The delineation and demarcation of agreed upon borders are central to reaching an end of conflict on the basis of the two-state solution. A State of Palestine based on pre June 4th 1967 border with East Jerusalem as its Capital. The Palestinian position on borders has undergone a significant transformation since 1948. The national movement once laid claim to its rights over all of historic Palestine, an area that includes modern day state of Israel. Since 1988, however, in the interest of achieving peace and ending the conflict, the Palestinian leadership limited the national aspirations to statehood to 22 percent of mandate Palestine, seeking a state in the West Bank and Gaza Strip, with East Jerusalem as its capital (that is, all of the territory occupied by Israel in 1967). Despite this, Israel continues to create and change “facts on the ground,” with constructing the Annexation Wall, building and expanding illegal settlements, confiscating and grabbing Palestinian Land, demolishing of Palestinian homes, all in violation of international law.
The Borders of Palestine: A Brief Background
Mandate Palestine (pre-1948) encompasses all of Israel, the Gaza Strip, the West Bank and Jerusalem. In 1922, Palestine was placed under a British Mandate by the League of Nations.
In 1947, the United Nations General Assembly recommended the partitioning of Palestine, against the wishes of the majority of Palestinians. The Partition Plan allocated 55 percent of Palestine to a Jewish state and 45 percent to an Arab State. At the time, the Jewish population living in Palestine represented only one third of the total population and owned less than seven percent of the land.
Almost immediately after the Partition Plan vote, organized Jewish militias began military campaigns to seize control over even more of mandate Palestine’s territory than the UN partition plan had proposed. On May 14, 1948, after months of military expansion, Zionist forces declared the establishment of the State of Israel. The next day, neighboring Arab armies attacked Israel in reaction to the eruption. However, Israeli forces defeated Arab forces and by the end of the war in 1949, Israel controlled 78 percent of mandate Palestine.
During the June 1967 war, Israel militarily occupied the remaining 22 percent of mandate Palestine, comprising the West Bank, including East Jerusalem, No Man’s Land, and the Gaza Strip. Only two weeks after the war, Israel unilaterally annexed East Jerusalem, applying Israeli law to the Palestinian half of the city. Within one month, Israel began building illegal settlements in the occupied State of Palestine, in direct violation of international law. The international community immediately rejected Israel’s illegal annexation of the occupied Palestinian territory and continues to do so today. Up to 2017, Israel has illegally transferred more than 650,000 settlers into the occupied State of Palestine. More than 225,000 settlers of those are residing illegally in East Jerusalem.
Since 2002, Israel has been constructing the Annexation Wall in the occupied State of Palestine, grabbing approximately 9.4% of Palestinian West Bank land in an attempt to unilaterally annex occupied land. Israel has de-facto annexed land that falls between the 1967 border and the Annexation Wall by severely restricting Palestinian access to these areas while at the same time facilitating Israeli access to them. In October 2003, Israel declared as “closed zones” all of the land that falls between the 1967 border and the Annexation Wall in the northern West Bank, requiring that Palestinian obtain hard-to-come-by Israeli permits to continue to live on, or otherwise access, their land in these areas.