Topography of Palestine

Topography of Palestine Last updated on Thursday 22nd April 2010

Palestine is a country containing a variety of topographical features. It is easily divided into four distinct regions. Moving from the Mediterranean Sea to the east -- in other words from west to east -- one first encounters the coastal plain, then a hilly and mountainous area in Galilee, Samaria and Judaea, next the Jordan River Valley and finally a plateau in the east. In the south of the country is the very dry and inhospitable Negev Desert.

Elevations within the country range from 395m (1296 ft) below sea level along the shore of the Dead Sea -- the lowest point on the earth's surface -- to 1020m (3347 ft) on the summit of Mount Hebron.

There are principally two fertile areas: along the northern Mediterranean coast is the Plain of Sharon, and north of the Samarian hills is a valley called the Plain of Esdraelon. Water is not plentiful and such little rain as there is falls in the winter months. The country's main river, the Jordan, flows south through the Sea of Galilee (also known as Lake Tiberias, a large freshwater lake) to the incredibly salty Dead Sea.

On the western bank of the River Jordan, the so-called West Bank is surrounded on the north, south and west by Israel and on the east by the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan. It shares a border with the Dead Sea in the south east.

The area of the West Bank is approximately 5860 sq km (2263 sq mi) and it is, for the most part, under Israeli occupation. The town of Jericho, however, is administered by the Palestinian National Authority (PNA). Along with the Gaza Strip, the West Bank is set to undergo elections and negotiations to determine its future political status.

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