At the center of one of the world's most intractable conflicts are a people who number fewer than 10 million worldwide: the Palestinians. For centuries these people of Arab ancestry lived in the eastern Mediterranean region known as Palestine or, because of its significance to the christian faith, as the Holy Land. In 1948 a United Nations plan to partition Palestine into Jewish and Arab states led to what Palestinians call al-Nakba ("the disaster")-an Arab-Israeli war that produced hundreds of thousands of refugees and left Palestinians without a homeland. Another war, in 1967, brought hundreds of thousands of Palestinians in the West Bank and Gaza Strip areas under Israeli military rule. Since that time, Palestinians and Israelis have been locked in bloody conflict. This continued violence has prevented the establishment of an independent Palestinian state. Discusses the geography, history, economy, government, religion, people, foreign relations, and major cities of the Palestinians.