Category Archives: About Palestine

Palestine, the Holy Land

Info-graphic: Loss Of Land - How Palestinians gradually lost their land over the years. (Design by Farwa Rizwan / Al Arabiya English)
Info-graphic: Loss Of Land – How Palestinians gradually lost their land over the years. (Design by Farwa Rizwan / Al Arabiya English)

The location of historic Palestine is at the eastern coast of the Mediterranean Sea, south of Lebanon and west of Jordan.

Palestine Geography; consists of four regions in the country. The four regions of Palestine´s Geography are Jordan valley and Ghawr, coastal and inner plains, Mountain and Hills and Southern Desert.

Mandatory Palestine
In the second decade of last century, the United Kingdom had agreed in the McMahon–Hussein Correspondence that it would honor Arab independence if they revolted against the Ottomans. However, Contrary to this agreement, the UK and France divided the area under the Sykes–Picot Agreement.
This act was perceived as of betrayal by all peoples in the region and was asserted by the Balfour Declaration promising support for a Jewish “national home” in Palestine. (Balfour then was the British Foreign Minister).

“Dear Lord Rothschild,
I have much pleasure in conveying to you, on behalf of His Majesty’s Government, the following declaration of sympathy with Jewish Zionist aspirations which has been submitted to, and approved by, the Cabinet.
“His Majesty’s Government, view with favor, the establishment in Palestine of a national home for the Jewish people, and will use their best endeavors to facilitate the achievement of this object, it being clearly understood that nothing shall be done which may prejudice the civil and religious rights of existing non-Jewish communities in Palestine, or the rights and political status enjoyed by Jews in any other country.
I should be grateful if you would bring this declaration to the knowledge of the Zionist Federation.
Yours sincerely,
Arthur James Balfour”.

In June 1922, Britain obtained a mandate from the League of Nations for Palestine. The civil Mandate administration was formalized with the League of Nations’ consent in 1923 under the British Mandate for Palestine. In Nov 29 1947 the UN general Assembly adopted the resolution 181 known as the Partition plan, recommending a partition of Palestine in to two states ,Jewish and Arab with Jerusalem and Bethlehem as a corpus seperatum under a special International regime and to follow the termination of the British Mandate
This plan granted Jews 56.47% of Mandatory Palestine and the rest 43.53% was assigned to the Palestinians. We recall that in 1947 there was actually no consensus, and yet the international community somehow found the political will to act, adopting resolution 181 (II), partitioning Mandatory Palestine and creating the State of Israel.
Arabs rejected partition plan, because it violated the principles of national self-determination in the UN charter , which granted people the right to decide their own destiny.
The following demographic and land ownership two years before the adoption of the Partition plan by the UN. Explain to what would have been the results had residents of historic Palestine been given the right to decide their own destiny and their right to self- determination.
In 1945, a demographic study showed that the population had grown to 1,764,520, comprising 1,061,270 Muslims, 135,550 Christians, 553,600 Jews (majority of them were immigrants), and 14,100 people of other groups.


Land ownership by district
The following table shows the 1945 land ownership of mandatory Palestine by City:


The state of Palestine
On Nov. 29, 2012, the United Nations General Assembly approved an upgrade from the Palestinian Authority’s observer status to that of a non-member state. The vote came after Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas spoke to the General Assembly and asked for a “birth certificate” for the state of Palestine. Of the 193 nations in the General Assembly, 138 voted in favor of the upgrade in status. This new status of “non-member observer state” would allow Palestine, the state, access to international organizations such as the International Criminal Court (ICC).
After the vote, Palestinian Foreign Minister Riyad al-Maliki spoke in a press conference about working with the ICC and other organizations. He said, “As long as the Israelis are not committing atrocities, are not building settlements, are not violating international law, then we don’t see any reason to go anywhere. If the Israelis continue with such policy – aggression, settlements, assassinations, attacks, confiscations, building walls – violating international law, then we have no other remedy but really to knock those to other places.”
The State of Palestine has so far joined 41 international treaties, including the Geneva Conventions and their additional protocols, as well as the core International Human Rights Treaties.
On April 1, 2015. The State of Palestine officially became a member of the International Criminal Court (ICC).

The state of Palestine is composed of: The West Bank including East Jerusalem is 5,655 Km2; 130 Km long and 40-65 Km in width
And the Gaza strip; 365 Km2; 45 Km long and 5-12 Km in width
Total is 6,020 Km2

The Palestinians, Muslims and Christians, are direct descendants of the Arab people and share their religions, culture, language and history. Consequent to the creation of Israel in 1948, the Jewish Zionists widened their territorial control on every front and in the end commanded 78 per cent of historic Palestine, instead of the 56% allotted to them by the United Nations’ partition plan (resolution 181). This illegal territorial expansion by force at the hands of Zionist gangs, the founders of Israel and resulted in driving by force 750000 Palestinians out of their homes. This act is known worldwide, the Palestinian NAKBAH (catastrophe). These Palestinians found themselves until this date, homeless and stateless refugees inside Palestine and outside Palestine – diaspora.
Palestinian population in 2014 number is approximately 11.5 million of which more than 5 million in the Diaspora. They are a people struggling to preserve their national identity and existence in the face of vast challenges in their ongoing quest for liberation, and their crisis has become untenable; it has become existential
4.550,368 million are residing in the West Bank (2. 790,331) and Gaza (1.760,37) . 1.730. million Palestinians live inside the Green Line Area (Israel). Population growth rate in the Palestinian Territories is around 3.3%.

Government System
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 the West Bank and Gaza. It consists of the elected President, currently MR. Mahmoud Abbas, the appointed cabinet (Ministerial Board) and the Palestinian Legislative Council.

Capital and Principal Main Cities
East Jerusalem is the capital of the state 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 Palestinians residents of the State of Palestine. However, Palestinians are multilingual people, while English is the most widely spoken and used in business, other languages such as Hebrew, French, German, Italian and Spanish are also spoken languages in the state of Palestine.

Palestine is the Holy Land for three monotheistic religions: Islam, Christianity, and Judaism. Palestine is the place where Prophet Mohammed ascended to heaven and houses the third holiest shrine (AL Aqsa Mosque) for all Muslims all over the world (1.7 billion). Islam has dominated the culture of Palestine for the past 1400 years. The city of Bethlehem, the birthplace of Jesus Christ, is a destination for Christian pilgrims from all corners 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.