West Bank

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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 and the former Israeli-Jordanian border zone, the West Bank remained under Israeli military control until Israel transferred security and civilian responsibility for many 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. 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 Yasir ARAFAT's death in late 2004 and the subsequent election of Mahmud 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, most recently signing an agreement in April 2014 following the collapse of US-brokered peace talks with Israel. The factions, however, 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

Location

Middle East, west of Jordan, east of Israel

Geographic coordinates

32.00° N, 35.15° E

Area 172/257

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: 478 km

border countries (2): Israel 330 km, Jordan 148 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 in west, flat plains descending to Jordan River valley to the east

Elevation

mean elevation:

elevation extremes:

lowest point: Dead Sea -408 m

highest point: Tall Asur 1,022 m

Natural resources

arable land

Land use

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.)

Irrigated land

240 sq km; note - includes Gaza Strip (2003)

Natural hazards

droughts

Environment - current issues

adequacy of freshwater supply; sewage treatment

Geography - note

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

Nationality

noun: NA

adjective: NA

Ethnic groups

Palestinian Arab and other 83%, Jewish 17%

Languages

Arabic, Hebrew (spoken by Israeli settlers and many Palestinians), English (widely understood)

Religions

Muslim 80.0 - 85.0% (predominantly Sunni), Jewish 12.0 - 14.0%, Christian 1.0 - 2.5% (mainly Greek Orthodox), other, unaffiliated, unspecified note: the proportion of Christians continues to fall mainly as a result of the growth of the Muslim population but also because of the migration and the declining birth rate of the Christian population (2012 est.)

Population 142/238

2,785,366 (represents Palestinian population only) (July 2014 est.)

note: approximately 356,000 Israeli settlers live in the West Bank; approximately 200,000 Israeli settlers live in East Jerusalem (2013) (July 2015 est.)

Age structure

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.)

Dependency ratios

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.)

Median age

total: 22.7 years

male: 22.6 years

female: 22.9 years (2015 est.)

Population growth rate 51/233

1.95% (2015 est.)

Birth rate 67/224

22.99 births/1,000 population (2015 est.)

Death rate 216/225

3.5 deaths/1,000 population (2015 est.)

Net migration rate 111/222

0 migrant(s)/1,000 population (2015 est.)

Urbanization

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

Sex ratio

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.)

Mother's mean age at first birth

20

note: median age at first birth among women 25-29 (2004 est.)

Maternal mortality rate 95/184

45 deaths/100,000 live births

note: data represents Gaza Strip and West Bank (2015 est.)

Infant mortality rate 115/224

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.)

Life expectancy at birth 92/224

total population: 75.91 years

male: 73.79 years

female: 78.17 years (2015 est.)

Total fertility rate 66/224

2.76 children born/woman (2015 est.)

Contraceptive prevalence rate

52.5% (includes Gaza Strip and West Bank) (2010)

Physicians density

1.3 physicians/1,000 population (2013)

Hospital bed density

1.2 beds/1,000 population (2010)

Drinking water source

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.)

Sanitation facility access

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.)

HIV/AIDS - adult prevalence rate

NA

HIV/AIDS - people living with HIV/AIDS

NA

HIV/AIDS - deaths

NA

School life expectancy (primary to tertiary education)

total: 13 years

male: 12 years

female: 14 years

note: data represents Gaza and West Bank (2013)

Unemployment, youth ages 15-24 15/134

total: 41%

male: 37%

female: 64.7%

note: includes Gaza Strip (2013 est.)

Government

Country name

conventional long form: none

conventional short form: West Bank

Economy

Economy - overview

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.

GDP (purchasing power parity) 141/230

$21.17 billion (2014 est.)

$20.15 billion (2013 est.)

$19.95 billion (2012 est.)

note: data are in 2014 US dollars; includes Gaza Strip

GDP (official exchange rate)

$9.828 billion

note: excludes Gaza Strip (2008 est.)

GDP - real growth rate 37/225

5.1% (2014 est.)

1% (2013 est.)

6% (2012 est.)

note: excludes Gaza Strip

GDP - per capita (PPP) 174/230

$4,300 (2012 est.)

$4,400 (2011 est.)

$4,600 (2010 est.)

note: includes Gaza Strip

Gross national saving 159/179

7.8% of GDP (2014 est.)

9.5% of GDP (2013 est.)

5% of GDP (2012 est.)

note: includes Gaza Strip

GDP - composition, by end use

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 (2015 est.)

GDP - composition, by sector of origin

agriculture: 3.5%

industry: 25.2%

services: 67.8%

note: excludes Gaza Strip (2015 est.)

Agriculture - products

olives, citrus fruit, vegetables; beef, dairy products

Industries

small-scale manufacturing, quarrying, textiles, soap, olive-wood carvings, and mother-of-pearl souvenirs

Industrial production growth rate 176/202

-1.7%

note: includes Gaza Strip (2015 est.)

Labor force 124/233

1.815 million

note: excludes Gaza Strip (2015 est.)

Labor force - by occupation

agriculture: 11.5%

industry: 34.4%

services: 54.1%

note: excludes Gaza Strip (2013 est.)

Unemployment rate 161/207

17.7% (2015 est.)

18.6% (2014 est.)

note: excludes Gaza Strip

Population below poverty line

18% (2011 est.)

Household income or consumption by percentage share

lowest 10%: 3.2%

highest 10%: 28.2%

note: includes Gaza Strip (2009 est.)

Distribution of family income - Gini index 94/144

34.5 (2009 est.)

38.7 (2007 est.)

note: includes Gaza Strip

Budget

revenues: $2.727 billion

expenditures: $4.304 billion

note: includes Palestinian Authority expenditures in the Gaza Strip (2014 est.)

Taxes and other revenues 36/219

41.3% of GDP (2014 est.)

Budget surplus (+) or deficit (-) 215/220

-16% of GDP (2014 est.)

Public debt 148/176

24.4% of GDP (2013 est.)

23.8% of GDP (2012 est.)

Fiscal year

calendar year

Inflation rate (consumer prices) 75/226

1.2% (2015 est.)

3.1% (2014 est.)

note: excludes Gaza Strip

Commercial bank prime lending rate 112/184

7.7% (31 December 2015 est.)

6.41% (31 December 2014 est.)

Stock of narrow money 177/192

$278.6 million (31 December 2015 est.)

$227.1 million (31 December 2014 est.)

Stock of broad money 148/193

$2.399 billion (31 December 2014 est.)

$2.16 billion (31 December 2013 est.)

Stock of domestic credit 152/191

$1.274 billion (31 December 2015 est.)

$1.147 billion (31 December 2014 est.)

Market value of publicly traded shares 97/121

$2.634 billion (31 December 2012 est.)

$2.532 billion (31 December 2011)

$2.45 billion (31 December 2010 est.)

Current account balance 147/197

-$2.149 billion (2014 est.)

-$2.383 billion (2013 est.)

Exports 162/224

$937.4 million (2014 est.)

$1.692 billion (2013 est.)

note: excludes Gaza Strip

Exports - commodities

stone, olives, fruit, vegetables, limestone

Imports 119/223

$5.683 billion (2013 est.)

$6.261 billion (2013 est.)

note: data include the Gaza Strip

Imports - commodities

food, consumer goods, construction materials, petroleum, chemicals

Debt - external 161/206

$1.18 billion (31 December 2014 est.)

$1.042 billion (31 December 2013 est.)

note: data include the Gaza Strip

Exchange rates

new Israeli shekels (ILS) per US dollar -

3.89 (2015 est.)

3.58 (2014 est.)

3.58 (2013 est.)

3.86 (2012 est.)

3.58 (2011 est.)

Energy

Electricity - production 163/220

433 million kWh (2012 est.)

Electricity - consumption 113/219

5.312 billion kWh (2012 est.)

Electricity - exports 214/218

0 kWh (2013)

Electricity - imports 41/219

4.909 billion kWh (2012 est.)

Electricity - installed generating capacity 167/214

140,000 kW

note: includes Gaza Strip (2012 est.)

Electricity - from fossil fuels 35/214

100% of total installed capacity (2012 est.)

Electricity - from nuclear fuels 208/214

0% of total installed capacity (2012 est.)

Electricity - from hydroelectric plants 212/214

0% of total installed capacity (2012 est.)

Electricity - from other renewable sources 143/212

0% of total installed capacity (2012 est.)

Crude oil - production 209/214

0 bbl/day (2014 est.)

Crude oil - exports 209/214

0 bbl/day (2012 est.)

Crude oil - imports 148/214

0 bbl/day (2012 est.)

Crude oil - proved reserves 210/215

0 bbl (1 January 2009 est.)

Refined petroleum products - production 146/214

0 bbl/day (2012 est.)

Refined petroleum products - consumption 139/212

16,000 bbl/day (2013 est.)

Refined petroleum products - exports 126/214

3.84 bbl/day (2012 est.)

Refined petroleum products - imports 120/213

16,330 bbl/day (2012 est.)

Natural gas - production 147/216

0 cu m (2013 est.)

Natural gas - consumption 210/215

0 cu m (2013 est.)

Natural gas - exports 211/215

0 cu m (2013 est.)

Natural gas - imports 80/214

0 cu m (2013 est.)

Natural gas - proved reserves 207/212

0 cu m (1 January 2014 est.)

Carbon dioxide emissions from consumption of energy 141/212

3.008 million Mt (2012 est.)

Communications

Telephones - fixed lines 104/219

total subscriptions: 400,000 (includes Gaza Strip)

subscriptions per 100 inhabitants: 15 (2014 est.)

Telephones - mobile cellular 135/217

total: 3.2 million (includes Gaza Strip)

subscriptions per 100 inhabitants: 117 (includes Gaza Strip) (2014 est.)

Telephone system

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)

Broadcast media

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)

Radio broadcast stations

AM 0, FM 27, shortwave 0 (2010)

Television broadcast stations

31 (2010)

Internet country code

.ps; note - same as Gaza Strip

Internet users 112/217

total: 1.4 million (includes Gaza Strip)

percent of population: 34.4% (2009)

Transportation

Airports 203/236

2 (2013)

Airports - with paved runways

total: 2

1,524 to 2,437 m: 1

under 914 m: 1 (2013)

Heliports

1 (2013)

Roadways 154/223

total: 4,686 km

paved: 4,686 km

note: includes Gaza Strip (2010)

Transnational Issues

Disputes - international

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 and internally displaced persons

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)