Plain, northern Israel. About 25 mi (40 km) long, it divides the hilly areas of Galilee in the north and Samaria in the south. Part of the ancient passage between Egypt and the Fertile Crescent, it was an avenue of commerce and a scene of conflict from earliest antiquity. To the northwest is the site of ancient Megiddo. Owing to poor natural drainage, it was swampy and sparsely inhabited for many centuries, but since 1920 the land has been reclaimed, and dozens of settlements, combining intensive agriculture with light industry, have been set up. 'Afula is the principal urban centre.