Palestinian Arabs often share a series of maps which show that “their land and country” are in a perpetual state of shrinking when the opposite is the truth.
Local Palestinian Arabs never had self-rule until 1995. The Ottomans ruled the region from 1517 to 1917 and then the British until 1948. Israel’s War of Independence of 1948-9 saw the area west of the Jordan River split into three distinct parts: a Jewish State of Israel which gave citizenship to all the local Arabs, an Egyptian-controlled Gaza and a Jordanian region which it illegally annexed in 1950, which later became known as the “West Bank.” Jordan lost control of that land after it attacked Israel in 1967 and Egypt lost Gaza (and the Sinai peninsula which Israel returned in 1980) at the same time. Neither the Egyptians nor Jordanians made any attempt to give local Palestinians autonomy during the duration of their control of lands from 1949 to 1967.
It was only with the signing of the Oslo Accords in 1995 that local Palestinian Arabs got to rule themselves, as Israel handed over six cities and 450 villages to the Palestinian Authority (PA). The six major cities were Jericho, Jenin, Tulkarem, Nablus (Shechem), Qalqilya and Bethlehem.
Israel continued to give the PA additional land to administer in 1997, giving almost the entirety of the city of Hebron, in an Area called H1.
Additional land was negotiated to be handed to the PA in September 2000 but the PA rejected the transfer of less than 100% of their demands and launched the Second Intifada, killing hundreds of Israeli civilians in numerous bombings.
In 2005, Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon withdrew all Israelis from Gaza and left the region for the Palestinians to administer, subject to the understanding of the 2004 Bush letter which clearly articulated that Israel would NOT be expected to give into 100% of the PA’s land and refugee demands. This third installment was quickly met with yet additional rounds of Palestinian violence with a Hamas takeover of the area in 2007 and subsequent battles with Israel in 2008, 2012 and 2014.
No additional transfers of land from Israel to Palestinians has taken place in light of the Palestinians refusal to engage in a peace process after the 2014 process collapsed when the PA agreed to let the terrorist group Hamas into a power-sharing agreement.
Palestinians argue that their land has been shrinking for 100 years when the truth is that they continue to live throughout the land. The local Palestinian Arabs became self-governing for the first time when Israel gave them land in 1995 and subsequently handed them additional territory to administer in 1997 and 2005. If Palestinians come to the negotiating table it is possible for them to gain more land to govern, but their actions make that increasingly unlikely.
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