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Definition: Palestine from Collins English Dictionary

n 1 Also called: the Holy Land, Canaan the area between the Jordan River and the Mediterranean Sea in which most of the biblical narrative is located

2 the province of the Roman Empire in this region

3 the former British mandatory territory created by the League of Nations in 1922 (but effective from 1920), and including all of the present territories of Israel and Jordan between whom it was partitioned by the UN in 1948


Summary Article: Palestine
from Philip's Encyclopedia

Territory in the Middle East, on the E shore of the Mediterranean Sea; considered a Holy Land by Jews, Christians and Muslims. Palestine has been settled continuously since 4000 bc. The Jews moved into Palestine from Egypt c.2000 bc but were subjects of the Philistines until c.1020 bc when Saul, David, and Solomon established Hebrew kingdoms. The region was then under Assyrian and, later, Persian control before coming under Roman rule in 63 bc. In succeeding centuries, Palestine became a focus of Christian pilgrimage. Muslim Arabs conquered the region in 640. In 1099, Palestine fell to the Crusaders, but in 1291 they in turn were routed by the Mamluks. The area was part of the Ottoman Empire from 1516 to 1918, when British forces defeated the Turks at Megiddo. The Balfour Declaration encouraged Jewish immigration. After World War 1, the British held a League of Nations mandate over the land W of the River Jordan (once again called Palestine). Tension between Jews and the Arab majority led to an uprising in 1936. World War 2 and Nazi persecution brought many Jews to Palestine, and in 1947 Britain, unable to satisfy both Jewish and Arab aspirations, consigned the problem to the United Nations. The UN proposed a plan for separate Jewish and Arab states. This was rejected by the Arabs, and in 1948 (after the first Arab-Israeli War) most of ancient Palestine became part of the new state of Israel; the Gaza Strip was controlled by Egypt and the West Bank of the River Jordan by Jordan. These two areas were subsequently occupied by Israel in 1967. From the 1960s, the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) led Palestinian opposition to Israeli rule, which included acts of terrorism and the Intifada in the occupied territories. In 1993, Israel reached an agreement with the PLO, and in 1994 the Palestine National Authority took over nominal administration of the Gaza Strip and West Bank. Failure to find a peaceful settlement saw the resurgence of the Intifada in November 2000. The death of Yasir Arafat led to the election in January 2005 of Mahmoud Abbas (also known as Abu Mazen) as Palestinian leader. In 2006 the Islamist movement, Hamas, won general elections, which led to the suspension of international aid because of its terrorist activities against Israel.

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