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.
For further reading on the political units most closely associated with Palestine, Plain of ʿAkko (Acre), which extends with a breadth of 5 to 9 miles (8 to 14 km) for about 20 miles (32 km) from the Lebanon border in the north to the Carmel promontory, in Israel, in the south, where it narrows to a mere 600 feet (180 metres).
Farther southward the lowland opens out rapidly into the Plain of Sharon, about 8 miles (13 km) wide and extending south to the latitude of Tel Aviv–Yafo.
The city of Jerusalem has expanded rapidly along the mountain ridges.
From Ramallah in the north to Beersheba in the south, the high plateau of Judaea is a rocky wilderness of limestone, with rare patches of cultivation, as found around Al-Bīrah and Hebron.
Precipitation, which arrives in the cool half of the year, decreases in amount in general from north to south and from the coast inland.
Perennial rivers are few, and the shortage of water is aggravated by the porous nature of the limestone rocks over much of the country.
It is separated from the coastal plain by a longitudinal fosse and a belt of low hills of soft chalky limestone, about 5 to 8 miles (8 to 13 km) wide, known as Ha-Jordan Valley, which is approached with difficulty along the wadis Kelt and Mukallik.
The Jordan Valley is a deep rift valley that varies in width from 1.5 to 14 miles (2.5 to 22 km).
The Negev, a desertlike region, is triangular in shape with the apex at the south.
It extends from Beersheba in the north, where 8 inches (200 mm) or more of precipitation falls annually and grain is grown, to the port city of Elat on the Red Sea, in the extremely arid south.
Once covered with marshes, the Sharon plain was reclaimed in the post-Exilic and Hellenistic period and is now a settled area.