Palestine Overview

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Germany systematically and sustainably supports the expansion of the higher education and research system in the Palestinian Territories.

Population / geography

Country name Palestinian territories
Areas West Bank, East Jerusalem and Gaza Strip
Land area total: 6,020 m 2West Bank: 5,655 m 2

Gaza Strip: 365 m 2

Population 5.1 million (estimate Palestinian Central Bureau of Statistics, PCBS)Note: data without Israeli-Jewish settlers
Languages Arabic (English skills widely)
Religions Approx. 97% Muslims (Sunni), the number of Christians is less than 2% (virtually all churches represented).Note: data without Israeli-Jewish settlers
Time zone CET +1 hour
Currency Official currencies: No own national currency. New Israeli shekel (NIS) is the most common. In addition, US dollars and Jordanian dinars are used in wholesale.
Prefix +970, since the telephone system is still linked to the Israeli one, the prefix +972 also works


Politics / Administration

Country name Palestinian Territories: West Bank, East Jerusalem and Gaza Strip
Form of government Palestinian Authority
Field Office Gaza and Ramallah
president Mahmoud Abbas(since January 2005)
Head of government Prime Minister Mohammad Shtayyeh(since April 2019)
Foreign Minister Riad Al Malki
Education, higher education or research minister Dr. Marwan Awartani (since April 2019)Dr. Mahmud Abu Mouis (since April 2019) Minister for Higher Education (including Research).
Houses of Parliament Palestinian Legislative Council (PLC); a chamber with 132 seats; last election on January 25, 2006.The PLC has not met since Hamas came to power in the Gaza Strip in June 2007. The four-year legislative period ended in 2010.
Ruling parties Technocratic cabinet; independent members of the government
Party landscape The party landscape is shaped by PLO parties from the 1960s such as

  • Fatah
  • Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP)
  • Democratic Front for the Liberation of Palestine (DFLP)
  • as well as from relatively young parties such as Hamas and the Palestinian Islamic Jihad, which emerged in the late 1980s

One of the central areas of conflict in the Middle East is the unresolved conflict between Israelis and Palestinians. At its core, it is about territorial claims on the area between the Jordan and the Mediterranean. The State of Israel, founded on May 14, 1948, covers 78 percent of this area. For their part, the Palestinians are striving for an independent Palestinian state in the areas that Israel occupied during the Six Day War in 1967 (West Bank, East Jerusalem and Gaza Strip)

The Palestinian Authority (PA) was founded in 1994 after the conclusion of the Oslo Accords between Israel and the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO). On April 13, 2019, the new Palestinian Prime Minister Mohammad Shtayyeh was sworn in.

The basic pillars of the political system are the president, the government chaired by a prime minister and the parliament, the so-called Legislative Council (Palestinian National Council – PLC). The right to vote provides for proportional representation (state level) and direct election (district level). The last elections were held in January 2006; the four-year legislative period ended in 2010. The Legislative Council has not met since Hamas came to power in Gaza in June 2007. On December 22nd, 2018, President Abbas declared the PLC dissolved.

The President of the Palestinian Authority is directly elected by the people. The last presidential election took place in January 2005. President Abbas’ term of office formally expired in 2009.

(Source: Federal Foreign Office)

The unresolved Israeli-Palestinian conflict is one of the main obstacles to peace and sustainable development in the entire Middle and Middle East region, especially in the Palestinian territories. The West Bank and Gaza Strip are factually and politically separated from each other. Import and export restrictions as well as the geopolitical fragmentation of the Palestinian Territories impede the movement of people and goods and thus make economic development more difficult. Domestic political uncertainties and the Palestinian Authority’s limited right to self-government make it difficult to build state institutions. Problems with the fair distribution and use of water resources repeatedly lead to conflicts in everyday life.

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