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Palestinian Territories Gambling

Palestinian Gambling Laws

By Reno Rollins

While illegal gambling no doubt takes place in the Palestinian Territories, there are no signs of any legal gambling activities in the area. Much of this may stem from the large Muslim population in the region. Islam forbids its followers from activities such as gambling and drinking alcohol.

Palestinian Territories Information

The Palestinian Territories are the Palestinian-settled lands captured and occupied by Jordan and Egypt in the 1940s, which were subsequently occuped by the Israeli Defense Force following the Six-Day War of 1967. The term usually applies to either the entire West Bank and Gaza Strip or the area governed by the Palestinian Authority.

The area is also known by the following terms: “the disputed territories,” “the occupied territories,” and “Israeli-occupied territories.” Many simply refer to it as “the territories,” while the United Nations prefers the term “Occupied Palestinian Territory.”

Palestine was a British mandate of the League of Nations after World War I, when the Ottoman Empire lost their hold on the Middle East. The Balfour Declaration of 1917 by the British Foreign Minister promised the Jewish peoples a homeland, likely in Palestine. The British also poorly-defined the lands they promised Arab leaders for supporting the British war effort against the Ottoman Empire.

This led to the belief that both sides were promised Palestine. Tensions mounted in the time between the two world wars, as British authorities allowed more Jewish immigrants to Palestine. When the British pulled out of Palestine in 1947, Jewish leaders immediately declared the statehood of Israel.

Israel was promptly invaded by the nearby Arab states. At the ceasefire, the Palestinian Territories were those lands in Palestine the Arab states controlled. This land, the West Bank and Gaza Strip, would become the nucleus of Palestinian efforts at statehood.

Israel withstood the 1947-1948 war and a 1956 invasion, but decided to take the initiative in launching a preemptive strike in the 1967 Six-Day War. This left the Palestinian territories under Israel's control.  

The status of these territories have been the subject of numerous negotiations between the nation of Israel and the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO). After the Oslo Accords, the Palestinian Authority has exercised a certain degree of control since 1994.

Reflecting wide Palestinian discontent with the Yasser Arafat-created Fatah Party, Palestinians surprisingly voted Hamas into a majority in early 2006. This move led to a growing rift between the Hamas and Fatah factions in the Palestinian Territories, which led to the Battle of Gaza in 2007.

Following the 2007 Battle of Gaza, the territories have been split into two administrative areas. Hamas controls the Gaza Strip, and the Palestinian National Authority (led by Fatah) administers the West Bank.

Christians make up between 1.1% and 2.4% of the population in the Palestinian Territories. Most are located in the West Bank and belong to the Greek Orthodox Church of Jerusalem. Other denominations include Roman Catholics, Maronites, Melkites, Jacobites, Syrian Catholics, Copts, Anglicans and Protestants.

Muslims make up 75% of the West Bank and 99% of the Gaza Strip. Over 275,000 Israeli settlers live in the West Bank, with around 200,000 Israeli Jews living in the Israeli-annexed East Jerusalem.

The population of the Gaza Strip is estimated to be 1,482,405. The official currency in this region is the Israeli new sheqel.

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