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Palestinian Territories

Population: An estimated 90% of Palestinians living in Gaza and the West Bank are Muslims or Druze (a sect that diverged from Islam in the 11th Century). The remainder are Christian. The proportion of Christians in the territories has declined from about 30% of the overall population 10 years ago. It is thought that many have left due to the hardship of life in the Palestinian areas and the increased Islamisation of the Palestinian national movement.

Islam and society: Palestinian society and the Palestinian national movement have historically been secular. However, with the emergence of Hamas and Islamic Jihad in the late 1980s and 1990s, Islamic politics and thought have become increasingly dominant.

Militant Islam: Radical armed Islamic groups Hamas, Islamic Jihad and the Aqsa Martyrs' Brigade lead attacks against Israelis in the occupied territories and inside Israel itself. Of these groups, Hamas also provides social services to Palestinians making it an alternative structure to the Palestinian Authority.


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