Palestine Social Structure Part I

Proportion of literate adults: 97% (2019)

Major religion (s): Islam (Sunni) approx. 98.5%, Christianity approx. 1.5

Urban population: 77% (2019)

Life expectancy (female / male): 75/73 years (2019)

Gender Inequality Index: No data available

Number of births: 4.1 / woman (2018)

Infant mortality: 17 / 1,000 live births (2018)

According to RELATIONSHIPSPLUS, the Palestinian society is a very heterogeneous, Arab society. It can be divided into townspeople, peasants 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; Refugees and residents; Returnees (after the beginning of the Oslo peace process) and those who stayed; residents of the Egyptian-influenced, more traditionally oriented Gaza Strip and residents of the Jordanian-influenced, (in some cities) more liberal West Bank.

Of the projected 13.35 million Palestinians worldwide at the end of 2019, 37.7% (5.04 million, of which 3.02 million in the West Bank and 2.02 million in the Gaza Strip) live in Palestine and 12.0% (1.6 million) in Israel. 44.9% (5.99 million) live in Arab countries and 5.4% (0.72 million) in other countries.

42.5% of the Palestinian population (26.6% in the West Bank, the Gaza Strip 66.2%) are refugees, by the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East UNRWA are cared for.

In 2018, an average of 5.0 people lived in a household (4.6 people in the West Bank and 5.7 people in the Gaza Strip). In 2007 the average was 5.8 people (5.5 people in the West Bank, 6.5 people in the Gaza Strip), and 6.4 people in 1997 (6.1 people in the West Bank, 6.9 people in the Gaza Strip).

In mid-2016, 73.9% of Palestinians lived in cities, 16.6% in rural areas and 9.5% in refugee camps (in the West Bank and Gaza Strip).

For every 100 women in Palestine in mid-2020 there are 103.2 men. The population growth is 2.5%. In 2020, 45% of the Palestinian population (42% in the West Bank and 48% in the Gaza Strip) were under the age of 18. 22% of the population are young people between the ages of 18 and 29 (1.14 million people). Only 5% (6.6% in the West Bank and 3.4% in the Gaza Strip) of the Palestinian population are 60 years and older and 3% (4% in the West Bank and 3% in the Gaza Strip) are 65 years and older.

The predominant social unit in Palestine is the extended family (Hamula in Arabic). Its members can belong to very different social classes and yet there is a feeling of responsibility and togetherness among each other, which is evident in business relationships or in conflicts with other families. On the other hand, the hamula practices social control and demands that the individual submit to the community. The individual must not do anything that could damage the reputation of the extended family. Whether in business or private life, every person stands for the entire extended family and every clan is held responsible for the actions of the individual. This is especially true for women. The family’s honor, Arabic Sharaf, depends on their behavior in public.

Sons are still more important than daughters. The eldest son continues the family line and gives his parents a new social status. The parents are named after him “mother of…” (Um…..) or “father of…” (Abu…..).

Women have become an integral part of the public street scene. Nevertheless, there are strict rules governing the public gathering of unrelated or married men and women. In liberal cities like Jerusalem and Ramallah, young men and women can date, but usually only in the presence of family members, in groups or in public spaces such as restaurants or cafes. They are rarely allowed to evade social control.

Women are now represented in all professions. They work as police officers (in the Gaza Strip and the West Bank, such as Nawal Al Khatib with the tourist police in Bethlehem or with the traffic police), judges, architects and politicians (there are three ministers among the 22 cabinet members of the 18th government on April 13, 2019 : the Minister for Tourism and Antiquities Rula Maayah, the Minister for Women’s Affairs Dr. Amal Hamad and the Minister for Health Dr. Mai Kaileh) and the administrative district of Ramallah and El Bireh has worked with Dr. Laila Ghannam is the first to have a woman at its head. There are also a few mayors. There is also a Palestinian women’s national soccer team and female racing drivers who have even been made in a film, and there is also a female boxing team in the Gaza Strip. In November 2013, the Hamas government in the Gaza Strip appointed a female spokesperson for the first time: 23-year-old media scholar and divorced mother Isra Almodallal. Tahrir Hamad has been allowed to play since July 2015 the first woman in Palestine to marry and divorce. In March 2016 Hanan Al Hroub received the “World Teacher Award ” from the non-profit Varkey Foundation based in London.

However, a large proportion of them work in traditional female occupations, ie in education (34.7%), in agriculture and forestry, hunting and fishing (20.5%) or in the health sector (9.4%). And despite a good education, they tend to hold lower positions and receive only 70.7% of the average wage of their male colleagues.

Palestinian population