Palestine lies on the south west of Asia on the southern part of the Mediterranean Sea, Eastern Coast. Thus, it lies in the heart of the so called ancient world, namely, Asia, Africa and Europe, which makes it a land bridge linking Asia with Africa and the Mediterranean Sea with the Red Sea and the Atlantic Ocean with the Indian Ocean.
Palestine lies on the western edge of the Asian continent and the eastern extremity of the Mediterranean Sea. The geographic location has historically given Palestine religious, cultural and economic importance as it joins the three continents of the ancient world. This is a land at the crossroads of history and the heart of a global network of land, air and sea routes.
Palestinian Territories: 6,020 Km2
West Bank 5,655 Km2; 130 Km long and 40-65 Km in width
Gaza 365 Km2; 45 Km long and 5-12 Km in width
Today’s Palestinians are direct descendants of the Arab people and share their culture, language and history.
Recent history has been far from generous with the Palestinian people. Due to imperialism and the continued colonization that the Palestinians have had to endure in the past 50 years, the majority of the Palestinian people live in the Diaspora. Palestinians number approximately 9 million of which more than 4 million in the Diaspora and around 3.7 million are residing in the West Bank and Gaza. Over 1.4 million Palestinian live inside the Green Line Area (1948 Occupied Territories). Population growth rate in the Palestinian Territories is around 3.3%.
The Palestinian National Authority (PNA) was established on the basis of the Declaration of Principles signed between the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) and Israel on Sept. 13, 1993 and governs Palestinian affairs in self-rule areas. It consists of the elected President (Mahmoud Abbas), the appointed cabinet (Ministerial Board) and the Palestinian Legislative Council (PLC). www.pna.gov.ps
Capital and Principal Main Cities
The City of Jerusalem is the capital of Palestine. Principal main cities include: Gaza, Ramallah, Nablus, Hebron, Jenin, Rafah, Khan Younis, Tulkarem, Qalqilia. Bethlehem and Jericho.
Arabic is the official language of the Palestinian Territories. However, Palestinians are multilingual people, with English being widely spoken and used in business. Several other languages such as Hebrew, French, German, Italian and Spanish are also widely spoken.
Palestine is the Holy Land for three monotheistic religions: Islam, Christianity, and Judaism. Bethlehem and Palestinians celebrated the year 2000 commemorating the occasion of the birth of Jesus Christ. Palestine is also the place where Prophet Mohammed ascended to heaven. Islam has dominated the culture of Palestine for the past 1400 years. The city of Bethlehem has long been a destination for Christian pilgrims from all points of the globe, whereas Jerusalem is still the world’s biggest religious attraction for Moslem, Christian and Jewish pilgrims.
The Palestinian National Authority has no national currency. Palestinian banks accept deposits and withdrawals of foreign currencies. Major currencies that are used in Palestine include the Jordanian Dinar and the Israeli Shekel. Moreover, the US Dollar is quickly becoming the most popular currency for both deposits and credits in the Banks.
Mediterranean – hot, dry summers and short, wet, cool winters. Mountainous areas usually have cool summer nights. Because of regional differences, temperature and rainfall vary depending on the topographic area. Areas include the coastal plain, Jordan valley, eastern slopes, central highlands, and semi-coastal zone. Rain usually falls in the period between November and March with occasional snowstorms in the mountainous areas.