The Territories, 1982-1987

An overview of Israel's relationship to the Sinai, the Gaza Strip, Jerusalem, the West Bank, and the Golan Heights, 1982 - 1987.

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At the heart of the Palestinian-Israeli conflict is a land dispute. In order to understand this dispute it is necessary to know the history of the territory in question. The following article, part three of a four part series on the topic, discusses the situation surrounding the disputed territories as it evolved between 1982 and 1987, starting with the Israeli invasion of Lebanon in 1982.  It was published in 1998 and is reprinted with permission from The Jewish Agency.

Aftermath of the Lebanon War

The war itself has been seen by some observers as a way for Israel to weaken the PLO [the Palestine Liberation Organization] and pave the way for the rise of an alternative Palestinian leadership with which to negotiate over the issue of autonomy.

One result of the autonomy concept was the reorganization of the military government in the West Bank/Judea‑Samaria and the Gaza Strip. In late 1981 and early 1982, a new civilian administration was created to look after the government of the territories. Authority devolved from the minister of defense to the coordinator of activities in the territories and through him to the head of the civilian administration, all of who were now civilians. The coordinator was to advise, coordinate, and supervise the activities of all government ministries, the civilian administration, state institutions, public authorities, and private bodies in the West Bank/Judea‑Samaria and the Gaza Strip.

Essentially, the civilian administration represented Israeli government offices to the Arab population of the territories. Alongside the civil administration, military forces under regional commanders continued to operate in the territories in order to ensure security.

Continued Settlement Building  

The Likud advocated extensive Jewish settlement in the territories throughout its years of power, often in areas heavily populated by Arabs. In addition to the Gush Emunim settlements, which were supported by the Likud government, subsidized suburban neighborhoods were created in the territories within commuting distance of Tel Aviv and Jerusalem.

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Jonathan Kaplan is administrative director at the Rothberg International School, Hebrew University of Jerusalem.

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