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West Bank 
[Country map of West Bank]

Introduction West Bank
Background:
The Israel-PLO Declaration of Principles on Interim Self-Government Arrangements (the DOP), signed in Washington on 13 September 1993, provided for a transitional period not exceeding five years of Palestinian interim self-government in the Gaza Strip and the West Bank. Under the DOP, Israel agreed to transfer certain powers and responsibilities to the Palestinian Authority, which includes the Palestinian Legislative Council elected in January 1996, as part of the interim self-governing arrangements in the West Bank and Gaza Strip. A transfer of powers and responsibilities for the Gaza Strip and Jericho took place pursuant to the Israel-PLO 4 May 1994 Cairo Agreement on the Gaza Strip and the Jericho Area and in additional areas of the West Bank pursuant to the Israel-PLO 28 September 1995 Interim Agreement, the Israel-PLO 15 January 1997 Protocol Concerning Redeployment in Hebron, the Israel-PLO 23 October 1998 Wye River Memorandum, and the 4 September 1999 Sharm el-Sheikh Agreement. The DOP provides that Israel will retain responsibility during the transitional period for external and internal security and for public order of settlements and Israeli citizens. Direct negotiations to determine the permanent status of Gaza and West Bank that began in September 1999 after a three-year hiatus, were derailed by a second intifadah that broke out in September 2000. The resulting widespread violence in the West Bank and Gaza Strip, Israel's military response, and instability within the Palestinian Authority continue to undermine progress toward a permanent agreement. Following the death of longtime Palestinian leader Yasir ARAFAT in November 2004, the election of his successor Mahmud ABBAS in January 2005 could bring a turning point in the conflict.
Geography West Bank
Location:
Middle East, west of Jordan
Geographic coordinates:
32 00 N, 35 15 E
Map references:
Middle East
Area:
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
Area - comparative:
slightly smaller than Delaware
Land boundaries:
total: 404 km
border countries: Israel 307 km, Jordan 97 km
Coastline:
0 km (landlocked)
Maritime claims:
none (landlocked)
Climate:
temperate; temperature and precipitation vary with altitude, warm to hot summers, cool to mild winters
Terrain:
mostly rugged dissected upland, some vegetation in west, but barren in east
Elevation extremes:
lowest point: Dead Sea -408 m
highest point: Tall Asur 1,022 m
Natural resources:
arable land
Land use:
arable land: 16.9%
permanent crops: 18.97%
other: 64.13% (2001)
Irrigated land:
NA sq km
Natural hazards:
droughts
Environment - current issues:
adequacy of fresh water supply; sewage treatment
Geography - note:
landlocked; highlands are main recharge area for Israel's coastal aquifers; there are 244 West Bank settlements and 29 East Jerusalem settlements in addition to at least 20 occupied outposts (August 2003 est.)
People West Bank
Population:
2,385,615
note: in addition, there are about 187,000 Israeli settlers in the West Bank and fewer than 177,000 in East Jerusalem (July 2004 est.)
Age structure:
0-14 years: 43.4% (male 530,197/female 504,794)
15-64 years: 53.2% (male 649,610/female 619,335)
65 years and over: 3.4% (male 34,803/female 46,876) (2005 est.)
Median age:
total: 18.14 years
male: 17.99 years
female: 18.3 years (2005 est.)
Population growth rate:
3.13% (2005 est.)
Birth rate:
32.37 births/1,000 population (2005 est.)
Death rate:
3.99 deaths/1,000 population (2005 est.)
Net migration rate:
2.88 migrant(s)/1,000 population (2005 est.)
Sex ratio:
at birth: 1.06 male(s)/female
under 15 years: 1.05 male(s)/female
15-64 years: 1.05 male(s)/female
65 years and over: 0.74 male(s)/female
total population: 1.04 male(s)/female (2005 est.)
Infant mortality rate:
total: 19.62 deaths/1,000 live births
male: 21.66 deaths/1,000 live births
female: 17.45 deaths/1,000 live births (2005 est.)
Life expectancy at birth:
total population: 73.08 years
male: 71.33 years
female: 74.95 years (2005 est.)
Total fertility rate:
4.4 children born/woman (2005 est.)
HIV/AIDS - adult prevalence rate:
NA
HIV/AIDS - people living with HIV/AIDS:
NA
HIV/AIDS - deaths:
NA
Nationality:
noun: NA
adjective: NA
Ethnic groups:
Palestinian Arab and other 83%, Jewish 17%
Religions:
Muslim 75% (predominantly Sunni), Jewish 17%, Christian and other 8%
Languages:
Arabic, Hebrew (spoken by Israeli settlers and many Palestinians), English (widely understood)
Literacy:
definition: age 15 and over can read and write
total population: 91.9%
male: 96.3%
female: 87.4% (2003 est.)
Government West Bank
Country name:
conventional long form: none
conventional short form: West Bank
Economy West Bank
Economy - overview:
The West Bank - the larger of the two areas under the Palestine Authority - has experienced a general decline in economic growth and a degradation in economic conditions made worse since the second intifadah began in September 2000. The downturn has been largely the result of the Israeli closure policies - the imposition of border closures in response to security incidents in Israel - which disrupted labor and commodity market relationships. In 2001, and even more severely in 2002, Israeli military measures in Palestine Authority areas resulted in the destruction of much capital plant, the disruption of administrative structure, and widespread business closures. Including the Gaza Strip, the UN estimates that more than 100,000 Palestinians out of the 125,000 who used to work in Israeli settlements, or in joint industrial zones, have lost their jobs. International aid of $2 billion to the West Bank and Gaza strip in 2004 prevented the complete collapse of the economy and allowed some reforms in the government's financial operations. Meanwhile, unemployment has continued at more than half the labor force. ARAFAT's death in 2004 leaves open more political options that could affect the economy.
GDP (purchasing power parity):
$1.8 billion (2003 est.)
GDP - real growth rate:
6% (2003 est.)
GDP - per capita:
purchasing power parity - $800 (2003 est.)
GDP - composition by sector:
agriculture: 9%
industry: 28%
services: 63%
note: includes Gaza Strip (2002 est.)
Labor force:
364,000 (2004)
Labor force - by occupation:
agriculture 15%, industry 25%, services 60% (2004 est.)
Unemployment rate:
27.2% (includes Gaza Strip) (2004 est.)
Population below poverty line:
59% (2004 est.)
Household income or consumption by percentage share:
lowest 10%: NA
highest 10%: NA
Inflation rate (consumer prices):
2.2% (includes Gaza Strip) (2001 est.)
Budget:
revenues: $676.6 million
expenditures: $1.155 billion, including capital expenditures of NA; note - these budget data include Gaza Strip (2003)
Agriculture - products:
olives, citrus, vegetables; beef, dairy products
Industries:
generally small family businesses that produce cement, textiles, soap, olive-wood carvings, and mother-of-pearl souvenirs; the Israelis have established some small-scale, modern industries in the settlements and industrial centers
Industrial production growth rate:
NA
Electricity - production:
NA kWh; note - most electricity imported from Israel; East Jerusalem Electric Company buys and distributes electricity to Palestinians in East Jerusalem and its concession in the West Bank; the Israel Electric Company directly supplies electricity to most Jewish residents and military facilities; some Palestinian municipalities, such as Nablus and Janin, generate their own electricity from small power plants
Electricity - production by source:
fossil fuel: 100%
hydro: 0%
nuclear: 0%
other: 0% (2001)
Electricity - consumption:
NA kWh
Electricity - imports:
NA kWh
Exports:
$205 million f.o.b., includes Gaza Strip (2002)
Exports - commodities:
olives, fruit, vegetables, limestone
Exports - partners:
Israel, Jordan, Gaza Strip (2000)
Imports:
$1.5 billion c.i.f., includes Gaza Strip (2002)
Imports - commodities:
food, consumer goods, construction materials
Imports - partners:
Israel, Jordan, Gaza Strip (2000)
Debt - external:
$108 million (includes Gaza Strip) (1997 est.)
Economic aid - recipient:
$2 billion (includes Gaza Strip) (2004 est.)
Currency (code):
new Israeli shekel (ILS); Jordanian dinar (JOD)
Currency code:
ILS; JOD
Exchange rates:
new Israeli shekels per US dollar - 4.482 (2004), 4.5541 (2003), 4.7378 (2002), 4.2057 (2001), 4.0773 (2000)
Fiscal year:
calendar year (since 1 January 1992)
Communications West Bank
Telephones - main lines in use:
301,600 (total for West Bank and Gaza Strip) (2002)
Telephones - mobile cellular:
480,000 (cellular subscribers in both West Bank and Gaza Strip) (2003)
Telephone system:
general assessment: NA
domestic: NA
international: NA
note: Israeli company BEZEK and the Palestinian company PALTEL are responsible for communication services in the West Bank
Radio broadcast stations:
AM 1, FM 0, shortwave 0
note: the Palestinian Broadcasting Corporation broadcasts from an AM station in Ramallah on 675 kHz; numerous local, private stations are reported to be in operation (2000)
Radios:
NA; note - most Palestinian households have radios (1999)
Television broadcast stations:
NA
Televisions:
NA; note - many Palestinian households have televisions (1999)
Internet country code:
.ps
Internet Service Providers (ISPs):
8 (1999)
Internet users:
145,000 (includes Gaza Strip) (2003)
Transportation West Bank
Highways:
total: 4,500 km
paved: 2,700 km
unpaved: 1,800 km
note: Israelis have developed many highways to service Jewish settlements (1997 est.)
Airports:
3 (2004 est.)
Airports - with paved runways:
total: 3
2,438 to 3,047 m: 1
1,524 to 2,437 m: 1
under 914 m: 1 (2004 est.)
Military West Bank
Military expenditures - dollar figure:
NA
Military expenditures - percent of GDP:
NA
Transnational Issues West Bank
Disputes - international:
West Bank and Gaza Strip are Israeli-occupied with current status 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 announced its intention to pull out settlers and withdraw from four settlements in the northern West Bank in 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 and internally displaced persons:
refugees (country of origin): 665,246 (Palestinian Refugees (UNRWA)) (2004)

This page was last updated on 1 November, 2005


 

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