Few dare to visit the beautiful and expansive South Hebron Hills, but a trip there sheds valuable light on the dynamics of Israeli occupation.by Mairav Zonszein 0 comments
The West Bank is a geopolitical term used to describe the small territory (5,640 km2) that lies on the west bank of the Jordan River and east of the pre-1967 border of the State of Israel.
The West Bank rocky and arid terrain is partially administered by the Israeli government and partially by the Palestinian Authority. The majority of the population that live in the West Bank is Palestinian but there are dozens of Jewish settlements in communities scattered throughout the territory.
Historically, the West Bank was designated in the 1947 UN Partition Plan of the Palestine Mandate as land for the establishment of an Arab Palestinian State. But this plan was rejected by the Arab community and, following Israel's declaration of independence in May 1948, war broke out between Israel and the surrounding Arab nations.
By the end of the war, Jordan forces were in control of the West Bank, as well as East Jerusalem. West Bank residents received the right to claim Jordanian citizenship in 1949 and the area was formally annexed by Jordan in 1950.
For 19 years the West Bank was under the jurisdiction of Jordan until the 1967 Six-Day War, during which Israel took the West Bank territory.
Since 1967, the West Bank has been under the jurisdiction of the Israeli Civil Administration. In the years following the war, Israel began building settlements for its Jewish population in various areas inside the West Bank. Although these settlements are not recognized as part of Israel by the international community, Israel maintains the overall security of its citizens who live in the West Bank.
The 1993 signing of the Oslo Accords between Israel and the Palestine Liberation Organization put into action a plan to transfer administrative power over several large West Bank cities to the newly formed Palestinian Authority (PA). In addition, the West Bank was divided into three distinct areas of administration: Area A would fall entirely under the authority of the Ramallah-based PA, Area B would be under Israeli security and Palestinian civilian control, and Area C would continue to remain under full Israeli administration.
The goal of the Oslo Accords was to eventually transfer all authority over the West Bank and Gaza Strip to the Palestinian Authority. However, negotiations to determine the permanent status of the West Bank and Gaza stalled following the outbreak of the Second Intifada in September 2000.
This saw the West Bank transform into a battleground between Israeli forces and Palestinian militant groups operating in the territory. The Israeli army reassumed its previous posts in the West Bank, and hopes of establishing a Palestinian state in the West Bank and Gaza Strip have yet to be realized.