Boundaries and Events: How Israel and the Occupied Palestinian Territory Became What they are Today


The boundaries of Israel and the occupied Palestinian territory have changed considerably since the establishment of Israel in 1948.

Learning Intention: I will have developed an awareness of the changes that have taken place in the land distribution between Israelis and Palestinians since 1948 and the events which brought these about.

Success Criteria: I can talk about key events which brought about such changes in land distribution in Israel and the occupied Palestinian territory from 1948.

Preparation: Each group will need one set of maps and cards.

Paper for each group to draw their own timeline and perhaps one large wall display for students to create a timeline.

Activity 1

Lead a class discussion on the 4 maps exploring what is happening in each. Questions raised by learners could become a homework exercise reminding learners to consider different perspectives.

Activities 2 and 3

1897 Growth of Zionist Movement Map 1
 1917 Balfour Declaration  
 1930 Jewish immigration to Palestine increases greatly after WW1  
1942-45 11 million people were killed by the Nazis including 6 million Jews  
1946 Jewish immigration to Palestine increases greatly after WW2  
 1947 UN Partition plan  
 1948 Proclamation of the State of Israel Map 2
1967 Israel occupies Gaza, the West Bank including East Jerusalem and begins to build settlements for Israelis on Palestinian land Map 3
1987 First Intifada  
 1993 Oslo Agreement  
2000 Second Intifada  
 2002 Israel begins to build the barrier  
 2004 International Court of Justice declares barrier and Israeli settlements illegal  
 2005 Withdrawal of Israeli settlers from Gaza Map 4
 2014 War in Gaza resulting in many civilian deaths  
2016 Conflict continues  


1. In 1947, what percentage of land was given to the Jewish people?

A. 55%.

2. Balfour Declaration

(a) In which year was the Balfour Declaration written?

A. 1917.

(b) What did it state?

A. Britain would support a homeland for the Jewish people on the understanding that nothing would be done which may prejudice the civil and religious rights of existing non-Jewish communities in Palestine.

3. When did Jewish migration to Palestine first increase significantly?

A. After WWI but especially in the 1930s.

4. What happened after World War 2?

A. Greatly increased migration to Palestine.

5. Describe the key events of 1967.

A. Israel occupies Gaza and the West Bank, beginning of occupation and building of settlements on Palestinian land.

6. What prompted the Intifada in: 

(a)  A. 1987? 

Israelis settling illegally on Palestinian land.

(b) B. 2000?

No progress of the Oslo Accords

7. (a) When did Israel begin building the separation wall and why?

    A. 2002, due to the rise in terrorist bomb attacks.

    (b) How was the wall judged by international law?

    A. The ISF were found to have violated international human rights law in most instances the Commission investigated​.

8. What were the events surrounding the 1972 Summer Olympics and the aftermath?

A. The Palestinian terrorist group ‘Black September’, a faction of the Palestine Liberation Organisation (PLO), took 11 Israeli Olympic team members hostage. All 11 athletes were killed in the siege which lasted more than 20 hours, in addition to a West German police officer. 5 of the Black September hostage-takers were also killed by West German police who attempted a rescue.

Israel bombed PLO bases in Syria and Lebanon in response to the events in Munich. An operation known as ‘Wrath of God’ was also carried out in retaliation by Israel over a number of years.

9. What do Palestinians hope to gain from The Great March of Return?

A. That the blockade imposed on Gaza be lifted and the Palestinian refugees be returned to their original homes.

10. Describe two findings of the UN Human Rights Council investigation.

A. The Commission found Hamas, as Gaza’s de facto authority, responsible for failing to stop indiscriminate incendiary and explosive kites and balloons, which spread fear and caused significant material destruction within Israel.

The Commission found reasonable grounds to believe that during the weekly demonstrations, the Israeli Security Forces (ISF) killed and gravely injured civilians who were neither participating directly in hostilities nor posing an imminent threat to life. ​

11. What is the position of the conflict today?

A. No peace initiative has yet been successful.

Event Similarities Differences
The Holocaust 11 million people were killed by the Nazi regime including homosexuals, disabled people, Roma, Slavs and Poles and trade unionists. More than half – 6 million – of the total number of people killed by the Nazis were Jewish.  
1948 The UN approved a two-state partition plan for Palestine. For Jewish people this gave them a homeland.
For Palestinians their land was taken from them and thousands were forced to flee.
Israel Acceptance of the State of Israel’s right to exist. Many Jewish people see Israel as a safe harbour against Anti-Semitism and they must be strong to protect security. Palestinians feel they are discriminated against.
Return Both believe in a right to return. Israeli law says that any Jew in the world can immigrate to Israel and become a citizen.
Palestinians believe they should be allowed to return to their homes.
Israeli troops in the West Bank, including East Jerusalem, and Gaza   Many, but not all, Israelis feel military operations are necessary for security.
Palestinians believe the West Bank, including East Jerusalem, and Gaza are under illegal military occupation that is damaging and discriminatory.
Bombings by Palestinians Both Israelis and Palestinians want to live in peace. Israelis see the threat of violence as a cause of the conflict.
Palestinians see the effects of occupation as the cause of the conflict.