Palestine (Arabic: , romanized: Filasn), officially recognized as the State of Palestine[i] (Arabic: ? , romanized: Dawlat Filasn) by the United Nations and other entities, is a de jure sovereign state in Western Asia officially governed by the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) and claiming the West Bank and Gaza Strip with Jerusalem as the designated capital; in practice, however, only partial administrative control is held over the 167 "islands" in the West Bank, and Gaza is ruled by a rival government (Hamas).[iii] The entirety of territory claimed by the State of Palestine has been occupied since 1948, first by Egypt (Gaza Strip) and Jordan (West Bank) and then by Israel after the Six-Day War in 1967. Palestine has a population of 5,051,953 as of February 2020, ranked 121st in the world.
After World War II, in 1947, the UN adopted a Partition Plan for Mandatory Palestine recommending the creation of independent Arab and Jewish states and an internationalized Jerusalem. This partition plan was accepted by the Jews but rejected by the Arabs. The day after the establishment of a Jewish state in Eretz Israel, to be known as the State of Israel on 14 May 1948, neighboring Arab armies invaded the former British mandate and fought the Israeli forces. Later, the All-Palestine Government was established by the Arab League on 22 September 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 during the Six-Day War.
On 15 November 1988 in Algiers, Yasser Arafat, Chairman of the PLO, proclaimed the establishment of the State of Palestine. A year after the signing of the Oslo Accords in 1993, the Palestinian National Authority was formed to govern (in varying degrees) areas A and B in the West Bank, comprising 165 "islands", and the Gaza Strip. After Hamas became the PNA parliament's leading party in the most recent elections (2006), a conflict broke out between it and the Fatah party, leading to Gaza being taken over by Hamas in 2007 (two years after the Israeli disengagement).
The State of Palestine has been recognized by 138 of the 193 UN members and since 2012 has had a status of a non-member observer state in the United Nations. Palestine is a member of the Arab League, the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation, the G77, the International Olympic Committee, and other international bodies. (Full article...)
Nablus is a Palestinian city in the northern West Bank, approximately 63 kilometers (39 mi) north of Jerusalem, with a population of 126,132. Located in a strategic position between Mount Ebal and Mount Gerizim, it is the capital of the Nablus Governorate and a Palestinian commercial and cultural center. Founded by the Roman Emperor Vespasian in 72 CE as Flavia Neapolis, Nablus has been ruled by many empires over the course of its almost 2,000-year-long history. In the 5th and 6th centuries, conflict between the city's Christian and Samaritan inhabitants climaxed in a series of Samaritan revolts against Byzantine rule, before their violent quelling in 529 CE drastically dwindled that community's numbers in the city. In 636, Neapolis, along with most of Palestine, came under the rule of the Islamic Arab Caliphate of Umar ibn al-Khattab; its name Arabicized to Nablus. Following its incorporation into the Ottoman empire in 1517, Nablus was designated capital of the Jabal Nablus ("Mount Nablus") district. After the loss of the city to British forces during World War I, Nablus was incorporated into the British Mandate of Palestine in 1922, and later designated to form part of the Arab state of Palestine under the 1947 UN partition plan. The end of the 1948 Arab-Israeli War saw the city instead fall to Jordan, to which it was unilaterally annexed, until its occupation by Israel during the 1967 Six-Day War. Today, the population is predominantly Muslim, with small Christian and Samaritan minorities. Since 1995, the city has been governed by the Palestinian National Authority. In the Old City, there are a number of sites of archaeological significance, spanning the 1st to 15th centuries. The city is known for its kanafeh, a popular sweet throughout the Middle East, and soap industry.
Did you know...
Sir Richard Williams
(1890–1980) is regarded as the "father" of the Royal Australian Air Force
. He was the first military pilot trained in Australia, and commanded fighter
units in World War I. A proponent of independent air power, Williams played a leading role in the establishment of the RAAF and became its first and longest-serving Chief of the Air Staff
(CAS). Born into a working class
family, he was an Army Lieutenant
when he learned to fly in 1914. As a pilot with the Australian Flying Corps in World War I, Williams commanded No. 1 Squadron
and later 40th Wing RAF
, earning the Distinguished Service Order
. Afterwards he campaigned for an Australian Air Force separate from the Army and Navy, and this came into being on 31 March 1921. The fledgling RAAF faced challenges to its existence for the next decade, and Williams was credited with maintaining its independence. However an adverse report on flying safety saw him dismissed as CAS prior to World War II. Despite promotion to Air Marshal in 1940, he never again commanded the RAAF. After the war he was forcibly retired and took up the position of Director-General of Civil Aviation
. He was knighted
shortly before his retirement in 1955.