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Middle East :: West Bank
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West Bank
  • 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. Following the 1948 Arab-Israeli War, the area was captured by Transjordan (later renamed Jordan). Jordan annexed the West Bank in 1950. In June 1967, Israel captured the West Bank and East Jerusalem during the 1967 Six-Day War. With the exception of East Jerusalem, roughly 60% of the West Bank remains under Israeli military control. 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 1994 and 1999, the so-called “Oslo Accords.” Negotiations to determine the permanent status of the West Bank and Gaza Strip stalled after the outbreak of an intifada in mid-2000. In early 2003, the "Quartet" of the US, EU, UN, and Russia, presented a roadmap to a final peace settlement by 2005, calling for two states - Israel and a democratic Palestine.
    Following Palestinian leader Yassir ARAFAT's death in late 2004 and the subsequent election of Mahmoud ABBAS (head of the Fatah political faction) as PA president, Israel and the Palestinians agreed to move the peace process forward. Israel in late 2005 unilaterally withdrew all of its settlers and soldiers and dismantled its military facilities in the Gaza Strip and redeployed its military from several West Bank settlements but continues to control maritime, airspace, and other access. In early 2006, the Islamic Resistance Movement, HAMAS, won the Palestinian Legislative Council election and took control of the PA government. Attempts to form a unity government failed, and violent clashes between Fatah and HAMAS supporters ensued, culminating in HAMAS's violent seizure of all military and governmental institutions in the Gaza Strip. Fatah and HAMAS have made several attempts at reconciliation, but the factions have been unable to implement details on governance and security, and the status quo remains with HAMAS in de facto control of the Gaza Strip and the PA governing the West Bank.
  • 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 -408 m
    highest point: Tall Asur 1,022 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 (2003)
    droughts
    adequacy of freshwater supply; sewage treatment
    landlocked; highlands are main recharge area for Israel's coastal aquifers; there are about 381 Israeli civilian sites, including about 212 settlements and 134 small outpost communities in the West Bank and 35 sites in East Jerusalem (2014 est.)
  • People and Society :: WEST BANK

  • noun: NA
    adjective: NA
    Palestinian Arab and other 83%, Jewish 17%
    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%
    note: the proportion of Christians continues to fall mainly as a result of the growth of the Muslim population but also because of migration and the declining birth rate of the Christian population (2012 est.)
    religious affiliation:
    2,785,366 (represents Palestinian population only) (July 2015 est.)
    note: approximately 371,000 Israeli settlers live in the West Bank; approximately 211,640 Israeli settlers live in East Jerusalem (2014)
    country comparison to the world: 142
    0-14 years: 33.09% (male 473,108/female 448,612)
    15-24 years: 21.52% (male 307,020/female 292,465)
    25-54 years: 36.96% (male 529,094/female 500,375)
    55-64 years: 4.57% (male 64,093/female 63,289)
    65 years and over: 3.85% (male 45,303/female 62,007) (2015 est.)
    population pyramid:
    total dependency ratio: 76%
    youth dependency ratio: 70.8%
    elderly dependency ratio: 5.2%
    potential support ratio: 19.2%
    note: data represents the Gaza and the West Bank (2015 est.)
    total: 22.7 years
    male: 22.6 years
    female: 22.9 years (2015 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 171
    1.95% (2015 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 51
    22.99 births/1,000 population (2015 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 67
    3.5 deaths/1,000 population (2015 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 216
    0 migrant(s)/1,000 population (2015 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 111
    urban population: 75.3% of total population (2015)
    rate of urbanization: 2.81% annual rate of change (2005-10 est.)
    note: data represents Gaza Strip and West Bank
    at birth: 1.06 male(s)/female
    0-14 years: 1.06 male(s)/female
    15-24 years: 1.05 male(s)/female
    25-54 years: 1.06 male(s)/female
    55-64 years: 1.01 male(s)/female
    65 years and over: 0.73 male(s)/female
    total population: 1.04 male(s)/female (2015 est.)
    20
    note: median age at first birth among women 25-29 (2004 est.)
    45 deaths/100,000 live births
    note: data represents Gaza Strip and West Bank (2015 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 95
    total: 13.08 deaths/1,000 live births
    male: 14.7 deaths/1,000 live births
    female: 11.37 deaths/1,000 live births (2015 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 115
    total population: 75.91 years
    male: 73.79 years
    female: 78.17 years (2015 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 92
    2.76 children born/woman (2015 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 66
    52.5% (includes Gaza Strip and West Bank) (2010)
    1.3 physicians/1,000 population (2013)
    1.2 beds/1,000 population (2010)
    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 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 and the West Bank (2015 est.)
    NA
    NA
    NA
    definition: age 15 and over can read and write
    total population: 96.5%
    male: 98.4%
    female: 94.5%
    notes: estimates are for Gaza and West Bank (2015 est.)
    total: 13 years
    male: 12 years
    female: 14 years
    note: data represent Gaza and West Bank (2013)
    total: 41%
    male: 37%
    female: 64.7%
    note: includes Gaza Strip (2013 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 Arab-Israeli War and the subsequent changes in government
  • Economy :: WEST BANK

  • Israeli-Palestinian violence in 2015 exacerbated challenges to economic growth in the West Bank - the larger of the two areas comprising the Palestinian Territories. Increased security restrictions and political instability slowed economic activity, and Israel’s four-month withholding of taxes and other fees it collects on the Palestinian Authority’s (PA) behalf caused the PA to delay salary payments to its employees, which in turn had broader effects on business activity and consumer demand.
    Longstanding Israeli closure policies continue to disrupt labor and trade flows and the territory’s industrial capacity, limit imports and exports, and constrain private sector development. The PA for the foreseeable future will continue to rely heavily on donor aid for its budgetary needs and economic activity.
    $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: 142
    $9.828 billion
    note: excludes Gaza Strip (2014 est.)
    5.3% (2014 est.)
    1% (2013 est.)
    6% (2012 est.)
    note: excludes Gaza Strip
    country comparison to the world: 37
    $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: 160
    household consumption: 85.7%
    government consumption: 21.9%
    investment in fixed capital: 26%
    investment in inventories: 2.3%
    exports of goods and services: 24.5%
    imports of goods and services: -60.4%
    note: excludes Gaza Strip (2014 est.)
    agriculture: 3.5%
    industry: 25.2%
    services: 67.8%
    note: excludes Gaza Strip (2014 est.)
    olives, citrus fruit, vegetables; beef, dairy products
    small-scale manufacturing, quarrying, textiles, soap, olive-wood carvings, and mother-of-pearl souvenirs
    -1.7%
    note: includes Gaza Strip (2015 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 178
    828,000
    note: excludes Gaza Strip (2015 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 148
    agriculture: 11.5%
    industry: 34.4%
    services: 54.1%
    note: excludes Gaza Strip (2013 est.)
    17.7% (2014 est.)
    18.6% (2013 est.)
    note: excludes Gaza Strip
    country comparison to the world: 162
    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: 97
    revenues: $2.75 billion
    expenditures: $4.077 billion
    note: includes Palestinian Authority expenditures in the Gaza Strip (2014 est.)
    28% of GDP (2014 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 95
    -13.5% of GDP (2014 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 213
    24.4% of GDP (2014 est.)
    23.8% of GDP (2013 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 150
    calendar year
    1.2% (2014 est.)
    3.1% (2013 est.)
    note: excludes Gaza Strip
    country comparison to the world: 86
    7.7% (31 December 2015 est.)
    6.41% (31 December 2014 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 112
    $278.6 million (31 December 2015 est.)
    $227.1 million (31 December 2014 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 177
    $2.399 billion (31 December 2014 est.)
    $2.16 billion (31 December 2013 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 148
    $1.274 billion (31 December 2015 est.)
    $1.147 billion (31 December 2014 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 152
    $2.634 billion (31 December 2012 est.)
    $2.532 billion (31 December 2011)
    $2.45 billion (31 December 2010 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 97
    -$2.149 billion (2014 est.)
    -$2.383 billion (2013 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 148
    $937.4 million (2014 est.)
    $1.692 billion (2013 est.)
    note: excludes Gaza Strip
    country comparison to the world: 162
    stone, olives, fruit, vegetables, limestone
    $5.683 billion (2014 est.)
    $6.261 billion (2013 est.)
    note: data include the Gaza Strip
    country comparison to the world: 121
    food, consumer goods, construction materials, petroleum, chemicals
    $1.089 billion (2014 est.)
    $1.191 billion (2013 est.)
    note: data include the Gaza Strip
    country comparison to the world: 162
    new Israeli shekels (ILS) per US dollar -
    3.886 (2015 est.)
    3.578 (2014 est.)
    3.578 (2013 est.)
    3.86 (2012 est.)
    3.5781 (2011 est.)
  • Energy :: WEST BANK

  • 433 million kWh (2012 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 163
    5.312 billion kWh (2012 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 113
    0 kWh (2013)
    country comparison to the world: 214
    4.909 billion kWh (2012 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 41
    140,000 kW
    note: includes Gaza Strip (2012 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 167
    100% of total installed capacity (2012 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 35
    0% of total installed capacity (2012 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 208
    0% of total installed capacity (2012 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 212
    0% of total installed capacity (2012 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 143
    0 bbl/day (2014 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 209
    0 bbl/day (2012 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 209
    0 bbl/day (2012 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 148
    0 bbl (1 January 2009 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 210
    0 bbl/day (2012 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 146
    16,000 bbl/day (2013 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 139
    3.84 bbl/day (2012 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 126
    16,330 bbl/day (2012 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 120
    0 cu m (2013 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 147
    0 cu m (2013 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 210
    0 cu m (2013 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 211
    0 cu m (2013 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 80
    0 cu m (1 January 2014 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 207
    3.008 million Mt (2012 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 141
  • Communications :: WEST BANK

  • total subscriptions: 400,000 (includes Gaza Strip)
    subscriptions per 100 inhabitants: 15 (2014 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 104
    total: 3.2 million (includes Gaza Strip)
    subscriptions per 100 inhabitants: 117 (includes Gaza Strip) (2014 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 135
    general assessment: continuing political and economic instability has impeded significant liberalization of the telecommunications industry
    domestic: Israeli company BEZEK and the Palestinian company PALTEL are responsible for fixed-line services; PALTEL plans to establish a fiber-optic connection to Jordan to route domestic mobile calls; the Palestinian JAWWAL company and WATANIYA PALESTINE provide cellular services
    international: country code - 970; 1 international switch in Ramallah (2009)
    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)
    AM 0, FM 27, shortwave 0 (2010)
    31 (2010)
    .ps; note - same as Gaza Strip
    total: 1.4 million (includes Gaza Strip)
    percent of population: 34.4% (2009)
    country comparison to the world: 112
  • 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: 154
  • 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): 762,288 (Palestinian refugees) (2014)
    IDPs: at least 263,500 (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) (2015)
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