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Palestine is a name which has been widely used since Roman times to refer to the region that includes contemporary Israel and the Palestinian territories, parts of Jordan, and parts of Lebanon and Syria. In its narrow meaning, it refers to the area within the boundaries of the former British Mandate of Palestine (1920-1948) west of the Jordan River. Palestine can also refer to the Proposed Palestinian State. Within the context of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, the use of the term Palestine can arouse fierce controversy. After the 1988 declaration of independence, the State of Palestine was formally recognized by 117 United Nations member states.
Following the 1948 Arab-Israeli War, the 1949 Armistice Agreements between Israel and neighboring Arab states eliminated Palestine as a distinct territory. With the establishment of Israel, the remaining lands were divided amongst Egypt, Syria and Jordan. The Arab governments at this point refused to set up a State of Palestine. The President residence is in Ramallah (West Bank).
The Palestinians are mainly Muslims. There are sizable Christian communities in a number of cities and towns. Israeli-controlled areas are mainly Jewish.
The Country has two portions viz Gaza Strip in Israel bordered by Egypt and West Bank bordered by Israel, Dead Sea and Jordan. The West Bank is inhabited by approximately 2.4 million Palestinians and the Gaza Strip by another 1.4 million.
Coastal and Inner plains are the best fertile land in Palestine and elsewhere, with adequate resources of irrigation (from rainfall and underground water). Mountains are located in al-Jaliil (Galilee), al-Karmel, Nablus and Hebron areas. Jordan valley lies well below sea level, hence the name ghawr, with very good soil but very little water resources. Agriculture there depends on irrigation either from local streams or the Jordan River.
The climate of Palestine for the greater part of the year is pleasant. Winter lasts for three months, from mid-December to mid-March, and can be severe. During the remainder of the year, the climate is temperate, with the hottest weather in the months of July and August. The Middle Eastern summer is eased by breezes coming from the Mediterranean Sea. Summer although hot in the daytime, is fairly cool at night requiring a sweater. Temperatures in Jerusalem can be as low as - 4 C in Winter and as high as 37 C in Summer.
Arabic is the official language in Palestine. The Israelis speak Hebrew. Other languages used are English, French and German.
The three main currencies in circulation are the NIS (new Israeli Shekel), JD (Jordan Dinar) and US$ (1 US$ is around 4.25 NIS or 0.70 JD).
Gaza is the largest city in Palestine. Other main cities are Jerusalem, Ramallah, Nazareth, Hebron, Jaffa, Nablus, Jinin, Ajlun, Salt, Akka, Haifa, Tiberias.
Places to Visit
Bethlehem, the birth place of Jesus Christ and is one of the world's great shrines. Situated on a hill in green, fertile country, Bethlehem looks across to the Dead Sea and beyond. Its inhabitants, who are mostly Christians and Arabs, depend largely on pilgrims and tourists for their livelihood. On the Jordan River in Bethlehem where Jesus Christ was born and baptized. Palestine is the Holy Land indicated in the Holy Scriptures.
The magnificent Basilica of the Nativity is situated on Manger Square in the south-eastern part of the Palestinian City of Bethlehem, eight kilometers south of Jerusalem. The Basilica is built above the cave identified as where Jesus was born. When Joseph and Mary came to Bethlehem, they could not find room at the inn, so Jesus was born in cave that was used as a stable. The church was originally build in the middle of the third century A.D. by Helena mother of the Roman Emperor Constantine, it was later destroyed and rebuilt in most of its present shape by the Emperor Justinian in 529 A.D., making it one of the oldest church in existence.
Noble Sanctuary, Jerusalem : Al-Haram al-Sharif, enclosing over 35 acres of fountains, gardens, buildings and domes. At its southernmost end is Al-Aqsa Mosque and at its centre the celebrated Dome of the Rock. The entire area is regarded as a mosque and comprises nearly one sixth of the walled city of Jerusalem.
Gaza Int'l Airport and the Tel Aviv Airport in Israel. Palestinian Airlines is the National Carrier. There are flights to Jeddah, Istanbul, Doha, Amman, Cairo, Dubai, Abu Dhabi, Damascus (Syria) from Gaza airport. For Reservation : Telefax : +970 8 2848884, Operator : +970 8 2848888, Email : email@example.com
ISD codes & International time