Palestine Population and History

Palestine Population

The set of territories already occupied by Israel in 1967 and, with the agreements of 1993 and 1995, subject to negotiation to be partly intended for the administration of the Palestinian National Authority, amounts to 5,879 km ² in the West Bank (called, by the authorities Palestinians, Northern District) and 378 km ² in the Gaza Strip (or District), for a total area of 6257 km ². For Gaza, the Israeli authorities consider a slightly smaller extension to be negotiated (363 km ²); in both districts, especially in the northern one, large territories belong to Jewish colonies; further settlements have been authorized by Israel since 1996.

Population and economic conditions

According to, the Israeli evacuation of the Palestinian territories proceeded more slowly than expected; in 1998 the West Bank section of the Palestine was divided into several isolated parts and interclosed by areas controlled by Israel. For all this, it is not yet possible to assess the extent of the effective Palestinian territory, in which the resident population, in 1997, was estimated at 2. 821. 000 residents, Excluding the over 180. 000 (1998) Israeli settlers.

The density is very high, especially in the Gaza District (over 2700 residents / km ²). Among the main Palestinian cities is Jerusalem: the neighborhoods of its eastern part have a majority of Palestinian residents (but there are conflicting estimates on their number); Jericho (28. 000 residents) Is home to the central organs of the Palestinian administration, pending a defined the issue of Jerusalem, Capital of Palestine; most populous Hebron are (almost 300. 000 residents), Ramallah (235. 000), Nablus (220. 000), Jenin (210. 000) and various centers in the Gaza District. The Palestine population grows at a rate of about 4 % per year, presenting a very low average age (51 % of the residents are under 15 years old).

The economy recorded modest growth in the early 1990s, which was zeroed in the course of 1996, severely marked by the ‘closure’ applied by Israel to the Palestinian territories (over 130 days during the year). Agriculture, carried out on 36 % of the territory and fairly competitive on international markets (citrus fruits, first fruits), occupies about 13 % of the assets; industry (food, construction) about 36 %. Palestine is the subject of substantial private and government investment programs and grants, especially from European countries.

The economic situation is however very precarious, also due to an anachronistic and insufficient infrastructures of the territory (dating back mostly to before 1967): the Palestine lacks a port (under construction in Gaza) and an international airport (the the old Gaza airport has not yet returned to operation); the viability controlled by the Palestinians is fragmented between the various areas making up the territory of the P .; telecommunications are negligible (3 telephone lines per 100 residents, compared to the 55 surveyed in Israel) and were the subject of one of the first major investment operations (for 200 million dollars), launched in 1996; another investment was earmarked for the construction of a thermoelectric plant in Gaza. The unemployment rate is stable at around 40 % and per capita income (down in 1995) is around $ 1350 per year, compared to around $ 16. 000 of Israel, towards which a consistent flow of commuters is headed (when it is not hindered by obstacles of political origin).


At the same time as the withdrawal from Gaza, four settlements in the north of the West Bank were also evacuated (with 674 residents, compared to the 230,000 registered at the time); meanwhile, the civilian population of the West Bank was subject to increasingly severe restrictions caused by the barrier (for short stretches a wall, 8-9 meters high, in the majority of the route a fence). When construction was almost complete, almost 80 lived in the ‘confiscated’ Palestinian territory located west of the barrier, which was thus effectively reunited with Israel.% of settlers residing in the West Bank. For the stolen land, orchards and olive groves incorporated by the wall or uprooted during construction works (often in very fertile areas because they are closer to water resources), the Palestinians should have received adequate compensation. The space east of the barrier, with the Palestinian towns and villages controlled by the Palestine (zone A), remained however under close surveillance by the Israeli army which, divided the territory into five distinct areas, prevented free movement through checkpoints.: most of the roads were in fact passable only by settlers, who could also take advantage of connecting tunnels between some settlements; the Palestinians, on the other hand, were forced to make innumerable detours for any small movement. Furthermore, the construction of the settlements did not stop, in particular to the east of Jerusalem (al-Quds for the Arabs), now irremediably separated from the West Bank and so enlarged in its municipal boundaries as to prevent a territorial continuity between the north and south of the West Bank.

In January 2006, the electoral victory of Ḥamās (44.4 % of the votes) allowed us to glimpse new scenarios: the disruptive force of this organization, which appeared to be the only one capable of interpreting the frustrations of the Palestinian population, also reaping the fruits of a truce now effective for over ten months, it frightened Israel and Western countries, agreeing to apply a suspension in the payment of humanitarian aid, contributions, technical assistance, etc., to the new Palestinian government; however, the conviction of the need to force the latter to participate in a negotiating table was spreading. In fact, however, Ḥamās showed no sign of wanting to abandon his proclamations of the destruction of the state of Israel, and in the course of the summer, Israeli fear of a dangerous convergence of intent between the Palestinian and Lebanese organizations of Ḥ ezboll ā h (Party of Dio), who both launched, within a few days of each other (June 25 and July 12), a violent offensive against Israel.

On 25 June, through an underground tunnel dug under the border of the Strip, a Palestinian commando entered Israel near a military outpost, killed two soldiers and kidnapped a third. The attack, claimed among others by the military wing of Ḥamās, provoked an Israeli army incursion into the Strip (Operation Rain in Summer), exhaustion a population already severely tested by the suspension of humanitarian aid. Israel’s counter-offensive, threatened by Qassam missiles launched from the Strip, caused hundreds of deaths and jeopardized the very physical survival of the population (bombing of the Strip’s only power plant). In the fall of 2006While the negotiations to form a government of national unity between Ḥamās and al-Fat āḥ seemed to be taking shape, on the basis of a national reconciliation document written by Palestinian political prisoners in Israel, the conflict between the two parties was erupting in the streets of Gaza.

Palestine Population