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The region (or at least a part of it) is also known as the Holy Land and is held sacred among .Since the 20th century it has been the object of conflicting claims of Jewish and Arab national movements, and the conflict has led to prolonged violence and, in several instances, open warfare.Precipitation, which arrives in the cool half of the year, decreases in amount in general from north to south and from the coast inland.Perennial rivers are few, and the shortage of water is aggravated by the porous nature of the limestone rocks over much of the country.Most Jewish Israeli settlers support such an annexation and think those lands properly belong to Israel.

In the early 21st century, Israeli —Muslim, Christian, and Druze—and other smaller minorities accounted for the rest.

The name Palestine has long been in popular use as a general term to denote a traditional region, but this usage does not imply precise boundaries.

The perception of what constitutes Palestine’s eastern boundary has been especially fluid, although the boundary frequently has been perceived as lying east of the Jordan River, extending at times to the edge of the .

The plain, 16 miles (26 km) wide at most, narrows to the northwest, where the breaks through to the Plain of ʿAkko, and to the southeast, where the Ḥarod River—which rises at the Spring of Ḥarod—has carved the plain into the side of the Jordan Valley.

Covered with rich basaltic soils washed down from the Galilean hills, Esdraelon is important both for its fertility and for the great highway it opens from the Mediterranean to the lands across the Jordan.

The word Palestine derives from Philistia, the name given by Greek writers to the land of the in “Syria Palaestina,” designating the southern portion of the province of Syria, and made its way thence into Arabic, where it has been used to describe the region at least since the early Islamic era.

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