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Middle East :: WEST BANK
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  • Introduction :: WEST BANK

  • From the early 16th century through 1917, the area now known as the West Bank fell under Ottoman rule. Following World War I, the Allied powers (France, UK, Russia) allocated the area to the British Mandate of Palestine. After World War II, the UN passed a resolution to establish two states within the Mandate, and designated a territory including what is now known as the West Bank as part of the proposed Arab state. During the 1948 Arab-Israeli War, the West Bank was captured by Transjordan (later renamed Jordan), which annexed the West Bank in 1950. In June 1967, Israel captured the West Bank and East Jerusalem during the 1967 Six-Day War. Israel transferred security and civilian responsibility for a number of Palestinian-populated areas of the West Bank and Gaza Strip to the Palestinian Authority (PA) under a series of agreements signed between 1993 and 1999, the so-called “Oslo Accords.” Roughly 60% of the West Bank (excluding East Jerusalem) remains under Israeli military control. Follow-on negotiations to determine the permanent status of the West Bank and Gaza Strip stalled after the outbreak of an intifada in mid-2000. Since HAMAS's violent seizure of military and governmental institutions in the Gaza Strip in 2007, the PA has administered those areas of the West Bank under its control while Hamas maintains de facto control of Gaza. Fatah and HAMAS have made several attempts at reconciliation, but the factions have been unable to implement any agreements reached.
  • Geography :: WEST BANK

  • Middle East, west of Jordan, east of Israel
    32 00 N, 35 15 E
    Middle East
    total: 5,860 sq km
    land: 5,640 sq km
    water: 220 sq km
    note: includes West Bank, Latrun Salient, and the northwest quarter of the Dead Sea, but excludes Mt. Scopus; East Jerusalem and Jerusalem No Man's Land are also included only as a means of depicting the entire area occupied by Israel in 1967
    country comparison to the world: 172
    slightly smaller than Delaware
    total: 478 km
    border countries (2): Israel 330 km, Jordan 148 km
    0 km (landlocked)
    none (landlocked)
    temperate; temperature and precipitation vary with altitude, warm to hot summers, cool to mild winters
    mostly rugged, dissected upland in west, flat plains descending to Jordan River Valley to the east
    mean elevation: NA
    elevation extremes: lowest point: Dead Sea -431 m
    highest point: Khallat al Batrakh 1,020 m
    arable land
    agricultural land: 43.3%
    arable land 7.4%; permanent crops 11%; permanent pasture 24.9%
    forest: 1.5%
    other: 55.2%
    note: includes Gaza Strip (2011 est.)
    240 sq km; note - includes Gaza Strip (2012)
    Palestinian settlements are primarily located in the central to western half of the territory; Jewish settlements are found in pockets throughout, particularly in the northeast, north-central, and around Jerusalem
    droughts
    adequacy of freshwater supply; sewage treatment
    landlocked; highlands are main recharge area for Israel's coastal aquifers; there are about 380 Israeli civilian sites, including about 213 settlements and 132 small outpost communities in the West Bank and 35 sites in East Jerusalem (2017)
  • People and Society :: WEST BANK

  • 2,747,943 (July 2017 est.)
    note: approximately 391,000 Israeli settlers live in the West Bank (2016); approximately 201,200 Israeli settlers live in East Jerusalem (2014)
    country comparison to the world: 141
    noun: NA
    adjective: NA
    Palestinian Arab, Jewish, other
    Arabic, Hebrew (spoken by Israeli settlers and many Palestinians), English (widely understood)
    Muslim 80-85% (predominantly Sunni), Jewish 12-14%, Christian 1-2.5% (mainly Greek Orthodox), other, unaffiliated, unspecified <1% (2012 est.)
    religious affiliation:
    0-14 years: 36.5% (male 514,691/female 488,233)
    15-24 years: 21.37% (male 299,859/female 287,367)
    25-54 years: 34.1% (male 475,860/female 461,252)
    55-64 years: 4.54% (male 64,275/female 60,507)
    65 years and over: 3.49% (male 43,060/female 52,839) (2017 est.)
    population pyramid:
    total dependency ratio: 75.8
    youth dependency ratio: 70.5
    elderly dependency ratio: 5.2
    potential support ratio: 19.1
    note: data represent Gaza Strip and the West Bank (2015 est.)
    total: 21.1 years
    male: 20.9 years
    female: 21.3 years (2017 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 184
    1.84% (2017 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 56
    26.3 births/1,000 population (2017 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 47
    3.5 deaths/1,000 population (2017 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 216
    -4.5 migrant(s)/1,000 population (2017 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 186
    Palestinian settlements are primarily located in the central to western half of the territory; Jewish settlements are found in pockets throughout, particularly in the northeast, north-central, and around Jerusalem
    urban population: 76.2% of total population (2018)
    rate of urbanization: 3% annual rate of change (2015-20 est.)
    note: data represent Gaza Strip and the West Bank
    at birth: 1.06 male(s)/female
    0-14 years: 1.05 male(s)/female
    15-24 years: 1.04 male(s)/female
    25-54 years: 1.03 male(s)/female
    55-64 years: 1.06 male(s)/female
    65 years and over: 0.73 male(s)/female
    total population: 1.04 male(s)/female (2017 est.)
    45 deaths/100,000 live births
    note: data represent Gaza Strip and the West Bank (2015 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 99
    total: 14.1 deaths/1,000 live births
    male: 15.8 deaths/1,000 live births
    female: 12.3 deaths/1,000 live births (2017 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 105
    total population: 75.2 years
    male: 73.2 years
    female: 77.4 years (2017 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 110
    3.27 children born/woman (2017 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 48
    57.2% (includes Gaza Strip and the West Bank) (2014)
    1.3 physicians/1,000 population (2014)
    1.26 beds/1,000 population (2015)
    improved:
    urban: 50.7% of population
    rural: 81.5% of population
    total: 58.4% of population
    unimproved:
    urban: 49.3% of population
    rural: 18.5% of population
    total: 41.6% of population
    note: includes Gaza Strip and the West Bank (2015 est.)
    improved:
    urban: 93% of population
    rural: 90.2% of population
    total: 92.3% of population
    unimproved:
    urban: 7% of population
    rural: 9.8% of population
    total: 7.7% of population
    note: includes Gaza Strip and the West Bank (2015 est.)
    NA
    NA
    NA
    1.4%
    note: estimate is for Gaza Strip and the West Bank (2014)
    5.7% of GDP
    note: includes Gaza Strip and the West Bank (2015)
    definition: age 15 and over can read and write
    total population: 96.9%
    male: 98.6%
    female: 95.2%
    note: estimates are for Gaza and the West Bank (2016 est.)
    total: 13 years
    male: 12 years
    female: 14 years
    note: data represent Gaza Strip and the West Bank (2015)
    total: 40.7%
    male: 36.4%
    female: 60.8%
    note: includes Gaza Strip (2015 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 15
  • Government :: WEST BANK

  • conventional long form: none
    conventional short form: West Bank
    etymology: name refers to the location of the region - occupied and administered by Jordan after 1948 - that fell on the far side (west bank) of the Jordan River in relation to Jordan proper; the designation was retained following the 1967 Six-Day War and the subsequent changes in government
  • Economy :: WEST BANK

  • In 2017, the economic outlook in the West Bank - the larger of the two areas comprising the Palestinian Territories – remained fragile, as security concerns and political friction slowed economic growth. Unemployment in the West Bank remained high at 19.0% in the third quarter of 2017, only slightly better than 19.6% at the same point the previous year, while the labor force participation rate remained flat, year-on-year.
    Longstanding Israeli restrictions on imports, exports, and movement of goods and people continue to disrupt labor and trade flows and the territory’s industrial capacity, and constrain private sector development. The PA’s budget benefited from an effort to improve tax collection, coupled with lower spending in 2017, but the PA for the foreseeable future will continue to rely heavily on donor aid for its budgetary needs and infrastructure development.
    $21.22 billion (2014 est.)
    $20.15 billion (2013 est.)
    $19.95 billion (2012 est.)
    note: data are in 2014 US dollars; includes Gaza Strip
    country comparison to the world: 147
    $9.828 billion (2014 est.)
    note: excludes Gaza Strip
    5.3% (2014 est.)
    1% (2013 est.)
    6% (2012 est.)
    note: excludes Gaza Strip
    country comparison to the world: 43
    $4,300 (2014 est.)
    $4,400 (2013 est.)
    $4,600 (2012 est.)
    note: includes Gaza Strip
    country comparison to the world: 176
    7.8% of GDP (2014 est.)
    9.5% of GDP (2013 est.)
    5% of GDP (2012 est.)
    note: includes Gaza Strip
    country comparison to the world: 164
    household consumption: 91.3%
    government consumption: 26.7%
    investment in fixed capital: 23%
    investment in inventories: 0%
    exports of goods and services: 20%
    imports of goods and services: -61%
    note: excludes Gaza Strip (2017 est.)
    agriculture: 3%
    industry: 21.1%
    services: 75%
    note: excludes Gaza Strip (2017 est.)
    olives, citrus fruit, vegetables; beef, dairy products
    small-scale manufacturing, quarrying, textiles, soap, olive-wood carvings, and mother-of-pearl souvenirs
    4%
    note: includes Gaza Strip (2017 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 69
    1.24 million
    note: excludes Gaza Strip (2017 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 139
    agriculture: 11.5%
    industry: 34.4%
    services: 54.1%
    note: excludes Gaza Strip (2013 est.)
    26.7% (2017 est.)
    26.9% (2016 est.)
    note: excludes Gaza Strip
    country comparison to the world: 198
    18% (2011 est.)
    lowest 10%: 3.2%
    highest 10%: 28.2%
    note: includes Gaza Strip (2009 est.)
    34.5 (2009 est.)
    38.7 (2007 est.)
    note: includes Gaza Strip
    country comparison to the world: 101
    revenues: $1.314 billion
    expenditures: $1.278 billion
    note: includes Palestinian Authority expenditures in the Gaza Strip (2017 est.)
    13.4% of GDP (2017 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 202
    0.4% of GDP (2017 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 27
    24.4% of GDP (2014 est.)
    23.8% of GDP (2013 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 180
    calendar year
    0.8% (2017 est.)
    -0.2% (2016 est.)
    note: excludes Gaza Strip
    country comparison to the world: 41
    6.7% (31 December 2017 est.)
    6.5% (31 December 2016 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 123
    $382 million (31 December 2017 est.)
    $317 million (31 December 2016 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 173
    $2.901 billion (31 December 2017 est.)
    $2.538 billion (31 December 2016 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 146
    $2.041 billion (31 December 2017 est.)
    $1.712 billion (31 December 2016 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 149
    $3.339 billion (31 December 2015 est.)
    $3.187 billion (31 December 2014 est.)
    $3.247 billion (31 December 2013 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 92
    -$1.444 billion (2017 est.)
    -$1.348 billion (2016 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 151
    $1.955 billion (2017 est.)
    $1.827 billion (2016 est.)
    note: excludes Gaza Strip
    country comparison to the world: 141
    stone, olives, fruit, vegetables, limestone
    $6.476 billion (2017 est.)
    $6.11 billion (2016 est.)
    note: data include the Gaza Strip
    country comparison to the world: 112
    food, consumer goods, construction materials, petroleum, chemicals
    $312.8 million (31 December 2016 est.)
    $583 million (31 December 2015 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 154
    $1.662 billion (31 March 2016 est.)
    $1.467 billion (31 March 2015 est.)
    note: data include the Gaza Strip
    country comparison to the world: 158
    new Israeli shekels (ILS) per US dollar -
    3.61 (2017 est.)
    3.84 (2016 est.)
    3.84 (2015 est.)
    3.89 (2014 est.)
    3.58 (2013 est.)
  • Energy :: WEST BANK

  • population without electricity: 80,930
    electrification - total population: 98%
    electrification - urban areas: 99%
    electrification - rural areas: 93%
    note: data for West Bank and Gaza Strip combined (2012)
    475 million kWh (2015 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 166
    5.845 billion kWh (2015 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 116
    0 kWh (2016)
    country comparison to the world: 215
    5.403 billion kWh (2015 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 37
    152,000 kW
    note: includes Gaza Strip (2015 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 169
    92.1% of total installed capacity (2015 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 56
    0% of total installed capacity (2015 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 209
    0% of total installed capacity (2015 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 213
    9.2% of total installed capacity (2015 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 73
    0 bbl/day (2016 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 212
    0 bbl/day (2014 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 211
    0 bbl/day (2014 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 211
    0 bbl (1 January 2017)
    country comparison to the world: 212
    0 bbl/day (2014 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 213
    19,000 bbl/day (2015 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 141
    0 bbl/day (2014 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 213
    18,690 bbl/day (2014 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 122
    0 cu m (2013 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 148
    0 cu m (2013 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 211
    0 cu m (2013 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 211
    0 cu m (2013 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 210
    0 cu m (1 January 2014 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 207
    3 million Mt (2013 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 143
  • Communications :: WEST BANK

  • total subscriptions: 432,000 (includes Gaza Strip)
    subscriptions per 100 inhabitants: 9 (includes Gaza Strip) (July 2016 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 100
    total: 3,713,190 (includes Gaza Strip)
    subscriptions per 100 inhabitants: 135 (includes Gaza Strip) (July 2016 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 130
    general assessment: continuing political and economic instability has impeded liberalization of the telecommunications industry
    domestic: Israeli company BEZEK and the Palestinian company PALTEL are responsible for fixed-line services; two Palestinian cellular providers, JAWWAL and WATANIYA MOBILE, launched 3G mobile networks in the West Bank in January 2018 after Israel lifted its ban
    international: country code - 970; 1 international switch in Ramallah (2018)
    the Palestinian Authority operates 1 TV and 1 radio station; about 20 private TV and 40 radio stations; both Jordanian TV and satellite TV are accessible (2013)
    .ps; note - same as Gaza Strip
    total: 2.673 million (includes Gaza Strip)
    percent of population: 57.4% (includes Gaza Strip) (July 2016 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 102
  • Transportation :: WEST BANK

  • 2 (2013)
    country comparison to the world: 203
    total: 2
    1,524 to 2,437 m: 1
    under 914 m: 1 (2013)
    1 (2013)
    total: 4,686 km
    paved: 4,686 km
    note: includes Gaza Strip (2010)
    country comparison to the world: 153
  • Terrorism :: WEST BANK

  • Kahane Chai (Kach):
    aim(s): restore the biblical state of Israel; expel Arabs from Israel's biblical lands
    area(s) of operation: present in West Bank Jewish settlements, especially the Qiryat Arba' settlement in Hebron, where operatives have conducted bombings and shootings against Muslim and Christian Palestinians; operationally inactive in recent years (April 2018)
    HAMAS:
    aim(s): grow its political and operational presence in the West Bank
    area(s) of operation: mostly political activity; small cells scattered throughout the West Bank for militant and illicit finance purposes
    Palestine Islamic Jihad (PIJ):
    aim(s): enhance its staging capabilities in the West Bank to launch attacks against Israel
    area(s) of operation: mostly political activity; strives to maintain an operational presence
    Palestine Liberation Front (PLF):
    aim(s): enhance its networks in the West Bank and, ultimately, destroy the state of Israel; establish a secular, Marxist Palestinian state with Jerusalem as its capital
    area(s) of operation: maintains a recruitment and training presence in some of the West Bank's refugee camps
    Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP):
    aim(s): bolster its recruitment networks in the West Bank
    area(s) of operation: mostly political activity, maintains a recruitment presence targeting youths (April 2018)
  • Transnational Issues :: WEST BANK

  • the current status of the West Bank is subject to the Israeli-Palestinian Interim Agreement - permanent status to be determined through further negotiation; Israel continues construction of a "seam line" separation barrier along parts of the Green Line and within the West Bank; Israel withdrew from Gaza and four settlements in the northern West Bank in August 2005; since 1948, about 350 peacekeepers from the UN Truce Supervision Organization (UNTSO), headquartered in Jerusalem, monitor ceasefires, supervise armistice agreements, prevent isolated incidents from escalating, and assist other UN personnel in the region
    refugees (country of origin): 809,738 (Palestinian refugees) (2017)
    IDPs: 131,000 (includes persons displaced within the Gaza strip due to the intensification of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict since June 2014 and other Palestinian IDPs in the Gaza Strip and West Bank who fled as long ago as 1967, although confirmed cumulative data do not go back beyond 2006) (2017)