This is Palestine…An overview



Palestine, historic region on the eastern shore of the Mediterranean Sea, also known as the Holy Land. It lies at the crossroads of three continents, Europe, Asia and Africa. Palestine comprises three geographic zones: a part of the Great Rift Valley, a ridge, and a coastal plain. Palestine located in the Middle East, bordering the Mediterranean Sea, between Egypt, Lebanon, Syria and Jordan.

From earliest times many invaders have sought to control the land, port cities, trade routes, and people of Palestine. Apart from the Israelites, they included the Assyrians, Babylonians, Egyptians, Persians, Greeks, Romans and British. Each of these newcomers were either absorbed into the population through marriage, or killed or later deported. In the case of the original population, they remained in Palestine continuously until the middle of the 20th century when the invading Zionists expelled three-quarters of their number.

Whereas Christianity had previously been the principal religion of the Palestinian people, it was almost completely replaced by Islam in the 7th century. Although most of them became Muslims at the time, a small section of Christians and Jews continued to practice their faith there. By the end of the 19th century (1895) the population of Palestine was estimated at 500,000 of whom 400,000 were Muslims, 53,000 were Christians and 47,000 were Jewish. The Jewish presence had, by all accounts, declined over the years to a position of near nonexistence.

Palestine was inhabited many centuries before the arrival of the Israelite tribes from Egypt. When they invaded the land of Canaan in the 12th century BC. the population of the country included apart from the Canaanites, the Hittites, Ammonites, Edmites, Moabites and Philistines.

Its earliest known inhabitants were the Canaanites. Theirs was the first of a series of migrations that headed Northeast out of the Arab peninsula about 3,500 BC. Persistent famine and harsh climatic conditions forced successive waves of migrants northwards to the Bilad al Sham (presently known as Syria, Lebanon, Palestine and Jordan).

The Bible refers to the Arab tribes that settled west of the Jordan River as Canaanites and to the land as “the country of the Canaanites” (Exodus 3:17). About its capital city, Jerusalem, Josephus Flavious writing in the first century recorded that it was founded by the Canaanites. Melchiisadek, the Righteous king, built it. He was a contemporary of Prophet Abraham (Genesis 14:18).

The name Palestine stems from the Philistines who lived along the southern Mediterranean coast in the 12th century B.C. The Palestinians people of today are the descendant’s of the Philistines, Canaanites continued to inhabit their land.

Some information about Palestine



Major Cities:

Jerusalem (Local form, AlQuds) including Bethlehem (Bait lahem); Acre (Akka); Beersheeba (Beer Alsabea’); Beisan; Gaza; Haifa; Hebron (Alkhalil); Jaffa (Yafa); Jenin; Nablus; Nazareth (Al Naserah); Ramleh including Ludd; Ramallah; Safed; Tiberias (Tabareya); Tul Karem.


Total: 5,017,280 (2005)
West Bank: 2,385,615
Gaza Strip: 1,376,289
Occupied Lands: 1,255,376
density per sq mi: West Bank: 1,054, Gaza Strip: 9,902


noun: Palestinian(s)
adjective: Palestinian

Country name:

conventional long form: State of Palestine
conventional short form: Palestine
local long form: Dawlit Falasteen
local short form: Falasteen


Still struggling and fighting for its total freedom from the ilegal and brutal Israeli occupation. The Palestine National Council however issued a Declaration of Independence of 15 November 1988.


West Bank: 5,844 sq km.
Gaza Strip: 365 sq km.
Occupied land: 91,971 sq km.
Slightly smaller than New Jersey.

Land boundaries:

total: 1,635 km
border countries: Egypt 266 km, Jordan 238 km, Lebanon 79 km, Syria 76 km.
Coastline: 300 km.


Negev desert in the south; low coastal plain; central mountains; Jordan Rift Valley

Elevation extremes:

lowest point: Dead Sea -408 m
highest point: 1,208 m

Natural resources:

phosphates, potash, shale oil timber, copper ore, natural gas, phosphate rock, magnesium bromide, clays, sand

Natural hazards:

sandstorms may occur during spring and summer; periodic earthquakes

Environment :

limited arable land and natural fresh water resources pose serious constraints; air pollution from industrial and vehicle emissions; groundwater pollution from industrial and domestic waste, chemical fertilizers, and pesticides that mainly caused by Israeli occupation industry.




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