Page last updated at 10:51 GMT, Tuesday, 6 January 2009

Middle East conflict: History in maps

To see how borders in the region have changed over the years click through the maps below:


Palestine was among several former Ottoman territories placed under British control by the League of Nations. The mandate lasted from 1920 to 1948. In 1923, Britain granted limited autonomy to Transjordan, now known as Jordan.


The United Nations General Assembly proposed dividing Palestine into Jewish and Arab states, with Jerusalem as an international city. The plan was accepted by Jewish leaders but rejected by the Arabs and never implemented.


After Britain withdrew and the Jews declared the state of Israel, war broke out with neighbouring Arab nations. Eight months later an armistice line was agreed, establishing the West Bank and Gaza Strip under the control of Jordan and Egypt. Hundreds of thousands of Palestinians fled or were driven out of what became Israel.


Israel made huge territorial gains in the Six-Day War. It captured the West Bank - including East Jerusalem - Gaza Strip, Golan Heights and the whole Sinai Peninsula. The Sinai was handed back to Egypt in the 1979 peace deal.


Since 1993 there have been several handovers of land to differing degrees of Palestinian control. Jewish settlers in Gaza were withdrawn in 2005 but the West Bank is still dotted with settlements and a controversial barrier is being built there.

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