Council adopted the Law on the Capital, which stipulates that Jerusalem is the capital of the Palestinian State, the main seat of its three branches of government. The State of Palestine is the sovereign of Jerusalem and of its holy places. Any statute or agreement that diminishes the rights of the Palestinian State in Jerusalem is invalid. This statute can be amended only with the consent of two-thirds of the members of the Legislative Council. The 2003 Basic Law also asserts that Jerusalem is the capital of the State of Palestine.Reprinted from: Wolfrum, Rüdiger (ed.) (online 2008, print 2011). The Max Planck Encyclopedia of Public International Law. Oxford University Press.
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A senior PA official revealed the plans in an interview with Al-Quds newspaper. The change to 'state' status is important because it shows that 'the state of Palestine is occupied,' he said.
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Israel remains in charge of territories the world says should one day make up that state.
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