Between 1896 and 1948, hundreds of thousands of Jews resettled from Europe to what was then British-controlled Palestine, including large numbers forced out of Europe during the Holocaust.
The UN partition had promised 56% British Palestine for the Jewish state; but by the end of the war, Israel possessed 77 %, which included everything except the West Bank and the eastern quarter of Jerusalem. The latter was at the time controlled by Jordan, as well as the Gaza Strip controlled by Egypt.
There are more than 7 million Palestinian refugees, defined as people displaced in 1948 and their descendants. A core Palestinian demand in peace negotiations is some kind of justice for these refugees, most commonly in the form of the “right of return” to the homes their families abandoned in 1948.
Israel took control of the West Bank, a chunk of land east of Israel that is home to nearly three million Palestinians, and would make up the heart of any Palestinian state. Israel continues to expand West Bank settlements, which Palestinians see as a de facto campaign to erase the Palestinian state outright.
Israel calls Jerusalem its undivided capital today, but almost no countries recognize it as such except America of recent under Mr. Trump’s administration. The UN Security Council Resolution 478 condemns Israel’s decision to annex East Jerusalem as a violation of international law and calls for a compromise solution.
Israeli settlements: The participating High Contracting Parties to the Fourth Geneva Convention, numerous UN resolutions, the International Court of Justice and other instances have ruled that Israel’s policy of establishing civilian settlements in territories considered occupied, including in East Jerusalem, is illegal.
Human rights: Israel operates a “two-tier” judicial system in areas of the occupied Palestinian territories it administers, which provides preferential services, development, and benefits for Israelis living in settlements in the occupied territories while imposing harsh conditions on Palestinians and other non-Israeli citizens.
Accusations of apartheid: According to the Association for Civil Rights in Israel, a group in Israel with support from several EU states, asserted in 2008 that the separate road networks in the West Bank for Israelis and Palestinians, the expansion of Jewish settlements, restriction of the growth of Palestinian towns and discriminatory granting of services are “a blatant violation of the principle of equality and in many ways reminiscent of the Apartheid regime in South Africa”.