Dissertations and Theses @ UNI

Award Winner

Recipient of the 1996 Outstanding Master's Thesis Award - Third Place.

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Open Access Thesis


Arab-Israeli conflict 1973-1993; Palestine--Politics and government--1948-; West Bank--Politics and government;


This study examined the main territorial, political, and economic obstacles facing the establishment of a Palestinian state. The study tried to determine if the classical requirements of state formation can be met within the geographic and political context of the West Bank and the Gaza Strip. To accomplish this, the study focused on the main obstacles and problems associated with the following:

  1. The territorial definition and delimitation of a Palestinian state
  2. The determination of Palestinian citizenship and political representation.
  3. The establishment of a viable and independent Palestinian economy.
  4. The specification and execution of the functions and responsibilities of a Palestinian state apparatus.

To provide a context for studying the political geography of a Palestinian state, the principal geographic and political literature on the state as a politically organized area was reviewed and summarized. The summary included general description of the concepts of state sovereignty and factors influencing it, political borders, nation and nationalism, state form, state functions, and state apparatus. Two theories of state formation were also included to provide a comparative framework for examining the Palestinian case.

The 1993 PLO-Israeli Declaration of Principals (DOP) on Palestinian interim self-government arrangements is considered a major qualitative development in the nature of the Palestinian-Israeli conflict. This thesis, thus, used the DOP and the subsequent Cairo Agreement between the PLO and Israel as the starting point for the analysis. The potential effects of the DOP and the Cairo Agreement on the process of Palestinian state formation was examined. A detailed textual analysis of the two agreements revealed their insufficiency for addressing the main obstacles outlined by the thesis.

The way in which these problems are addressed will ultimately determine the geopolitical outcome of the Palestinian-Israeli conflict. By identifying and classifying these problems and obstacles this thesis provides a context for evaluating the feasibility of creating a Palestinian state. For a truly independent Palestinian state to form, the PLO-Israeli peace process must produce an adequate resolution to the various problems outlined in this thesis. Any future Palestinian political entity that falls short of meeting all the essential requirements of a state cannot be considered as such.

Year of Submission


Year of Award

1996 Award

Degree Name

Master of Arts


Department of Geography

First Advisor

C. Murray Austin, Chair, Thesis Committee


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Date Original


Object Description

1 PDF file (vii, 101 pages)



File Format