Palestine Population, Main Cities and Geography

By | January 27, 2023

Palestine Population and cities



According to Countryaah website, about 2.4 million people live in the West Bank and around 1.7 million in the Gaza Strip.

The birth rate and population growth in the Gaza Strip are among the highest in the world, as evidenced by the fact that the population doubles every 15 to 20 years. The area’s population is more than 50% under 15 years old, with an average age of 17.9 years. While life expectancy in the Gaza Strip is lower than in the West Bank and Israel, it exceeds that in Egypt. About 80% of the population of the Gaza Strip and 60% of the population of the West Bank live below the poverty line. The supply of most of the Gaza Strip must be guaranteed by UNRWA. The population density in the Gaza Strip is around 4,000 residents per square kilometer and therefore corresponds to that of an urban agglomeration – comparable to Munich and Berlin, for example. Check topmbadirectory for politics, flags, famous people, animals and plants of Palestine.

Ethnic composition

83% of the population of the autonomous territories are Palestinian Arabs, the other 17% Israelis. Approximately 310,000 Israeli settlers live in the so-called C area, where around 150,000 Palestinians have settled. Two thirds to three quarters of the population in the Gaza Strip are refugees and their descendants. Before the war in Palestine, they lived in and around Jaffa in particular. 492,000 of these are housed in the eight camps managed by the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East, or UNRWA for short. 22.42% of all Palestinian refugees registered by UNRWA live in the Gaza Strip and have one of the highest population densities in the world. In Camp Beach (near Gaza City) around 80,700 people live in an area of less than 1 square kilometer. (In comparison shows Mumbai has a population density of 31,214, Tokyo has 13,650 and New York has 10,530.

Religious affiliation

The 99.3% Muslims and 0.7% Christians in the Gaza Strip are compared to 75% Muslims, 17% Jews and 8% Christians in the West Bank. The majority of Muslims belong to Sunni Islam. There are also a few hundred Samaritans in Nablus in the West Bank.

National language

Arabic is spoken in the Palestinian Territories, a specific Arabic dialect that contains features from Egyptian Arabic and Syriac-Lebanese. English is common in the larger cities like Ramallah or Hebron. In the more rural areas you shouldn’t hope for that. Ivrith (New Hebrew) is hardly spoken for understandable reasons and is also not popularly heard.


The largest cities in the Palestinian Territories are Al-Bireh, Baituniya, Bethlehem (Arabic Bait Lahm), Bait Jala, Bait Hanun, Bir Zait, Dair al-Balah, Gaza, Hebron (Arabic al-Chalil), Jenin, Jericho (Arabic Ariha), Chan Yunis, Nablus, Qalqiliya, Rafah, Ramallah, Rawabi (under construction), Tulkarm and Zababdeh (Arabic az-Zababda). According to Abbreviation Finder, PLE stands for Palestine in English. Click to see other meanings of this 3-letter acronym. Some of them are shown in more detail below:

Beit Jala (also Beit Jala)

The small Palestinian city of Beit Jala is inhabited by 12,000 mostly Christian people and belongs to Bethlehem, even if it is about two kilometers away from the city. The townscape is determined by six churches and two mosques, the most important Christian sacral building being the Greek Orthodox Church of St. Nicholas.

Beit Sahur (also Beit Sahour)

This Palestinian city is located east of Bethlehem and is 80% Christian. According to tradition, it extends to the area where, according to the New Testament, the shepherds who were the first to learn of the birth of Jesus Christ should have camped. The shepherds’ fields, which commemorate the proclamation of the Christmas message, also belong to the area of the city. In the city center is the Marienbrunnen (Bir as-Sydah), a cistern that is said to have been dug by Abraham’s son Isaac. Maria then drank from it on her flight to Egypt.


Bethlehem, house of life or house of flesh, is one of the most important cities in Christianity. The most important attraction and pilgrimage site in Jesus’ birthplace is the impressive Church of the Nativity of Christ. It was built in the 4th century by St. Helena, mother of Emperor Constantine, over a grotto that was already venerated as the birthplace. In the course of the following centuries it was partially destroyed several times, rebuilt and repeatedly rebuilt. Bethlehem was shown separately at Goruma here >>>

Chan Yunis

Chan Yunis refers to the city and the refugee camp of the same name in the southern part of the Gaza Strip. Since 1994, the city of 200,000 has been under the administration of the Palestinian Authority de jure. A third of the city’s residents live in the refugee camp. The second largest city in the Gaza Strip is one of the locations of the Al-Quds Open University.

Jenin (Arab. Dschanin)

The city in the West Bank is inhabited by about 36,000 people and referred to the adjacent refugee camp, which was founded in 1953 and is home to 12,000 refugees. For a long time Jenin was considered the stronghold of the Al-Aqsa Brigades, which are held responsible for numerous terrorist attacks. After many fights, including in 2002, it has become quiet around and in Jenin. Shops and cafes have reopened for a long time and Jenin is sometimes seen as a kind of laboratory test for a future Palestinian state. The city’s Freedom Theater and Cinema Jenin are well known.

Gaza City

Gaza, the largest city in the Gaza Strip, has been under the de jure administration of the Palestinian Authority since 1994. But since June 2007 it has been de facto controlled by Hamas. Around 400,000 live in Gaza City (1.4 million in the agglomeration), which is also where one of the two administrative headquarters of the autonomous authority is located. Gaza also has a seaport on the Mediterranean, but most of it cannot be used due to the Israeli blockade. The city has several universities that are attended by around 28,500 students. Along with Ramallah, Gaza is one of the two “capitals” of the Palestinian Authority.


Between 167,000 and 200,000 people live in Hebron, a city in the West Bank that is also Hebron University and a polytechnic. Hebron is one of the oldest continuously inhabited cities in the world. Archaeological finds show that Hebron was born in the 3rd millennium BC. Was founded. The city is divided into Hebron 1 (H1) and Hebron 2 (H2) and is crossed by several Israeli settlements, in which about 800 settlers live (H2). Unlike in other cities on the West Bank, they also live in the city center. Again and again there are therefore violent clashes between Jewish and Arab city dwellers. Everyday life was determined by restrictions. Hebron is of great importance to the Jews: the most important sight,Jerusalem he Temple Mount is the holiest place in Judaism, as the resting places of the three patriarchs Abraham, Isaac and Jacob as well as their wives Sarah, Rebekah and Leah are supposed to be there. Hebron is also considered holy for Muslims and Christians. The former maintain the important Abraham Mosque there.


On the west bank of the Jordan and near the Jordanian border, Jericho, the deepest city in the world, spreads out at 250 meters below sea level. Around 25,000 people currently live in Jericho, which was the first city to be handed over to the Palestinian Authority by Israel under the Oslo Accords. Today Jericho, also mentioned in the Bible, is a border town. To the west of it rises the Mount of Temptation with the Greek Orthodox Qarantal Monastery. The Wadi Qelt extends to the west, to which the Greek Orthodox St. George Monastery also belongs, a picturesque jewel of religious importance.

Nāblus (also Nāblis)

The name Nāblus is derived from the Greek Neapolis (Eng. New Town). It is a city that is inhabited by about 100,000 people and extends between the two mountains Ibāl and Jirzim. Nablus is known for the fact that 400 members of the Samaritan people live there in addition to the Muslims and Christians. The city is also known as the seat of the An-Najah National University and as the site of Joseph’s tomb, which can be found in the immediate vicinity of the city.


This city in the south of the Gaza Strip acts as the only border crossing between Egypt and the Gaza Strip. Parts of the city are on Egyptian territory, so the demarcation line runs across the city. A refugee camp with around 96,000 residents belongs to Rafah.


Rām Allaah is located in the West Bank (about 15 km northwest of Jerusalem) and houses parts of the Palestinian government – the others belong to Gaza City. The Palestinian Legislative Council, parts of the executive branch and offices of the Palestinian West Bank Security Forces have settled in Ramallah. Ramallah has grown together with the neighboring Muslim city of Al-Bireh in recent years. On the border between the two cities, Manarah Square (Lighthouse Square) is expanding as the new city center. Ramallah is considered to be cosmopolitan and the “most western” of all Palestinian cities. Theaters, cinemas, bars, coffee houses and cultural centers such as the Darwisch Palace of Culture shape the cityscape. With the Martyr Faisal Al Husseini Stadium, Ramallah has had a FIFA-accepted sports facility since 2008.


Mahmud Abbas (born 1935)

The politician called Abu Mazen is the leading head of the Palestinian Fatah movement. He has been chairman of the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) since 2004 and president of the Palestinian Authority since 2005. In 2003 he was also Prime Minister of the Palestinian Authority.

Salah Abdel-Shafi (born 1962)

The Palestinian economist and diplomat from Gaza completed his academic training at the John F. Kennedy School of Government at Harvard and served as Delegate General of Palestine in Sweden from 2006 to 2010. In this role he was also involved in the preparation of the Geneva initiative. Since 2010 he has been working as the Palestine Ambassador and Head of the Palestine Diplomatic Mission in Germany.

Yasser Arafat (1929-2004)

No name is as connected to the Palestinian struggle for freedom as Yasser Arafat. Depending on his perspective as a Palestinian freedom fighter, terrorist, guerrilla fighter, politician and ultimately Nobel Peace Prize laureate, he was President of the Palestinian Autonomous Territories from 1996 until his death in 2004. In 1957 he co-founded the Palestinian Fatah, of which he later became leader.

Hanan Aschrawi (born 1946)

The Nablus native made a name for herself as a Christian Palestinian politician of the “Third Way” party. She has received numerous prizes for her work.

Mohammed Dahlan (born 1961)

Dahlan is a Palestinian politician who served as security chief of the Palestinian Authority in the Gaza Strip under Arafat and in this capacity headed the Palestinian secret service, the Preventive Security Service. In 2007 he tried to overthrow the Hamas government in Gaza. This failed, however, whereupon he had to move to the West Bank. He was later expelled from the party and even accused of poisoning Arafat.

Rauhī Fattūh (born 1949)

Rauhī Fattūh took over the post of interim president of the Palestinian Authority after the death of Yasser Arafat on November 11, 2004. Fattūh is a member of the Fatah movement and is considered moderate.

Salam Fayyad (born 1952)

The Palestinian economist and politician has been the Prime Minister of the Palestinian Territories since 2007. For a time he also held the office of foreign minister. From 2002 to 2005 and in 2007 he was also Minister of Finance.

Hilarion of Gaza (291-371)

The Christian ascetic and hermit who was born in Tabatha near what is now Gaza in 291 entered the religious infinity as a saint. In pictorial representations you can usually see him as a hermit monk.

Ismail Haniyya (born 1962)

The politician, born in 1962 in the Ash Shati refugee camp in the Gaza Strip, served as Prime Minister of the Palestinian Territories from 2006 to June 2007. He is therefore considered one of the top five political leaders of the militant Palestinian Hamas.

Herod I or Herod the Great (around 73-4 BC)

The king of Judea, Galilee, Samaria and other areas was one of Romeappointed vassal king and also supported by Rome. Among other things, the new building of the Jerusalem temple goes back to him. Could be inaugurated. In the Gospel of Matthew Herod is assumed to be the so-called Bethlehemite child murder: This very doubtful story lets Herod learn of the birth of a “King of the Jews”, by which Jesus Christ is meant. Herod, fearing for his power for Bethlehem, ordered the murder of all male children up to the age of two. But only Matthew reports of this act. All other sources – biblical and non-biblical – are silent.

Hieronymus (347-420) Sophronius Eusebius Hieronymus, who died

in Bethlehem in 420, was a church father, scholar, theologian, saint and one of four late antique church teachers in the West. From 385 on, Jerome translated the books of the Old Testament in Bethlehem, creating the first documented Bible in Latin, the Vulgate. This mammoth work cost him thirty years of his life. The Vulgate was to remain the definitive work of Christianity until the Luther Bible.

Eustochium (around 368-419/420)

In the year 419 or 420 the consecrated virgin of the early church, born as Julia of Rome, died in Bethlehem. She was the daughter of St. Paula and the Roman senator Toxotius. Today Eustochium itself is venerated as a saint. She once came to Bethlehem with her mother to start a monastic community there that still exists today. Her grave lies below the Church of the Nativity, together with that of Paula and Hieronymus.

J esus Christ

Jesus Christ, the anointed one, which was revealed for the salvation of all people on the earth, according to the New Testament, the Messiah sent by God and Son of God. His name unites the faith of the early Christians, who projected the salvation promises of the Hebrew Bible onto the historical person of Jesus of Nazareth. Jesus is said to have been born in Bethlehem – at the point where today’s Church of the Nativity rises up into heaven. The city is therefore one of the holiest places in all of Christianity.

Constantine the Great (between 270 and 288-337)

The Roman emperor Flavius Valerius Constantinus, also famous as Constantine the Great or Constantine I, ruled from 306 to 337 – from 324 as sole ruler. It was he who reunited the Roman Empire and made Christianity its preeminent religion. In the year 326, Constantine and his pious mother Helena had the Church of the Nativity built in Bethlehem on the site of the cave in which Jesus is said to have been born.

Israel Najara (1555-1628)

The poet born Israel Ben Moses Najara died in Gaza in 1628. He specialized in Jewish liturgical as well as secular topics. He was also known as a rabbi and Lurian Kabbalist.

Omar ibn al-Khattab (592-644)

The second so-called rightly guided caliph of Islam ruled from 634 to 644. Omar, however, not recognized by the Shiites as a caliph, conquered Jerusalem and traveled to Bethlehem in 637 to gain his respect for the Christians there in front of the Church of the Nativity and to guarantee the safety of the priesthood. The Omar Mosque in the old town of Bethlehem is named after him, and is the oldest mosque in the city on today’s Manger Square.

Paul VI (1897-1978)

Giovanni Battista Enrico Antonio Maria Montini, born in 1897, made himself known as Pope Paul VI. a name. In his pontificate from 1963 to 1978, the 262nd Pope continued the Second Vatican Council, which had been opened under his predecessor, John XXIII. The so-called “Council Pope” implemented comprehensive church legislation like no other Catholic church leader before him. In 1964 he was the first Pope to come to the Holy Land and Bethlehem by then. At his urging, the University of Bethlehem was founded.

Paula of Rome (347-404)

This Roman Christian and saint of the Catholic Church is known for her friendship with the church father Jerome. Together with her daughter Eustochium she came to Bethlehem to start the earliest monastic community in Bethlehem. Paula used her wealth to found a home for pilgrims and two monasteries – one for Jerome and his followers and one for herself and her nuns. St. Paula of Rome died in Bethlehem in 404 and has her grave together with Jerome and Eustochium under the Church of the Nativity. Her remains, however, went to the Roman basilica of Santa Maria Maggiore in the 15th century.

Prokopios (around 465-528)

The late antique sophist and rhetorician spent most of his life in his hometown of Gaza. But he did not take part in the theological discussions of his time, but wrote his own rhetorical writings. These include the description of Hagia Sophia and a complaint about its partial destruction by an earthquake. His 162 letters to personalities, which give a good insight into his, are also important.

Tankred (1072-1112)

Tankred the Crusader or Tankred of Taranto or Tankred of Tiberias was one of the participants in the First Crusade, after which he became Prince of Galilee. He was also regent of the Principality of Antioch and the County of Edessa. On June 6th, 1099, Tankred and his men occupied Bethlehem. There he had his banner planted on the Church of the Nativity as a sign of victory.

Nabil Marshall Totah (1930-2012)

The Ramallah-born musician of Palestinian origin made a name for himself as a jazz bassist.

Sheikh Ahmad Yassin (1936-2004)

Yassin was the leading founder of the radical Islamic Hamas and its spiritual leader. The blind sheikh was deliberately killed by the Israeli military in 2004. In the course of his political activities, Yassin had repeatedly called for violent resistance against Israel, placing particular emphasis on the suicide bombers. Thousands of Palestinians attended the funeral procession for his funeral.

Zacharias von Mytilene (around 465 – after 536)

The late antique bishop and church historian from Gaza, who was honored with the nickname Scholastikos or rhetor, wrote numerous important works, including a church history.

Jeannette Zarou (born 1942)

This Canadian soprano of Palestinian origin was born in Ramallah in 1942. She made her debut with the Canadian Opera Company in Verdi’s Aida. Appearances with Leonard Bernstein, Rene Kollo and Paul Frey followed.

Palestine Population