Maps of Israel and Palestine

Historic Palestine
UN Partition of Palestine
1948 Israel, West Bank, and Gaza Strip
Refugees and Depopulated Villages
1967 and Occupation
Annexation of Jerusalem
Israeli Settlements on Palestinian Land

Historic Palestine

Map of Historic Palestine covering all of current-day Israel, the West Bank, and the Gaza Strip
Historic Palestine
source: Palestine Remembered

Historically, the land of Palestine was populated by a people known as the Palestinians. Palestinians have always been religiously diverse, with the Muslim majority maintaining friendly relations with their Christian, Jewish, and Druze brethren.

At the turn of the 20th Century, a new Jewish nationalist ideology called Zionism was developing. Zionism called for the creation of a Jewish homeland in Palestine.

During this time, increasing numbers of Jewish Europeans immigrated to Palestine, causing the Jewish population to grow from a tiny minority to 35% of the population.

Population of Historic Palestine

Year

Non-Jewish Palestinians

Jewish Population

1877

426,908
(97%)

13,942
(3%)

1912

665,840
(95%)

36,267
(5%)

1925

780,568
(85%)

137,484
(15%)

1946

1,339,763
(69%)

602,586
(31%)

Source: McCarthy, Justin, The Population of Palestine, Columbia University Press: New York, 1990, pp. 10, 35.

View map of Palestine from 1944.

UN Partition of Palestine

Map of UN Partition of Palestine - 55% for a Jewish state; 45% for a Palestinian state
Plan of Partition
source: UN

In 1947, the United Nations partitioned Historic Palestine, giving 55% to the Jewish population and 45% to the Palestinian population. The indigenous Palestinians rejected the division of the land on which they had lived and farmed for centuries.

At the time of partition, the Jewish population owned less than 6% of Palestine.

1948 Israel, West Bank, and Gaza Strip

Map of Israel, the West Bank, and Gaza following the 1948 war.
Israel, West Bank, and Gaza
source: Palestine Center

In 1948 Israel declared its "independence," but chose not to name its borders (Israel may be the only nation in the world with undeclared borders). Following its founding war of 1947-49 Israel came into existence on 78 percent of Palestine, a percentage it has steadily increased in subsequent years, a process that continues today.

Refugees and Depopulated Villages

A map showing where refugees from different parts of historic Palestine ended up
Displaced Palestinian Refugees
source: Palestine Remembered

Map showing the locations of the hundreds of Palestinian villages that were depopulated during the 1948 war.
Depopulated Villages
source: Palestine Remembered

Between the time of partition and the declaration of Israel on 78% of historic Palestine in 1948, the newly formed Jewish state had depopulated (through massacres, expulsion orders, and fear tactics) over 400 villages and made refugees of at least 726,000 Palestinians (see U.N.).

As Moshe Dayan put it, “Jewish villages were built in the place of Arab villages. You do not even know the names of these Arab villages, and I do not blame you because geography books no longer exist, not only do the books not exist, the Arab villages are not there either.”

Learn more about refugees.

1967 and Occupation

Map showing that in 1967 Israel occupied the final 22% of historic Palestine as well as a huge chunk of Egypt (known as the Sinai) and the Golan Heights in Syria.
Arab Land Occupied in 1967
source: PASSIA

In 1967, Israel occupied the remaining 22% of historic Palestine: the West Bank and Gaza (as well as large sections of Syria and Egypt). Since then Israel has transferred many of its citizens to Jewish “settlements,” (colonies, which are illegal according to the fourth Geneva Convention). Today 40% of the West Bank is off-limits to Palestinians, as they are not allowed to live in Israeli settlements, drive on Israeli-only roads connecting these settlements, or even live or travel through “security zones,” surrounding the settlements.

Learn more about life under occupation.

Annexation of Jerusalem

Map showing the annexation of an expanded version of East Jerusalem.
Annexation of East Jerusalem and Jerusalem-Area Settlements
source: UN

Following the 1967 war, Israel created what it calls “Greater Jerusalem.” It did this by expanding the borders of East Jerusalem to include surrounding areas of the West Bank where the Palestinian population was minimal. It annexed this new “Jerusalem,” and declared it to be it’s capitol.

Since 1967, Israel has established numerous illegal settlements in this “Greater Jerusalem,” thereby ensuring a Jewish majority in the city. While the municipal government encourages the construction of new Jewish homes in the city, Palestinian families (many of whom have lived in Jerusalem for centuries) are rarely able to acquire the permits necessary to build new homes and are only allowed to live in certain areas of the city due to systematic discrimination against non-Jewish citizens.

For more information on housing discrimination in Jerusalem, watch Jerusalem: An Occupation Set in Stone?

Israeli Settlements on Palestinian and Syrian Land

Map showing the many Israeli settlements that have been built on the Palestinian West Bank and Gaza Strip and in the Syrian Golan Heights.
Israeli Settlements on the Palestinian West Bank and Gaza Strip and in the Syrian Golan Heights (as of 1996).
source: UN

Following the 1967 war, Israel began establishing numerous settlements, or illegal housing developments for Jewish Israelis only on stolen Palestinian land (colonies). There are now thousands of these settlements throughout the West Bank and Gaza, as well as numerous settlements in the Syrian Golan Heights.

Settlements are one of the major blockages to a peaceful and just resolution to Israel’s conflict with the Palestinians and other Arabs. The "roadmap" to peace calls on Israel to dismantle these settlements and to return the land to the rightful owners. Unfortunately, Israel continues to expand existing settlements and to build new ones.

Israeli settlers, who are known for their Jewish fundamentalism and desire to take the rest of Palestine (and perhaps even parts of other Arab lands) for Israel, usually carry large guns. They travel on specially built “bypass roads,” that now crisscross the West Bank and Gaza Strip. Palestinians are not allowed to use these roads.

Learn more about Settlements.

New Book on the Israel Lobby


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Visit the book website for reviews, more ordering options, and upcoming author events.

Multimedia

Video – People and the Land

Featured Links in This Section

The Origin of the Israel/Palestine Conflict

The History of US-Israel Relations: Part One

We Didn't Disappear
The Struggle for Equality Inside Israel

The Secret of Leopold Amery

The History of US Policy in the Region

The Legacy of Ariel Sharon: Sabra & Shatilla

Living with the Holocaust: The Journey of the Child of Holocaust Survivors

Resources on History

Documentary – “Jerusalem 1948: Yoom Ilak, Yoom Aleik”

Book – Arabs and Israel for Beginners

Booklet – The Origin of the Israel-Palestine Conflict

Maps


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