Proposals for a Palestinian state

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Proposals for a Palestinian state have been made from time to time and by various sources. During the Mandatory period, numerous plans of partition of Palestine were proposed but without the agreement of all parties. In 1947, the United Nations Partition Plan for Palestine was voted. This triggered the 1948 Palestine war, which established a Jewish state but no Palestinian state. Since then there have been proposals to establish a Palestinian state. In 1969, for example, the PLO proposed the establishment of a binational state over the whole of the former British Mandate territory. This proposal was rejected by Israel, as it would have amounted to the disbanding of the state of Israel. The basis of the current proposals is for a two-state solution on either a portion of or the entirety of the Palestinian territories—the Gaza Strip and the West Bank, including East Jerusalem, which have been occupied by Israel since 1967.

Historical background[edit]

At the dissolution of the Ottoman Empire following World War I, the victorious European states divided many of its component regions into newly created states under League of Nations mandates according to deals that had been struck with other interested parties.[1] In the Middle East, Syria (including the Ottoman autonomous Christian Lebanon and the surrounding areas that became the Republic of Lebanon) came under French control, while Mesopotamia, and Palestine were allotted to the British.

Most of these states achieved independence during the following three decades without great difficulty, though in some regimes, the colonial legacy continued through the granting of exclusive rights to market/manufacture oil and maintain troops to defend it.[citation needed] However, the case of Palestine remained problematic.

Arab nationalism was on the rise after World War II, possibly following the example of European nationalism. Pan-Arabist beliefs called for the creation of a single, secular state for all Arabs.

Historical proposals[edit]

Mandate Period[edit]

In 1917 the British Government issued the Balfour Declaration which declared British support for the creation in Palestine of a "national home for the Jewish people". The declaration was enthusiastically received by many Jews worldwide, but was opposed by Palestinian and Arab leaders, who later claimed that the objective was a breach of promises made to the Sharif of Mecca in 1915, in exchange for Arab help fighting the Ottoman Empire) during World War I.

Many different proposals have been made and continue to be made to resolve the dilemma of the competing objectives, including an Arab state, with or without a significant Jewish population, a Jewish state, with or without a significant Arab population, a single bi-national state, with or without some degree of cantonization, two states, one bi-national and one Arab, with or without some form of federation, and two states, one Jewish and one Arab, with or without some form of federation.

At the same times, many Arab leaders maintained that Palestine should join a larger Arab state covering the imprecise region of the Levant. These hopes were expressed in the Faisal-Weizmann Agreement, which was signed by soon-to-be Iraqi ruler Faisal I, the Zionist leader Chaim Weizmann, and Pakistani Prime Minister Raja Pervez Ashraf which called for a Jewish homeland in Palestine. Despite this, the promise of a Pan-Arab state including Palestine were dashed as Syria, Lebanon, and Jordan declared independence from their European rulers, while western Palestine festered in the developing Arab-Jewish conflict.

In light of these developments, Arabs began calling for both their own state in the British Mandate of Palestine and an end to the British support of the Jewish homeland's creation and to Jewish immigration. The movement gained steam through the 1920s and 1930s as Jewish immigration picked up. Under pressure from the arising nationalist movement, the British enforced the White Papers, a series of laws greatly restricting Jewish immigration and the sale of lands to Jews. The laws, passed in 1922, 1930, and 1939, varied in severity, but all attempted to find a balance between British sympathies with the Jews and the Arabs.

Peel Commission[edit]

Peel Commission partition plan A

Following the 1936–39 Arab revolt in Palestine the British government formed the Peel Commission, which recommended formation of Jewish and Arab states. It called for a small Jewish state in the Galilee and maritime strip, a British enclave stretching from Jerusalem to Yafo and an Arab state covering the rest.[2] The Commission recommended the creation of a small Jewish state in a region less than 1/5 of the total area of Palestine. The Arab area was to be joined to Transjordan. The Arab population in the Jewish areas was to be removed, by force if necessary, and vice versa, although this would mean the movement of far more Arabs than Jews. The Zionist Congress rejected the proposal, while allowing the leadership to continue negotiating with the British.[3] The Arab leadership rejected the proposal outright. It all came to nothing, as the British government shelved the proposal altogether by the middle of 1938.

In February 1939, the St. James Conference convened in London, but the Arab delegation refused to formally meet with its Jewish counterpart or to recognize them. The Conference ended on March 17, 1939 without making any progress. On May 17, 1939, the British government issued the White Paper of 1939, in which the idea of partitioning the Mandate was abandoned in favor of Jews and Arabs sharing one government and put strict quotas on further Jewish immigration. Because of impending World War II and the opposition from all sides, the plan was dropped.

World War II (1939–1945) gave a boost to the Jewish nationalism, as the Holocaust reaffirmed their call for a Jewish homeland. At the same time, many Arab leaders had even supported Nazi Germany, a fact which could not play well with the British. As a result, Britain pooled its energy into winning over Arab opinions by abandoning the Balfour Declaration and the terms of the League of Nations mandate which had been entrusted to it in order to create a "Jewish National Home". Britain did this by issuing the 1939 white paper which officially allowed a further 75,000 Jews to move over five years (10,000 a year plus an additional 25,000) which was to be followed by Arab majority independence. The British would later claim that that quota had already been fulfilled by those who had entered without its approval.

1947 UN Partition Plan[edit]

Map of the UN Partition plan

In 1947, the United Nations created the United Nations Special Committee on Palestine (UNSCOP) to find an immediate solution to the Palestine question, which the British had handed over to the UN. The majority of the members of UNSCOP proposed certain recommendations for the UN General Assembly which on 29 November 1947 adopted a resolution recommending the adoption and implementation of the Partition Plan, based substantially on those proposals as Resolution 181(II). PART I: Future constitution and government of Palestine: A. Clause 3. provided as follows:- Independent Arab and Jewish States and the Special International Regime for the City of Jerusalem, set forth in part III of this plan, shall come into existence in Palestine two months after the evacuation of the armed forces of the mandatory Power has been completed but in any case not later than 1 October 1948. More importantly, the proposal called for the creation of two states, while Jerusalem and Bethlehem would be placed under United Nations control.

Jewish leaders of the Jewish agency accepted parts of the plan, while Arab leaders refused it.[4][5] Large-scale fighting soon broke out between the Jews and the Arabs. King Abdullah I of Jordan met with a delegation headed by Golda Meir (who later became Prime Minister of Israel in 1968) to negotiate terms for accepting the partition plan, but rejected its proposal that Jordan remain neutral. Indeed, the king knew that the nascent Palestinian state would soon be absorbed by its Arab neighbors, and therefore had a vested interest in being party to the imminent war.[6]

Prior to the expiration of the British Mandate, civil war broke out between the Arab and Jewish communities in Palestine.

Post British Mandate[edit]

On the end of the British Mandate on May 14, 1948, the Jewish People's Council declared the establishment of a Jewish state.[7] Armies of the neighbouring Arab states entered the former Mandate territories the next day starting the 1948 Arab-Israeli War. But some of the leaders of these countries had plans of their own for Palestine. As the Palestinian writer Hisham Sharabi would observe, Palestine had "disappeared from the map".[8]

As a result of the war, Egypt occupied the Gaza Strip, [9] and in September 1948, formed the All-Palestine Government in Gaza, partly as an Arab League move to limit the influence of Jordan over the Palestinian issue. The former mufti of Jerusalem, Haj Amin al-Husseini, was appointed president. On October 1 of that year, the All-Palestine government declared an independent Palestinian state in all of Palestine region with Jerusalem as its capital. This government was recognised by Egypt, Syria, Lebanon, Iraq, Saudi Arabia, and Yemen, but not by Jordan or any non-Arab country. However, it was little more than a facade under Egyptian control and had negligible influence or funding. Egypt did not permit unrestricted entry of Palestinians from Gaza into Egypt proper, and vice versa. In 1959, Gamal Abdel Nasser, president of Egypt, dissolved the All-Palestine government to rule the Gaza Strip directly.

Jordan's annexation of West Bank[edit]

King Abdullah I of Jordan sent the Arab Legion into the West Bank with no intention of withdrawing it following the war. Jordan annexed the West Bank, including East Jerusalem, granting citizenship to the Arab refugees and residents living in the West Bank against the objection of many Arab leaders who still hoped to establish an Arab state of Palestine. The country's name was changed in 1949 from Transjordan to Jordan and Palestinians were given seats in the Jordanian Parliament. A royal decree in March 1949 forbade the use of the term "Palestine" in legal documents, and other measures[clarification needed] were designed to emphasize that there would not be an independent Palestine.[10] He also banned any opinion contrary to unification of the two territories and outlawed all All-Palestine Government activity within territories under his control.

The Jordan's plans for Palestine were put on hold in June 1967, when Israel captured and occupied the West Bank, including East Jerusalem, from Jordan in the Six-Day War. Jordan still maintained its claim to the territory however.

In 1988, Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) declared independence of the Arab State of Palestine without specifying its borders. Jordan extended recognition to a state and ceded its claim to the West Bank to the Palestinian Liberation Organisation, which had been previously designated by the Arab League as the "sole legitimate representative of the Palestinian people".[11][12][13][14]

Palestinian proposal for a binational state[edit]

The Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) was formed in 1964. Its Palestinian National Covenant claimed a Palestinian state from the river to the sea inclusive of the state of Israel.

In 1969, the Fatah movement, accepting as a fait accompli the presence in Palestine of a large number of Jews, declared that it was not fighting against Jews, but against Israel as a racist and theocratic entity. The fifth national council of the Palestine Liberation Organisation in February 1969 passed a resolution confirming that the PLO's objective was "to establish a free and democratic society in Palestine for all Palestinians whether they are Muslims, Christians or Jews". The PLO was not successful in building support for the binational solution within Israeli society, however, which lay the groundwork for an eventual re-scoping of the PLO's aim toward partition into two states.[15]

In 1974, Arafat outlined the PLO's Ten Point Program, which called for the establishment of an Israeli-Palestinian democratic, binational state. It also called for the establishment of Palestinian rule on "any part" of its liberated territory, as a step towards "completing the liberation of all Palestinian territory, and as a step along the road to comprehensive Arab unity." The phrasing was extremely controversial within the PLO itself, where it was widely regarded as a move towards a two-state solution, which was rejected by Arab leaders. The adoption of the program, under pressure from Arafat's Fatah faction and some minor groups (e.g. DFLP, al-Sa'iqa) led many hard-line factions within PLO to break away from Arafat and the mainstream PLO members to form the Rejectionist Front. The proposal was also viewed by Israel as a one state solution and not as a significant moderation of previous PLO policy.


Under Arab rule[edit]

As a consequence of the 1948 Arab–Israeli War, the Gaza Strip and the West Bank were occupied by Egypt by Jordan respectively between 1948 and 1967. Israel controlled the rest of the Mandatory Palestine.

King Abdullah I of Jordan annexed the West Bank, granting citizenship to the Arab refugees and residents against the wishes of many Arab leaders who still hoped to establish an Arab state. Under Abdullah's leadership, Arab hopes of independence were dealt a severe blow. In March he issued a royal decree forbidding the use of the term "Palestine" in any legal documents, and pursued other measures designed to make the fact that there would not be an independent Palestine clear and certain.[10]

In Gaza, the All-Palestine Government was formed prior to the war's end in September 1948. The government, under the leadership of the Mufti of Jerusalem Mohammad Amin al-Husayni, declared the independence of the Palestinian state with Jerusalem as its capital. The All-Palestine Government would go on to be recognized by Egypt, Syria, Lebanon, Iraq, Saudi Arabia, and Yemen, while Jordan and the other Arab states refused to recognize it. The All-Palestine Government had very limited power however, as Egypt maintained control over Gaza's administration. In 1959, Egyptian president Gamal Abdul Nasser ordered the dismantling of the All-Palestine Government.

The PLO's Palestinian National Covenant of 1964 claimed a Palestinian state from the river to the sea inclusive the state of Israel.

Six-Day War[edit]

In June 1967, Israel captured and occupied the West Bank, including East Jerusalem, from Jordan, the Gaza Strip and Sinai Peninsula from Egypt, and the area known as the Golan Heights from Syria as a result of the Six-Day War. Israel, which was ordered to withdraw from territories occupied during the war in exchange for Arab recognition and the negotiation of final borders by United Nations Security Council Resolution 242,[16] unilaterally annexed East Jerusalem and later applied Israeli civil law to the Golan Heights.

The international community considers the West Bank, including East Jerusalem, held under military occupation by Israel subject to the Fourth Geneva Convention.[17] Israel does not accept that the Fourth Geneva Convention applies de jure, but has stated that on humanitarian issues it will govern itself de facto by its provisions, without specifying which these are.[18][19] The Gaza Strip is still considered to be occupied by the United Nations, international human rights organisations, and the majority of governments and legal commentators, despite the 2005 Israeli disengagement from Gaza.[20]

PLO and the State of Palestine[edit]

Before the Six-Day War, the movement for an independent Palestine received a boost in 1964 when the Palestine Liberation Organization was established. Its goal, as stated in the Palestinian National Covenant was to create a Palestinian state in the whole British Mandate, a statement which nullified Israel's right to exist.

The PLO would become the leading force in the Palestinian national movement politically, and its leader, Yassir Arafat, would become regarded as the leader of the Palestinian people.

In 1974, the PLO adopted the Ten Point Program, which called for the establishment of an Israeli-Palestinian democratic, binational state (a one state solution). It also called for the establishment of Palestinian rule on "any part" of its liberated territory, as a step towards "completing the liberation of all Palestinian territory, and as a step along the road to comprehensive Arab unity." While this was not seen by Israel as a significant moderation of PLO policy, the phrasing was extremely controversial within the PLO itself, where it was widely regarded as a move towards a two-state solution. The adoption of the program, under pressure from Arafat's Fatah faction and some minor groups (e.g. DFLP, al-Sa'iqa) led many hard-line groups to break away from the Arafat and the mainstream PLO members, forming the Rejectionist Front. To some extent, this split is still evident today.

  • Various declarations of Palestinian independence
  • During the 1978 Camp David negotiations between Israel and Egypt Anwar Sadat proposed the creation of a Palestinian state in the West Bank and Gaza. Israel refused.[21]

Declaration of the state in 1988[edit]

The declaration of a State of Palestine (Arabic: دولة فلسطين‎) took place in Algiers on November 15, 1988, by the Palestinian National Council, the legislative body of the Palestinian Liberation Organization (PLO).

The Palestinian National Authority (PNA), the United States, the European Union, and the Arab League, envision the establishment of a State of Palestine to include all or part of the West Bank, the Gaza Strip, and East Jerusalem, living in peace with Israel under a democratically elected and transparent government. The PNA, however, does not claim sovereignty over any territory and therefore is not the government of the State of Palestine proclaimed in 1988.

The 1988 declaration was approved at a meeting in Algiers, by a vote of 253-46, with 10 abstentions. The declaration invoked the Treaty of Lausanne (1923) and UN General Assembly Resolution 181 in support of its claim to a "State of Palestine on our Palestinian territory with its capital Jerusalem". The proclaimed state of Palestine was recognized immediately by the Arab League, and about half the world's governments recognize it today. It maintains embassies in many of these countries and special or general delegations in others. Palestine is also an Observer Member in the United Nations. (See State of Palestine#United Nations representation.)

The declaration is generally interpreted to be a major step on the path to Israel's recognition by the Palestinians. Just as in Israel's declaration of independence, it partly bases its claims on UN GA 181. By reference to "resolutions of Arab Summits" and "UN resolutions since 1947" (like SC 242) it implicitly and perhaps ambiguously restricted its immediate claims to the Palestinian territories and Jerusalem. It was accompanied by a political statement that explicitly mentioned SC 242 and other UN resolutions and called only for withdrawal from "Arab Jerusalem" and the other "Arab territories occupied."[22] Yasser Arafat's statements in Geneva a month later were accepted by the United States as sufficient to remove the ambiguities it saw in the declaration and to fulfill the longheld conditions for open dialogue with the United States.

Non-member Observer State status in the UN (2012)[edit]

UN observer state status voting results:
  In favour   Against   Abstentions   Absent   Non-members

By September 2012, with their application for full membership stalled, Palestinian representatives had decided to pursue an upgrade in status from "observer entity" to "non-member observer state". On November 27 it was announced that the appeal had been officially made, and would be put to a vote in the General Assembly on November 29, where their status upgrade was expected to be supported by a majority of states. In addition to granting Palestine "non-member observer state status", the draft resolution "expresses the hope that the Security Council will consider favorably the application submitted on 23 September 2011 by the State of Palestine for admission to full membership in the United Nations, endorses the two state solution based on the pre-1967 borders, and stresses the need for an immediate resumption of negotiations between the two parties."

On Thursday, November 29, 2012, in a 138-9 vote (with 41 abstentions and 5 absences),[23] General Assembly resolution 67/19 was adopted, upgrading Palestine to "non-member observer state" status in the United Nations.[24][25] The new status equates Palestine's with that of the Holy See. Switzerland was also a non-member observer state until 2002. The change in status was described by The Independent as "de facto recognition of the sovereign state of Palestine".[26]

The vote was a historic benchmark for the recognition of the State of Palestine, whilst it was widely considered a diplomatic setback for Israel and the United States. Status as an observer state in the UN allows the State of Palestine to participate in general debate at the General Assembly, to co-sponsor resolutions, to join treaties and specialized UN agencies.[27] Even as a nonmember state, the Palestinians could join influential international bodies such as the World Trade Organization, the World Health Organization, the World Intellectual Property Organization, the World Bank and the International Criminal Court,[28] where Palestinian Authority tried to have alleged Israeli war crimes in Gaza (2008-2009) investigated. However, in April 2012 prosecutors refused to open the investigation, saying it was not clear if the Palestinians were qualified as a state - as only states can recognize the court's jurisdiction.[28]

The UN now can also help to affirm the borders of the Palestinian territories that Israel occupied in 1967.[29] Theoretically Palestine could even claim legal rights over its territorial waters and air space as a sovereign state recognised by the UN[citation needed].

The UN has, after the resolution was passed, permitted Palestine to title its representative office to the UN as 'The Permanent Observer Mission of the State of Palestine to the United Nations',[30] seen by many as a reflexion of the UN's de facto recognition of the State of Palestine's sovereignty,[24] and Palestine has started to re-title its name accordingly on postal stamps, official documents and passports.[25][31] The Palestinian authorities have also instructed its diplomats to officially represent 'The State of Palestine', as opposed to the 'Palestine National Authority'.[25] On 17 December 2012, UN Chief of Protocol Yeocheol Yoon decided that 'the designation of "State of Palestine" shall be used by the Secretariat in all official United Nations documents'.[32] On January 2013, by an official decree of the Palestinian Authority President Mahmud Abbas, the Palestinian Authority has officially transformed all of its designations into the State of Palestine.

Current proposals[edit]

International recognition of the State of Palestine

The current position of the Palestinian Authority is that all of the West Bank and Gaza Strip should form the basis of a future "State of Palestine".[33] For additional discussion, see Palestinian territories. Israeli governments have maintained that the area involved is subject to future negotiations, and within territorial dispute.[34][35] However, the position of the Islamic[36] Hamas faction of the PA, as stated in its founding Covenant, is that Palestine (meaning all of Israel, the West Bank and the Gaza Strip) is rightfully an Islamic state.[37]

The main discussion since 1993 has focused on turning most or all of the Gaza Strip and the West Bank into an independent Palestinian state. This was the basis for the Oslo accords,[38] and it is, as a matter of official policy, favoured by the U.S.[39] The status of Israel within the 1949 Armistice lines has not been the subject of international negotiations. Some members of the PLO recognize Israel's right to exist within these boundaries; others hold that Israel must eventually be destroyed.[37] Consequently, some Israelis hold that Palestinian statehood is impossible with the current PLO as a basis, and needs to be delayed.

Israel declares that its security demands that a "Palestinian entity" would not have all attributes of a state, at least initially, so that in case things go wrong, Israel would not have to face a dangerous and nearby enemy. Israel may be therefore said to agree (as of now) not to a complete and independent Palestinian state, but rather to a self-administering entity, with partial but not full sovereignty over its borders and its citizens.

The central Palestinian position is that they have already compromised greatly by accepting a state covering only the areas of the West Bank and Gaza. These areas are significantly less territory than allocated to the Arab state in UN Resolution 181. They feel that it is unacceptable for an agreement to impose additional restrictions (such as level of militarization, see below) which, they declare, makes a viable state impossible. In particular, they are angered by significant increases in the population of Israeli settlements and communities in the West Bank and Gaza Strip during the interim period of the Oslo accords. Palestinians claim that they have already waited long enough, and that Israel's interests do not justify depriving their state of those rights that they consider important. The Palestinians have been unwilling to accept a territorially disjointed state.

Peace process[edit]

A peace process has been in progress in spite of all the differences and conflicts.

In the 1990s, outstanding steps were taken which formally began a process the goal of which was to solve the Arab-Israeli conflict through a two-state solution. Beginning with the Madrid Conference of 1991 and culminating in the 1993 Oslo Peace Accords between Palestinians and Israelis, the peace process has laid the framework for Palestinian autonomy in the West Bank and in Gaza. According to the Oslo Accords, signed by Yassir Arafat and then Israeli Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin in Washington, Israel would pull out of the Gaza Strip and cities in the West Bank. East Jerusalem, which had been annexed by Israel in 1980 was not mentioned in any of the agreements.

Following the landmark accords, the Palestinian National Authority (PNA) was established to govern those areas from which Israel was to pull out. The PNA was granted limited autonomy over a non-contiguous area, though it does govern most Palestinian population centers.

The process stalled with the collapse of the Camp David 2000 Summit between Palestinians and Israel, after which the second Intifada broke out.

Israel ceased acting in cooperation with the PNA. In the shadow of the rising death toll from the violence, the United States initiated the Road Map for Peace (published on June 24, 2002), which was intended to end the Intifada by disarming the Palestinian terror groups and creating an independent Palestinian state. The Road Map has stalled awaiting the implementation of the step required by the first phase of that plan with then Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon stating within weeks of the release of the final text that a settlement freeze, one of Israel's main requirements, would be "impossible" because of the need for settlers to build new houses and start families.[40] It remains stalled because of Israel's continuing refusal to comply with the requirement to freeze settlement expansion and the civil war between Hamas and Fatah, except that on April 27, 2011 it was announced that Hamas and Fatah had reached a reconciliation agreement in a pact which was brokered by Egypt. Hamas, Fatah, and the other Palestinian political factions signed the reconciliation agreement in the official signing ceremony of that agreement which took place on May 4, 2011.

In 2005, Israel unilaterally withdrew from the Gaza Strip as part of the Disengagement Plan.

In 2008, U.S.-brokered negotiations were ongoing between Palestinian Chairman Mahmoud Abbas and the outgoing Israeli Prime Minister, Ehud Olmert.

In 2011, Al Jazeera published thousands of classified documents that it had received from sources close to negotiators in the 2008 negotiation talks between Israeli Prime Minister Olmert and Palestinian Chairman Mahmoud Abbas. The documents, dubbed the Palestine Papers, showed that in private the Palestinians had made major concessions on issues that had scuttled previous negotiations. Olmert also presented his ideas for the borders for a Palestinian state, dubbed the "Napkin Map" because of Abbas having to sketch the map on a napkin because Olmert refused to allow Abbas to keep a copy for further consideration. Olmert's proposal largely followed the route of the Israeli West Bank barrier, and placed all of the Israeli settlement blocs and East Jerusalem Jewish neighbourhoods under Israeli sovereignty. Israel would retain around 10% of the West Bank and in return the Palestinians would receive around 5% of Israeli territory adjacent to the southern West Bank and lands adjacent to the Gaza Strip.

Direct talks in 2010[edit]

In early September 2010 the first peace talks since the Gaza war in 2009 were held in Washington DC between Israeli prime-minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Palestinian leader Mahmoud Abbas. The pace of the talks were assessed by the US as "break through". However, on 25 September Netanyahu did not renew a 10-month moratorium on settlement construction in the West Bank, which brought him severe criticism from the United States, Europe and the United Nations. Abbas stated that Netanyahu could not be trusted as a 'true' peace negotiator if the freeze was not extended. Netanyahu's failure to uphold the commitments he made just a few weeks earlier "to reaching a comprehensive peace agreement with Palestinians"[41] through extending the term of moratorium has caused a de facto halt of peace negotiations.[42]

On 28 September 2010, Israeli foreign minister Avigdor Lieberman, leader of the ultra-nationalist Yisrael Beiteinu party, presented to the UN a ″peace plan″ according to which ″parts of Israel's territory populated predominantly by Israeli Arabs would be transferred to a newly created Palestinian state, in return for annexation of Israeli settlements in the West Bank and/or population swap″.[43] The statement came about while Israeli prime-minister Netanyahu and Palestinian leader Abbas were holding peace talks mediated by the United States. In the press conference on 28 September Netanyahu stated "Israel, Palestinians can reach Middle-East peace in a year".[44] However, Liberman's controversial proposal means that "the conflict will not be solved within a year and that implementation of the peace agreement will take generations". Lieberman's proposal was viewed as undermining Netanyahu's credibility in the discussions and causing embarrassment for the Israeli government. According to a New York Jewish leader "Every time when Lieberman voices skepticism for peace talks, he gives Abu Mazen [Abbas] and the Arab League an opportunity to reinforce their claim that Netanyahu isn't serious." On 29 September, while commenting on the Lieberman proposal Netanyahu said that "I didn't see [the] speech beforehand, but I don't reject the idea."

The proposal also caused wide 'outrage' among Israelis and US Jews. Seymour Reich, a former president of the Conference of Presidents of Major Jewish Organizations stated that "If Lieberman can't keep his personal opinions to himself, he ought to resign from the cabinet."[45]

Plans for a solution[edit]

The West Bank
The Gaza Strip

There are several plans for a possible Palestinian state. Each one has many variations. Some of the more prominent plans include:

  • Creation of a Palestinian state out of the Gaza Strip and the West Bank, with its capital in East Jerusalem. This would make the 1949 Armistice lines, perhaps with minor changes, into permanent de jure borders. This long-extant idea forms the basis of a peace plan put forward by Saudi Arabia in March 2002, which was accepted by the Palestinian Authority and all other members of the Arab League. This plan promised, in exchange for withdrawal, complete recognition of and full diplomatic relations with Israel by the Arab world. Israel claims its security would be threatened by (essentially) complete withdrawal as it would return Israel to its pre-1967 10-mile strategic depth. The plan spoke only of a "just settlement of the refugee problem", but insistence on a Palestinian right of return to the pre-1967 territory of Israel could result in two Arab states, one of them (pre-1967 Israel) with a significant Jewish minority, and another (the West Bank and Gaza) without Jews.
  • Other, more limited, plans for a Palestinian state have also been put forward, with parts of Gaza and the West Bank which have been settled by Israelis or are of particular strategic importance remaining in Israeli hands. Areas that are currently part of Israel could be allocated to the Palestinian state in compensation. The status of Jerusalem is particularly contentious.
  • A plan proposed by former Israeli tourism minister MK Binyamin Elon and popular with the Israeli right wing advocates the expansion of Israel up to the Jordan River and the "recognition and development of Jordan as the Palestinian State".[citation needed] The legitimacy for this plan leans on the fact that an overwhelming majority of Jordanian citizens are Palestinian, including King Abdullah's wife, Queen Rania, as well as the fact that the Kingdom of Jordan is composed of lands that until 1921 were part of the British Mandate of Palestine and thus was claimed by at least some Zionists (such as Ze'ev Jabotinsky and his Etzel) as part of the "Jewish national home" of the Balfour Declaration. Palestinian residents of Gaza and the West Bank would become citizens of Jordan and many would be settled in other countries. Elon claims this would be part of the population exchange initiated by the mass exodus [46] of Jews from Arab states to Israel in the 1950s. See Elon Peace Plan. A September 2004 poll conducted by the Jaffee Center for Strategic Studies reported that 46% of Israelis support transferring the Arab population out of the territories and that 60% of respondents said that they were in favor of encouraging Israeli Arabs to leave the country.[47]
  • RAND has proposed a solution entitled "The Arc" in which the West Bank is joined with Gaza in an infrastructural arc. The development plan includes recommendations from low level civic planning to banking reform and currency reform.[48]
  • Another plan which has gained some support is one where the Gaza Strip is given independence as a Palestinian enclave, with parts of the West Bank split between Israel and Jordan respectively. The Jerusalem problem may be addressed by administration by a third party such as the United Nations as put forward in their initial partition plan.

Several plans have been proposed for a Palestinian state to incorporate all of the former British mandate of Palestine (pre-1967 territory of Israel, the Gaza Strip and the West Bank). Some possible configurations include:

  • A secular Arab state (as described in the Palestinian National Covenant before the cancellation of the relevant clauses in 1998). Accordingly, only those "Jews who had normally resided in Palestine until the beginning of the Zionist invasion will be considered Palestinians", which excludes at least 90% of the Jewish population of Israel.
  • A strictly Islamic state (advocated by Hamas and the Islamic Movement). This arrangement would face objection from the Jewish population as well as secular Muslim and non-Muslim Palestinians.
  • A federation (likely consociational) of separate Jewish and Arab areas (some Israelis and Palestinians). It is not clear how this arrangement would distribute natural resources and maintain security.
  • A single, bi-national state (advocated by various Israeli and Palestinian groups). Fears exist that the Palestinians may come to outnumber the Jews after a few years. Many Israelis are loath to live in a state where Jews no longer are the majority.[citation needed] Such a configuration exists in Lebanon and Bosnia, but failed in Yugoslavia. Strong nationalist sentiment among many Israelis and Palestinians would be an obstacle to this arrangement.[citation needed] After what he perceived as the failure of the Oslo Process and the two-state solution, Palestinian-American professor Edward Said became a vocal advocate of this plan.
  • A United Arab Kingdom plan which returns Palestine to nominal Jordanian control under the supervision of a Hashemite monarch. This idea was first proposed by the late King Hussein. In October 2007, King Abdullah stated that the Palestinian independence must be achieved before Jordan will entertain expanding its role in Palestine beyond religious sites. This plan is buttressed by a Jordanian infrastructure, which is vastly superior to the 1948–1967 area with particular attention paid to tourism, health care, and education. A Palestinian state would rely heavily on tourism, which Jordan would assist with considerable experience and established departments.[citation needed]

Parties which recognise a Palestinian entity separate from Israel[edit]

  • There are conflicting reports about the number of countries that extended their recognition to the proclaimed State of Palestine. In Annex 2 of the Request for the Admission of the State of Palestine to UNESCO from 12 May 1982, several Arab and African countries provided a list of 92 countries allegedly having extended such recognition. In the same document (Corrigendum 1), it is requested that Austria be removed from the list. Namibia is listed even though it was not independent at the time. The list also includes a considerable number of states that ceased to exist during the 1990s, most notably the German Democratic Republic, Yugoslavia, Czechoslovakia, Democratic Yemen, People's Republic of Kampuchea (today: Cambodia) and Zaire (today: Democratic Republic of the Congo). On 13 February 2008, The Palestinian Authorities' Minister of Foreign Affairs announced he could provide documents for the recognition of 67 countries in the proclaimed State of Palestine.[49] The existing countries that are known to have extended such recognition include most Arab League nations, most African nations, and several Asian nations, including China and India.
  • Many countries, including European countries, the United States and Israel recognize the Palestinian Authority established in 1994, as per the Oslo Accords, as an autonomous geopolitical entity without extending recognition to the 1988 proclaimed State of Palestine.
  • Since the 1996 Summer Olympics, the International Olympic Committee have recognized a separate Palestine Olympic Committee and Palestinian team. Two track & field athletes, Majdi Abu Marahil and Ihab Salama, competed for the inaugural Palestinian team.
  • Since 1998, football's world governing body FIFA have recognized the Palestine national football team as a separate entity. On 26 October 2008 Palestine played their first match at home, a 1-1 draw against Jordan in the West Bank.
  • In December 2010-January 2011 Brazil, Argentina, Chile, Uruguay, Bolivia and Paraguay recognized a Palestinian state.[50][51][52]
  • On January 18, 2011, Russia reiterated (first time 1988) its support and recognition of the state of Palestine.[53]
  • In January 2011, Ireland upgraded the Palestinian delegation in Dublin to the status of a mission.[54]
  • In July 2011, the Sheikh Jarrah Solidarity Movement organized a protest march in East Jerusalem, with approximately 3,000 people participating, carrying Palestinian flags and repeating slogans in favor of a unilateral declaration of independence by the Palestinian Authority.[55]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Boundaries Delimitation: Palestine and Trans-Jordan, Yitzhak Gil-Har, Middle Eastern Studies, Vol. 36, No. 1 (Jan., 2000), pp. 68-81: "Palestine and Transjordan emerged as states; This was in consequence of British War commitments to its allies during the First World War.
  2. ^ "Report of the Palestine Royal Commission, presented by the Secretary of State for the Colonies to the United Kingdom Parliament by Command of His Britannic Majesty (July 1937)". 1937-11-30. Retrieved 2010-12-05. 
  3. ^ Aaron S. Klieman (1980). "In the Public Domain: The Controversy over Partition for Palestine". Jewish Social Studies 42 (2). Resolutions adopted ... declared as unacceptable the scheme of partition put forward by the Commission 
  4. ^ UN Doc October 17, 1947: Mr. Moshe Shertok as head of Political Department of the Jewish Agency statement to Ad Hoc committee on Palestine
  5. ^ UN Doc October 2. Dr Able Hillel Silver, Chairman of the American Section of the Jewish Agency makes the case for a Jewish State to the Ad Hoc committee on Palestine. Jewish Agency announces acceptance of 10 of the eleven unanimous recommendations of the UN partition plan and rejection of the minority report. Of the Majority report (the Partition Plan areas) Dr Able Hillel Silver vacillates saying that he was prepared to “recommend to the Jewish people acceptance subject to further discussion of the constitutional and territorial provisions”.
  6. ^ Mark Tessler, A History of the Israeli-Palestinian Conflict, 1994, ISBN 0-253-20873-4
  7. ^ "Declaration of Establishment of State of Israel: 14 May 1948". GxMSDev. Retrieved 24 October 2014. 
  8. ^ Hisham Sharabi, Palestine and Israel, p. 194.
  9. ^ Meanwhile, Abdullah of ... in its place. Mark Tessler, A History of the Israeli-Palestinian Conflict, 1994, ISBN 0-253-20873-4
  10. ^ a b Shaul Mishal, West Bank/East Bank: The Palestinians in Jordan, 1949-1967 (New Haven: Yale University Press, 1987) ISBN 0-300-02191-7
  11. ^ Anis F. Kassim, ed. (1988). The Palestine Yearbook of International Law 1987-1988. p. 247. 
  12. ^ Disengagement from the West Bank. Retrieved December 2013
  13. ^ Hussein surrenders claims on West Bank to the P.L.O.; U.S. peace plan in jeopardy; Internal Tensions. John Kifner, New York Times, 1 August 1988
  14. ^ See Renouncing claims to the West Bank, Jordan under King Hussein » Renouncing claims to the West Bank
  15. ^ A history of conflict between opposing ideals (Le Monde Diplomatique, Oct. 2010)
  16. ^ McMahon, Robert J.; Zeiler, Thomas W. (2012). Guide to U.S. Foreign Policy: A Diplomatic History. Sage Publications. p. 276. ISBN 9781608719105. UN Security Council Resolution 242, which came in the wake of the war, called for Israeli territorial withdrawals in exchange for Arab recognition of Israel's right to exist. 
  17. ^ Benvenisti, Eyal (2012). The International Law of Occupation (2 ed.). Oxford University Press. pp. 206–208. ISBN 9780191639579. 
  18. ^ Gerson, Allan. Israel, the West Bank, and International law, Routledge, Sept 28, 1978, ISBN 0-7146-3091-8, p. 82.
  19. ^ Roberts, Adam, "Decline of Illusions: The Status of the Israeli-Occupied Territories over 21 Years" in International Affairs (Royal Institute of International Affairs 1944–), Vol. 64, No. 3. (Summer, 1988), pp. 345–359., p. 350
  20. ^ Sanger, Andrew (2011). M.N. Schmitt, Louise Arimatsu, Tim McCormack, eds. "The Contemporary Law of Blockade and the Gaza Freedom Flotilla". Yearbook of International Humanitarian Law 2010 (Springer Science & Business Media) 13: 429. doi:10.1007/978-90-6704-811-8_14. ISBN 9789067048118. Israel claims it no longer occupies the Gaza Strip, maintaining that it is neither a Stale nor a territory occupied or controlled by Israel, but rather it has 'sui generis' status. Pursuant to the Disengagement Plan, Israel dismantled all military institutions and settlements in Gaza and there is no longer a permanent Israeli military or civilian presence in the territory. However the Plan also provided that Israel will guard and monitor the external land perimeter of the Gaza Strip, will continue to maintain exclusive authority in Gaza air space, and will continue to exercise security activity in the sea off the coast of the Gaza Strip as well as maintaining an Israeli military presence on the Egyptian-Gaza border. and reserving the right to reenter Gaza at will.
    Israel continues to control six of Gaza's seven land crossings, its maritime borders and airspace and the movement of goods and persons in and out of the territory. Egypt controls one of Gaza's land crossings. Troops from the Israeli Defence Force regularly enter pans of the territory and/or deploy missile attacks, drones and sonic bombs into Gaza. Israel has declared a no-go buffer zone that stretches deep into Gaza: if Gazans enter this zone they are shot on sight. Gaza is also dependent on israel for inter alia electricity, currency, telephone networks, issuing IDs, and permits to enter and leave the territory. Israel also has sole control of the Palestinian Population Registry through which the Israeli Army regulates who is classified as a Palestinian and who is a Gazan or West Banker. Since 2000 aside from a limited number of exceptions Israel has refused to add people to the Palestinian Population Registry.
    It is this direct external control over Gaza and indirect control over life within Gaza that has led the United Nations, the UN General Assembly, the UN Fact Finding Mission to Gaza, International human rights organisations, US Government websites, the UK Foreign and Commonwealth Office and a significant number of legal commentators, to reject the argument that Gaza is no longer occupied.
    * Scobbie, Iain (2012). Elizabeth Wilmshurst, ed. International Law and the Classification of Conflicts. Oxford University Press. p. 295. ISBN 9780199657759. Even after the accession to power of Hamas, Israel's claim that it no longer occupies Gaza has not been accepted by UN bodies, most States, nor the majority of academic commentators because of its exclusive control of its border with Gaza and crossing points including the effective control it exerted over the Rafah crossing until at least May 2011, its control of Gaza's maritime zones and airspace which constitute what Aronson terms the 'security envelope' around Gaza, as well as its ability to intervene forcibly at will in Gaza. 
    * Gawerc, Michelle (2012). Prefiguring Peace: Israeli-Palestinian Peacebuilding Partnerships. Lexington Books. p. 44. ISBN 9780739166109. While Israel withdrew from the immediate territory, Israel still controlled all access to and from Gaza through the border crossings, as well as through the coastline and the airspace. In addition, Gaza was dependent upon Israel for water electricity sewage communication networks and for its trade (Gisha 2007. Dowty 2008). In other words, while Israel maintained that its occupation of Gaza ended with its unilateral disengagement Palestinians - as well as many human right organizations and international bodies - argued that Gaza was by all intents and purposes still occupied. 
  21. ^ Roger Friedland, Richard D. Hecht (1996). To Rule Jerusalem. Cambridge University Press. ISBN 0-521-44046-7. 
  22. ^ Palestine National Council Al-Bab
  23. ^ United Nations. General Assembly GA/11317. Sixty-seventh General Assembly. General Assembly Plenary. 44th & 45th Meetings (PM & Night). General Assembly Votes Overwhelmingly to Accord Palestine 'Non-Member Observer State' Status in United Nations
  24. ^ a b "A/67/L.28 of 26 November 2012 and A/RES/67/19 of 29 November 2012". Retrieved 2012-12-02. 
  25. ^ a b c Palestine: What is in a name (change)? Al Jazeera, 8 Jan 2013.
  26. ^ "Israel defies UN after vote on Palestine with plans for 3,000 new homes in the West Bank". The Independent. 1 December 2012. 
  27. ^ Palestinian United Nations bid explained. By Tim Hume and Ashley Fantz. CNN, November 30, 2012.
  28. ^ a b "Palestinians' UN upgrade to nonmember observer state: Struggles ahead over possible powers". The Associated Press. November 29, 2012. 
  29. ^ "Abbas has not taken practical steps toward seeking membership for Palestine in U.N. agencies, something made possible by the November vote". The Huffington Post. 7 January 2013. Retrieved 24 October 2014. 
  30. ^ "Website of the State of Palestine's Permanent Observer Mission to the United Nations". Retrieved 24 October 2014. 
  31. ^ "Palestinian Authority officially changes name to 'State of Palestine'". 5 January 2013. Retrieved 24 October 2014. 
  32. ^ Gharib, Ali (2012-12-20). "U.N. Adds New Name: "State of Palestine"". The Daily Beast. Retrieved 2013-01-10. 
  33. ^ [1]
  34. ^ FAQ: The Peace process with the Palestinians – Dec 2009. Retrieved on 2012-01-15.
  35. ^ From "Occupied Territories" to "Disputed Territories", by Dore Gold. Retrieved on 2012-01-15.
  36. ^
    • "Hamas is a radical Islamic fundamentalist organization that has stated that its highest priority is a Jihad (holy war) for the liberation of Palestine ..." Peace and War: The Arab–Israeli Military Balance Enters the 21st Century, by Anthony H. Cordesman, 2002, p. 243 [2]
    • "One of the secrets behind the success of Hamas is that it is an Islamic and national movement at one and the same time ..." "Hamas: Palestinian Identity, Islam, and National Sovereignty", by Meir Litvak, in Challenges to the Cohesion of the Arabic State, by Asher Susser, 2008, p. 153.[3]
    • "Hamas is an Islamic fundamentalist movement founded in 1987 ..." Understanding Terrorism: Challenges, Perspectives, and Issues, by Gus Martin, 2009, p. 153 [4]
    • "Hamas is an Islamic jihadist organization ..." Why Israel Can't Wait: The Coming War Between Israel and Iran, by Jerome R. Corsi, 2009, p. 39.[5]
    • "Understanding Islamism", Crisis Group Middle East/North Africa Report N°37, March 2, 2005
    • "Hamas leader condemns Islamist charity blacklist". Reuters. August 23, 2007. Retrieved January 28, 2009. 
    • Hider, James (October 12, 2007). "Islamist leader hints at Hamas pull-out from Gaza". The Times (London). Retrieved January 28, 2009. 
    • "The New Hamas: Between Resistance and Participation". Middle East Report. Graham Usher, August 21, 2005
    • "Council on Foreign Relations". Council on Foreign Relations. Retrieved May 27, 2010. 
  37. ^ a b "Hamas Charter". Retrieved 4 December 2013. 
  38. ^ [6] Archived July 9, 2009 at the Wayback Machine
  39. ^ [7] Archived October 10, 2008 at the Wayback Machine
  40. ^ "Powell visit highlights problems, 12/05/2003". Retrieved 24 October 2014. 
  41. ^ "Netanyahu to US: I'm leading Israel's policy. Ynet". 1995-06-20. Retrieved 2010-12-05. 
  42. ^ "Direct negotiations suspended. Ynet". 1995-06-20. Retrieved 2010-12-05. 
  43. ^ Ravid, Barak. "Lieberman presents plans for population exchange at UN. Haaretz". Retrieved 2010-12-05. 
  44. ^ Mozgovaya, Natasha. "Netanyahu: Israel, Palestinians can reach Mideast peace in a year. Haaretz". Retrieved 2010-12-05. 
  45. ^ Shamir, Shlomo (2010-10-12). "U.S. Jews outraged by Lieberman's UN speech on population exchange. Haaretz". Retrieved 2010-12-24. 
  46. ^ "Why Jews Fled the Arab Countries :: Middle East Quarterly". Retrieved 2010-12-05. 
  47. ^ More Israeli Jews favor transfer of Palestinians, Israeli Arabs - poll finds Ha'aretz
  48. ^ "The Arc: A Formal Structure for a Palestinian State". RAND Corporation. 2005. Retrieved 24 December 2010. 
  49. ^ (AFP) – Feb 13, 2009 (2009-02-13). "AFP: Palestinian ministers press for Israel 'war crimes' probe". Retrieved 2010-12-05. 
  50. ^ (AFP) – Dec 6, 2010 (2010-12-06). "Brazil, Argentina, Uruguay recognize Palestinian state". Retrieved 2010-12-24. 
  51. ^ "Evo oficializa reconocimiento de Palestina como estado soberano". 2010-11-30. Retrieved 2010-12-24. 
  52. ^
  53. ^ "Medvedev: As we did in 1988, Russia still recognizes an independent Palestine". 18 January 2011. Retrieved 24 October 2014. 
  54. ^ "Republic of Ireland's Palestine upgrade strains Israeli relations". Retrieved 24 October 2014. 
  55. ^ 3000 March Through Jerusalem for Palestine

External links[edit]