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Proposals for a Palestinian state

(The neutrality of this article is disputed.)

At the dissolution of the Ottoman Empire following WWI, the victorious European states sought to divide the Middle East into political entities according to their own needs, and, to a much lesser extent, according to deals that had been struck with other interested parties. Lebanon and Syria came under French control, while Iraq, Palestine and Transjordan came under British control. Most of these territories achieved independence during the following three decades without unusual difficulty, but the case of Palestine remained problematic.

The border between Palestine and Transjordan was never formally defined before WWI, but after both territories became under the League of Nations mandate, the part west of the Jordan River was administered as Palestine and the part east of the Jordan River was administered as Transjordan. For the history of Transjordan, which became the independent state of Jordan, see the article on Jordan.

The future of Palestine was contentious from the beginning of the Palestine Mandate, since it had been promised as the site of a Jewish homeland (see Balfour Declaration) yet most of the population were Arabs. It was also, according to one common view, the subject of British promises to the Arabs during WWI. Therefore it is not surprising that many different proposals have been made and continue to be made, including

  1. an Arab state, with or without a significant Jewish population
  2. a Jewish state, with or without a significant Arab population
  3. a single bi-national state, with or without some degree of cantonization
  4. two states, one Jewish and one Arab, with or without some form of federation.

Table of contents
1 Historical proposals and events
2 Current proposals for a Palestinian State
3 Peace Process
4 Historical Views
5 Modern view
6 Impediments to the establishment of a Palestinian state
7 Plans for a solution
8 Related articles

Historical proposals and events

Current proposals for a Palestinian State

The current position of the Palestinian Authority as well as Israel is that the West Bank and the Gaza Strip should form the basis of a future Palestinian state. In the following, the historical background is briefly reviewed and the current dispute analyzed. For additional discussion, see Palestinian territories.

Peace Process

A peace process has been in progress in spite of all the differences and conflicts. Milestones along this path have been the Madrid Peace Conference of 1991 and the 1993 Oslo Peace Accords between Palestinians and Israel. The process stalled with the collapse of the Camp David 2000 Summit between Palestinians and Israel.

Historical Views

Historical Israeli views

The traditional Israeli view has been that there is no such thing as a separate Palestinian people, but only Arabs. They already have several nations, and it is therefore unreasonable to demand that Israel should have any responsibility or part in establishing a nation for them. This is summarized by the famous statement of Israeli Prime Minister (1969-74) Golda Meir: "There was no such thing as Palestinians ... It was not as though there was a Palestinian people in Palestine considering itself as a Palestinian people and we came and threw them out and took their country away from them. They did not exist."

Since then, according to polls, the majority of Israelis have come to accept the likelihood that a Palestinian state will be created.

Historical Arab views

Many Arabs have supported or continue to support the creation of a united Arab state encompassing all Arab peoples including Palestine, so that no independent Palestinian state would exist, but this became a minority view amongst Palestinians during the British Mandate and after 1948 became rare. It is still an opinion expressed regularly in the Arab states outside Palestine (especially Syria). However, it is generally recognised that such a development has become implausible under current political realities and even those who might favor it in some circumstances support an independent Palestinian state as the most achievable option.

From 1948 until 1967, Gaza was held by Egypt, and the West Bank, including East Jerusalem, was held (annexed actually) by Jordan. During those years, there was a growing movement for the creation of a Palestinian state, leading to the creation of the PLO in 1964.

Modern view

The main discussion during the last fifteen years has focused on turning most or the whole of the Gaza Strip and the West Bank into an independent Palestinian state. This was the basis for the Oslo accords and it is favoured by the U.S. The status of Israel within the pre-1967 borders has not been the subject of international negotiations. Some members of the PLO recognize Israel's right to exist within these borders; others hold that Israel must eventually be destroyed. Consequently, some Israelis hold that Palestinian statehood is impossible with the current PLO as a basis, and needs to be delayed.

The specific points and impediments to the establishment of a Palestinian state are listed below. They are a part of a greater mindset difference. 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 small areas of the West Bank and Gaza. They feel that it is unacceptable for Israel to impose a multitude of additional restrictions (see below) which, they declare, makes a viable state impossible. In particular they are angered by significant increases in the Israeli settler population in the West Bank during the interim period of the Oslo accords. Palestinians claim that they have already waited for long enough, and that Israel's interests do not justify depriving their state of those rights that they consider important. Therefore, Palestinians have been unwilling to accept statehood in this Israeli mindset, which they refer to as a "Bantustan".

Impediments to the establishment of a Palestinian state

Note that the materials in this section are mainly based on the Israeli ([1], [1]) and Palestinian (class="external">[1) positions during the ill-fated Camp David negotiations.

Plans for a solution

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

Several plans have been proposed for a Palestinian state to incorporate all of the land of Israel proper, as well as the Gaza Strip and the West Bank. Some possible configurations include:

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