Discover the World News Forecast . . . FIRST in Foresight Journalism

WEST BANK & GAZA 15 Nov 2013 State of Palestine declared 25 years ago

The late Palestinian Liberation Organization Chairman Yasser Arafat issued a declaration of independence for a state of Palestine

November 15, 2013 - NULL

WEST BANK & GAZA 15 Nov 2013 State of Palestine declared 25 years ago

The late Palestinian Liberation Organization Chairman Yasser Arafat issued a declaration of independence for a state of Palestine in the West Bank and Gaza Strip on 15 Nov 1988. Twenty-five years on independence remains elusive, though Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas has seen some gains: the General Assembly voted overwhelmingly in Nov 2012 to accord Palestine non-Member Observer State status in the United Nations and there is widespread international support for Palestinian statehood. But Israel continues to build settlements in Palestinian territories, controls goods and people

WEST BANK & GAZA 15 Nov 2013 State of Palestine declared 25 years ago

The late Palestinian Liberation Organization Chairman Yasser Arafat issued a declaration of independence for a state of Palestine in the West Bank and Gaza Strip on 15 Nov 1988. Twenty-five years on independence remains elusive, though Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas has seen some gains: the General Assembly voted overwhelmingly in Nov 2012 to accord Palestine non-Member Observer State status in the United Nations and there is widespread international support for Palestinian statehood. But Israel continues to build settlements in Palestinian territories, controls goods and people moving in and out of the West Bank and Gaza and has annexed largely-Arab east Jerusalem. The 25th anniversary could be a symbolic date for a general Palestinian uprising, and for a renewed UN membership bid. In Dec 2012, Abbas pledged that 2013 would see the implementation of Palestinian independence.

USA Today notes that Israel captured the West Bank in the 1967 Mideast war and has built a network of settlements throughout the territory that are now home to more than 300,000 Israelis. Yet another 200,000 live in adjacent east Jerusalem -- occupied, annexed and expanded to include land that was once in the West Bank.

The Palestinians claim the West Bank and east Jerusalem as part of a future independent state and say the settlements are illegal obstacles to their dreams of statehood.

A UN report in Mar 2013 agreed, saying that Israeli settlements in the Occupied Palestinian Territories not only violate international law and worsen the living conditions of Palestinians under occupation, but also deprive Israeli nationals of resources that could be used for adequate housing within the internationally recognized boundaries of their own country. The European Union has also denounced the settlements as illegal under international law and constituting an obstacle to peace.

The anniversary is likely to bring more calls in the European Union and United Nations for sanctions against Israel.

Ahead of the 24th anniversary of Arafat's declaration, Palestinians supported by foreign activists demonstrated in dozens of places across the West Bank. The 25th anniversary is likely to draw a stronger response.

Abbas' successful bid for UN non-member status is far more than a symbolic gain, according to an expert writing in SF Gate in Dec 2012. Law professor George Bisharat writes that as a recognized state, Palestine can sign treaties enabling it to protect its airspace, natural gas fields off the Gaza coast and electromagnetic airwaves. If Palestinian leaders join the International Court of Justice and the International Criminal Court, they can also challenge Israel's unpunished violations of international law. (WRITTEN MAR 2013)

KEYWORDS: Palestinian declaration independence, 25th anniversary, 25 years, November 1988, State of Palestine, Palestinian independence, Palestinian sovereignty, Palestinian statehood, Yasser Arafat, Yasir Arafat, Mahmoud Abbas, Mahmud Abbas, West Bank, Gaza Strip, Israeli settlements, illegal settlements, Israel, Israeli, obstacles to peace, Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas, United Nations, European Union, Israel, Occupied Palestinian Territories, Middle East

RELATED READING:

P.L.O. PROCLAIMS PALESTINE TO BE AN INDEPENDENT STATE; HINTS AT RECOGNIZING ISRAEL (NYT 15 Nov 1988
http://www.nytimes.com/1988/11/15/world/plo-proclaims-palestine-to-be-an-independent-state-hints-at-recognizing-israel.html?pagewanted=all&src=pm

Abbas sees Palestinian state in 2013 (AFP 31 Dec 2012) http://www.google.com/hostednews/afp/article/ALeqM5ib1_cemu2LcFC-I2VjvxcBJuICQw?docId=CNG.3ac68d01a051ad82fd6fb976029a354a.41

Palestine's state status enables security (SF Gate 3 Dec 2012)
http://www.sfgate.com/opinion/openforum/article/Palestine-s-state-status-enables-security-4088257.php

Settlements in Occupied Palestinian Territories depriving Israeli nationals of adequate housing (UN 4 Mar 2013)
http://www.unmultimedia.org/radio/english/2013/03/settlements-in-occupied-palestinian-territories-depriving-israeli-nationals-of-adequate-housing/

Scathing EU report calls for stepped-up sanctions on Israel over 'illegal annexation of East Jerusalem' (Global Post 27 Feb 2013)
http://news.nationalpost.com/2013/02/27/scathing-eu-report-calls-for-stepped-up-sanctions-on-israel-over-illegal-annexation-of-east-jerusalem/

Palestinian rivals: Fatah & Hamas (BBC 17 Jun 2007)
http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/middle_east/5016012.stm

Date written/update: 2013-11-15