Palestine Modern History
The collapse of the Ottoman Empire and the British administration. After the end of the First World War, the Palestine was entrusted in mandate to Great Britain and the desert region between the Dead Sea and the Gulf of Aqabah was included in the Palestinian territory, while the area E of the al-Ghür groove was assigned in the northernmost part (Golan) to Syria (French mandate) and for the rest to Trans; Jordan (English mandate); along the Mediterranean the Palestinian borders were marked south of Gaza by the traditional border with Egypt and north of Acre by that with the French mandate of Lebanon. The commitment made by the British government – with the Balfour declaration (➔ Balfour, Arthur James) of 1917 – to facilitate in Palestine the creation of a national headquarters for the Jewish people provoked a series of protests, accidents and attacks on Jewish settlements (which resulted in a real revolt in 1936), which lasted until 1939, when Britain withdrew the initial plan, presenting a new plan for the creation, within 10 years, of a single independent Palestinian state that would guarantee the essential interests of both communities. According to Campingship, the crisis re-exploded with violence after 1945; the United Nations General Assembly approved (1947) a plan for the partition of the Palestine between a Jewish state, an Arab state and an area, including Jerusalem, to be submitted to UN trusteeship, and the termination of the British mandate by 1 August 1948. The project was rejected by the Arabs;
The Palestinian resistance. After 1948, therefore, the history of Palestine came to identify itself, to a large extent, with that of the State of Israel. Despite this situation, the Arab-Palestinian population managed to maintain a feeling of national identity and since the 1950s the Palestinians gave rise to cultural, political and military resistance. The attacks conducted by the refugee collection areas and the Israeli reprisals that followed them helped to trigger both the 1956 and 1967 wars (➔ Arab-Israelis, wars). As regards relations between Israel and the Arab states, the “Six Days” war opened the way to an ever more explicit transformation of the dispute from the original contestation of the existence of the Jewish state to the conditions for peace with it. As for the Palestinian resistance, the extent of the defeat suffered by the Arab armies and the extension of control of Tel Aviv to the entire territory of the former mandate laid the foundations for its growth and transformation. Palestinians from the eastern sector of Jerusalem became part of the Israeli Arab population: qualified as “permanent residents”, they obtained the possibility of accessing Israeli citizenship, but only a minority applied for it. All the others were subjected to a regime of military administration which excluded them from civil and political rights. This situation was aggravated in the following years by the development of a colonization process of the West Bank and Gaza through Israeli settlements, by the progressive acquisition of land and water resources by the latter and by the occupation forces, and by the repressive measures adopted by the military administration. After 1967, Palestinian resistance grew rapidly and asserted its autonomy from the Arab states.
The action of the PLO. The Palestine Liberation Organization (➔ PLO) became the unified body of the Palestinian resistance, within which all political-military groups were represented. As a kind of embryonic state, the PLO gave itself in 1964 a Constitution (Palestinian National Charter, amended in 1968), a Parliament (Palestinian National Council), a government (Executive Committee, elected by the National Council), administrative structures, health, school, cultural. The organizational and military network of the resistance was developed above all in Lebanon and, until 1970, in Jordan. Expelled from Jordan in 1971, the PLO had to concentrate most of its forces in Lebanon, which was even more exposed to the violent Israeli incursions, helping to unleash the civil war that bloodied the country (1975-91). leader, Y. ‛Arafat, chairman of the PLO Executive Committee. The latter’s program envisaged the establishment of an independent Palestinian state on the entire territory of the former mandate and the armed struggle against Israel as the main means of obtaining it. Starting in 1974, however, the PLO took as an intermediate objective the establishment of an independent state in the Palestinian territories occupied by Israel in 1967 (Cis; Jordan and Gaza Strip) and, while not giving up the armed struggle, it showed itself more and more willing to pursue a political and diplomatic solution to the Palestinian question. In 1974 the PLO was recognized by the UN as the only legitimate representative of the Palestinian people and in the following years by most states and numerous international organizations; from 1976 he became a full member of the Arab League. Despite these successes, his position was weakened after 1977 by Egypt’s decision to conclude a separate peace with Israel, allowing him to recover Sinai: the Camp David agreements (1978) left the Palestinian question unresolved, but in the following years Tel Aviv was able to displace its forces towards the northern front and accentuate the pressure on Lebanon, aiming at a definitive liquidation of the PLO bases. This objective was partially achieved with the invasion of the country in 1982 and the occupation of its southern part until 1985, followed by the maintenance of Israeli control over a “security belt” in the extreme south of Lebanese territory. The organizational and military structures of the PLO were largely dispersed, the headquarters was moved to Tunis. The revolt of the Palestinian population contributed to a renewed unity of the resistance (➔ intifada) exploded in Gaza and the West Bank in 1987, which drew international attention to the serious situation of the occupied territories and relaunched the role of the PLO on the Middle Eastern scenario.