From the UN partition resolution to the Oslo peace process
On November 29, 1947, the UN General Assembly then decided to partition Palestine. The 1,364,000 Palestinians were granted 42.88% of the total area of the British Mandate, and the 608,000 Jews 56.47% of the land. The international zone of Jerusalem should make up 0.65% of the area.
The Arab states rejected the partition plan on the grounds that the United Nations did not have the right to decide on the future of Palestine against the will and at the expense of the Arab majority living there. The Jewish population accepted the partition plan because it offered them the prospect of a state of their own with broad international recognition, and seemed capable of expansion.
After the first Middle East War, which began the day after the proclamation of the State of Israel by David Ben Gurion on May 14, 1948, with an attack on neighboring Arab states to reverse the founding of the State of Israel, Israel controlled 78% of the former Mandate Palestine. The Palestinian Territories, that is, the Gaza Strip and the West Bank, made up 22%. The armistice line (“Green Line”) between Israel and the neighboring Arab states was established in four agreements. However, it does not represent a permanent limit. This is left to future peace treaties.
During the armed conflicts before and after the establishment of the Israeli state in 1948, around 750,000 Palestinians were expelled or fled from what is now the territory of the State of Israel. The majority of the Palestinian villages were destroyed. Only about 150,000 Palestinians stayed in Israel and now make up about a fifth of the Israeli population (about 1.6 million). The war and its aftermath have engraved themselves in the memory of the Palestinian people as “Nakba” (Arabic catastrophe).
In June 1967 the Israeli army occupied the Egyptian-administered Gaza Strip and the West Bank annexed by Transjordan in 1950 (“Six Day War”) in a preventive attack. According to the UN, 250,000 to 300,000 Palestinians fled, many of them for the second time, mainly to neighboring Arab states. 800,000 to 900,000 Palestinians came under Israeli occupation. Then began the illegal settlement of the occupied Palestinian territories.
After the Six-Day War, the armed Palestinian guerrilla groups took over the leadership of the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO), which was founded in 1964 by the Palestinian National Council in Jerusalem, but had no influence in the first few years. In 1969, Yasser Arafat, who had already become chairman of the Fatah movement in 1968, also took over the chairmanship of the PLO (and held it until his death in 2004). Following the example of other liberation movements, the PLO relied on armed struggle as the “only way to liberate Palestine” (Article 9 of the Palestinian National Charter).
In December 1987, a car accident in the Gaza Strip in which four Palestinians were killed sparked the first “intifada”. Despite brutal methods (Defense Minister Yitzchak Rabin gave orders to break the bones of stone throwers), the Israeli army was unable to control the uprising. Duties and taxes were no longer paid, strikes were carried out and Israeli products were boycotted in order to decouple Palestine from the Israeli structures.
At the meeting of the Palestinian National Council in Algiers in November 1988, the State of Palestine was proclaimed and the renunciation of terrorism declared on the basis of UN partition resolution 181 and resolutions 242 and 338. However, the Palestinians’ hopes for general international recognition of this state were not fulfilled.
The Oslo Peace Process
After secret negotiations in Oslo, the Oslo Peace Process was officially launched in September 1993 with the “Declaration of Principles on Temporary Self-Government”. The Declaration of Principles contains general principles for a five-year interim phase of Palestinian self-government. Final status issues have been postponed to pending negotiations. The PLO recognized the State of Israel and Israel recognized the PLO as the legitimate representative of the Palestinian people.
With the Gaza-Jericho Agreement (Oslo I Agreement) signed in Cairo on May 4, 1994, the Palestinians were granted self-governing territory for the first time since 1967 and the Palestinian (National) Authority, P (N) A) was established.
According to ANIMALERTS, the Oslo II Agreement of September 1995 extended autonomy in the West Bank and divided the West Bank into three zones: Zone A, B and C. At the end of that year, Israel withdrew its troops from most of the cities of the West Bank (Zone A) and the Palestinian Authority took over responsibility for civil administration and internal security. In January 1996, Yasser Arafat was elected President of the Palestinian Authority. His Fatah movement won 51 of the 88 seats on the newly created Palestinian Legislative Council.
The further schedule envisaged the withdrawal of the Israeli army gradually from further Palestinian areas and thus the expansion of the area under the jurisdiction of the PA. In May 1999 this process should be completed with the signing of a definitive peace agreement and the creation of an independent state of Palestine. However, there have been enormous delays in implementing the agreements on the Israeli side.
In January 1997 – after tough negotiations – the Hebron Agreement was concluded. It stipulated that 80% of the Israeli army would withdraw from Hebron. A temporary international presence in Hebron (TIPH) was also agreed, but Israel did not renew its mandate after 20 years in January 2019.
In March 2000, after the last regrouping, around 40% of the Gaza Strip and 60% of the West Bank (Zone C) were still under full Israeli control.