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Once covered with marshes, the Sharon plain was reclaimed in the post-Exilic and Hellenistic period and is now a settled area.Fields and fruit groves are laid out between scattered sandstone ridges, on which villages have grown up.
There was a permanent village site with several successive layers of occupation, and the site probably was associated with reasonably efficient agriculture. The term Palestine has been associated variously and sometimes controversially with this small region, which some have asserted also includes Jordan.Both the geographic area designated by the name and the political status of it have changed over the course of some three millennia.Palestinian nationalists usually emphasize that their shared identity as Arabs transcends the religious diversity of their community: thus, both Muslim Arabs, constituting about 16 percent of the Israeli population, and Christian Arabs, about 2 percent, identify themselves in the first instance as Arabs.The Arab majority resident in the living outside the area (many in nearby countries such as Lebanon) have strongly opposed Israeli control and have feared an eventual annexation of the West Bank and Gaza by Israel.South of the spur of low hills that approaches the coast at about Yafo (Jaffa), the plain widens into a fertile region known in biblical times as Philistia, a district of orange groves, irrigated orchards, and fields of grain.
(ʿEmeq Yizreʿel), formed by subsidence along lines of faults, separates the hills of southern Galilee from the mountains of Samaria.
Most Jewish Israeli settlers support such an annexation and think those lands properly belong to Israel.
In 2005 Arab concerns were partially assuaged when Israel completed its withdrawal from the Gaza Strip and handed over control of the territory to the Palestinians.
In its northern section the bed of the drained Lake Ḥula and of (the Sea of Galilee) are blocked by natural dams of basalt.
Descending to about 1,310 feet (400 metres) below sea level—the lowest land depth on the Earth’s surface—the valley is exceedingly dry and hot, and cultivation is restricted to irrigated areas or rare oases, as at , a desertlike region, is triangular in shape with the apex at the south.
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.