Palestine



Palestine is a conventional name, among others, used to describe the geographic region between the Mediterranean Sea and the Jordan River, and various adjoining lands. The region is also known as the Land of Israel (Hebrew: ארץ־ישראל Eretz-Yisra'el), the Holy Land and the Southern Levant, and historically has been known by other names including Canaan, Zion, Syria Palaestina, Southern Syria, Jund Filastin and Outremer.


The current Palestinian Territories are a sub-division of pre-1948, British Mandatory Palestine. United Nations-projected Arab-held areas of the former Mandate were greatly reduced after the 1948-1949 Israel War of Independence, when the embryonic state of Israel was first attacked by its Arab neighbours, then successfully defeated their armies, leading to a re-drawing of the internationally-recognised borders of Israel. Of course, these hostilities were accompanied by much bloodshed and displacement on both sides, much of the focus being on Palestinian refugees who fled in large numbers to neighbouring Arab countries, or to Gaza and the West Bank. The West Bank and Gaza Strip have been under Israeli occupation since 1967. Prior to that, the West Bank was under Jordanian occupation (Jordan annexed the West Bank in 1950 but this was only recognized by themselves and the United Kingdom) and the Gaza Strip was under Egyptian control. In 2000, the Second or Al-Aqsa Intifada began, and Israel built a security barrier.


Following Israel's unilateral disengagement plan of 2004, it withdrew all settlers and most of the military presence from the Gaza strip, but maintained control of the air space and coast.

                

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