Jehovah’s Witnesses have been present in what is now the Palestinian Territory since 1919. They established a congregation in Ramallah in 1920 and formed a second congregation, near Bethlehem, in 1942. As a result of the Palestinian war of 1948, the land was partitioned into two areas: One part became the new nation of Israel, and the other came under the control of Jordan. For almost 20 years, Witnesses in Israel and the Palestinian Territory were unable to communicate with one another. Following the Six-Day War in 1967, communication was reestablished, and the Witnesses again enjoyed freedom of assembly and activity in the West Bank.
Although Jehovah’s Witnesses in the Palestinian Territory have pursued legal registration, the authorities have denied their applications. The Witnesses are able to meet together for worship and share their religious beliefs with their neighbors, but without legal registration they are denied personal status rights. Efforts are ongoing to gain basic rights and obtain a measure of legal status.