unctad.org | Background: The question of Palestine
Background: The question of Palestine
 
 
Occupied by Israel since June 1967, the West Bank- including East Jerusalem- and the Gaza Strip have come to constitute the occupied Palestinian territory (oPt). These territories, along with Israel, form the area of the former British Mandate over Palestine, intended under the terms of United Nations General Assembly Resolution 181 of 1947 to be partitioned into two States, one Arab and another Jewish. While the State of Israel was established on 15 May 1948 and admitted to the United Nations, a Palestinian State was not established. The remaining territories of pre-1948 Palestine, the West Bank and Gaza Strip, were administered from 1948 till 1967 by Jordan and Egypt, respectively. Since the occupation of the territories by Israel in 1967, the international community has repeatedly upheld the need for implementation of Security Council resolutions 242 and 338, which call for withdrawal of Israel from the occupied territories.
 
Peace accords between the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO), representing the Palestinian people, and the Government of Israel since 1993 aimed at ending decades of conflict through implementating the two-State solution.
 
The period since 1993 saw the Israeli military withdrawal from some parts of the oPt, and the establishment of the Palestinian Authority by the PLO in 1994 to assume the tasks of government in these areas. The international community was quick to support Palestinian State-building and development efforts, with financial resources and technical assistance to public and private sector institutions.
 
However, the intensification of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict since late September 2000 and the tightening of the Israeli movement restrictions in the oPt have reversed economic gains since 1993, disrupted the peace process and threatened the Palestinian State formation process, with serious socio-economic consequences. Nevertheless, the legitimacy of Palestinian statehood, long upheld by the United Nations General Assembly, was given additional support by Security Council Resolution 1397 of 2002, which affirmed the international community´s vision of two States, Israel and Palestine, living side by side within secure and recognized borders. This global consensus has since become one of the major goals of initiatives to achieve a permanent peace agreement.
 
Notwithstanding the adverse impact of the intensification of conflict, Israeli settlement activities, the Separation Barrier and the closure policy, the peace process since 1993 have resulted in irreversible steps towards the establishment of the economic institutions for a sovereign Palestinian State as envisioned by the international community. The Palestinian Authority remains committed to creating a vibrant economy, with the private sector assuming a leading role in harmony with the strategic development interests of the Palestinian people and aspirations for an independent and viable State.

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