November 15 is Palestinian Independence Day, unilaterally declared in 1988.
At the dissolution of the Ottoman Empire following World War I, the victorious European states divided many of its component regions into newly created states under League of Nations mandates according to deals that had been struck with other interested parties. In the Middle East, Syria (including the Ottoman autonomous Christian Lebanon and the surrounding areas that became the Republic of Lebanon) came under French control, while Mesopotamia and Palestine were allotted to the British.
Most of these states achieved independence during the following three decades without great difficulty, though in some regimes, the colonial legacy continued through the granting of exclusive rights to market/manufacture oil and maintain troops to defend it. However, the case of Palestine remained problematic.
Arab nationalism was on the rise after World War II, possibly following the example of European nationalism. Pan-Arabist beliefs called for the creation of a single, secular state for all Arabs. In 1947, the United Nations adopted a Partition Plan for Mandatory Palestine recommending the creation of independent Arab and Jewish states and an internationalized Jerusalem. After the establishment of a Jewish state in Eretz Israel (Land of Israel), to be known as the State of Israel on May 14, 1948, neighboring Arab armies invaded the former British mandate on the next day and fought the Israeli forces. Later, the All-Palestine Government was established by the Arab League on September 22, 1948, to govern the Egyptian-controlled enclave in Gaza. It was soon recognized by all Arab League members except Transjordan. Though jurisdiction of the Government was declared to cover the whole of the former Mandatory Palestine, its effective jurisdiction was limited to the Gaza Strip. Israel later captured the Gaza Strip and the Sinai Peninsula from Egypt, the West Bank (including East Jerusalem) from Jordan, and the Golan Heights from Syria in June 1967 following the Six-Day War.
Following the withdrawals of Egypt from Sinai and Gaza in 1982, and Jordan from the West Bank in 1988, the State of Palestine proclaimed its independence on November 15, 1988, by the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) in Algiers as a government-in-exile.
Since the signing of the Oslo Accords in 1993, the Palestinian National Authority was formed the following year to govern the areas A (exclusively administered by the Palestinian Authority. It comprises approximately 18% of the West Bank) and B (administered by both the Palestinian Authority and Israel, about 22% of the West Bank) in the West Bank and Gaza Strip. Gaza would later be ruled by Hamas in 2007 after Israel withdrawal from Gaza two years prior.
Palestine, officially the State of Palestine, is a de jure sovereign state in the Middle East claiming the West Bank (bordering Israel and Jordan) and Gaza Strip (bordering Israel and Egypt) with Jerusalem as the designated capital, although its administrative center is currently located in Ramallah. Most of the areas claimed by the State of Palestine have been occupied by Israel since 1967 in the consequence of the Six-Day War.
In commemoration of the day, we bring you the interview articles related to the state.
*Click a photo below to see their stories!
“If I was not here, I might be dead or be serving prison time. So I think I have to do something for Japanese people as a Palestinian, as a human being.” – Iyad Mansour, Managing chef of a Palestinian restautant