Last updated on: 10/14/2015 | Author:

How Were the Palestinian Territories Formed?

General Reference (not clearly pro or con)


This site was archived on Aug. 3, 2021. The two-state solution is no longer the most popular solution among the jurisdictions involved. A reconsideration of the topic is possible in the future.

The United Nations, in the “History of the Question of Palestine” section of its UNISPAL website (accessed Sep. 24, 2015), wrote:

“Palestine was among former Ottoman territories placed under UK administration by the League of Nations in 1922. All of these territories eventually became fully independent States, except Palestine, where in addition to ‘the rendering of administrative assistance and advice’ the British Mandate incorporated the ‘Balfour Declaration’ of 1917, expressing support for ‘the establishment in Palestine of a national home for the Jewish people’. During the Mandate, from 1922 to 1947, large-scale Jewish immigration, mainly from Eastern Europe took place, the numbers swelling in the 1930s with the Nazi persecution. Arab demands for independence and resistance to immigration led to a rebellion in 1937, followed by continuing terrorism and violence from both sides. UK considered various formulas to bring independence to a land ravaged by violence. In 1947, the UK turned the Palestine problem over to the UN…

After looking at alternatives, the UN proposed terminating the Mandate and partitioning Palestine into two independent States, one Palestinian Arab and the other Jewish, with Jerusalem internationalized (Resolution 181 (II) of 1947). One of the two envisaged States proclaimed its independence as Israel and in the 1948 war involving neighbouring Arab States expanded to 77 percent of the territory of mandate Palestine, including the larger part of Jerusalem. Over half of the Palestinian Arab population fled or were expelled. Jordan and Egypt controlled the rest of the territory assigned by resolution 181 to the Arab State. In the 1967 war, Israel occupied these territories (Gaza Strip and the West Bank) including East Jerusalem, which was subsequently annexed by Israel.”

Sep. 24, 2015

The Palestine Liberation Organization Negotiations Affairs Department (PLONAD), in the “Borders” section of its website (accessed Sep. 24, 2015), wrote:

“• Historic Palestine (pre-1948) encompasses all of Israel, the Gaza Strip, the West Bank and Jerusalem. In 1922, historic Palestine was placed under a British Mandate by the League of Nations.

• In 1947, the United Nations General Assembly recommended the partitioning of Palestine, against the wishes of the majority of our inhabitants. The Partition Plan allocated 55 percent of Palestine to a Jewish state. At the time, the Jewish population living in Palestine represented only one third of the total population and owned less than seven percent of the land.

• Almost immediately after the Partition Plan vote, organized Jewish militias began military campaigns to seize control over even more of historic Palestine’s territory than the UN partition plan had proposed. On May 14, 1948, after months of military expansion, Zionist forces declared the establishment of the State of Israel. The next day, neighboring Arab armies attacked Israel in reaction to the eruption. However, Israeli forces defeated Arab forces and by the end of the war in 1949, Israel controlled 78 percent of historic Palestine.

• During the June 1967 war, Israel militarily occupied the remaining 22 percent of historic Palestine, comprising the West Bank, including East Jerusalem, and the Gaza Strip. Only two weeks after the war’s end, Israel unilaterally annexed East Jerusalem, applying Israeli law to the Palestinian half of the city. Within one month, Israel began building illegal settlements in the oPt, in direct violation of international law. The international community immediately rejected Israel’s illegal annexation of the occupied Palestinian territory and continues to do so today.”

Sep. 24, 2015

Kirk Bailey, JD, Of Counsel at Carbon Cycle Investments – MPM Technologies, in an article for titled “A Brief History of Palestine,” (accessed Sep. 28, 2015), wrote:

“Palestine was a common name used until 1948 to describe the geographic region between the Mediterranean Sea and the Jordan River. In its history, the Assyrian, Babylonian, Roman, Byzantine, and Ottoman empires have controlled Palestine at one time or another. After World War I, Palestine was administered by the United Kingdom under a Mandate received in 1922 from the League of Nations. The modern history of Palestine begins with the termination of the British Mandate, the Partition of Palestine and the creation of Israel, and the ensuing Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

In 1947, the United Nations (U.N.) proposed a Partition Plan for Palestine titled ‘United Nations General Assembly Resolution 181 (II) Future Government of Palestine.’ The resolution noted Britain’s planned termination of the British Mandate for Palestine and recommended the partition of Palestine into two states, one Jewish and one Arab, with the Jerusalem-Bethlehem area protected and administered by the United Nations… The resolution called for the withdrawal of British forces and termination of the Mandate by August 1948 and establishment of the new independent states by October 1948.

Jewish leadership accepted the Partition Plan but Arab leaders rejected it. The Arab League threatened to take military measures to prevent the partition of Palestine and to ensure the national rights of the Palestinian Arab population. One day before the British Mandate expired [May 14, 1948], Israel declared its independence within the borders of the Jewish State set out in the Partition Plan. The Arab countries declared war on the newly formed State of Israel beginning the 1948 Arab-Israeli War.

After the war, which Palestinians call the Catastrophe, the 1949 Armistice Agreements established the separation lines between the combatants: Israel controlled some areas designated for the Arab state under the Partition Plan, Transjordan controlled the West Bank and East Jerusalem, and Egypt controlled the Gaza Strip.

The Six Day War was fought between June 5–10, 1967, with Israel emerging victorious and effectively seizing control of the Gaza Strip and the Sinai Peninsula from Egypt, the West Bank and East Jerusalem from Jordan, and the Golan Heights from Syria.”

Sep. 28, 2015

Max Fisher, MA, Content Director and Foreign Editor at Vox, in a July 17, 2014 article for Vox titled “9 Questions About the Israel-Palestine Conflict You Were Too Embarrassed to Ask,” available from, wrote:

“In 1947, the United Nations approved a plan to divide British Palestine into two mostly independent countries, one for Jews called Israel and one for Arabs called Palestine. Jerusalem, holy city for Jews and Muslims, was to be a special international zone.

The plan was never implemented. Arab leaders in the region saw it as European colonial theft and, in 1948, invaded to keep Palestine unified. The Israeli forces won the 1948 war, but they pushed well beyond the UN-designated borders to claim land that was to have been part of Palestine, including the western half of Jerusalem. They also uprooted and expelled entire Palestinian communities, creating about 700,000 refugees, whose descendants now number 7 million and are still considered refugees.

The 1948 war ended with Israel roughly controlling the territory that you will see marked on today’s maps as ‘Israel’; everything except for the West Bank and Gaza, which is where most Palestinian fled to (many also ended up in refugee camps in neighboring countries) and are today considered the Palestinian territories. The borders between Israel and Palestine have been disputed and fought over ever since. So has the status of those Palestinian refugees and the status of Jerusalem.”

July 17, 2014

Motti Golani, PhD, Professor of History at the University of Haifa (Israel), and Adel Manna, PhD, Director of the Academic Institute for Arab Teacher Training at Beit Berl College (Israel) at the time of the quote, in their 2011 book titled Two Sides of the Coin: Independence and Nakba 1948, Two Narratives of the 1948 War and Its Outcome, wrote:

“In the aftermath of World War I, ostensive nation states were established on the ruins of the Ottoman Empire within borders delineated by the European powers, under the leadership of Britain and France. These two powers divided up the areas of influence in a form of rule designated by the League of Nations as temporary ‘mandates’ to help enable the indigenous populations to rule themselves in their own independent countries when the time came…

By the summer of 1922, the British had already completed the process of dividing its Mandate into three separate Mandatory territories: Iraq in the East, Palestine in the West, and Transjordan nestled between the two…

[W]aves of violence in the spring of 1920, the fall of 1921, and the spring of 1922 were followed by a period of relative calm. Against this background, the Mandate government continued its efforts to establish a legislative council to constitute the future parliamentary foundation of a single state that would be a national home for the Jewish people and, at the same time, a bi-national Jewish-Arab state under British tutelage. This effort failed…

In April 1947, the British government announced that it wanted the UN to discuss the Mandate, and in May 1947 the UN General Assembly convened in New York for a special session on the question of Palestine…

The UNSCOP [UN Special Commission on Palestine] report of late August 1947 called for an end to the Mandate that had been awarded to Britain in 1922. The majority of the commission, accounting for nine of its eleven members, recommended partitioning the country into a state for the Jews and a state for the Arabs, and leaving Jerusalem under an international regime…

The resolution calling for the partition of Falastin [an Arabic pronunciation of Palestine] into two states and for international status for Jerusalem was ratified by the UN General Assembly on 29 November 1947, despite the opposition of the Arab states in general and the Palestinians in particular…

[The Palestinians] regarded the partition resolution of November 1947 as exploitative and unfair by any measure. It provided the Jewish minority, which held rights to approximately 7% of the land of Falastin, with the ability to establish a Jewish state on approximately 55% of the Palestinian homeland, while the Palestinian majority, which accounted for more than two-thirds of the population, was to receive only 45% of the land of the country…

On the afternoon of Friday 14 May 1948, 5 Iyar 5708, the People’s Council Chairman, David Ben-Gurion, declared the establishment of an independent Jewish state in the portion of the country designated by the UN Partition Resolution of 29 November 1947…

When the new state was only a few hours old, it was attacked by seven Arab countries…

At the end of the war, the Palestinians no longer posed a military threat to Israel… After the demarcation of the armistice lines that served as borders between Israel and the surrounding Arab states, Falastin disappeared from the map… Falastin had been divided into three parts: the State of Israel, which occupied approximately 78% of the area; the West Bank, which was annexed by Jordan; and the Gaza Strip, which remained under Egyptian military government and administration.”