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Its mountains—Carmel, Gilboaʿ, Aybāl (Ebal), and Al-Ṭūr (Gerizim)—are lower than those of Upper Galilee, while its basins, notably those of the ʿArrābah Plain and Nāblus, are wider and more gently contoured than their equivalents in Judaea.

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.

Farther northward the Plain of Esdraelon (ʿEmeq Yizreʿel), formed by subsidence along lines of faults, separates the hills of southern Galilee from the mountains of Samaria.

The city of Jerusalem has expanded rapidly along the mountain ridges.

The social geography of modern Palestine, especially the area west of the Jordan River, has been greatly affected by the dramatic political changes and wars that have brought this small region to the attention of the world.

The plain, 16 miles (26 km) wide at most, narrows to the northwest, where the Qishon River breaks through to the Plain of ʿAkko, and to the southeast, where the Ḥarod River—which rises at the Spring of Ḥarod—has carved the plain into the side of the Jordan Valley.

Covered with rich basaltic soils washed down from the Galilean hills, Esdraelon is important both for its fertility and for the great highway it opens from the Mediterranean to the lands across the Jordan.

Both the geographic area designated by the name and the political status of it have changed over the course of some three millennia.