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Since we do not advise traveling to the West Bank, our travel guide page is dedicated to Palestinian culture. This is Jetset Times West Bank Culture Guide.
Since traveling to the West Bank is not recommended, we're devoting this page to highlight education regarding the Palestinian people, culture and history.
Prior to the Ottoman Empire, Palestine had a variety of groups, including: Arabs, Assyrians, Babylonians, Crusaders, Egyptians, Fatimids, Greeks, Mamelukes, Persians, Romans, and the Seljuk Turks.
“Auto Emancipation” by Leon Pinsker was published. This was claimed as a founding document of the Zionist Movement, as it called for Jewish Colonies to establish in Palestine.
The Jewish State
Theodor Herzl, a Jewish activist who is considered the founder of modern political Zionism, wrote The Jewish State in 1986 to propose that the Jewish question should be settled by a world council of nations. In 1987, the first world Zionist Congress was organized, obtaining Jewish Sovereignty in Palestine was on their political agenda.
The League of Nations issued the British Mandate which claimed only Jewish people had a connection to Palestine. There was no reference to the Palestinians as a people. The mandate also gave British control over Palestine.
Partition Of Palestine
The United Nations proposed their plan of dividing Palestine into a Jewish state and an Arab state. The plan was called the “United Nations General Assembly Resolution 181 (II) Future Government of Palestine.”
The Establishment Of Israel And The Beginning Of The Arab-Israeli Wars
Indigenous Palestinians saw the Partition Plan as an extension of the long-running Zionist attempt to push the Palestinians out of the land, and not only does Great Britain formally withdraw from Palestine, but Israel formally declares its independence on May 14. In response to the declaration of Israel’s independence, the Arab States of Jordan, Iraq, Syria, and Egypt declare war on the new state – albeit not to defend the Palestinians. Israeli forces defeated the Palestinian militias and Arab armies. By the end of the battle in January, instead of Israel possessing 55% of Palestine, the new nations expanded well beyond those borders to 78%, possessing everything except the West Bank, Gaza Strip, and eastern quarter of Jerusalem.
Palestine Liberation Organization
Formed in 1964 during a summit in Cairo Egypt (1964 Arab League Summit,) the Palestine Liberation Organization, or PLO, emerged in response to the various compounding events that were taking place in the Middle East. PLO’s Palestine National Council (PNC) was first comprised of Palestinian civilians, who helped define the group’s goals, which initially included the destruction of Israel. Although PLO was not known to be violent during its early years, the organization has become associated with extremism, controversy, and terrorism.
The Six Day War
The brief Six-Day War in 1967 came as a result of increasing tensions and border skirmishes between Arabs and Israelis. After this war, fought June 5-10, Israel captured the Golan Heights from Syria, the West Bank and East Jerusalem from Jordan, and the Gaza Strip and Sinai desert from Egypt.
The First Intifada
The Intifada, or Palestinian uprising was triggered by the Israeli occupation of the West Bank and Gaza. This period of violence began one day after an Israeli truck crashed into a station wagon carrying Palestinian workers in Gaza, killing four and wounding ten people. Gaza Palestinians saw this incident as a deliberate act of retaliation against the killing of a Jew in Gaza several days before. By December 9, Palestinians took to the streets to protest.
This period of bloody conflict prompted a peace process known as the Oslo Accords. Arafat signed a series of treaties with Israeli Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin. The Oslo Accords established the Palestinian National Authority (PA), which functions as an agency of PLO, to govern parts of the West Bank and Gaza.
Throughout 2000 and 2005, Palestinian suicide bombers used increasingly powerful bombs to kill large numbers of Israelis in their terrorist attacks, with over 1,000 Israelis being killed and much more severely injured.
Hamas On The Rise
Hamas is known for carrying out terrorist acts in many countries, including Israel and the United States consider the group to be a terrorist organization. In 2006, Hamas won the majority of the seats in the Palestinian Authority Legislative Council elections.
Conflict between Fatah and Hamas
The conflict between PLO, specifically Fatah, and Hamas came to a boil in 2007. When violence broke out, a war between the two organizations ended with Hamas governing Gaza independently. In 2017, the two sides did reach a preliminary unity agreement, but there have been no further advancements.
Recognition Of Palestine As A State
President of the Palestinian National Authority, Mahmoud Abbas, made a speech in which he claimed he had intentions to proceed with requesting the recognition of Palestine as a state. The PA began pushing towards international recognition, and some was gained in 2012, but not full recognition.
After an Israeli court ruled that many Palestinians were to be evicted from their homes in Sheikh Jarrah so Jewish families could receive their land instead, Palestinians began to protest in Jerusalem. Tensions began to rise when Israeli police were sent out to use force against protestors. Then, violence ensued at the al-Aqsa Mosque in Jerusalem when officers began using stun-grenades, water cannons and more against Palestinian demonstrators. After several days of violence in Jerusalem, Hamas and Palestinian militants launched hundreds of rockets into Israel. Israel reacted by deploying air strikes, as well. The violence lasted eleven days.
On May 21, a ceasefire was reached and no side claimed victory.