1. Why hasn't a country named Palestine been created yet?

  2. Why does Israel from time to time build and destroy settlements in those areas?

What is the fundamental problem between Israel and Palestine?

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    Proactive warning: Before answering this question, please keep in mind that the Israel/Palestine conflict is a very hot issue with very emotionally invested people on both sides. When you write an answer, please try to stay impartial and try to address all the different viewpoints, including those you personally don't agree with.
    – Philipp
    Commented Feb 24, 2017 at 16:58
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    You forgot to mention that this is also a holy land for the muslims, and that the 6 days war is far from the only one that took place. On a different note, I think the risk for this question is more the length of the answer required ("put on hold as too broad") than the emotion of both parties. Commented Feb 24, 2017 at 17:07
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    You question is mostly good, but I highly recommend that you change your title to make it a little less broad. There are literally series of books written about the topic your title, but the actual questions you ask are more specific. Commented Feb 24, 2017 at 17:09
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    The first 5 points of history you wrote are completely unnecessary to answer the question and will only serve to cause debate. Commented Feb 24, 2017 at 23:47
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    One interesting part of the question that hasn't been addressed is why a Palestinian state wasn't created in 1948-1967 when Arabs hold the now occupied territories.
    – Pere
    Commented Feb 25, 2017 at 17:29

8 Answers 8


Why hasn't a country named Palestine been created yet?

As you alluded to in your summary, the nation of Israel was formed during WWII and it included land claimed by the Palestinians. Israel became recognized by the global community, where as Palestine did not. Since then Palestinians have been trying through various means to create a nation. This has of course been a contentious process. The latest and most critical legal proceedings regarding the Israel-Palestine relationship is the Oslo Accords. In short the Oslo Accords explicitly stated 3 things:

  1. Israel had a right to exist
  2. The Palestinian people were represented by the Palestinian Authority (which the PLO turned into)
  3. The state of Palestine would not be created at this time.

Since the Oslo Accords are the last internationally accepted official guiding documents of the land, this is why there is currently no Palestinian state.

There are of course many other contributing factors. The most crucial one is that Israel, being the official custodian of the claimed Palestinian land, will need to sign off for a Palestinian state to truly exist. The current Israeli PM, Benjamin Netanyahu, has stated that as things currently stand, the two-state solution can not be achieved, so at the moment Israel would not give any sign-off.

Why does Israel from time to time build and destroy settlements in those areas?

There is actually a great answer that already covers why Israel builds settlements here.

As for why they destroy settlements, that is actually pretty rare. It happened once recently because the Israeli Supreme Court ruled that the land was illegally used and therefore should not have been settled.

Why does Israel and Palestinians attack and kill each other time to time?

I think that this question is really too broad and opinion based to effectively answer on Stack Exchange (see my comment), so I will just say in passing that there are deep cultural, ideological, religious and political differences between the two that lead to these extreme actions

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    A fairly good survey is available at International recognition of the State of Palestine. Over 70% of the world recognizes Palestine as a state, including the United Nations. The US under Barrack Obama could have recognized it too, but... I view it as another broken campaign promise by Obama, who campaigned he was going to repair and strengthen US-Arab relations.
    – user11101
    Commented Feb 24, 2017 at 21:35
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    I think you use the word nation (a group of people sharing a culture etc.) where state (a political unit with a government, a territory, ec.) should be used. Admittedly, this is not clear cut, but I think it helps to use the most relevant among the synonyms trying to make a distinction to be as precise as possible. Commented Feb 25, 2017 at 9:14
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    > nation (a group of people sharing a culture etc.) that's very fuzzy, as what is and isn't a (distinctive) culture is unclear and if you meant to say "one culture" or "a mix of cultures" there. it would allow for the possibility for people to argue that many "nations", like the us, germany, russia, ..., aren't "nations" because many "cultures" / multi-culturism exist in those "nations". common sense would find that hard to reconcile.
    – dannyf
    Commented Feb 25, 2017 at 14:32
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    You opening sentences are inaccurate - Israel wasn't formed in WWII, but 3 years after it ended. Israel doesn't include land claimed by Palestinians - it's entirely in land claimed by them. Palestine wasn't recognized in 1948 because it didn't exist - Jews built and declared a state, Arabs didn't.
    – ugoren
    Commented Aug 2, 2017 at 21:22

Let's begin by repeating the definitions of de facto and de jure:

  • de facto: a) in fact, whether by right or not. b) existing or holding a specified position in fact but not necessarily by legal right.

  • de jure: a) according to rightful entitlement or claim; by right. b) existing or holding a specified position by legal right.

De jure the state of Palestine exist. It has a government (two actually, when counting Hamas) the Palestinian Authority, diplomatic relations with other states and is recognized by a majority of the world's sovereign states:

enter image description here

De facto it does not exist since it doesn't exercise control of its own territory. In fact, what the state's territory is, is undefined. Often, it's borders are drawn like this:

enter image description here

But that map doesn't map (de facto) to reality, due to the settlements and Israel's occupation of the West Bank.

enter image description here

The light brown areas is that the Palestinian Authority currently controls, and the rest is what Israel controls. As can be seen from the map, the "islands" the Palestinians control are too fragmented to form a sovereign state and Israel therefore must relinquish control of territory it controls to allow a Palestinian state to exist.

This answers your question. Palestine is not a de facto state because Israel does not want it to be a de facto state. Palestine can not force itself to come into existence (like Israel did in 1948) because it has no military and would lose badly in any violent conflict with Israel.

Perhaps your follow up question is "Why does Israel not want Palestine to exist?" which is harder to answer. A multitude of reasons can be given, such as:

  1. The territory Palestine would exist on matches the territory called Judea and Samaria which the ancient Israelite tribes lived in.
  2. A sovereign Palestinian state would be overtaken by extremists and would start a war against Israel.
  3. Israel won the territory "fair and square" in the Six-day war in 1967.

Of these three reasons, I believe the first one is the most important. The goal of the group which created Israel, was to create it on the same territory that the Israelite tribes lived in. That way, the state would have a natural historical connection to the land it controls.

enter image description here

If you draw the outline of the West Bank on the above map it would cover most of the territory of Manesseh, Ephraim, Benjamin and Judah. Giving these areas to the Palestinians is currently not possible because many Israeli Jews feel that they are part of their historical homeland. For them, it would be no different than asking Greece to give up Crete.

I should clarify that this is my belief of why Israel doesn't want a Palestinian state on the West Bank. Therefore I don't feel the need to link to sources and this part of my answer only scratches the surface anyway. If the op is interested, then he or she should ask a question specifically about that topic.

Btw, I forgot to mention the Jordan answer. An idea supported mostly in right-wing circles is that Jordan is the state of Palestine. Therefore Palestine exists. This idea stems from the fact that until 1921, the British Mandate of Palestine was called the British Mandate of Palestine and Trans-Jordan and the Trans-Jordan part of the territory was split of and given to the king Abdullah bin Hussein.

  • I thought jews are descendants of Judah tribe only. Where are the rest of the 10 tribes? I bet the people on the area are the rest. Just like most jews are not "pure blood" anyway. So are people on the area.
    – user4951
    Commented Feb 26, 2017 at 10:10
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    @JimThio (A) That's incorrect; Jews are descendants of multiple tribes. Some tribes are considered "lost," due to various diasporas (when Jews were exiled from Israel), but they're certainly not all descended from Judah. (B) The Hebrews had 13 tribes (including the Levites). (C) I don't see on what basis you'd bet that. (D) Even if hypothetically you were right, neither Jews nor Palestinians consider the Palestinians to be descended from the Hebrews, so I don't see how that would help.
    – Ziv
    Commented Feb 26, 2017 at 11:16
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    @Bjorn: Of these three reasons, I believe the first one is the most important. It's certainly the most important to some. But in general, the security concerns are what most people see as the most dangerous and urgent, and the most intractable. Israel is a very small country; the territories are tightly intertwined; the enmity between the two is vicious; and terror and missile attacks have cemented, in many Israelis eyes, the idea that a Palestinian state would be hostile and extremely dangerous. OTOH, this fear is also a convenient justification to continue occupying Palestinian land...
    – Ziv
    Commented Feb 26, 2017 at 11:33
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    @Ziv: I believe the settlement project (800k Jews live in the West Bank) and statements from Israeli ministers (such as Naftali Bennett, Ariel Sharon, Benjamin Netanyahu et al) shows my theory to be correct. But it's a tangent; Palestine doesn't exist because Israel doesn't want it to, the whys of that can be discussed elsewhere. Commented Feb 26, 2017 at 12:29
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    no different than asking Greece to give up Crete - more like asking them to give up Athens.
    – ugoren
    Commented Aug 2, 2017 at 21:30

The State of Palestine has always existed, at least on paper. 136 UN member states (including two Security Council permanent members, Russia and China) and the Holy See recognize the State of Palestine, and among them many have established diplomatic relations with it. It is also a non-member observer state of the UN. A government that effectively control parts of the Palestinian Territories, the Palestinian National Authority, also exists, and claims itself to be the government of the State of Palestine.

So, in any way, it's hard to say that Palestine is not a state yet. It is just that it had not been recognized by the US and some other states.

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    I think its pretty easy to say that Palestine is not a state given that the Oslo accords legally assign Israel as the custodian of the claimed Palestinian lands and that the UN officially views Jerusalem as an international city. I don't think its realistic to call Palestine a state until you get buy in from primarily Israel. Commented Feb 24, 2017 at 22:08
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    @DavidGrinberg IMO, it really depends on the perspective from which you view this issue. The UN and most nation states view Taiwan as the territory of People's Republic of China (at least formally) and recognize PRC as the sole legal government of China, but many people would still consider the ROC a state, despite that the PRC (and almost everyone) doesn't buy in. I think similar logic applies to Palestine - moreover, Palestine is recognized by far more nation states (and the UN) than the ROC/Taiwan.
    – xuq01
    Commented Feb 24, 2017 at 23:12
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    @XuanruiQi But China doesn't control Taiwan. If China tried to place military troops in Taiwan, it would probably cause war. Israel can and does place troops in Palestine and Palestine can't stop them. Palestine may be more of a state on paper than Taiwan, but Taiwan has practical control where Palestine doesn't.
    – prosfilaes
    Commented Feb 25, 2017 at 1:38
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    @prosfilaes Exactly. What I'm trying to say is that not all entities generally considered sovereign states actually both (1) effectively control (most of) their territory and (2) widely recognized. In this sense, Palestine is no more and no less of a state than the Republic of China. Also, I believe practical control isn't the main criteria: ISIS effectively controls a lot of territory, but few people consider it a state.
    – xuq01
    Commented Feb 25, 2017 at 2:16
  • @David Grinberg: but the Oslo accords did create the Palestine Authority which shows some recognition by Israel of Palestinian autonomy. Commented Aug 2, 2017 at 17:21

Why hasn't a country named Palestine been created yet?

Because Israel (backed by the United States) is against it. Almost every other country is ready to recognize Palestine. However, a UN veto by one of the Security Council's five permanent members, which includes the United States, is sufficient to block UN membership.

Israel is against it because recognition of Palestine would require fixing some borders. Right now the borders are disputed, which means that in practice the militarily stronger side makes the rules, which is Israel. Also, according to the most plans for establishing Palestinian borders, Israel would lose access to some sources of fresh water (which in that region is an extremely important resource since it's so dry).

Of note, while Israel has at times offered peace and recognition of Palestine, the draft agreements always specified a continued armed Israeli presence in Palestine so that Israeli forces could continue to conduct raids, etc, on the Palestinian side of the "border".

The United States has historically backed Israel in order to maintain some control over the region; virtually everything else in the area is anti-U.S. So Israel was convenient as a kind of base for the U.S. - it could send fighter planes to Israel instead of having them fly from inefficiently far away; and plus, if things got really hairy in the middle east, Israel could do some of the actual fighting too.

Nowadays with the development of drones, etc, it is less important to have a ground presence in the area. Also, the U.S. dependence on foreign oil is has been eased thanks to shale oil:

The fraction of crude oil consumed in the U.S. that was imported went from 35% immediately before the 1973 oil crisis, peaked at 60% in 2005, and then returned to 35% by 2013[7] thanks to increased domestic production[8] from the shale oil boom.[9] https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/United_States_energy_independence

Therefore, maintaining control over the middle east is not such a big priority anymore. Ultimately, U.S. support for Israel is on the decline, though certainly the U.S. is still a lot more supportive of Israel than of Palestinians.

What is the fundamental problem between Israel and Palestine?

Well, the Palestinians were there first, and they were kicked out and marginalized by Israel so they hate that and fought back. Israel's point of view was that Israel is the only country in the world for Jews while the Palestinians, who are Arabs, have plenty of Arab countries to go to. So Israel fought back also. And of course the fighting results in deaths which have to be avenged, etc, so both sides are basically caught in a giant hate machine.

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    This answer is highly misleading to the point of inaccuracy. Israel isn't opposed to the creation of a Palestinian state. Israel has offered to create on several times. Palestinians have rejected it each time. The reason there isn't a Palestinian state is because the Palestinians don't want one while Israel still exists. Poll data show that the majority of Palestinians are opposed to a two-state solution, and the leadership has acted in accordance with this.
    – Publius
    Commented Feb 25, 2017 at 22:46
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    @Avi The reason there isn't a Palestinian state is because the Palestinians don't want one No, actually, they try to get recognized and Israel is opposed: en.wikipedia.org/wiki/… Of course, a peace agreement comes with a lot of strings other than being recognized as a state, such as a final settlement of border disputes, and one would really have to look at the whole package to decide whether Palestinian leadership was unreasonable to reject the proposal. Commented Feb 25, 2017 at 23:01
  • Thanks to shale oil, the U.S. is now the world's third-largest producer of crude oil. This sentence is inaccurate: the US has been in the top three oil producer in the world since oil exploitation begun.
    – user189035
    Commented Feb 25, 2017 at 23:16
  • Comments are not for extended discussion; this conversation has been moved to chat. Commented Feb 27, 2017 at 21:57
  • Reality needs to be accepted. Philistinian do not want their separate state, this is not appealing to mind. The Philistinian were ready for the two state solution, but the same were procrastinated and rejected by Mr. Netan Yahu " Israel can't afford to sign an agreement with Palestinians until they agree to recognize Jewish state, demilitarize their own", these were the delaying tactics. An independent country will have army, police, judiciary etc, how can Mr. Netan Yahu says that there will be no military or demilitarization Commented Jan 30, 2018 at 8:52

I am going to try hard to be objective here.

To be honest, there is little evidence that Palestinians want a State which will co-exist with Israel(Oh, and let's be honest, the Jews aren't going anywhere from Israel. The only solution which will promise some peace is a two-state solution). There have been so many offers for peace and each time it only leads to further bloodshed.

In 1947, the UN declared a Palestinian state but it was turned down as the inhabitants preferred to wait till the Arab nations destroyed Israel(which didn't happen).

Jordan is more than 70% Palestinian, yet there is no Palestinian nationalism in Jordan. They could have declared a state when Ehud Barak acceded to all of Arafat’s demands at Camp David in 2000. It's almost like Israel is just giving peace offers which are simply rejected by Palestine who probably aren't ready to declare their state yet for some reason.

The fundamental problem is just that the land is disputed and both sides claim it. And there has been a lot of bloodshed over it. Basically the story of every conflict.

  • -1: I'm not sure that this is objective enough, for example, the Balfour declaration announced the backing of the British Empire for the creation of a 'National Home in Palestine' and not a state per se, it's not then surprising that the Palestinians feel both aggrieved and dispossessed. Commented Aug 2, 2017 at 15:54
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    @MoziburUllah there have been multiple peace offers. I just gave an example. Again, I am not saying that Israel is all good. They have made their own share of mistakes. And Israel can't really give further concessions in terms of area other than the 97% they offered
    – Sid
    Commented Aug 2, 2017 at 16:05
  • This is definitely not objective, because there are the issues of right of return, the status of jerusalem, the status of the settlements, etc., none of which were resolved with "total concession to all Palestinian demands" Commented Aug 2, 2017 at 21:25
  • Also, in 1947, the West Bank was part of Transjordan, the Golan Heights were Syrian, and Gaza was Egyptian. "Palestine" as we know it today was all in Arab-controlled territory. Commented Aug 2, 2017 at 21:25

In addition to the above answers, there is the question of Jerusalem: both Israelis and Palestinians claim Jerusalem as their capitol, and both sides adamantly oppose the political division of the city, creating an impasse in any declaration of Palestinian independence.


To put it simply - Palestine and Israel are the same place - a piece of land between the Mediterranean sea and the Jorden river. The Jews want it, the Palestinians want it, and the Jews are stronger.

Both sides see the land as rightfully theirs. As long as both sides insist of having what they see as theirs, then either Israel or Palestine can exist as an independent country, but not both. The Jews are stronger, so Israel is an independent state and Palestine isn't.

In both sides there are those who are willing to compromise - give the other side a part of "their" land. Such a compromise would lead to a two state solution, where both Israel and Palestine would coexist, a solution most of the world would like to see.

However, actually reaching such a compromise is very hard, for two main reasons:

  1. Many people in both sides object to compromise. Many Jews would not give away any territory, while many Palestinians wouldn't take less than the entire land.
  2. Even those who agree to compromise find it hard to agree on the details. The most problematic issues being the exact borders, the status of Jerusalem and the rights of Palestinian refugees.

Israel was the historical land of inhabitance of Jews from where they were evicted because of various reasons including Muslim conquest.

That depends on how far back in history you wish to go and how you want to define "country".

With that said, a country called Palestine Existed and continue to exist today.

The issue here is that the same geography was occupied by different groups at different times in history - which is not unusual in geoopolitics. And both parties are unyielding in their demand that the other group get out, which is fairly unusual in geoopolitics.

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    You say "how you want to define country" and then you make up an arbitrary definition for country. Palestinian statehood is disputed at best, so I don't really think what your saying is accurate. Also, as usual you have no citations and make broad, unbacked assertions. -1. Commented Feb 24, 2017 at 21:21