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Israel & the Palestinian Territories - Enviornment

Israel & the Palestinian Territories Environment

Smaller than Belgium, New Jersey or Tasmania, Israel is bordered by the Mediterranean Sea to the west, Lebanon and Syria to the north, Jordan to the east and Egypt to the south. The dominant geographic feature is the Rift Valley, which runs from Turkey, through Israel and down into Africa. It contains the Dead Sea, as well as the Jordan, Arava and Hula valleys and Lake Galilee. Israel is not a wet country (the Jordan is its only main river), and only the north sustains agriculture. The country's main body of water, the Dead Sea, is incredibly salty, as well as being the lowest place on the planet. It's flanked by the Judean Desert, which further south becomes the Negev.

Three geographic zones converge in Israel, and as a result you'll find a wealth of wildlife. Northern Israel is wet and mountainous, and supports laurel forests and streams filled with otters. The south of the country is desert, with wild tulips, irises and date palms. Israel is also the second largest flyway for migratory birds, with species from all over the world swapping hemispheres here. A fifth of the country is national parks - around 300 of them - and the Israelis are renowned for having turned the desert into a garden, as well as having reintroduced a number of species which have become locally extinct since Biblical times. For information on national parks and environmental issues, contact the Society for the Protection of Nature in Israel.

It's hard to pin down the Israeli climate - while it's snowing in Jerusalem it may well be 23° Celsius by the Dead Sea. Generally speaking, however, Israel is temperate and has two main seasons - winter and summer. Winter, from November to March, can be quite severe, and the north is very wet. Summer is hottest below sea level (up to 40° Celsius in Eilat), although it can still get quite cold at night in desert areas. In spring, strong winds can push the temperature up dramatically.

The area of Israel and the Palestinian Territories comprises 20,770 sq km in Israel and 6220 sq km in Gaza and the West Bank.

Population count includes 6.1 million in Israel and 3.5 million in Gaza and the West Bank.

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