Palestinian Authority

Palestinian Authority -- UPDATED

What type of economy does your country have?
•    Market Economy (1)

What is the GDP and GDP at purchasing power parity?
•    GDP at purchase power parity is $12.79 Billion (2009 est.) (1)
•    GDP is $6.641 Billion (2008 est.) (1)

What are your country's major resources?
•    The major resources of the Palestinian territories include agriculture of fruits and vegetables (mainly olives), stone, and limestone (1)
•    Palestine also has several small but important industries like creating glass, black pottery, soap, extracting vegetable oil, chemical industries that depend on the production of agriculture, and weaving (2). Their industries also include small-scale manufacturing, quarrying, textiles, olivewood carvings, and mother-of-pearl souvenirs (1).

What do you export and to whom?
•    The West Bank exports olives, stone, limestone, fruits, and vegetables.
•    A overwhelmingly large part of Palestine’s exports (98%) goes to Israel and Jordan (2)(4)

What do you import and from whom?
•    Palestine imports food, consumer goods, construction materials, petroleum, and chemicals (1)
•    The Palestinian Authority has signed free trade agreements with the European Union, the European Free Trade Association (EFTA), Turkey, The United States, and Canada (5)
•    The P.A. has also completed trade agreement with Russia, Jordan, Egypt, The Gulf States, Morocco, and Tunisia (5) 

What are your country's major manufacturing or agricultural areas?
•    Major manufacturing areas are the manufacturing of glass, black pottery, and soap (2)
•    Major agricultural areas are the exportation of fruits and vegetables, largely the exportation of olives and olive oil.

How many people live below the poverty line in your country?  What is the poverty line for your country?
•    46% (2007 est.) of the population lives below the poverty line (1)
•    There are different poverty lines but the poverty line described as “deep poverty” means living on less than $.50 a day. The population living under this line is reportedly over 1 million people (3).

What is your country's inflation rate?
•    9.9% (2009 est.) (1)

What is the unemployment rate?
•    19.9% (2009 est.) (1)

What is the public debt as a percentage of GDP?
•    Palestine has a GDP of $6.641 billion and its national debt is $1.3 billion (2007 est.), which is 19.58% of the GDP (1).

What percentage of the population lives in cities?
•    The total population in the West Bank is 2.51 million people (July 2010) (1)
•    There is roughly 72% of the population living in urban areas (2008 est.) (1)

How many Internet users and mobile phone users does your country have?
•    There are 356,000 (includes Gaza strip 2008) internet users and 2.405 million (includes Gaza strip 2010) mobile phone users (1)

What are 3 major economic issues currently happening?
•    There is a very large unemployment percentage and it only continues to grow (3).
•    Israeli restriction on movement in and out of the West Bank and Gaza Strip has all but brought their industries to a halt since very limited amounts of goods can be imported and exported into the region (3).
•    Because Hamas continues to gain more public supports, outside donor countries are withholding aid from the Palestinian Authority because most of them don’t support Hamas (3).

** All these facts pertain specifically to The West Bank, not including The Gaza Strip unless noted.


Who is the head of state in your country?  How long has he/she been in power?
•    Mahmoud Abbas is the President of Palestine (13) and the leader of the “interim government” in the West Bank. He represents the Fatah party and was elected January 15th 2005 (5). I have also gathered that Abdel Aziz Dweik is the “acting” president of the Gaza Strip (1)(2) and represents the Hamas. Hamas, however, is considered a terrorist organization by many countries in the world and is therefore not legitimate in the eyes of many countries (5)(12).

What type of government does your country have?
•    There are 2 different political governments ruling the two regions of Palestine. The Fatah rule the West Bank and the Hamas rule the Gaza Strip (5). As a whole, the government style that Palestine is governed by is a Parliamentary Democracy (4). Since Hamas is considered a terrorist organization by many countries, the only acknowledged political power in Palestine is the Fatah (5)(12).

Which countries in the Middle East are your major allies?
•    Iraq, Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Lebanon, and Qatar (7). Iran and Syria support Hamas whereas Israel and European Union countries support Fatah (5).

Which countries worldwide are your major allies?
•    The United States, Australia, Canada, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Sweden, The Netherlands, Norway, and Japan (7)(14). Most all of the European Union countries are supporters of the Fatah government in the West Bank.

What major international organizations does your country belong to?
•    Palestine is a member of the United Nations Development Programme (6), the United Nations High Commissioner for refugees (6), the Near East Foundation (6), and the United Nations Industrial Development Organization (6).

What are three major political issues that your country is dealing with at this time?
•    The first is that Palestine is not a unified state; it is made up of 2 separate regions, the West Bank, and the Gaza Strip. The other major political issues arise from this first issue. Palestine does not have a centralized, powerful government and the Palestinian people are in support of different governing bodies, whether the governing body is viewed as legitimate or not by other countries around the world.

If your country has political parties, what are they and what do they stand for?
•    The Fatah-main aim was to free Palestine from Israel, they joined the PLO and lost power to Hamas in 2006 (8). Currently the Fatah is the only legitimately recognized governing body in Palestine.
•    Hamas (Islamic Resistance Movement)-an offshoot of the Muslim Brotherhood. Their main goal was the reorientation of Palestinian society to religion (9). Hamas combines Palestinian Nationalism with Islamic Fundamentalism (15).
•    Palestinian Liberation Organization-Was able to gain UN observer status. After the Oslo agreements the PLO became knows as the Palestinian National Authority (PNA) (10). It is the umbrella organization for the Palestinian resistance. Was recognized as the “only legitimate representative of the Palestinian people” until some of its viewpoints were changed in the 1993 Oslo agreements (11).
•    Palestinian People’s Party- The PPP supports the Oslo agreements but asks for “reconstruction of the PLO” and wants to have talks with other Oslo opposing groups. (16).
•    Palestinian Democratic Union- Is a reformist movement that wanted to be removed from involvement with the Jordanian politics and now supports the “Madrid and Oslo processes” (17).

Who can vote in your country?
•    Both Palestinian men and women can vote as long as they are 18 years of age or older (18).

What is the size of your military?
•    There are roughly 2500 Palestinian soldiers in the West Bank (19)

Has your country fought in any wars in the last 10 years?
•    Yes, the second Intifada, also known as the Oslo war, took place between September 2000 and November 2004 (20). While some people believe that the second Intifada ended in 2004 there is also evidence supporting that it is still taking place today. The second intifada has lasted from the year 2000 up to present day (21).

When did your country become independent?
•    The Palestinian National Council passed a Declaration of Independence in 1988 (23).

When did it last revise its constitution?
•    Palestine passed a new constitution draft in 2003 (22).

Which countries does it view as a threat or does it have conflicts with?
•    Israel

What is the relationship between religion and the government/public sector in your country?
•    There is a conflict between whether the Palestinian territories should be governed as Islamic states or governed as Arabic (secular) states. There is also a very big dispute about whether or not Jews should be allowed in the West Bank or Gaza Strip. After WWII there was a flood of Jews into the Palestinian territories and the Arabs didn’t want the Jews in their land. Britain granted Israel independence as a state but didn’t do the same for Palestine. The land that Britain granted to Israel was also encroaching on the borders of Palestine (24). Because of these land grants to the religious Jews Palestinians and Muslims both have been fighting with them ever since.

In reality, does your country have freedom of the press, assembly and speech?
•    No, No, No.


*** There is no 3.) reference but since I referenced all over the place changing the numbers would be very difficult.