Palestine will become the 194th member of the U.N. if its application for statehood goes ahead and succeeds. But what will be the territory of Palestine? Palestine is likely to consist of territory in the West Bank and Gaza, totalling around 6,200 sq km. At the moment the two areas are physically separate, although they could be linked by a sealed road in future. The Palestinians claim East Jerusalem as the capital of their new state. Israel, which annexed the east of the city after the 1967 war, rejects any division.
The borders have not been decided and will be a matter for negotiation with Israel, which wants to retain its big settlement blocs in the West Bank. Land swaps in compensation are expected to be agreed.
The Palestinian population is around 2.6 million in the West Bank, 1.6 million in Gaza and 270,000 in East Jerusalem.
Palestinians are overwhelmingly Muslim although there is a small Christian population.
There are also around 300,000 Jewish settlers in the West Bank and a further 200,000 in East Jerusalem. Israel evacuated settlers from Gaza in 2005.
Arabic is the language of Palestine.
What are the symbols of the new state? Flag: black, white and green stripes overlaid with a red triangle, adopted as the flag of the Palestinian people in 1964. It was banned by the Israeli government until 1993.
Passport: Palestinian Authority passports have been available to people born within its jurisdiction since 1995. However, many Palestinians hold Jordanian passports.
How is Palestine governed? There are two separate de facto governments in the West Bank and Gaza, under a president elected by all the Palestinian people. There is also an elected legislative council.
In the West Bank, the authority, dominated by the Fatah political faction, is the official administrative body. Established in 1994 under the Oslo accords, its jurisdiction runs only in the main cities of the West Bank.
Hamas is in charge of the Gaza Strip after fighting a bloody battle for control against Fatah in 2007, after winning elections 18 months before.
Where does its money come from? Most of the authority's income comes from international donors, although it also raises money from taxes and customs. Under the Oslo accords, Israel collects around £69 million each month in customs duties which it then forwards to the authority.
The EU contributes around $700 million a year, and the U.S. $600 million.
Will state recognition change the situation on the ground? No, is the short answer. Almost everything will be the same. The lives of Palestinians will continue to be dominated by the Israeli occupation and control over their territory. But it may strengthen their position in future talks. — © Guardian Newspapers Limited, 2011