The International Observatory on Statelessness


As highlighted in the introduction to the Middle East section of this survey, the legal status of Palestinians is complex. After the Second World War, the British withdrew their mandate from Palestine and the UN partitioned the area into Arab and Jewish states. In 1947, the UN General Assembly approved creation of a Palestinian state in Resolution 1981, but 60 years of disagreement on the state’s terms and boundaries, as well as rights of return to original land, has led to periods of armed conflict and displacement. Today, the largest population of Palestinians is found in the lands which constituted the British Mandate of Palestine (3,299,000 in West Bank and Gaza Strip; 1,013,000 in Israel). The situation of Palestinians in Gaza and the West Bank, where population density and unemployment is very high, is particularly harsh.