Palestine Overview

With its 6,025 km² (5,660 km² West Bank, 365 km² Gaza Strip), Palestine is a little more than twice the size of Saarland, the smallest German federal state. It fits more than eleven times into the largest federal state, Bavaria.

The Palestinian society is a very heterogeneous, Arab society. It can be divided into townspeople, farmers and Bedouins; in Muslims and Christians; in Palestinians with an Israeli passport, Palestinians living in the West Bank and Gaza Strip, Palestinians living in East Jerusalem with a Jerusalem identity card, and Palestinians in the diaspora; more


With the Oslo Accords, the administration of the education system in Palestine was transferred to the Palestinian Authority and in 1994 the Palestinian Ministry of Education was created.

In Palestine there is general compulsory education for children between the ages of 6 and 15. Up to the 10th grade there is a uniform school education. The grade point average then decides whether the young people will go to secondary schools, where they will pass the Abitur (Tawjihi) within two years. The Abitur exams have been held by the competent Palestinian authorities since 1994/95.

According to YOUREMAILVERIFIER, 90% of the Palestinian students attend secondary schools after the 10th grade and more than 80% of the high school graduates continue with the education after the Tawjihi.

In 2017, according to a report by the EU Commission, there were 49 higher education institutions in Palestine: 14 universities, 16 “university colleges”, 18 “community colleges” and a distance-learning university with 22 branches. Among the best known, largest and best are the Al-Najah National University in Nablus and the Birzeit University north of Ramallah and the Islamic University of Gaza.

Palestine Education


As for the health situation in the West Bank and Gaza Strip, it is good compared to the regional average, but significantly worse compared to the health situation in Israel. For example, in Palestine the child mortality rate is 17 per 1,000 births and in Israel 3. In Palestine, 17 mothers die per 100,000 births, in Israel 5.

The separation system, checkpoints and road blocks, closed roads and cordoning off of the areas, and particularly the Gaza Strip, are severely hampering medical care and access to the basics of healthy living.

On June 20, 2018, 49-year-old Masoud Abdul Hai Abu Saqer, who suffered from kidney cancer, died at the Erez checkpoint between Israel and the Gaza Strip when he was summoned for questioning. The Israeli authorities had previously refused to allow him to leave the country on medical grounds three times.

Time and again, Palestinian rescue services report that the Israeli army is preventing them from doing their job and even attacking them. On June 1, 2018, 21-year-old volunteer first aid worker Razan Al-Najjar was shot dead by an Israeli sniper while attempting to evacuate an injured protester with others towards a medical tent. She was clearly recognizable as a paramedic in her white work clothes.

As a protest against the plans of the new Israeli government to annex parts of the Palestinian West Bank, the Health Liaison Office of the Palestinian Ministry of Health stopped coordinating applications for exit permits for patients and their companions with the Israeli authorities on May 19, 2020, which the situation for the Palestinian patients and their relatives in the Palestinian territories very difficult. Various non-governmental organizations and hospitals are now supporting the sick.

Of the 299 patient applications registered by the WHO for permission to leave the Gaza Strip for June 2020, 139 (46%) were approved by the Israeli authorities, 7 applications (2%) were rejected and the other applications received no response.

Between 1988 and 2018, 102 cases of HIV and AIDS (81 cases of AIDS and 21 cases of HIV) were documented by the Palestinian Ministry of Health in the West Bank and Gaza Strip. However, according to a scientist from Al Quds University, this does not reflect the current status. AIDS and HIV are inadequately monitored due to religious and cultural stigmatization, and data are neither collected nor analyzed.

Flora and fauna

There is a rich flora and fauna in the different regions of Palestine. The website and the Palestine Wildlife Society in Beit Sahour have a lot of information about this (and also about the nature reserves in Palestine).

In the last century there were still large areas of forest in Palestine, but they were cleared in the course of the railway construction when wood was needed for this.

Today fruit trees (olive, almond, orange, apricot trees, etc.) dominate the landscape, while wild species such as pines, cypresses, carob trees, acacias and pines are only found in certain regions, especially in wadis and on the outskirts of villages.

The mountainous desert or semi-desert areas are a sanctuary for various wildlife, some of which can be seen in the wadis early in the morning or at dusk. The Nubian ibex (Capar ibex nubia) and the dorcas gazelle (Gazella dorcas) are common in the hills of the West Bank.

Predators also exist here: wolves (Canis lupus) are common in uninhabited areas. Panthers (Panthera pardus) have their home in the arid mountains of the southern part of the Hebron Mountains. There are also striped hyenas (Hyaena hyaena) in the vicinity of remote towns.

In addition, more than 370 species of birds live in Palestine. These include the Palestinian nectar bird or Jerichon nectar bird (Cinnyris oseus), and the hoopoe (Upupa epops). 121 species stop in Palestine on their transit. Especially between March 10th and April 20th, many flocks of birds can be observed here. The swarms of storks are particularly impressive. 85% of the world’s stork population flies over Palestine and Israel.