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President Mahmoud Abbas
»De jure parliamentary republic operating de facto as a semi-presidential republic
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The State of Palestine is a de jure sovereign state in the Middle East. Its independence was declared on 15 November 1988 by the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) in Algiers as a government-in-exile.
The State of Palestine claims the West Bank and Gaza Strip, and has designated Jerusalem as its capital, with partial control of those areas assumed in 1994 as the Palestinian Authority.
The State of Palestine applied for United Nations (UN) membership in 2011 but in 2012 was granted a non-member observer state status.
Agriculture is a mainstay in the economy. The production of agricultural goods supports the population’s sustenance needs and fuels Palestine’s export economy
. According to the Council for European Palestinian Relations, the agricultural sector formally employs 13.4% of the population and informally employs 90% of the population.
In 2010, 4.6 million people visited the Palestinian territories, compared to 2.6 million in 2009. Of that number, 2.2 million were foreign tourists while 2.7 million were domestic.
In the last quarter of 2012 over 150,000 guests stayed in West Bank hotels; 40% were European and 9% were from the United States and Canada. Major travel guides wrote recently that “the West Bank is not the easiest place in which to travel, but the effort is richly rewarded.
The Palestinian Authority and Israeli tourism ministries have attempted to work together on tourism in the Palestinian territories in a Joint Committee.
- Palestine is home to some of the most important religious places in history and a number of fabulous, humbling sights. Here, you follow the footsteps of millions of pilgrims, you stand on grounds that saw some of the most influential fights of all time and visit some of the most important biblical and historic sites in the world.
- Famous as the birthplace of Jesus, the small town of Bethlehem is a must-see for most visitors of the Palestinian territories.
- The Church of Nativity, built over the cave where -according to tradition – Jesus of Nazareth was born, is a sacred destination for Christians and Muslims alike. From here, it’s a short walk to the Shepherd’s Field, where the birth of the holy child is believed to be announced to a group of shepherds when they saw the Star of Nativity.
- Linger on the famous Manger Square or head to Solomon’s Pools, just a few kilometres out of town. Finally, head to the green Cremisan Valley and try the wine produced in the monastery there.
- Where Bethlehem is known as a place of birth, Hebron is famous as the burial place for the great patriarchs and matriarchs.
- A holy destination for both the Islamic and Jewish people, this city is home to the Tomb of the Patriarchs and Matriarchs and was once the capital of the Kingdom of Israel.
- Hebron has a delightful old town, full of winding alleys and bustling bazaars and is locally known for its pottery workshops and glass blowers, making it a fine place to see some of the excellent Palestiniancraftsmanship.
- The ancient city of Jericho, said to be among the oldest continuously inhabited cities in the world as well as the lowest (at 260m below sea level), has several sights of interest.
- Tell es-Sultan (ancient Jericho) is the main base for archaeological excavations in the city. Admire the mosaic floors in the remnants of the Hisham’s Palace, an extensive 7th-century royal complex and don’t miss the Monastery of Gerasimus of the Jordan. Inside lies a cave where -at least according to tales- Jesus stayed during his 40-day fasting period.