Tuesday, October 18, 2022

Travel the World - State of Palestine

I started a 50-week series in 2019 that I called Travel the World. Each week of the series I visited a randomly-selected country, sharing bits of information about that country. I then chose one tidbit of information about that week's country as inspiration for a card. As I explored those 50 countries in 2019, I knew I would continue on until I've visited every one of the 195 countries in the world. By the end of 2021, I'd virtually traveled to 145 countries and plan to complete my journey to all 195 countries by visiting the last 50 this year.

This week's country is...

State of Palestine

Palestine, officially the State of Palestine, is an area of the eastern Mediterranean region, comprising parts of modern-day Israel and two non-contiguous Palestinian territories; the Gaza Strip (along the coast of the Mediterranean Sea) and the West Bank (west of the Jordan River). Israel separates these territories.

The West Bank is bordered by Jordan to the east and Israel to the south, west and north, whilst the Gaza Strip is bordered by Israel to the north and east, Egypt to the southwest, with a coastline along the Mediterranean Sea to the west.

Palestine is sometimes called the Holy Land. 

Long ago, Palestine was called Canaan.

Although Palestine claims Jerusalem as its capital, the city is under the control of Israel.

The terrain of the West Bank is mostly rugged and dissected upland in the west, with flat plains in the east, whilst the Gaza Strip is a flat-to-rolling sand-covered coastal plain.

The total land area of Palestine is 2,401 square miles.

Not all the member states of the United Nations recognize the State of Palestine as a sovereign state. 

Historically, most Palestinians live in small villages, often among extended relatives.

Over the course of many centuries, Palestinians have extensively terraced the rocky hills of their homeland. These stone retaining walls, known as senasil, still crisscross the hillsides of the West Bank and are recognized by UNESCO as world heritage sites. Houses too have over the years been built of stone rather than brick or timber, taking advantage of the resources most abundant in the region.

The Dead Sea, which is Earth’s lowest natural point of elevation, is found in Palestine.

The median age of Palestine’s population is 20.8 years. 

Children make up half of the population in Palestine.

Eleven percent of children in Palestine suffer from chronic malnutrition

With over 45% of land in the country dedicated to olive trees, it is no surprise that they are a highly revered and treasured aspect of Palestine’s identity.

Some of the olive trees found in Palestine date back to about 4,000 years. The tending and harvesting of trees are usually passed down from one generation to the next in a family.

Palestine grows olives, vegetables, citrus fruits and flowers; they also rear cattle and produce dairy products.

Its industry consists of quarrying, textiles, small-scale manufacturing, wood carvings, soap, furniture, tourism and food processing.

The main exports include fruits, vegetables, flowers, olives, stone and occasionally fish.

Palestinian handicrafts include embroidery and weaving, pottery-making, soap-making, glass-making, and olive wood and Mother of Pearl carvings.

The vast majority of travelers to Palestine visit over Christmas, when Bethlehem sees thousands of visitors for Midnight Mass. 

Christmas is celebrated three times each year in Palestine. The first of which is December 25th, per western tradition, followed by January 6th per Greek Orthodox tradition, and finally on January 18th, as per Armenian tradition.

Families play a major part in arranging most marriages in Gaza and the West Bank. After identifying a good match, a family will give the couple time to get to know each other and decide whether they want to move forward with getting married.

Even though the legal age of maturity is fixed at 18 years old, child marriages are still commonly practiced in Palestine since one in ten girls are married between 15 and 19 years of age, with 2% of those marriages occurring before the girl is 15.

Palestinian wedding celebrations can stretch over multiple days and include almost the whole community. 

The groom’s family traditionally hosts a wedding feast the day before the main wedding party. The female family members all pitch in to create an array of traditional dishes like roasting a whole lamb and serving it with rice.

Dance adds a large dose of fun to any gathering. Guests are sure to break out into this line dance at joyous occasions like weddings and other parties, and some dancers even form troupes and compete against other dancing troupes. The dabke dance form includes synchronized jumping, stamping, and movement, similar to tap dancing.

Palestinian people are well known for being incredibly hospitable, and you might be invited to have tea or coffee with someone you have just met. Palestinians trust people very quickly and they enjoy meeting with internationals from all over the world and spending time with them.

The Palestinian philosophy is to take care of their guests whoever they are. will try  to make their guests feel comfortable, treating them as if they have known them for a long time or as if they are part of the family. A Palestinian friend will invite you to go out with them often, check up on your regularly and be your friend for a lifetime.

Palestinians  want to make sure that people feel totally comfortable and welcome on their sacred land and among their people, no matter where you come from.

Palestine is known for some of the most beautiful wildflowers in the world, popping into existence mostly in April and May. These include irises, jonquils, wild poppies, and other vibrant species of flowers which paint the colorful hillsides during a short spring season.

There are several species of large wild animals in Palestine. These include foxes, mountain gazelles, Nubian ibex (a desert-dwelling species of goat), wild boar, wolves, jackals, leopards, hyenas, and many types of migratory birds as well.

The caracal is a medium-sized species of wild cat found in Palestine. It has long, tufted ears and an athletic body with slender legs, and is an adept leaper, climber, and swimmer.  

In Palestine, the Egyptian mongoose is known to attack and feed on venomous snakes, such as the Palestine viper, the black-necked spitting cobra, and the black desert cobra, as well as being resistant to their venom.

Every day, more than 80,000 Palestinians cross into Israel for work, education or medical reasons. Yet these attempts to cross can take hours and, in some cases, a day or two.

Palestinians are often able only to cross through the checkpoints as pedestrians and leave their vehicles behind. If the crossing is delayed for any reason, the workers may miss their buses and be forced to take taxis to make it to their jobs on time.

Seventy percent of Palestinian children attend primary school. However, nearly 25 percent of boys and seven percent of girls drop out by age 15. These numbers are much larger for children with disabilities, who have a more difficult time accessing education. This is, in part, due to movement restrictions, as children and teachers need to cross at least one checkpoint to attend school. 

Access to education is difficult for children who live in refugee camps and villages that do not have a school.

The Church of the Holy Sepulcher is considered one of the most beautiful (and significant) sites in Palestine. Located in the Jerusalem, it is believed to be the site of the crucifixion, and the burial site of Jesus of Nazareth, this is one of the holiest sites in the world for Christianity. Despite its religious significance, the beauty of this church surpasses all else, including its history. The interior is colorful, ornate, and compelling. The atmosphere of the church alone is well worth experiencing. Many people come to the church to weep and to caress the stone of Golgotha, where the cross is believed to have been placed. With high-domed ceilings and an ancient structure, the building is a sight that shouldn’t be missed by anyone with a keen eye for architecture.

At the foot of the Mount of Olives lies the Garden of Gethsemane where Jesus is believed to have been praying before being arrested and taken for crucifixion. This garden is filled with ancient olive trees, interspersed with lush green grass, and a path through it. Its most remarkable aspect is its peaceful ambiance that allows visitors to walk about the gardens and absorb the calm it provides. The gardens are a true paradise of nature and should not be missed.

Organized walking and cycling tours are an increasingly accessible way to see the Palestinian countryside and meet local families in small towns and villages such as al-Fara'a and Aqraba, which are only just beginning to open up to international visitors. Bike Palestine's itineraries span the lush hills of the northern West Bank, the eerie Judaean Desert in the south and historical cities such as Jericho and Bethlehem.

My inspiration for this week's card is based on this fact about State of Palestine... The poppy has long been featured in Palestinian art and in the spring, the flower blankets fields in the region with its bright red color.

Thanks for stopping by my blog today!

Stamp Set: Altenew Paint-a-Flower Poppy stamped with Memento Tuxedo Black Ink and colored with Copic Markers

Paper: Hammermill 110# White and SU Poppy Parade CS and DP from my scrap file

Dies: MFT Wonky Stitch Rectangles

Embellishments: Studio Katia Rose Gold Confetti and two colors of Washi Tape from unknown vendors (Black and Rose Gold)

1 comment:

kiwimeskreations said...

Palestine sounds a fascinating country Jeanette - thank you for highlighting it.
A stunning card - I love poppies as they make such a simple, but dramatic, statement