Palestinian Statehood

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The idea of statehood as the ultimate goal of the Palestinian national struggle emerged after the Oslo Accords of 1993. The Palestinian national movement had never been especially specific about the nature of the entity it was seeking to create, apart from its embodiment of the principle of Palestinian self-government. A future state was implicit in the various proposals put forth during the Mandate period (those plans that did not involve partition called for some form of power sharing between the Palestinian Arabs and what were thought of, hopefully, as Palestinian Jews). Statehood would have been the result of the partition plan voted by the United Nations in 1947, had it been accepted by both parties. The Palestine National Charter of 1964, which asserted the goals of the newly formed Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO), called for the liberation of Palestine from the Zionists and self-determination for the Palestinian people, but was ambiguous about the nature of the eventual Palestinian entity, leaving open the possibility of membership in a larger pan-Arab state. The 1968 revision of the Charter, written in changed political circumstances after the Arab-Israel War (1967), does not abandon the belief in "Arab unity," nor describe the Palestinian entity in detail, but makes clear that its goal is an independent, sovereign Palestine.

In 1974 the Palestine National Council (PNC) voted to establish a Palestinian "authority" on any liberated part of Palestine. In November 1988, the PNC voted to accept the "two-state solution"—it formally accepted the existence of Israel, and favored the creation of a Palestinian state in the West Bank and Gaza Strip. A Proclamation of the State of Palestine (the Algiers Declaration) was then issued. The Oslo Accords, which included the PLO's formal recognition of Israel (and the corresponding renunciation of its claim to 78 percent of Palestine), provided for the establishment of an "interim" Palestinian autonomous self-governing authority for a period of five years, at which time a "final settlement" would be negotiated. It was widely assumed that the final settlement would involve the creation of a universally recognized sovereign Palestinian state in the occupied territories, although the Accords do not say so. The Palestinian Authority (PA) was formally instituted in 1994. Since then, however, numerous issues, including inability to resolve the status of Jerusalem, continued confiscation of Palestinian land for Israeli settlements and "security needs," and the ongoing cantonizing of the West Bank, have brought serious negotiations to a standstill.

SEE ALSO Gaza Strip;Palestine Liberation Organization;Palestine National Charter;Palestinian Authority;Proclamation of the State of Palestine;West Bank.

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Palestinian Statehood

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Palestinian Statehood