State of Palestine

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For other uses, see Palestine (disambiguation).
State of Palestine[i]
دولة فلسطين
Dawlat Filasṭīn
Flag Coat of arms
Anthem: "فدائي"
"My Redemption"
Territory claimed by the State of Palestine (green)[3]Territory also claimed by Israel (light green)
Territory claimed by the State of Palestine (green)3
Territory also claimed by Israel (light green)
  • Proclaimed
  • Administrative
Largest city Gaza
31°31′N 34°27′E / 31.517°N 34.450°E / 31.517; 34.450
Official languages Arabic
Government De jure parliamentary republic operating de facto as a semi-presidential republic6
 -  President Mahmoud Abbasb
 -  Prime Minister Rami Hamdallah
 -  Speaker of Parliament Salim Zanoun
Legislature Legislative Council
 -  Declaration of Independence 15 November 1988 
 -  UNGA observer state resolution 29 November 2012 
 -  Sovereignty dispute with Israel Ongoingc[iii]78 
 -  Total 6,220 km2
 - West Bank: 5,860 km2
 - Gaza Strip: 360 km29

2,400 sq mi
 -  Water (%) 3.510
 -  2014 estimate 4,550,36811 (123rd)
 -  Density 731/km2
1,895/sq mi
GDP (PPP) 2008a estimate
 -  Total $11.95 billiona ()
 -  Per capita $2,900a ()
Gini (2009) 35.512
HDI (2013) Steady 0.68613
medium · 107th
Time zone (UTC+2)
 -  Summer (DST)  (UTC+3)
Date format dd/mm/yyyy
Drives on the right
Calling code +970
ISO 3166 code PS
Internet TLD .ps
a. Population and economy statistics and rankings are based data of the PCBS.
b. Also the leader of the state's government.[iv]
c. The territories claimed are under Israeli occupation.

The State of Palestine[i] (Arabic: دولة فلسطينDawlat Filasṭīn), also known simply as Palestine, is a partially recognized proto-state in the Middle East.1516 Its independence was declared on 15 November 1988 by the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) in Algiers as a government-in-exile. The State of Palestine claims the West Bank and Gaza Strip,3 with Jerusalem as the designated capital,[ii]45 with partial control of those areas assumed in 1994 as the Palestinian Authority. Most of the areas claimed by the State of Palestine have been occupied by Israel since 1967 in the aftermath of the Six-Day War.8 The Palestinian Authority applied for United Nations (UN) membership in 20113 and in 2012 was granted a non-member observer state status.1516


Since the British Mandate, the term "Palestine" has been associated with the geographical area that currently covers the State of Israel, the West Bank and the Gaza Strip.17 General use of the term "Palestine" or related terms to the area at the southeast corner of the Mediterranean Sea beside Syria has historically been taking place since the times of Ancient Greece, with Herodotus writing of a "district of Syria, called Palaistine" in which Phoenicians interacted with other maritime peoples in The Histories.18


In 1947, the UN adopted a partition plan for a two-state solution in the remaining territory of the mandate. The plan was accepted by the Jewish leadership, but rejected by the Arab leaders and Britain refused to implement the plan. On the eve of final British withdrawal, the Jewish Agency for Israel declared the establishment of the State of Israel according to the proposed UN plan. The Arab Higher Committee did not declare a state of its own and instead, together with Transjordan, Egypt, and the other members of the Arab League of the time, commenced military action resulting in the 1948 Arab–Israeli War. During the war, Israel gained additional territories that were expected to form part of the Arab state under the UN plan. Egypt occupied the Gaza Strip and Transjordan occupied the West Bank. Egypt initially supported the creation of an All-Palestine Government, but disbanded it in 1959. Transjordan never recognized it and instead decided to incorporate the West Bank with its own territory to form Jordan. The annexation was ratified in 1950 but was rejected by the international community. The Six-Day War in 1967, when Egypt, Jordan, and Syria fought against Israel, ended with Israel being in occupation of the West Bank and Gaza Strip, besides other territories.

In 1964, when the West Bank was controlled by Jordan, the Palestine Liberation Organization was established there with the goal to confront Israel. The Palestinian National Charter of the PLO defines the boundaries of Palestine as the whole remaining territory of the mandate, including Israel. Following the Six-Day War, the PLO moved to Jordan, but later relocated to Lebanon after Black September in 1971.

The October 1974 Arab League summit designated the PLO as the "sole legitimate representative of the Palestinian people" and reaffirmed "their right to establish an independent state of urgency."19 In November 1974, the PLO was recognized as competent on all matters concerning the question of Palestine by the UN General Assembly granting them observer status as a "non-state entity" at the UN.2021 After the 1988 Declaration of Independence, the UN General Assembly officially acknowledged the proclamation and decided to use the designation "Palestine" instead of "Palestine Liberation Organization" in the UN.2223 In spite of this decision, the PLO did not participate at the UN in its capacity of the State of Palestine's government.24

In 1979, through the Camp David Accords, Egypt signaled an end to any claim of its own over the Gaza Strip. In July 1988, Jordan ceded its claims to the West Bank—with the exception of guardianship over Haram al-Sharif—to the PLO. In November 1988, the PLO legislature, while in exile, declared the establishment of the "State of Palestine". In the month following, it was quickly recognised by many states, including Egypt and Jordan. In the Palestinian Declaration of Independence, the State of Palestine is described as being established on the "Palestinian territory", without explicitly specifying further. Because of this, some of the countries that recognised the State of Palestine in their statements of recognition refer to the "1967 borders", thus recognizing as its territory only the occupied Palestinian territory, and not Israel. The UN membership application submitted by the State of Palestine also specified that it is based on the "1967 borders".3 During the negotiations of the Oslo Accords, the PLO recognised Israel's right to exist, and Israel recognised the PLO as representative of the Palestinian people. Between 1993 and 1998, the PLO made commitments to change the provisions of its Palestinian National Charter that are inconsistent with the aim for a two-state solution and peaceful coexistence with Israel.

After Israel took control of the West Bank from Jordan and Gaza Strip from Egypt, it began to establish Israeli settlements there. These were organised into Judea and Samaria district (West Bank) and Hof Aza Regional Council (Gaza Strip) in the Southern District. Administration of the Arab population of these territories was performed by the Israeli Civil Administration of the Coordinator of Government Activities in the Territories and by local municipal councils present since before the Israeli takeover. In 1980, Israel decided to freeze elections for these councils and to establish instead Village Leagues, whose officials were under Israeli influence. Later this model became ineffective for both Israel and the Palestinians, and the Village Leagues began to break up, with the last being the Hebron League, dissolved in February 1988.25

In 1993, in the Oslo Accords, Israel acknowledged the PLO negotiating team as "representing the Palestinian people", in return for the PLO recognizing Israel's right to exist in peace, acceptance of UN Security Council resolutions 242 and 338, and its rejection of "violence and terrorism".26 As a result, in 1994 the PLO established the Palestinian National Authority (PNA or PA) territorial administration, that exercises some governmental functions[iii] in parts of the West Bank and the Gaza Strip.2728 In 2007, the Hamas takeover of Gaza Strip politically and territorially divided the Palestinians, with Abbas's Fatah left largely ruling the West Bank and recognized internationally as the official Palestinian Authority,29 while Hamas has secured its control over the Gaza Strip. In April 2011, the Palestinian parties signed an agreement of reconciliation, but its implementation had stalled29 until a unity government was formed on 2 June 2014.30

As envisioned in the Oslo Accords, Israel allowed the PLO to establish interim administrative institutions in the Palestinian territories, which came in the form of the PNA. It was given civilian control in Area B and civilian and security control in Area A, and remained without involvement in Area C. In 2005, following the implementation of Israel's unilateral disengagement plan, the PNA gained full control of the Gaza Strip with the exception of its borders, airspace, and territorial waters.[iii] Following the inter-Palestinian conflict in 2006, Hamas took over control of the Gaza Strip (it already had majority in the PLC), and Fatah took control of the West Bank. From 2007, the Gaza Strip was governed by Hamas, and the West Bank by Fatah.

On 29 November 2012, in a 138–9 vote (with 41 abstentions and 5 absences),31 the United Nations General Assembly passed resolution 67/19, upgrading Palestine from an "observer entity" to a "non-member observer state" within the United Nations system, which was described as recognition of the PLO's sovereignty.1516323334 Palestine's new status is equivalent to that of the Holy See.not in citation given35 The UN has permitted Palestine to title its representative office to the UN as "The Permanent Observer Mission of the State of Palestine to the United Nations",36 and Palestine has instructed its diplomats to officially represent "The State of Palestine"—no longer the Palestinian National Authority.34 On 17 December 2012, UN Chief of Protocol Yeocheol Yoon declared that "the designation of 'State of Palestine' shall be used by the Secretariat in all official United Nations documents",37 thus recognising the title 'State of Palestine' as the state's official name for all UN purposes. As of 14 September 2015, 136 (70.5%) of the 193 member states of the United Nations have recognised the State of Palestine.3338 Many of the countries that do not recognise the State of Palestine nevertheless recognise the PLO as the "representative of the Palestinian people". The PLO's Executive Committee is empowered by the Palestinian National Council to perform the functions of government of the State of Palestine.39



The destroyed Palestinian Legislative Council building in Gaza City, Gaza–Israel conflict, September 2009

The State of Palestine consists of the following institutions that are associated with the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO):

These should be distinguished from the President of the Palestinian National Authority, Palestinian Legislative Council (PLC) and PNA Cabinet, all of which are instead associated with the Palestinian National Authority.

The State of Palestine's founding document is the Palestinian Declaration of Independence,6 and it should be distinguished from the unrelated PLO Palestinian National Covenant and PNA Palestine Basic Law.

Map of the Palestinian Authority showing the area currently under Palestinian administration in red (Areas A and B).
Map of the Palestinian Governorates.

Administrative divisions

The State of Palestine is divided into sixteen administrative divisions.

Name Area44 Population Density muhfaza or district capital
Jenin 583 311,231 533.84 Jenin
Tubas 402 64,719 160.99 Tubas
Tulkarm 246 182,053 740.05 Tulkarm
Nablus 605 380,961 629.68 Nablus
Qalqiliya 166 110,800 667.46 Qalqilya
Salfit Governorate 204 70,727 346.7 Salfit
Ramallah & Al-Bireh 855 348,110 407.14 Ramallah
Jericho & Al Aghwar 593 52,154 87.94 Jericho
Jerusalem 345 419,108a 1214.8a Jerusalem (De Jure and disputed)
Bethlehem 659 216,114 927.94 Bethlehem
Hebron 997 706,508 708.63 Hebron
North Gaza 61 362,772 5947.08 Jabalyacitation needed
Gaza 74 625,824 8457.08 Gaza City
Deir Al-Balah 58 264,455 4559.56 Deir al-Balah
Khan Yunis 108 341,393 3161.04 Khan Yunis
Rafah 64 225,538 3524.03 Rafah

a. Data from Jerusalem includes occupied East Jerusalem with its Israeli population

The governorates in the West Bank are grouped into three areas per the Oslo II Accord. Area A forms 18% of the West Bank by area, and is administered by the Palestinian government.4546 Area B forms 22% of the West Bank, and is under Palestinian civil control, and joint Israeli-Palestinian security control.4546 Area C, except East Jerusalem, forms 60% of the West Bank, and is administered by the Israeli Civil Administration, except that the Palestinian government provides the education and medical services to the 150,000 Palestinians in the area.45 More than 99% of Area C is off limits to Palestinians.47 There are about 330,000 Israelis living in settlements in Area C,48 in the Judea and Samaria Area. Although Area C is under martial law, Israelis living there are judged in Israeli civil courts.49

East Jerusalem, the proclaimed capital of Palestine, is administered as part of the Jerusalem District of Israel, but is claimed by Palestine as part of the Jerusalem Governorate. It was annexed by Israel in 1980,45 but this annexation is not recognised by any other country.50 Of the 456,000 people in East Jerusalem, roughly 60% are Palestinians and 40% are Israelis.4551

Foreign relations

Representation of the State of Palestine is performed by the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO). In states that recognise the State of Palestine it maintains embassies. The Palestine Liberation Organization is represented in various international organizations as member, associate or observer. Because of inconclusiveness in sources52 in some cases it is impossible to distinguish whether the participation is executed by the PLO as representative of the State of Palestine, by the PLO as a non-state entity or by the PNA.

International recognition

International recognition of the State of Palestine

On 15 December 1988, the State of Palestine's declaration of independence of November 1988 was acknowledged in the General Assembly with Resolution 43/177.53

As of 14 September 2015, 136 (70.5%) of the 193 member states of the United Nations have recognised the State of Palestine. Many of the countries that do not recognise the State of Palestine nevertheless recognise the PLO as the "representative of the Palestinian people". The PLO's executive committee is empowered by the PNC to perform the functions of government of the State of Palestine.39

On 29 November 2012,31 UN General Assembly resolution 67/19 passed, upgrading Palestine to "non-member observer state" status in the United Nations.3334 The change in status was described as "de facto recognition of the sovereign state of Palestine".54

On 3 October 2014, new Swedish Prime Minister Stefan Löfven used his inaugural address in parliament to announce that Sweden would recognise the state of Palestine. The official decision to do so was made on 30 October, making Sweden the first long-term member country of the EU to recognise the state of Palestine. Most of the EU's 28 member states have refrained from recognising Palestinian statehood and those that do - such as Hungary, Poland and Slovakia - did so before joining the bloc.555657

On 13 October 2014, the UK House of Commons voted by 274 to 12 in favour of recognising Palestine as a state.58 The House of Commons backed the move "as a contribution to securing a negotiated two-state solution" - although less than half of MPs took part in the vote. However, the UK government is not bound to do anything as a result of the vote: its current policy is that it "reserves the right to recognise a Palestinian state bilaterally at the moment of our choosing and when it can best help bring about peace".59

On 2 December 2014, the French parliament voted by 331 to 151 in favour of urge their government to recognise Palestine as a sate. The text, proposed by the ruling Socialists and backed by left-wing parties and some conservatives, asked the government to "use the recognition of a Palestinian state with the aim of resolving the conflict definitively".60

On 31 December 2014, the United Nations voted down a resolution demanding the end of Israeli occupation and statehood by 2017. Eight members voted for the Resolution (Russia, China, France, Argentina, Chad, Chile, Jordan, Luxembourg), however following strenuous US and Israeli efforts to defeat the resolution,61 it did not get the minimum of nine votes needed to pass the resolution. Australia and the United States voted against the resolution, with five other nations abstaining.626364

On 10 January 2015, the first Palestinian embassy in a western European country is open in Stockholm, Sweden.65

On 13 May 2015, the Vatican announced it was shifting recognition from the PLO to the State of Palestine, confirming a recognition of Palestine as a state after the UN vote of 2012.66 Monsignor Antoine Camilleri, Vatican foreign minister, said the change was in line with the evolving position of the Holy See, which has referred unofficially to the State of Palestine since Pope Francis's visit to the Holy Land in May 2014.67

Legal status

There are a wide variety of views regarding the status of the State of Palestine, both among the states of the international community and among legal scholars. The existence of a state of Palestine, although controversial, is a reality in the opinions of the states that have established bilateral diplomatic relations.68697071

Paramilitary forces

The State of Palestine has a paramilitary force called the Palestinian National Security Forces, with the function of maintaining security and protecting Palestinian citizens and the Palestinian State.


Palestinian children in Jenin, a city on the West Bank

According to the Palestinian Central Bureau of Statistics, the State of Palestine had population of 4,420,549 people in 2013.72 Within an area of 6,220 square kilometres (2,400 sq mi), there is a population density of 731 people per square kilometre.citation needed To put this in a wider context, the average population density of the world was 53 people per square kilometre according to Wikipedia's List of sovereign states and dependent territories by population density based on data from July 5, 2014.unreliable source?






Water supply and sanitation


Main article: Culture of Palestine


There are a number of newspapers, news agencies, and satellite television stations in the State of Palestine. News agencies include Ma'an News Agency, Wafa, Palestine News Network and the satellite television includes Al-Aqsa TV, Al-Quds TV, Sanabel TV.


Palestinian citizens like to play football (soccer), rugby, and to participate in other athletic activities. Football is the most popular sport among the Palestinian people. The Palestine national football team performs a great role, helping to spread the sport of football in the State of Palestine.

See also


i.   ^ Note that the name Palestine can commonly be interpreted as the entire territory of the former British Mandate, which today also incorporates Israel. The history was expressed by Mahmoud Abbas in his September 2011 speech to the United Nations: "... we agreed to establish the State of Palestine on only 22% of the territory of historical Palestine - on all the Palestinian Territory occupied by Israel in 1967."73 The name is also officially used as the short-form reference to the State of Palestine4 and this should be distinguished from other homonymous uses for the term including the Palestinian Authority,74 the Palestine Liberation Organization,22 and the subject of other proposals for the establishment of a Palestinian state.
ii.   ^ The Palestinian Declaration of Independence proclaims the "establishment of the State of Palestine on our Palestinian territory with its capital Jerusalem (Al-Quds Ash-Sharif)."6 The same decision was taken also by the PLC in May 2002 when it approved the PNA Basic Law, which states unambiguously "Jerusalem is the Capital of Palestine".75 Ramallah is the administrative capital where government institutions and foreign representative offices are located. Jerusalem's final status awaits future negotiations between Israel and the Palestinian Authority (see "Negotiating Jerusalem", University of Maryland at the Wayback Machine (archived May 14, 2006)). The United Nations and most countries do not accept Israel's annexation of East Jerusalem through the Jerusalem Law of 1980 (see Kellerman 1993, p. 140) and maintain their embassies to Israel in Tel Aviv (see the The World Factbook. Central Intelligence Agency).
iii.   ^ Israel allows the PNA to execute some functions in the Palestinian territories, depending on the area classification. It maintains minimal interference (retaining control of borders: air,76 sea beyond internal waters,7677 land78) in the Gaza Strip (its interior and Egypt portion of the land border are under Hamas control), and varying degrees of interference elsewhere.7980818283 See also Israeli-occupied territories.
iv.   ^ So far both presidents of the State of Palestine, Yasser Arafat and his successor Mahmoud Abbas, were appointed beforehand as Chairman of the Executive Committee of the Palestine Liberation Organization, the committee performing the functions of State of Palestine government.3339 See also Leaders of Palestinian institutions.


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Further reading

External links