Palestine Overview

Palestine Overview

Palestine, the name in use since ancient times for the landscape, which roughly corresponds to the area of the present-day states of Israel and Jordan (excluding the deserts in the east).

The earliest human traces of Western Asia come from the Jordan country. The different tribes and cultures remained until the middle of the 1st millennium BC. Received. Then Palestine became part of the Persian Empire in 301 BC. It fell to the Ptolemies, 198 BC. To the Seleucids, then to the Jewish dynasty of the Maccabees. 63 BC Jerusalem was conquered by the Romans and formed a Roman province from the 1st century AD (70 AD, destruction of the Temple of Jerusalem by the Romans).

634–640 the Arabs conquered Palestine, from 878 it belonged to Egypt. In 1099 it was conquered by the Crusaders, whose Christian kingdom fell in 1291. From the 16th century to the First World War, Palestine was part of the Ottoman Empire. 1920-48 it was a British mandate area.

After the British Foreign Minister Arthur J. Balfour had already promised aid in 1917 for the establishment of a “national homestead” for the Jews in Palestine (Balfour Declaration), tens of thousands of Jews immigrated to Palestine. Contrasts between Jews and Arabs (Palestinians) led to unrest and bloody conflicts (Palestine Liberation Organization). In 1947, against Arab resistance, the UN decided to divide Palestine into a Jewish and an Arab state.

After the proclamation of the Jewish state of Israel in 1948/49, the 1st Israeli-Arab War (Palestine War) took place, as a result of which Israel expanded its territory beyond the UN partition plan and Jerusalem was divided. The eastern part fell to Jordan, a small strip with the city of Gaza to Egypt; from 1967 Israel occupied these parts of Palestine.

The unresolved question of Palestine has since formed the core of the Middle East conflict, which has only gradually been defused since the mutual recognition of Israel and the PLO and the Gaza-Jericho Agreement (on partial autonomy for the Palestinians in the Gaza Strip and in the city of Jericho) in September 1993. Further agreements specified the establishment and self-government of the Palestinian autonomous areas as well as the gradual withdrawal of the Israeli occupation. – See also Palestinian Territories.

National nature and climate

In geographical terms, Palestine is now the name for the area between the Mediterranean Sea in the west and the Jordan Rift to the Dead Sea in the east, between the Lebanon Mountains in the north and the northern edge of the Negev in the south. The core area is the areas north of the Gaza – Beersheba – Dead Sea line with the three historical landscapes of Judea, Samaria and Galilee. The largest river is the Jordan. Main lakes are the Dead Sea and the Sea of ​​Galilee. Palestine has a Mediterranean climate, with abundant winter rainfall in the mountains (often snow), less on the coast and sparse in the southern Jordan Valley. Summers are warm and winters on the coast are frost-free. Palestine has many holy places to Christianity, Judaism and Islam.

Palestine Liberation Organization

Palestinian liberation organization, organization of Arab Palestinians who – also with the involvement of military and terrorist means – pursue the goal on the ground To establish Palestine its own state.

Your umbrella organization of the Palestine Liberation Movement has been the Palestine Liberation Organization (abbreviation PLO, from English Palestine Liberation Organization) since 1964 , of which J. Arafat was chairman from 1969-2004 . The underground organization Al-Fatah has formed its core since 1968 (when it joined the PLO). In 1974 all Arab states recognized the PLO as the legitimate representative of the Palestinian people, in 1975 admission to the UN Security Council followed, and in 1976 admission to the Arab League.

After the expulsion from Beirut (1982), the PLO set up its headquarters in Tunis. At the head of the uprising (1st Intifada) of the Palestinians against the Israeli occupation forces, which has been going on since 1987, she proclaimed the State of Palestine in exile in 1988. In 1993 Israel and the PLO signed a framework plan (Gaza-Jericho Agreement) in Washington (D.C) for the long-term realization of the Palestinians’ right to self-determination. So far, however, there has not yet been a final peace settlement. – See also Middle East conflict, Palestinian territories.


Gaza [-z-], Gasa, Ghazzah, city on the Mediterranean Sea, in the coastal plain of southwestern Palestine, 515,600 inhabitants; central location of the Gaza Strip ; Commercial and industrial center; Islamic University (since 1971), Al-Azhar University (since 1991); Shipping port; Fishing.

Great Mosque (originally a 13th century Crusader church) with pillars from a 3rd century synagogue; on the coast remains of a five-aisled synagogue (508/509) with floor mosaics, excavated in 1968, in the central nave depiction of David in the robe of a Byzantine emperor as Orpheus among wild animals.


Mentioned in the Old Testament as the city of the Canaanites, Gaza was an Egyptian administrative center (15th – 13th centuries BC) and came into being in the 12th century BC. To the Philistines; from 734 BC Assyrian, later Babylonian and Persian. Gaza was the end of the Frankincense Route on the Mediterranean Sea and was founded in 332 BC. Conquered by Alexander the Great ; fell with Palestine from Rome (from 63 BC) to Byzantium (395); 635 Arabic, 1100–70 crusader fortress; 1516 Ottoman; after 1918 part of the British Mandate of Palestine. On June 26, 1994, the Palestinian National Authority was constituted in Gaza. The city suffered severe damage during the second intifada.

West Bank

West Bank (English West Bank), area in Western Asia west of the lower Jordan and the northern Dead Sea, about 5,655 km 2, with about 2.78 million inhabitants (excluding the Jewish settlers); it is seen as the core area of ​​the Palestinian state to be formed.

The West Bank was assigned to the Palestinians in the UN partition plan in 1947, annexed to Jordan in 1950 and occupied by Israel in 1967. In 1974, Jordan surrendered the territory in favor of the Palestinians, which was given to the PLO in 1988. In June 2002, Israel began cordoning off the West Bank with an electronically secured fence designed to prevent terrorists from infiltrating. The clarification of the state and international legal position of the West Bank turns out to be one of the key points of a permanent regulation of the Middle East conflict. – See also Palestinian Territories.

Palestine Overview