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  The World Factbook.  2008.
 
West Bank
 
Map of West Bank
 
Background:The September 1993 Israel-PLO Declaration of Principles on Interim Self-Government Arrangements provided for a transitional period of Palestinian self-rule in the West Bank and Gaza Strip. Under a series of agreements signed between May 1994 and September 1999, Israel transferred to the Palestinian Authority (PA) security and civilian responsibility for Palestinian-populated areas of the West Bank and Gaza. Negotiations to determine the permanent status of the West Bank and Gaza stalled following the outbreak of an intifada in September 2000, as Israeli forces reoccupied most Palestinian-controlled areas. In April 2003, the Quartet (US, EU, UN, and Russia) presented a roadmap to a final settlement of the conflict by 2005 based on reciprocal steps by the two parties leading to two states, Israel and a democratic Palestine. The proposed date for a permanent status agreement was postponed indefinitely due to violence and accusations that both sides had not followed through on their commitments. Following Palestinian leader Yasir ARAFAT's death in late 2004, Mahmud ABBAS was elected PA president in January 2005. A month later, Israel and the PA agreed to the Sharm el-Sheikh Commitments in an effort to move the peace process forward. In September 2005, Israel unilaterally withdrew all its settlers and soldiers and dismantled its military facilities in the Gaza Strip and withdrew settlers and redeployed soldiers from four small northern West Bank settlements. Nonetheless, Israel controls maritime, airspace, and most access to the Gaza Strip. A November 2005 PA-Israeli agreement authorized the reopening of the Rafah border crossing between the Gaza Strip and Egypt under joint PA and Egyptian control. In January 2006, the Islamic Resistance Movement, HAMAS, won control of the Palestinian Legislative Council (PLC). The international community refused to accept the HAMAS-led government because it did not recognize Israel, would not renounce violence, and refused to honor previous peace agreements between Israel and the PA. HAMAS took control of the PA government in March 2006, but President ABBAS had little success negotiating with HAMAS to present a political platform acceptable to the international community so as to lift economic sanctions on Palestinians. The PLC was unable to convene throughout most of 2006 as a result of Israel's detention of many HAMAS PLC members and Israeli-imposed travel restrictions on other PLC members. Violent clashes took place between Fatah and HAMAS supporters in the Gaza Strip in 2006 and early 2007, resulting in numerous Palestinian deaths and injuries. ABBAS and HAMAS Political Bureau Chief MISHAL in February 2007 signed the Mecca Agreement in Saudi Arabia that resulted in the formation of a Palestinian National Unity Government (NUG) headed by HAMAS member Ismail HANIYA. However, fighting continued in the Gaza Strip, and in June, HAMAS militants succeeded in a violent takeover of all military and governmental institutions in the Gaza Strip. ABBAS dismissed the NUG and through a series of presidential decrees formed a PA government in the West Bank led by independent Salam FAYYAD. HAMAS rejected the NUG's dismissal and has called for resuming talks with Fatah, but ABBAS has ruled out negotiations until HAMAS agrees to a return of PA control over the Gaza Strip and recognizes the FAYYAD-led government. FAYYAD and his PA government initiated a series of security and economic reforms to improve conditions in the West Bank. ABBAS participated in talks with Israel's Prime Minister OLMERT and secured the release of some Palestinian prisoners and previously withheld customs revenue. During a November 2007 international meeting in Annapolis Maryland, ABBAS and OLMERT agreed to resume peace negotiations with the goal of reaching a final peace settlement by the end of 2008.
  
Geography
  
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:150 sq km; note - includes Gaza Strip (2003)
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 242 West Bank settlements and 29 East Jerusalem settlements in addition to at least 20 occupied outposts (August 2005 est.)
  
People
  
Population:2,535,927
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: 42.4% (male 551,243/female 524,800)
15-64 years: 54.2% (male 704,209/female 670,382)
65 years and over: 3.4% (male 36,175/female 49,118) (2007 est.)
Median age:total: 18.5 years
male: 18.4 years
female: 18.6 years (2007 est.)
Population growth rate:2.985% (2007 est.)
Birth rate:30.99 births/1,000 population (2007 est.)
Death rate:3.85 deaths/1,000 population (2007 est.)
Net migration rate:2.71 migrant(s)/1,000 population (2007 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: 0.736 male(s)/female
total population: 1.038 male(s)/female (2007 est.)
Infant mortality rate:total: 18.67 deaths/1,000 live births
male: 20.59 deaths/1,000 live births
female: 16.64 deaths/1,000 live births (2007 est.)
Life expectancy at birth:total population: 73.46 years
male: 71.68 years
female: 75.35 years (2007 est.)
Total fertility rate:4.17 children born/woman (2007 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: 92.4%
male: 96.7%
female: 88% (2004 est.)
  
Government
  
Country name:conventional long form: none
conventional short form: West Bank
  
Economy
  
Economy—overview:The West Bank - the larger of the two areas comprising the Palestinian Authority (PA) - has experienced a general decline in economic conditions since the second intifada began in September 2000. The downturn has been largely a result of Israeli closure policies - the imposition of closures and access restrictions in response to security concerns in Israel - which disrupted labor and trading relationships. In 2001, and even more severely in 2002, Israeli military measures in PA areas resulted in the destruction of capital, the disruption of administrative structures, and widespread business closures. International aid of at least $1.14 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. In 2005, high unemployment and limited trade opportunities - due to continued closures both within the West Bank and externally - stymied growth. Israel's and the international community's financial embargo of the PA when HAMAS ran the PA during March 2006 - June 2007 has interrupted the provision of PA social services and the payment of PA salaries. Since June the Fayyad government in the West Bank has restarted salary payments and the provision of services but would be unable to operate absent high levels of international assistance.
GDP (purchasing power parity):$5.034 billion (includes Gaza Strip) (2006 est.)
GDP (official exchange rate):$5.328 billion (includes Gaza Strip) (2006 est.)
GDP—real growth rate:-8% (includes Gaza Strip) (2006 est.)
GDP—per capita (PPP):$1,100 (includes Gaza Strip) (2006 est.)
GDP—composition by sector:agriculture: 8%
industry: 13%
services: 79% (includes Gaza Strip) (2006 est.)
Labor force:605,000 (2006)
Labor force—by occupation:agriculture: 18%
industry: 15%
services: 67% (2006)
Unemployment rate:18.6% (2006)
Population below poverty line:46% (2007 est.)
Household income or consumption by percentage share:lowest 10%: NA%
highest 10%: NA%
Inflation rate (consumer prices):3.6% (includes Gaza Strip) (2006)
Budget:revenues: $1.149 billion
expenditures: $2.31 billion
note: includes Gaza Strip (2006)
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:2.4% (includes Gaza Strip) (2005)
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—consumption:NA kWh
Electricity—imports:NA kWh
Exports:$301 million f.o.b.; (includes Gaza Strip) (2005)
Exports—commodities:olives, fruit, vegetables, limestone
Exports—partners:Israel, Jordan, Gaza Strip (2006)
Imports:$2.44 billion c.i.f.; (includes Gaza Strip) (2005)
Imports—commodities:food, consumer goods, construction materials
Imports—partners:Israel, Jordan, Gaza Strip (2006)
Debt—external:$NA
Market value of publicly traded shares:$4.461 billion (2005)
Economic aid—recipient:$1.4 billion; (includes Gaza Strip) (2006 est.)
Currency (code):new Israeli shekel (ILS); Jordanian dinar (JOD)
Exchange rates:new Israeli shekels per US dollar - 4.14 (2007), 4.4565 (2006), 4.4877 (2005), 4.482 (2004), 4.5541 (2003)
Fiscal year:calendar year
  
Communications
  
Telephones—main lines in use:349,000 (includes Gaza Strip) (2005)
Telephones—mobile cellular:1.095 million (includes Gaza Strip) (2005)
Telephone system:general assessment: NA
domestic: Israeli company BEZEK and the Palestinian company PALTEL are responsible for fixed line services; the Palestinian JAWAL company provides cellular services
international: country code - 970 (2004)
Radio broadcast stations:AM 0, FM 25, shortwave 0 (2008)
Television broadcast stations:30 (2008)
Internet country code:.ps; note - same as Gaza Strip
Internet users:243,000 (includes Gaza Strip) (2005)
  
Transportation
  
Airports:3 (2007)
Airports—with paved runways:total: 3
2,438 to 3,047 m: 1
1,524 to 2,437 m: 1
under 914 m: 1 (2007)
Roadways:total: 4,996 km
paved: 4,996 km
note: includes Gaza Strip (2004)
  
Military
  
Military expenditures—percent of GDP:NA
  
Transnational Issues
  
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 withdrew from 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): 705,207 (Palestinian Refugees (UNRWA)) (2006)

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