History of Palestine – from beginning till today

Palestine is a geographic state in Western Asia sited on the eastern shore of the Mediterranean Sea and the West of Jordan River. Palestine is the name the given to the land by Romans in the second century. The word Palestine is derived from the Greek term Palaestina, or Land of the Philistines. It is also called the Holy Land as it is sacred to all the three religions Christians, Jews, and Muslims. Many important events of each religion had occurred on the land, mostly in Jerusalem. The region has a rich history of the human environment, agricultural societies, and culture. Palestine in the earliest days was part of that section of the land which is known as Canaan. Later on, it was the region where the Kingdoms of Israel and Judah were located.[irp]

Palestine’s geological area has the land which was conquered time after time by the great kingdoms such as Assyrian, Babylonian, Roman, Byzantine, and Ottoman that had control of Mediterranean and the Middle East. The regions which are once part of this land are Israel, the Gaza Strip, the West Bank, and parts of Egypt, Jordan, and Syria. During World War I the British government captured Jerusalem. Britain got authorization over Palestine in 1922. The land was under direct British administration until 1948. In 1947, the British Government declared its plan to end its rule over Palestine. The United Nations General Assembly decided to divide Palestine into two independent states Arab and Jewish. And a special international rule for Jerusalem. The Arabs didn’t accept the plan of partition of Palestine, but the Jews announced the independence of the State of Israel in 1948.

Those facts which create the modern history of Palestine are the end of the British rule, the division of Palestine and emerging of the new state of Israel, and the consequent Israeli-Palestinian conflict. Many wars fought between Israel and Palestine in 1948, 1967 and others. In 1993, The Palestinian national movement gradually creates The Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO).  The PLO under the command of Yasser Arafat step by step internationally recognizes as the representative of the Palestinian people and their top umbrella and sheltering group.  Different political groups come into power in Palestine from time to time. In 2006; Hamas won the Palestinian legislative elections and defeat the PLO and Fatah. It took control of the Gaza Strip in 2007. This will start a never ending exchange of violence between Israel and Palestine. In 2008-09 and again in 2014, Israel started a military operation against Palestine and bombed militants in Gaza. These operations were highly criticized by the world for causing civilian deaths.

In October 2011, State of Palestine became the member of UNESCO. In 2012, it gained the status of non-member observer state in the United Nations. It is a major step or progress that let it participate in General Assembly debates and smooth its ways to join other UN agencies. The main problem for the Palestinians at the start of the 21st century was the constant struggle for a homeland and freedom in Palestine. Joblessness and shortage of the things of basic need are also major problems. The majority of the population is of the young people who have never spent life outside a refugee camp. They only see in their daily lives the conflict, bloodshed, uncontrolled unemployment, and frequent instability. The roots of Palestinian financial system are completely in agriculture, livestock, and fishing. 90 percent of the economy and external trade of Palestine depend on Israel.

Since last few years, Palestinian economy had faced grave setbacks. It is difficult for Palestinian to get jobs in Israel especially after the year 1987 as stress between Israelis and Palestinians Increased in last years. But in 1998 by opening the new Gaza International Airport, Palestinians are hopeful that it will improve the economy. The state can now Trade directly with Europe rather than depending on Israel. Islam is the prime religion in Palestine, comprising about 75percent of the population. Most Palestinian Muslims belong to the Sunni faith. The education plays a key role in the history of the countries. In Palestine Education are a priority and a prime important matter. Obtaining a university degree is a high priority for Palestinians. The school system of Gaza is based on Egypt’s educational system and the West Bank’s system has its roots in Jordan’s system. The Palestinian population is under age fifteen so there are several educational and cultural centers at each level of education. There are different schools for a different class of children. Most children get a free education from government institutes from kindergarten to high school. Children from rich families may go an Islamic or a Christian school of their choice.

There is a huge gap between the different communities in Palestine. Two separate lifestyles within the Palestinian community have been coming out since few years. These distinct cultures are adding to the frustration and anger of ordinary Palestinians. one extreme group of Palestinians are those who were sophisticated and qualified from private schools and most were living in the United States and Europe before their parents came back to their homeland in Palestine, many of the 1993 Oslo settlements, moving back with their children. Those classes of people get the most excellent jobs through social or political links, and many show off their money and cars. At the other side, these are the people who are in majority in Palestine. Those are the extreme who remained in Palestine the whole time even during the Israeli occupation and who pass their days doing basic everyday jobs in poor quality. The gap between rich and poor may create a bigger dilemma than achieving the goals sought in negotiating the final sovereignty status of the territories.[irp]

In 1993, the first step to Palestinian rule in the occupied regions was signing a historical accord with Israel in which Israel first time directly negotiate with PLO and reached the conclusion of limited Palestinian independence in Gaza and Jericho city in the West Bank. The Palestinian National Authority (PNA) was made arrangement for an instrument of Palestinian temporary self-governance. In the beginning of 1996, most of the areas in the West Bank had come under Palestinian control. The PNA consists of 88 members of Palestinian Legislative Council which is an elected body. Yasser Arafat was elected president in 1996. In the initial months of 2001, Arafat had the de facto actual government of the occupied areas. The Palestinian National Authority has set up a judicial system also.   However, the Palestinian land had a rich regional and cultural history but the fact is that the unending bloodshed by the Israel armed forces constantly crushing the peace process and peace agreements. A peaceful and stable Palestinian state in the Middle East still seemed hard to imagine at the beginning of the twenty-first century.

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Steve has been living in Saudi Arabia since 2013 and writing about Saudi rules, regulations, guides, and procedures since then.