What You Should Know About Palestine?

markets-in-palestineWhat You Should Know About Palestine? Lots of people around the world lack enough information about Palestine to know what Palestinians are really like. How many people live in Palestine? I heard there is a conflict there, but what is really going on?   

Here we will shed a light on these issues and offer more detailed information. Palestine is an Arab country located in Asia along the eastern Mediterranean coast, which is known also as the Levant. It is bordered by Jordan to the east, Lebanon to the north, the Red Sea, and Sinai, Egypt to the south, and Israel to the west. In the west, the Mediterranean Sea acts as a bridge connecting Africa, Asia, and Europe.

How Many People Live in Palestine? Are there Refugees in Palestine?

The estimated number of Palestinians in the world today amount to about 11.8 million; 4.5 million in Palestine (2.8 million in the West Bank and 1.7 million in Gaza), and about 1.4 million Palestinians in Israel. There are also nearly 5.2 million Palestinian refugees in other Arab countries and about 665,000 in non-Arab countries around the world.

Visiting refugee camps in Hebron, Palestine

Visiting refugee camps in Hebron, Palestine

One thing some people may not know is that there are Palestinian refugees not only outside Palestine but also inside Palestine. But if these refugees live in the Palestinian territories why are they refugees? The answer is simply that Palestinians who live there are those who fled from their cities, villages or small towns after they were annexed or captured by Israeli forces in 1948 and in 1967. These people were compelled to flee their homes for safer areas due to battles and fighting which put their lives at risk.

They thought that this evacuation would be temporary but unfortunately, they have been unable to return to their former homes even long after the wars end. They remain in refugee camps as a sign of not forgetting that one day they will return to their households, towns, villages, and cities.

Fawwar R1In the West Bank, there are around 22 refugee camps where approximately 176,000 refugees live, while in Gaza there are about 12 refugee camps with around 478,000 refugees.

What about Palestinians Who Live in Israel?

As previously mentioned, there are around 1.4 million Palestinians in Israel. The legal situation for these people is that they hold Israeli nationality and are treated as Israeli citizens. During the 1948 Arab-Israeli War, these people had to choose between accepting Israeli nationality or leaving the country. Fearful of becoming homeless, Palestinians in Israel preferred to accept Israeli citizenship.

What about those who live in Jerusalem?  

After the 1967 war, Israel captured additional territory including Jerusalem. Since then, Israel considers Palestinians who live in Jerusalem (around 400.000 Palestinians) as permanent residents of the State of Israel.    

In summary, there are three types of Palestinians. First, those who live in the West bank and Gaza who are considered Palestinian nationals and are governed by the Palestinian Authority. Second, those who live in Jerusalem as permanent residents of the State of Israel and are governed by Israel. Third, those who live in Israel holding Israeli nationality and Israeli citizenship.

What is the Palestinian Authority?

The Palestinian Authority (PA) is the entity that was created as a result of Oslo Accords in 1993 between Israel and the Palestinian Liberation Organization (PLO). The PA was created to transfer power from Jordan which controlled the West Bank prior to the 1967 war, and from Egypt which ruled Gaza, to a Palestinian entity. Since that date, the Palestinian Authority has been in administrative control of the West Bank and Gaza strip.

palestineWhat Are the Important Facts that I Should Know About Palestine?  

There are lots of facts about Palestine but there are seven facts that everyone should know about Palestine and Palestinians. They are:

  1. Palestinians do not have any control over their borders.
  2. Palestinians do not have an airport to fly from or to. Instead they have to go either to Jordan for those who live in West Bank or to Egypt for those who live in Gaza.
  3. Palestinians do not have the right to fly from any Israeli Airport for security reasons.
  4. The Palestinian Authority does not have effective control over the Palestinian Territories. There are a number of Israeli check points between the cities in the West Bank.
  5. The West Bank and Gaza are not physically connected. There is Israeli territory and an Israeli crossing between the two of them.
  6. Israel decides who can or can’t enter Palestine, not the Palestinian Authority. This means that if you want to come to Palestine you have to deal with the Israeli authorities in order to get the visa.
  7. There is no Palestinian currency. The Israeli shekel is used as currency in the Palestinian Territories.

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