Palestinian Territories

West Bank

The WestBank, also called Judea and Samaria, is the eastern part of the Holy Land which falls within the so-called “green line” of 1949. Until the 6 Day War in 1969, the WestBank was under Jordanian mandate. In 1994 the Palestinian Authority was given an autonomous governing body. For the West Bank, this means that Fatah, under the leadership of President Abbas, is shaping the PA’s governing body.

The West Bank is divided into 3 zones:

  • Area A: In this area the Palestinian Authority has both civil administration and security oversight. These are mainly urban areas such as Ramallah, Hebron etc. (18% of the territory, 55% of the population)
  • Area B: In this area the Palestinian Authority has the civil administration. The PA shares security oversight with Israel. (20% of the territory, 41% of the population)
  • Area C: This area is under full Israeli military and almost full Israeli civilian rule. These are the fertile and resource-rich areas on both sides of the separation wall built around 2002 and a strip in the Jordan Valley along the Jordan. In this part you can find the Jewish settlements. (62% of the territory, 5.8% of the population)

Where the security body in Israel is formed by a civil justice system, it is different for Palestinian areas. Here the PA works in part with Israel’s military system.

Gaza strip

Gaza has an area of 227 square miles with a coastline of 24 miles. The Gaza Strip is wedged between Israel and Egypt. In terms of size, the city of Tucson. With a population of 2 million, Gaza is one of the most densely populated areas in the world. In 2005 Israel withdrew from Gaza and after the 2007 elections, the administration in Gaza is headed by Hamas. Free travel (of both goods and persons) to and from the Gaza Strip is limited. This regularly leads to tensions that flare up in a conflict with violence. To Israel, Hamas is a terrorist organization with which the government does not want to maintain any ties. As a means of pressure and for safety, borders are heavily guarded.

Palestinian Christians

The number of Christians in Gaza has fallen sharply in recent decades to below 1,000. In recent years, many of them have taken advantage of the (limited and regulated) option to leave the strip during the holidays. As a result, many Gazans reside illegally on the WestBank with all the challenges that this entails. The hope for a better life is driving Christians to Europe and the United States.

Inmiddels is het percentage christenen op de West Bank tot onder de 1% gezakt. Dit alles maakt de toekomst van de Palestijnse kerk onzeker. Het grootste deel van de Palestijnse christenen zijn Orthodox, Katholiek en Evangelisch.

Future perspective

iTrust ranks alongside Christian youth in both Gaza and the West Bank. Young people have little hope for a better future. Social Media is an “open window” to what the free world can look like. Also, the old culture, where the (grand) father is the patriarch of the family, changed quickly. This has created a generation gap that prevents young people from developing themselves sufficiently. Due to the isolation of the population, the economic situation is not very promising. Due to a lack of employment, building a future (job, home, marriage, family) is difficult. Throughout iTrust’s projects, we invest in these young people to give them the opportunity to build a sustainable future in which they will have an influence within their culture and in their environment.