Middle East is a subcontinent of Asia that has an arid climate, so there are not many water resources (groundwater, rivers and lakes) in the region. Countries that are part of the Middle East are rich in oil, however, they are poor in water. These nations face serious problems related to water scarcity. Several countries, such as Saudi Arabia and the small nations of the Persian Gulf, desalinate seawater, yet they are large buyers of mineral water.
In the Middle East region, the countries that hold water springs, rivers and aquifers in their territory, are privileged to have this very rich and rare resource. In the face of water scarcity, conflicts between countries arise to define who dominates the very few hydrographic basins and groundwater. An example of a dispute over water exists between Israel, Lebanon, Syria and Jordan, which, being border countries, dispute the dominion of the Jordan River Basin.
In 1967, Israel invaded Syria, which is home to the Golan Heights, where the Jordan River is located. This river is practically the only source of water for Israel and Jordan. The Middle East, in the last years, presented a population growth, which increased the consumption of water and reduced the amount of water available in the springs, a fact that has contributed to further aggravate the conflict among the countries.
Another focus of conflict is in the vicinity of the Tigris and Euphrates rivers. Both are born in Turkish territory and the flow of their waters goes towards the Persian Gulf, supplying Syria and Iraq.
Regarding this, these countries fear Turkish control over river springs, because Turkey can dam its waters for irrigation, construction of hydroelectric plants or for any other purpose. In this way, supplies to Syria and Iraq would be compromised.
Check abbreviationfinder for list of all acronyms related to Middle East.
If you are looking for the international dialing code for a particular country of Middle East, you can check the following table. Middle eastern countries are listed in alphabetical order. Also included are capital cities are ISO codes. To find complete information about countries in Middle East, please look at Countryaah.com.
|#||Country Name||Capital||International Area Code||2 Letter Code||3 Letter Code|
|15||United Arab Emirates||Abu Dhabi||971||AE||ARE|
More than a fifth of Palestinians live below the poverty line. The most difficult is the situation in the Gaza Strip. Society is strongly characterized by patriarchal structures. It is sometimes expressed as men fighting for national independence while women’s struggle is twofold: for Palestinian independence and for men’s society.
The situation in the Gaza Strip has worsened in recent years, according to the World Bank, which estimates that 21 percent of Palestinians live below the poverty line of US $ 5.50 per day. The war with Israel may be believed to have increased the poverty rate. The rebuilding since 2014 has been slow, and in 2017 the Gazans were once again living with reduced real incomes. Israel’s actions, with a blockade against Gaza, and the contradictions between the major Palestinian parties are working to prevent society from developing. Unemployment rates are dramatic. Around half of all unemployed people do not have jobs; among young people, the figure is 60 percent.
So far, only public servants in Palestine have had the opportunity to receive pension, parental leave or work-related compensation – according to official statistics, about a quarter of the workforce. But in 2017, the International Labor Organization (ILO) reported that a social security system for privately employed Palestinians – well over half of those employed – and their relatives stood ready, the first of its kind. The financing had been resolved with Kuwaiti assistance. Read more here.
The extension of the social insurance system was a requirement that had been made during demonstrations, including in Ramallah. As a result, old security laws were changed. One of the improvements is that women in working life should be able to receive 70 days of paid parental leave. But women work to a relatively small extent – only one in five, according to the Palestinian Statistical Authority – and they generally have lower wages than men.
In private matters concerning family, marriage and gender identity, the values are traditional, with contemporary Swedish measures measured strictly. This applies to both Christians and Muslims. It happens that such conflicts lead to honor killings (see Political system / Legal system).
The first Palestinian intifada (the uprising against Israel from 1987 to 1993) was marked by high activity in civil society. Secular women’s organizations, mainly left-wing groups, emerged. Islamic women’s organizations used, in part, the same methods to mobilize women, even if they were committed to other ideals. After the Oslo process, there is division. Many NGOs operate with the assistance of Western countries, but their legitimacy in Palestinian society may be limited.
The clan system has been preserved, as in many societies where the superpowers have changed and individual civil rights have remained weak. In addition to the nuclear family, a clan (hamulah) encompasses the immediate family, on the father’s side. It provides security and assistance for livelihoods, but also obligations. In the farming community it meant a form of collective ownership: the land could be distributed among families in the clan. Urbanization has weakened the system.
There are no legal barriers for women to own real estate or businesses, however, social standards. According to a study conducted by the European Parliament, women are often expected to hand over inherited property to brothers in order to keep family ownership together, which means women in particular in rural areas do not claim the right they have under Islamic law (a daughter has the right to half that inheritance like a son). In marriage, the bride usually moves to the groom’s family.
A women’s ministry was set up within the Palestinian Authority in 2003.
Agriculture, fishing and small industries are the traditional industries that employed Palestinians. The rhythm of life in the country was long characterized by the harvest of olives and citrus fruits, while tourist and pilgrimage trips made the visiting industries important in larger cities. Today, the lack of work is the big problem.
Officially, unemployment in 2017 was set at 27 percent – on average. In fact, it was more than twice the size of the Gaza Strip than the West Bank: 44 percent versus 18 percent, see article here. In Gaza, 60 percent of young people under 29 were unemployed. In addition, according to the World Bank, the trend then is that the gap has widened: more people left in 2019 without jobs in the Gaza Strip, while the situation improved slightly on the West Bank.
1949–1967, when the Gaza Strip was occupied by Egypt, Gazabor had the opportunity to work and study in Egypt. Today, Egypt contributes to Gaza’s isolation by keeping the border with Gaza closed for long periods. Openings of the border take place whimsically.
With the Israeli occupation in 1967, guest work in Israel in agriculture, service industries and construction for a few decades became an important source of income for Palestinians. In the early 1990s, about 150,000 Palestinians worked in Israel. But terrorist attacks and boycotts targeting Israel led to a limitation of work permits and the Palestinian workforce being replaced by personnel from other parts, mainly the Balkans and Thailand. Palestinian guest workers have become more numerous ever since. In 2017, 92,000 Palestinians had work in Israel and 20,000 in Jewish settlements on the West Bank, according to the Palestinian Statistics Authority – about one in six working.
The share of the population living from agriculture has decreased in several ways. The fact that Israel has retained total control over three-fifths of the West Bank is restricting both agriculture and other Palestinian operations. Israel’s construction of a security barrier along the border (the “green line”) has also reduced the available area. The settlements on occupied land and a new road network connecting the settlements with Israel are largely erected on compulsory Arab land.
The Oslo agreement in the 1990s gave the Gaza Strip a 20 nautical mile fishing zone in the Mediterranean. During troubled times, the fishing zone of Israel has been reduced to between three and twelve nautical miles. As a result, thousands of Palestinian fishermen have lost their income and food supplies in Gaza have deteriorated.
The Palestinian Authority today has a key role as an employer of the West Bank, where a quarter of the population is believed to be directly dependent on employment in public agencies.
A result of the rift between the secular movement Fatah, which governs the West Bank, and the Islamist movement Hamas in the Gaza Strip has become dual authorities – and that transfers, money transfers, to Gaza have been used as an element of the power struggle. In the fall of 2017, a reconciliation agreement was announced between Hamas and the Fatah-dominated government; the agreement stipulated, among other things, that salaries for public servants in Gaza would be paid by the Palestinian government in Ramallah. But the reconciliation came to an end and in February 2018, employees in Gaza went on strike, stating that they had only received 40 percent of their salaries since the fall.
The UN organization UNRWA has a significant role as an employer in the health care and school, especially in the Gaza Strip, where a large majority of the population lives in refugee camps. UNRWA has about 30,000 employees, most of them Palestinians.
The level of union organization is low and the labor market is traditionally gender-segregated: only one fifth of Palestinian women work and unemployment is higher among women than among men.