Last updated: July 2nd, 2021

The Palestinian Territories are in the Middle East and consist of the West Bank and the Gaza Strip. Both areas border on Israel while the Gaza Strip has direct access to the Mediterranean Sea and a short land border with Egypt in the south. The West Bank borders Jordan in the east. Together they are a little more than twice the size of the Saarland. The Gaza Strip alone is roughly the size of the state of Bremen. A total of around 4.8 million people live in the Palestinian Territories. Almost every second Palestinian is younger than 18. Another rough quarter of the population is between 18-29 years old so that ultimately a total of over 70 percent of Palestinians are not yet 30 years old. Only 5.2 percent are at least 60 years old.

By the name of Palestine, the country is a member of the Arab League. At the UN, it has had observer status since 2012, after joining UNESCO in 2011. After the death of long-time Palestinian leader and President Yasser Arafat, Mahmoud Abbas was elected President of the Palestinian Authority in 2005. Legislative and presidential elections scheduled for 2021 have been indefinitely postponed.

By far the most important trading partner of the Palestinian Territories is Israel. Over 80 percent of all exports go there and almost 54 percent of all imports come from there. In 2018, roughly 2.7 percent of imports came from Germany, which ships mainly motor vehicles and motor vehicle parts, chemical products, and machines to Palestine. In turn, Palestine exports food, natural oils, fats and waxes, as well as some textiles to Germany.

85 percent of the workforce are employed in small and medium-sized companies and generate around 55 percent of GDP. The main focus of economic activities in the West Bank is on services, construction, the pharmaceutical industry, information and communication technology, and agriculture. Corresponding jobs are to be created in the specially built planned city of Rawabi, whose completion in 2020 had to be postponed. The economic recovery and reconstruction of the country – particularly the Gaza Strip once again after the May 2021 armed conflict with Israel – is a long-term process that requires further international support.