The borders through time

The land variously called Israel and Palestine at different times in history is a small, (10,000 square miles at present) land at the eastern end of the Mediterranean Sea.

During its long history, its area, population and ownership varied greatly. The present state of Israel formally occupies all the land from the Jordan River to the Mediterranean ocean, bounded by Egypt in the south, Lebanon in the north, and Jordan in the East.

The recognized borders of Israel constitute about 78% of the land. The remainder is divided between land seized by Israel since the 1967 six-day war and the autonomous regions under the control of the Palestinian autonomy.

The Gaza strip occupies an additional 141 square miles south of Israel along the sea coast and is mostly under the control of Hamas since 2006. Israel evacuated the settlements around the area in 2005.

Prior to 1917, the territory that is now called Israel was ruled by the Ottoman Turkish Empire, and included three sanjaks (districts). The name “Palestine,” that was used by Roman and briefly by Arab rulers, was revived by the British, who received a mandate from the League of Nations to administer Palestine as a national home for the Jewish people.

Israel was created in 1948, after UN Resolution 181 partitioned the territory of the British Mandate for Palestine into two states for Jews and Palestinian Arabs. The Arabs objected to the creation of the Jewish state and fought a war against it. The Arab side lost the war, and the Palestinian state never really came into being. The territory allotted to the Palestinian state by the UN partition resolution was taken over by Israel and Jordan (West Bank).

Beginning in 1993, the Oslo agreements promised gradual withdrawal of Israel from the West Bank and Gaza Strip.

However, the peace process was marred by terrorist attacks and negotiations that seemed to lead nowhere.

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