The historic declaration of an independent Palestine comprising West Bank of Jordan and Gaza strip was made by Yassar Arafat, leader of Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) on November 15, 1988 in Algiers. Palestine's headquarters were in Tunis until Arafat came to Jericho in 1994. Population of Palestine is 3.5 m.
PLO was founded in 1964 to express the nationalist aspirations of Palestinian Arabs. In 1974, the UN granted it permanent observer status and in 1976, PLO became a regular member of the Arab League.
About 80 nations including India immediately recognized the new nation, which was born out of struggle extending over forty years. However, in Israel, the government of the right-wing Likud Bloc and the left-leaning Labour Party with Yitzhak Shamir as Prime Minister still refused to recognize PLO as the legitimate representative of the Palestinian people. In the 47-year old Arab-Israeli conflict, the demand of Palestinians had been an independent homeland in the West Bank (preferred Palestinian term, Northern District) and Gaza with capital in Jerusalem.
In a major breakthrough in August 1993, Israel approved limited Palestinian autonomy. Israel would withdraw from Gaza Strip (preferred Palestinian term, Gaza district) and Jericho. Early September, PLO and Israel announced mutual recognition. On 13th, the historic accord was signed in Washington. On May 13th, 1994, Israel handed over Jericho to Palestinian police, and on July 5, Arafat established Palestinian self-government there. In January 1996, he became the first elected Palestinian President with a massive 88.1% of the vote, and took the oath of office as President of the Palestinian Authority on February 12. The electorate was 1,013,200. The Palestinian Council is an 82-member body.
Israeli currency is in use. There is a Palestinian police of some 15,000 men. President Clinton hosted a summit meeting between PM Netanyahu and Arafat in October and peace talks were resumed. Israel halted talks in July 97, following the suicide bombing in a Jerusalem market which killed about 20 and injured 150. Israel yielded more West Bank territory to Palestinians under an interim accord signed by Netanyahu and Arafat in October 98, Palestinians gave new security guarantees in return. Several dates for announcing an independent Palestinian State were declared since 1999 but nothing has happened.
Mission in India:
Embassy of the State of Palestine
D-1/27, Vasant Vihar
New Delhi - 110 057, India
Tel: 91 - 11 - 2614 2859, 2614 6605
Tele Fax: 2614 2942
Indian Mission in Palestine:
Representative Office of India
182-49, Shurta Street, Al Remal
P.O. Box 1065, Gaza City, State of Palestine.
Tel: 00 - 972 - 87 - 2825423, 2838199
Fax: 00 - 972 - 87 - 2825433