There are an estimated 4.5 million people living in the Palestinian territories, which are made up of the West Bank, the Gaza Strip, and east Jerusalem. Both the West Bank and Gaza have considerably high population density, although Gaza's far outpaces the West Bank's.
The West Bank, which is slightly smaller than the U.S. state of Delaware, has a population of more than 2.7 million. The Gaza Strip has a population of approximately 1.8 million, despite being roughly 16 times smaller in land size than the West Bank. And the population is extremely young too. The median age of Palestinians is around 19 years old. For context, Israel has a median age of about 30.
There's also a huge displacement problem for Palestinians. According to the United Nations, there are roughly 5 million Palestinian refugees in the world today—defined as those who were displaced from their ancestral homes after the 1948 war with Israel.
Exactly 30 years today —Yasser Arafat declared independence for the state of Palestine. But three decades later, the Palestinian territories still lack a united, fully-functioning government, freedom of movement for all of its citizens, and full international recognition as a sovereign state.
On this episode we're going to examine what this declaration of independence has meant for Palestinians. We'll speak to an expert from the Carnegie Endowment for Peace to help us analyze the effects this declaration has had on Palestinian politics, demographics and living conditions. And we'll pose the question… just how powerful is Palestine today?