I have mentioned to a number of people that I am off to the West Bank. To my [lack of] surprise, a number of people have either been oblivious to, or at best, have a vague understanding of what/who or where the West Bank is. So here it is….the West Bank – an explanation.
Simply the West Bank is the Eastern part of the Palestinian territory – but I suspect it might need a bit more explaining than that. In 1947 the British ended their Palestine Mandate and handed control over to the UN. The UN partition agreement of the same year divided what was then Palestine into two sectors (55% for a Jewish State and 45% a Palestinian State – with Jerusalem kept separate under International control).
Inevitably war broke out instantly (47-48) and the new state of Israel was declared in June 48. This state was made up of approximately 78% of former British Mandate Palestine.
22% was left as ‘Palestine’. This was made up of the Gaza Strip (piece of land next to the Mediterranean and the Egyptian border), the West Bank and East Jerusalem. Until 1967 the Gaza strip was controlled by Egypt and East Jerusalem and the West Bank was controlled by Jordan. During the 1967 war Israel took control of all three of these areas. This area, the 22% of historic Palestine is what is now deemed the ‘occupied territories’ – the West Bank is part of this and is under military occupation and has been in one form or another since 1967.
I will try to not let this subject dominate this blog over the coming months as I prepare to go, but no promises! At least now you know where I am going even if not why/when/with who or for what explicable reason. Perhaps a few more posts to come…