How Big is Palestine?
Before we answer this question, it is worth providing some introductory information about Palestine. Palestine is an Arab country located in Asia on the eastern Mediterranean coast, which is also known as the Levant. It is bordered by Jordan to the east, Lebanon to the north, and the Red Sea and Sinai, Egypt to the south. In the west, the Mediterranean Sea acts as a bridge connecting Africa, Asia, and Europe.
Palestine is divided into two areas: The West Bank (including East Jerusalem) and the Gaza Strip. Imagine the West Bank as an island with it bordering Jordan in the east. Gaza is a thin strip of land bordered by the Mediterranean on its west and Egypt in the south and west. To the east and north of Gaza and the west of the West Bank is the State of Israel, which maintains military control of the West Bank.
What is the Size of Palestine?
The area of historical Palestine is about 27,000 km2, the West Bank and Gaza which is what is now called Palestine are about 6,220 km2 combined. The area of the West Bank comprises approximately 21% of the historical area of Palestine (from the Jordan River to the Mediterranean Sea), i.e. about 5860 km2, including the mountains of Nablus and the Jerusalem hills, the eastern part of Jerusalem, the Hebron Mountains and the western Jordan Valley.
The area of the Gaza Strip constitutes about 1.3% of the area of Palestine, it is approximately 360 square kilometers. The area is filled with refugees which helps make it the most densely populated region in the world.
Number of Governorates and Cities of Palestine
Palestine has 16 governorates divided into 11 governorates in the West Bank, where Jenin is located in the far north and Hebron city in the far south, and 5 governorates in the Gaza Strip. The governorates of Palestine are Jerusalem, Bethlehem, Hebron, Ramallah, Beira, Nablus, Salfit, Qalqiliya, Tulkarem, Tubas, Jenin, Jericho, the Jordan Valley, the northern Gaza Strip, Gaza, the central Gaza Strip, Khan Younis, and Rafah.
The city of Hebron is the largest governorate in the West Bank in terms of area and population, where there are about one million people residing. Ramallah is one of the most important governorates in the West Bank because it is where the ministries and government institutions of the Palestinian Authority are located. It is the de facto capital of Palestine due to its closeness to Jerusalem, which Palestinians consider their historical, and hopefully future, capital.
Pocketed around the West Bank are a number of towns and villages known as settlements. They are inhabited by Jewish Israelis and protected by the Israeli Defense Forces. They also cause a considerable amount of tension and controversy not only between Israelis and Palestinians, but within Israel and in the international community.
We hope this has given you a better idea of the geography of Palestine. With its centrally located position in Hebron, the Excellence Center is an excellent point to begin your exploration of Palestine.