Welcome to Palestine
Palestine is composed of the West Bank, East Jerusalem and Gaza. These 3 areas of land are one entity, the occupied Palestinian territory or oPt.
The heart of Palestine is East Jerusalem, sacred to Christians, Muslims and Jews. The rich diversity is embodied in the Church of the Holy Sepulchre, Al Aqsa Mosque and the Western Wall, each situated in the historic and vibrant Old City.
Visitors can enjoy these sacred places and walk the busy, narrow streets with their stone buildings, archways, graceful Islamic architecture and plant-filled balconies. Traditional crafts such as red and black tatreez embroidery, wood carving from Bethlehem, blue ceramics made in Jerusalem, coloured glass from Hebron and handmade olive oil soap from Nablus, fill the shops.
Palestine is a country under occupation and a state in the making. Life is difficult and particularly for Palestinians in Gaza. Across Palestine, checkpoints limit the movement of people and also of goods and products. The Wall is separating Palestinians from each other and from the rest of the world.
Yet within these constraints, Palestinians are making their own future. Community involvement is central to Palestinian life and education plays a central role. Community-based programs provide training in workplace skills and universities such as Bir Zeit University are internationally recognised for their research and teaching. Australia is building education links with Palestine through AusAid Fellowships that will enable Palestinians who are prominent in their professional fields, to come to Australia to study in areas such as human rights, food security and good governance.
A stable economy is vital to a sustainable Palestinian state and creating a thriving economy while living under occupation is a complex challenge.
Tourism is a major source of income, with areas such as Bethlehem with the Church of the Nativity and Hebron making up more than 10% of the Palestinian economy. Popular sites include Jericho, the oldest inhabited city in the world which also hosts a luxurious casino, and the Dead Sea with its warm, relaxing and healing waters.
Traditional industries such as olive growing continue to prosper. Olive groves, some with trees up to 2000 years old, export the highest quality extra-virgin olive oil to the world. The Palestinian Authority is supporting new areas of economic growth such as industrial parks and encouraging investment in Quick Impact Projects in areas such as information technology, affordable housing and marketing, which can value–add and create new jobs in existing areas within the economy.
Statistics on Palestine: May 2012
The number of the Palestinians in the Palestinian Territory was estimated at 4.2 million at the end of 2011: 2.6 million in the West Bank and 1.6 million in Gaza Strip. The number of Palestinians in the Jerusalem governorate at end of 2011 was around 393 thousand, of whom 62.1% live in the areas of Jerusalem annexed by force by Israel in 1967 (J1). The fertility rate in the Palestinian Territory is high compared to other countries. The total fertility rate in 2010 was 4.1 births (3.8 births in the West Bank and 4.9 births in Gaza Strip).
The population density in the Palestinian Territory at the end of 2011 was 703 individuals per square kilometer (km2): 462 individuals/km2 in the West Bank and 4,429 individuals/km2 in Gaza Strip. In Israel, the population density of Arabs and Jews in 2011 was 362 individuals per km2.
There were 474 Israeli settlements and military bases in the West Bank at the end of 2011 and the number Jewish settlers totaled 518,974 at the end of 2010. Most settlements are located in the Jerusalem governorate. According to data, 262,493 (50.6%) of settlers live in the Jerusalem governorate, of whom 196,178 live in Jerusalem (J1). The ratio of Palestinians to settlers in the West Bank is 20 settlers per 100 Palestinians compared to 68 settlers per 100 Palestinians in the Jerusalem governorate.
The Expansion and Annexation Wall
Large areas of West Bank land were confiscated by the Israeli occupation authorities to construct the Expansion and Annexation wall. The Wall is 757 kilometers in length, of which 92% are inside the West Bank. According to this route, 733 km2 of Palestinian land were isolated between the Wall and the Green Line in 2010, comprising approximately 13.0% of the West Bank: around 348 km2 were agricultural land, 110 km2 were confiscated for Israeli settlements and military bases, 250 km2 were forest and open areas, and 25 km2 were on Palestinian built-up land. The Wall isolated 53 localities and affected over three hundred thousand people, particularly communities in Jerusalem where 27 localities affected are home to a quarter of a million people. Moreover, the Wall besieges 165 localities with a population of more than half a million inhabitants, as witnessed around the city of Qalqilya. The Jordan Valley makes up 29% of the West Bank; Israel controls approximately 90% of the Jordan Valley. Fewer than 65 thousand Palestinians remain there today while there are 9,500 Israeli settlers.
At the end of 2011, there were 11.7 million people living in the historical land of Palestine with a land area of 27,000 km2. Jews constitute around 52% of the total population and utilize more than 85% of the total area of land. Arabs comprise 48% of the total population and utilize less than 15% of the land. A Palestinian therefore has less than a quarter of the area of land available to an Israeli.
The amount of Purchased water from Israeli water company (mekarot) 51 MCM in 2010 for Domestic use, which constitutes 15% from a yearly available amount of water, due to the over control of Israel on available water resources and resale it to the Palestinian with higher prices.
According to data from the Ministry of Detainees, around 800 thousand people have been in Israeli detention since 1967. Of these, around 12 thousand were women, plus many children, some of whom were detained several times. At present, around 4,610 detainees are under arrest in Israeli prisons, including five women and 203 children, who represent 4.4% of all detainees. There are 50 detainees who have spent more than 20 years in Israeli jails and 23 detainees who have spent more than 25 years. During the Al-Aqsa Intifada, Israel detained more than 70 thousand detainees, of whom 8 thousand were children, 850 were women (four of them were pregnant and gave birth in prison), and there were many detainees from among members of the Palestinian Legislative Council and former ministers.
Statistics for 2010 showed that the number of physicians per 1,000 population registered in the Physicians’ Union in the West Bank was 1.3 compared to 2.3 in Gaza Strip. In addition, there were 1.8 nurses per 1,000 population in the West Bank compared to 3.8 nurses per 1000 population in Gaza Strip. There were 76 hospitals in the Palestinian Territory in 2010: 51 hospitals in the West Bank and 25 in Gaza Strip. These were distributed as 25 governmental hospitals, 28 non-governmental, 20 private, two hospitals run by military institutions, and one run by UNRWA. There were 5,108 hospital beds: 1.3 beds per 1,000 population and allocated as 3,063 beds in the West Bank and 2,045 in Gaza Strip. There were 572 primary health care centers in the West Bank in 2010 and 134 centers in Gaza Strip.
The total land area of the Palestinian Territory was 6,020 square kilometers in 2010, of which 957.2 square kilometers were cultivated land. This comprised 15.9% of the Palestinian Territory during the agricultural year 2009/2010, based on the main results of the Agriculture Census 2010.
The main results covered all agricultural holdings enumerated in the Palestinian Territory in the agricultural year 2009/2010. There were 111,310 agricultural holdings in the Palestinian Territory. These were made up of 79,176 plant holdings, comprising 71.1% of all holdings in the Palestinian Territory: and 17,893 mixed holdings comprising 16.1% of holdings, plus 14,241 animal holdings comprising 12.8% of all holdings. There were 33,925 cattle, 567,833 breeding sheep, and 219,364 goats counted in the Palestinian Territory on 01 October 2010.
The Israeli occupation forces destroyed 145 Palestinian houses in the Palestinian Territory during 2010 according to a study by the PLO Department for National and International Relations. Meanwhile, the Israeli authorities granted building permits for 16,497 housing units for Israelis mostly in and around Jerusalem (J1) and 1,300 housing units are currently under construction.
The average number of persons per room in housing units in refugee camps was 1.7 in 2010, while 13.1% of households in refugee camps in the Palestinian Territory live with a housing density of three or more persons per room: 14.4% in West Bank camps and 12.2% in Gaza Strip. About 60.5% of households in camps in the Palestinian Territory live in housing units measuring less than 120 m2: 67.6% in West Bank camps and 55.2% in Gaza Strip
The labor force participation rate in the Palestinian Territory in 2011 was 43.0%: (40.7% among refugees and 44.3% among non-refugees). The participation rate in the West Bank was 45.5% (44.4% among refugees and 45.9% among non-refugees) compared to 38.4% in Gaza Strip (38.2% among refugees and 38.7% among non-refugees). The unemployment rate in the Palestinian Territory was 20.9% (26.1% among refugees and 18.0% among non-refugees). The unemployment rate in the West Bank was 17.3% (21.6% among refugees and 15.9% among non-refugees) compared to 28.7% in Gaza Strip (29.8% among refugees and 26.8% among non-refugees). The services sector is considered as the largest employer of refugees in the West Bank with 35.8% (compared to 60.3% in Gaza Strip), followed by the trade sector with 21.7% in the West Bank (compared to 15.9% in Gaza Strip).
According to the primary results of the Education Survey for the 2011/2012 scholastic year, there were 2,704 schools in the Palestinian Territory: 2,016 in the West Bank and 688 in Gaza Strip. These were distributed by supervising authority as follows: 2,004 governmental schools, 341 UNRWA schools, and 359 private schools. The total number of students in these schools was 1,136,164, of whom 567,270 were male and 568,894 female. There were 769,694 students enrolled in governmental schools, 270,406 enrolled in UNRWA schools, and 96,064 enrolled in private schools.
The illiteracy rate among Palestinians aged 15 years and above was 4.7% in 2011, distributed as 2.1% of males and 7.4% of females. In the field of higher education, there are 14 universities and 15 university colleges offering programs leading to a bachelor degree: five universities and five university colleges in Gaza Strip and nine universities and 10 university colleges in the West Bank. There are 20 intermediate community colleges: 15 in the West Bank and five in Gaza Strip.
Average prices in the Palestinian Territory increased by 2.88% in 2011 compared with 2010: by 4.13% in Jerusalem (J1), 3.54% in the West Bank and 0.57% in Gaza Strip. In comparison with the base year of 2004, average prices in the Palestinian Territory had increased by 32.71%: by 31.16% in the West Bank, 32.55% in Gaza Strip and 34.08% in Jerusalem (J1).
Both imports and exports of goods increased in 2010 compared to 2009. In 2010, the value of imported goods totaled US $3,958.5 million, an increase of 9.9% compared to 2009. The total value of exports was US $575.5 million, an increase of 11.0% compared to 2009. As a result, the net trade balance on goods recorded a deficit of US $3,383 million in 2010, an increase of 9.8% compared to 2009.
The results indicate that only 15.2% of total exports were exported abroad, while 84.8% of exports were exported to Israel. The limited number of exports abroad was due to Israeli restrictions on Palestinian exports, especially from the Gaza Strip.
The percentage of households with a computer in the Palestinian Territory is 50.9%: 53.2% in the West Bank and 46.5% in Gaza Strip. An Internet connection was available in 30.4% of households in the Palestinian Territory in 2011: 30.6% in the West Bank and 30.0% in Gaza Strip. The percentage of households with a satellite dish in 2011 was 93.9%: 95.9% in the West Bank and 90.1% in Gaza Strip. The results also indicated that 44.0% of households in the Palestinian Territory have a fixed telephone line: 45.3% in the West Bank and 41.6% in Gaza Strip. Meanwhile, 95.0% of households have a mobile phone: 95.1% in the West Bank and 94.7% in Gaza Strip.
Tourism in the Palestinian Territory is the sector most affected by the Israeli occupation since Israeli companies and tourist offices exert a blanket monopoly on groups and Christian pilgrims to the Church of the Nativity and other historical and religious sites.
According to data from the Palestinian Ministry of Tourism, the number of Christian pilgrims in 2011 to the Church of the Nativity alone totaled 1.1 million visitors. Data from the Israeli Ministry of Tourism show that there were around 3.4 million visitors to Israel in 2011, worth more than 16 billion Israeli shekels to the Israeli economy, while the economic impact of these tourist groups on the occupied Palestinian Territory is limited.
The average quantity of water consumed by economic establishments in the Palestinian Territory in 2011 was 4.3 million cubic meters per month in all economic activities. The average quantity of water consumed by economic establishments in the West Bank was 3.2 million cubic meters per month and 1.1 million cubic meters per month in Gaza Strip. In 2011, 62.2% of economic establishments in the Palestinian Territory used the wastewater network to dispose of their wastewater, compared with 15.5% using porous cesspits.
During 2011, economic establishments in the Palestinian Territory produced 17,026.6 tons of solid waste per month, mostly from the industrial activities sector (10,945.3 tons per month): 14,738.8 tons were produced in the West Bank and 2,287.8 tons in Gaza Strip.
Data for 2011 reveal that 47.2% of households in the Palestinian Territory considered the water quality to be good: 70.9% in the West Bank compared to 5.3% in Gaza Strip. In 1999, the percentage was 6.8% in Gaza Strip.