Modern states /
Self-governing country in Asia with 4.25 million inhabitants. Palestine is not yet an independent state, but which has nevertheless declared its own independence. Large parts of the country is occupied by Israel, and final status of Palestine is not settled. Palestine is recognized by about 100 nations, but not by most Western powers, nor the United Nations.
Is Palestine a state?
Day of independence is November 15, 1988, commemorating when exile-Palestinian authorities claimed Palestine a sovereign state.
Palestine make a claim that Jerusalem, or Al-Quds as the Palestinians prefer to call it, is their capital. The actual capital is, however, Ramallah, but as Palestine is politically divided between the West Bank and the Gaza Strip, the city of Gaza also has the most central functions.
Nominally, the Head of state is President Mahmoud Abbas. and Prime minister is Ismail Haniya, but in the period 2007-2009, West Bank had its own prime minister, Salam Fayyad. The Palestinian government has 22 ministries. Parliamentary functions are operated by the Palestinian Legislative Council, with 89 members (including the president).
The economy of the country is heavily depending on Israel's, as many goods have to be exported to Israel, and as many Palestinians work in Israel. Economic conditions are hard, and worst in the Gaza Strip.
Palestine has a new and fresh democracy that is working on the surface (in terms of free elections) but which is dominated by heavy corruption and a ruthless police and intelligence. It is also the victim of the decisions of certain organizations like Hamas, and foreign governments like the US and the Israeli.
Palestine does not perform too well on the Human Development Index where it comes in as no. 110 of the 182 states that are ranked in the world; yet in the MENA region comes in ahead of countries like Egypt and Morocco. On a scale with 1.000 as maximum, Palestine gains 0.737 points.
Palestine has no currency of its own, Israeli New Shekels and Jordanian dinars are used.
Palestine's economy is weak from decades of occupation and limitation on personal freedom, as well as poor administration and corruption. Foreign aid contributes greatly to the economy. With a GDP per capita at US$2,900 (2008 estimate), Palestine is 72% below world average. Unemployment is as high as 25%, and 57% of the population are below the poverty line.
Despite being low on the MENA ranking, health in Palestine also has a few positive sides, like a moderate child mortality and fairly good doctor density.
Many sectors of Palestine's educational system are well-developed, which is mirrored in very high literacy rates. Academic training is in total good at all levels, but of varying quality between institutions.
Palestinians are the most homogeneous in the Middle East, especially if one counts the few hundred thousand Jews as Israelis.
Just like withe peoples, the situation for languages is largely homogeneous, Arabic being the only language of society.
Sunni Islam dominates in Palestine. Christianity is an old religion here, but due to emigration, the number of Christians is falling.
Palestinian women have about 4 children, but on the Gaza Strip they have 5. Palestine has one of highest growths in the Middle East.
Are the Palestinians ancestors of the Canaanites, or simply Arab immigrants? Both views are frequently expressed. The lands the Palestinians call home has seen many important historical events through the millenniums. But the history is also a sad one, and perhaps never before have the Palestinians suffered more, being unwanted in Israel and without hope of obtaining citizenship in the Arab neighbouring states.