With its 6,025 square kilometers (5,660 square kilometers of the West Bank, 365 square kilometers of the Gaza Strip), according to abbreviationfinder, Palestine is a little more than twice the size of Saarland, the smallest German state. More than eleven times it fits into the largest federal state, Bavaria.
The West Bank borders Israel (307 km) to the north, west and south and Jordan (97 km) to the east. The Gaza Strip borders with Israel (51 km) to the north and east, Egypt (11 km) to the south, and the Mediterranean Sea to the west.
The climate in Palestine is generally Mediterranean with a short, wet and cold winter from around mid-December to the end of February (occasionally with snowfall !) And a hot, dry summer in the mountains as a transition zone to the semi-arid (northern Jordan Valley) and arid areas (western of the Dead Sea and the Negev Desert). In the Gaza Strip, the summer is hot and humid and the winter is mild. In Jericho and the entire Jordan Valley, temperatures well above 40 ° C are normal in summer, but the thermometer rarely falls below 10 ° C in winter.
After a prolonged summer drought, the first rain falls around the beginning of October, the last rain in March / April. The annual rainfall is between 660 mm (Nablus) and 166 mm (Jericho). In 2019, precipitation in Nablus exceeded the usual average by 18.2% and in Jenin by 17.1%.
Prehistory and early history
The oldest traces of human settlement in Palestine, part of the Fertile Crescent, are found sites with rubble tools (Ubeidiya, Khirbet Maskana) and hand axes (Djisr Banat Yakub) in the Jordan Valley. In numerous caves cultural layers of the Acheuléen, Jabrudien (Jabrudkultur) and Moustérien are proven. Tombs from the Middle Paleolithic were found in the Carmel caves of Skhul, Tabun, Wad and Kebara (Carmel), in the Amud cave on the Sea of Galilee and on Djebel Qafzeh south of Nazareth. Some of the people buried here are Neanderthals (Tabun, Amud, Kebara), and some are early representatives of the anatomically modern Homo sapiens (Skhul, Qafzeh). The most important culture in the transition to the Neolithic is the Natufien with a hunting and fishing population who also harvested wild grain and settled down; Sites with remains of early settlements are Eynan (Ain Mallaha) in northern Israel, Wadi Hammeh in the Jordan Valley and Beidha in Jordan (near the ancient city of Petra).
At the beginning of the Neolithic (around 8000-5000 BC) in Jericho, the oldest traces of which go back to the 10th / 9th centuries. Millennium BC The first settlement was covered with fortifications in two consecutive pre-ceramic (ceramic-free) layers, of which the younger (phase B) attests to immigration from the north (Syria). After destruction, a layer of primitive dwellings follows in Jericho, which suggests that shepherd nomads had entered the area. During this time, ceramics appeared for the first time, which can also be found in a similar form in other places in Palestine. The Chalcolithic Age (Copper Age: around 5000–3200 BC) is represented by several cultural phases that have strong ties to Mesopotamia. Colored wall paintings from Tulelat Ghassul southeast of Jericho deserve special attention.
Since the early Bronze Age (around 3200–2200 BC), numerous city-states that were under Egyptian influence have been documented in Palestine. The immigration of Semitic parts of the population (Amurites) resulted in major upheavals in the transition period to the Middle Bronze Age, which are particularly recognizable in the grave goods. The Middle Bronze Age (around 2000–1550 BC), which was heavily influenced by Egypt, brought the greatest flowering of Canaanite urban culture. The period from 1650 to 1550 BC Is determined by the newly immigrated, probably partly Western Semitic Hyksos. The Pharaohs of the 18th Dynasty, after defeating the Hyksos, gained new influence in the area of Palestine-Syria. There were also numerous city-states in Palestine in the Late Bronze Age (around 1550–1200 BC). Towards the end of the Late Bronze Age there were great migrations v. a. Aramaic peoples from the desert region. In several waves they settled, which then formed the tribal union of Israel, in the West Bank region not occupied by Canaanite city-states; The Ammonites, Moabites and Edomites settled in the East Bank, and the Philistines in the coastal region.
Antiquity and the Middle Ages
On the history of Palestine in ancient times Israel, Judah, Judea, Judaism.
After the failed uprising of Bar Kochba against the Romans (135 AD), the Roman province of Judea (Iudaea) was renamed Syria Palestine, around 300 AD Palestine as a whole was renamed “Palestine prima”, “Palestine secunda” and ” Palaestina tertia (salutaris) «divided.
After the division of the Roman Empire (395), Palestine belonged to the Eastern Roman (Byzantine) Empire. In 614 Palestine was badly shaken by a Persian invasion, in 634 it was conquered by Caliph Omar and in 636 it was placed under Arab rule. Through the crusades, Christian feudal states were formed in the 12th century (above all the Kingdom of Jerusalem); after 1187, smaller rulers dependent on Egypt emerged in Damascus, Gaza, Kerak and Safed.