Part of the Ottoman (Turkish) Empire until 1918, it was then occupied by Britain until 1948.
After looking at various alternatives, the UN proposed the partitioning of Palestine into two independent States, one Palestinian Arab and the other Jewish, with Jerusalem internationalized (Resolution 181 (II) of 1947). One of the two States envisaged in the partition plan proclaimed its independence as Israel and in the 1948 war expanded to occupy 77 per cent of the territory of Palestine. Israel also occupied the larger part of Jerusalem. Over half of the indigenous Palestinian population fled or were expelled. Jordan and Egypt occupied the other parts of the territory assigned by the partition resolution to the Palestinian Arab State, which did not come into being.
In the 1967 war, Israel occupied the remaining territory of Palestine, until then under Jordanian and Egyptian control (the West Bank and Gaza Strip). This included the remaining part of Jerusalem, which was subsequently annexed by Israel. The war brought about a second exodus of Palestinians, estimated at half a million. Security Council resolution 242 (1967) of 22 November 1967 called on Israel to withdraw from territories it had occupied in the 1967 conflict.
In 1974, the General Assembly reaffirmed the inalienable rights of the Palestinian people to self-determination, national independence and sovereignty, and to return.
In June 2002, the Government of Israel decided to build a physical barrier between Israel and the Occupied West Bank. Israel had begun the construction of a West Bank separation wall, located mostly within the Occupied Palestinian Territory. In 2004, the construction of the wall was ruled illegal by the International Court of Justice.
In 2002, the Security Council adopted resolution 1397 affirming a vision of two States, Israel and Palestine, living side by side within secure and recognized borders. In 2002 the Arab League adopted the Arab Peace Initiative, promising a normalization of ties with Israel in return for a full withdrawal from the occupied territories and a just settlement of the refugee issue. In 2003, the Middle East Quartet (US, EU, Russia, and the United Nations) released a detailed performance-based Road Map to a two-State solution, endorsed by Security Council in resolution 1515. The "Geneva Accord," an unofficial model permanent status agreement, was presented by a civil society group of prominent Israelis and Palestinians in 2003.
In 2005, Israel withdrew its settlers (9,000) and troops from the Gaza Strip as part of its "Disengagement Plan," while retaining effective control over Gaza's borders, seashore and airspace. In the same year Israel added 30,000 settlers to the Occupied West Bank.
The West Bank and Gaza Strip have been under Israeli occupation since the 1967 war, and today are referred to as the “Palestinian Occupied Territories”. The settlements that Israel has built in the West Bank are home to around 400,000 people and are deemed to be illegal under international law.