Closely related to neighbouring countries like Lebanon, Syria, and Jordan, the culture of the state of Palestine is predominantly #Arab, Levantine Arabic being the main language spoken – Modern Standard Arabic being widely understood – besides English and #Hebrew. Islam remains the major religion practiced in #Palestine (along with a smattering of Christianity and Judaism) and Sunni #Muslims make up the principal religious demographic. Palestinian Muslims and Christians have lived cheek-by-jowl for centuries thereby lending a pristinely syncretic quality to religious practice in the region. An example of this harmony is the site of the Church of the Nativity and the #Mosque of Omar bin al-Khattab, sharing the same location in Manger Square in the heart of #Bethlehem City.
Palestine is the name the Romans gave, in the second century, to a region in the Middle East situated on the Eastern coast of the Mediterranean Sea, derived from the Greek Palaestina or “land of the Philistines”, a small seafaring people who settled around present-day #Gaza. Also known as the Holy Land, the region is held sacred by the Jews, Muslims, and Christians. A Semitic people, the #Palestinians have been forced to live in refugee camps-turned-permanent settlements due to occupation by the Israeli state. Food is usually cooked on metal grates placed over charcoal containers. The life of Palestinians living in the occupied areas is tough as most sleep on thin mats placed on the floor and bathe and wash from water in community metal drums.
In a traditional Palestinian village, one-storied houses made of white stone predominate. The #WestBank is largely made up of small villages where agriculture is the mainstay of the economy. The main crop is olive grown on more than half of the arable land. Elite Palestinians normally live in urban areas and are an upwardly mobile group.