West Bank

West Bank

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Encyclopedia
The West Bank of the Jordan River is the landlocked geographical eastern part of the Palestinian territories
Palestinian territories
The Palestinian territories comprise the West Bank and the Gaza Strip. Since the Palestinian Declaration of Independence in 1988, the region is today recognized by three-quarters of the world's countries as the State of Palestine or simply Palestine, although this status is not recognized by the...

 located in Western Asia. To the west, north, and south, the West Bank shares borders with the state of Israel
Israel
The State of Israel is a parliamentary republic located in the Middle East, along the eastern shore of the Mediterranean Sea...

. To the east, across the Jordan River, lies the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan. The West Bank also contains a significant coastline along the western bank of the Dead Sea
Dead Sea
The Dead Sea , also called the Salt Sea, is a salt lake bordering Jordan to the east and Israel and the West Bank to the west. Its surface and shores are below sea level, the lowest elevation on the Earth's surface. The Dead Sea is deep, the deepest hypersaline lake in the world...

. Since 1967, most of the West Bank has been under Israeli military occupation
Israeli-occupied territories
The Israeli-occupied territories are the territories which have been designated as occupied territory by the United Nations and other international organizations, governments and others to refer to the territory seized by Israel during the Six-Day War of 1967 from Egypt, Jordan, and Syria...

 and is referred to as Judea and Samaria Area by Israel. A smaller part of the West Bank is administered by the Israeli civilian authorities as part of Jerusalem District
Jerusalem District
The Jerusalem District is one of six administrative districts of Israel. The district capital is Jerusalem. The Jerusalem District has a land area of 652 km². The population of 910,300 is 67.8% Jewish and 30.6% Arab...

.

For 400 years immediately prior to the First World War, the area now known as the West Bank was under Ottoman
Ottoman Empire
The Ottoman EmpireIt was usually referred to as the "Ottoman Empire", the "Turkish Empire", the "Ottoman Caliphate" or more commonly "Turkey" by its contemporaries...

 rule as part of the province of Syria
Ottoman Syria
Ottoman Syria is a European reference to the area that during European Renaissance from the late 15th to early 18th century was called the Levant within the early period of the Ottoman Empire, the Orient until the early 19th century, and Greater Syria until 1918...

. At the 1920 San Remo conference
San Remo conference
The San Remo Conference was an international meeting of the post-World War I Allied Supreme Council, held in Sanremo, Italy, from 19 to 26 April 1920. It was attended by the four Principal Allied Powers of World War I who were represented by the prime ministers of Britain , France and Italy and...

, the victorious Allied powers (UK, US, etc.) allocated the area to the British Mandate of Palestine. Following World War II, United Nations passed the United Nations General Assembly Resolution 181 (II) Future Government of Palestine which aimed to establish a two-state solution within Palestine. The Resolution designated the territory described as "the hill country of Samaria and Judea" (including what is now known as the "West Bank") as part of the proposed Arab
Arab
Arab people, also known as Arabs , are a panethnicity primarily living in the Arab world, which is located in Western Asia and North Africa. They are identified as such on one or more of genealogical, linguistic, or cultural grounds, with tribal affiliations, and intra-tribal relationships playing...

 state, but following the 1948 Arab-Israeli War
1948 Arab-Israeli War
The 1948 Arab–Israeli War, known to Israelis as the War of Independence or War of Liberation The war commenced after the termination of the British Mandate for Palestine and the creation of an independent Israel at midnight on 14 May 1948 when, following a period of civil war, Arab armies invaded...

 this area was captured by Trans-Jordan
Transjordan
The Emirate of Transjordan was a former Ottoman territory in the Southern Levant that was part of the British Mandate of Palestine...

 (renamed Jordan
Jordan
Jordan , officially the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan , Al-Mamlaka al-Urduniyya al-Hashemiyya) is a kingdom on the East Bank of the River Jordan. The country borders Saudi Arabia to the east and south-east, Iraq to the north-east, Syria to the north and the West Bank and Israel to the west, sharing...

 in 1949). The name "West Bank" was proposed by the Jordanian authorities to describe the area west of Jordan River. The 1949 Armistice Agreements defined its interim boundary. From 1948 until 1967, the area was under Jordanian rule
Rule of the West Bank and East Jerusalem by Jordan
The West Bank and East Jerusalem were occupied by Jordan for a period of nearly two decades starting from the 1948 Arab-Israeli War. In 1950, the British extended formal recognition to the union between the Hashemite Kingdom and of that part of Palestine under Jordanian occupation and control -...

, and Jordan did not officially relinquish its claim to the area until 1988, ceding its territorial claims to the PLO and eventually stripping West Bank Palestinians of Jordanian citizenship. Jordan's claim was never formally recognized by the international community, with the exception of the United Kingdom. The West Bank was occupied by Israel during the Six-Day War
Six-Day War
The Six-Day War , also known as the June War, 1967 Arab-Israeli War, or Third Arab-Israeli War, was fought between June 5 and 10, 1967, by Israel and the neighboring states of Egypt , Jordan, and Syria...

 in June, 1967. With the exception of East Jerusalem
East Jerusalem
East Jerusalem or Eastern Jerusalem refer to the parts of Jerusalem captured and annexed by Jordan in the 1948 Arab-Israeli War and then captured and annexed by Israel in the 1967 Six-Day War...

 and the former Israeli-Jordanian no man's land, the West Bank was not annexed
Annexation
Annexation is the de jure incorporation of some territory into another geo-political entity . Usually, it is implied that the territory and population being annexed is the smaller, more peripheral, and weaker of the two merging entities, barring physical size...

 by Israel but remained under Israeli military control. Most of the residents are Arabs, although a large number of Israeli settlements have been built in the region since 1967. Close to 500,000 Israelis live in the West Bank settlements, annexed East Jerusalem and the former Israeli-Jordanian no man's land areas.

The West Bank has a land area of 5,640 km2 (including East Jerusalem), and 220 km2 water (the northwest quarter of the Dead Sea). Its population is 1,714,845 according to the Palestinian Central Bureau of Statistics (PCBS). As of December 2010, 327,750 Israelis live in the 121 officially-recognised settlements in the West Bank, 192,000 Israelis live in settlements in East Jerusalem and over 20,000 live in settlements in the Golan Heights 

West Bank


The name West Bank, a translation of the Arabic term ad-difa’a al-gharbiya, was coined by the Jordanians after the territory, conquered by Jordan's Arab Legion
Arab Legion
The Arab Legion was the regular army of Transjordan and then Jordan in the early part of the 20th century.-Creation:...

 in 1948, was annexed to Transjordan
Transjordan
The Emirate of Transjordan was a former Ottoman territory in the Southern Levant that was part of the British Mandate of Palestine...

, forming the new Kingdom of Jordan in 1949–50. The term was chosen to differentiate the "West bank of the River Jordan", namely the newly annexed territory, from the "East Bank" of this river, namely Transjordan
Transjordan
The Emirate of Transjordan was a former Ottoman territory in the Southern Levant that was part of the British Mandate of Palestine...

. Until that point, the area was generally known by the historic names of its two regions – Judea
Judea
Judea or Judæa was the name of the mountainous southern part of the historic Land of Israel from the 8th century BCE to the 2nd century CE, when Roman Judea was renamed Syria Palaestina following the Jewish Bar Kokhba revolt.-Etymology:The...

 and Samaria
Samaria
Samaria, or the Shomron is a term used for a mountainous region roughly corresponding to the northern part of the West Bank.- Etymology :...

, the term used by Israel today.

Cisjordan


The neo-Latin
Latin
Latin is an Italic language originally spoken in Latium and Ancient Rome. It, along with most European languages, is a descendant of the ancient Proto-Indo-European language. Although it is considered a dead language, a number of scholars and members of the Christian clergy speak it fluently, and...

 name Cisjordan or Cis-Jordan (literally "on this side of the [River] Jordan") is the usual name for the territory in the Romance languages
Romance languages
The Romance languages are a branch of the Indo-European language family, more precisely of the Italic languages subfamily, comprising all the languages that descend from Vulgar Latin, the language of ancient Rome...

 and Hungarian. The analogous Transjordan has historically been used to designate the region now comprising the state of Jordan which lies on the "other side" of the Jordan River. In English, the name Cisjordan is also occasionally used to designate the entire region between the Jordan River and the Mediterranean, particularly in the historical context of the British Mandate and earlier times. The use of Cisjordan to refer to the smaller region discussed in this article, while common in scholarly fields including archaeology, is rare in general English usage; the name West Bank is standard usage for this geo-political entity in English and some of the other Germanic languages. For the low-lying area immediately west of the Jordan, the name Jordan Valley is used instead.

History


The territory now known as the West Bank was a part of the British Mandate of Palestine entrusted to the United Kingdom by the League of Nations
League of Nations
The League of Nations was an intergovernmental organization founded as a result of the Paris Peace Conference that ended the First World War. It was the first permanent international organization whose principal mission was to maintain world peace...

 after World War I. The terms of the Mandate called for the creation in Palestine of a Jewish national home without prejudicing the civil and religious rights of the non-Jewish population of Palestine. The current border of the West Bank
Green Line (Israel)
Green Line refers to the demarcation lines set out in the 1949 Armistice Agreements between Israel and its neighbours after the 1948 Arab-Israeli War...

 was not a dividing line during the Mandate period, but is the armistice line
1949 Armistice Agreements
The 1949 Armistice Agreements are a set of agreements signed during 1949 between Israel and neighboring Egypt, Lebanon, Jordan, and Syria. The agreements ended the official hostilities of the 1948 Arab-Israeli War, and established armistice lines between Israeli forces and the forces in...

 between the forces of the kingdom of Jordan and those of Israel at the close of the 1948 Arab-Israeli War
1948 Arab-Israeli War
The 1948 Arab–Israeli War, known to Israelis as the War of Independence or War of Liberation The war commenced after the termination of the British Mandate for Palestine and the creation of an independent Israel at midnight on 14 May 1948 when, following a period of civil war, Arab armies invaded...

.

When the United Nations General Assembly voted in 1947 to partition Palestine into a Jewish State, an Arab State, and an internationally administered enclave of Jerusalem, a more broad region of the modern-day West Bank was assigned to the Arab State. In the 1948 Arab-Israeli War most of the area assigned to the Arab State was occupied by Jordanian
Royal Jordanian Land Force
The Royal Jordanian Land Force is part of the Jordanian Armed Forces . It draws its origins from units first formed in the British Mandate of Transjordan in the 1920s. It has seen combat against Israel in 1948, 1956, 1967, and 1973...

 and Iraqi forces
Iraqi Army
The Iraqi Army is the land component of the Iraqi military, active in various forms since being formed by the British during their mandate over the country after World War I....

. Jordan annexed the West Bank after the war, and the annexation was recognized by the UK. The idea of an independent Palestinian state was not raised by the Arab populations there at the time, due to lack of political representation. King Abdullah of Jordan
Abdullah I of Jordan
Abdullah I bin al-Hussein, King of Jordan [‘Abd Allāh ibn al-Husayn] عبد الله الأول بن الحسين born in Mecca, Second Saudi State, was the second of three sons of Sherif Hussein bin Ali, Sharif and Emir of Mecca and his first wife Abdiyya bint Abdullah...

 was crowned King of Jerusalem and granted Palestinian Arabs in the West Bank and East Jerusalem Jordanian citizenship.

During the 1950s, there was a significant influx of Palestinian refugees
Palestinian immigration (Israel)
Palestinian immigration refers to the movement of Palestinians into the territory of Israel. Since 1948, most Palestinians crossing into Israel have come to live, reside and/or work, some of them continuing the lives they lived prior to their displacement in the Palestinian exodus...

 and violence together with Israeli reprisal raids
Unit 101
Unit 101 was a special forces unit of the Israeli Defense Forces , founded and commanded by Ariel Sharon on orders from Prime Minister David Ben-Gurion in August 1953...

 across the "Green Line".

In May 1967 Egypt ordered out U.N. peacekeeping troops and re-militarized the Sinai peninsula
Sinai Peninsula
The Sinai Peninsula or Sinai is a triangular peninsula in Egypt about in area. It is situated between the Mediterranean Sea to the north, and the Red Sea to the south, and is the only part of Egyptian territory located in Asia as opposed to Africa, effectively serving as a land bridge between two...

, and commenced an economic blockade of Israel through the straits of Tiran
Straits of Tiran
The Straits of Tiran , are the narrow sea passages, about wide, between the Sinai and Arabian peninsulas which separate the Gulf of Aqaba from the Red Sea...

 at the same time. Fearing an Egyptian attack, the government of Levi Eshkol
Levi Eshkol
' served as the third Prime Minister of Israel from 1963 until his death from a heart attack in 1969. He was the first Israeli Prime Minister to die in office.-Biography:...

 attempted to restrict any confrontation to Egypt alone. In particular it did whatever it could to avoid fighting Jordan in a two-front war
Two-front war
In military terminology, a two-front war is one in which fighting takes place on two geographically separate fronts. It is usually executed by two or more separate forces simultaneously or nearly simultaneously, in the hope that their opponent will be forced to split their fighting force to deal...

. However, "carried along by a powerful current of Arab nationalism", on May 30, 1967 King Hussein  flew to Egypt and signed a mutual defense treaty in which the two countries agreed to consider "any armed attack on either state or its forces as an attack on both". On June 5, the Israel Defense Forces launched a pre-emptive attack on Egypt which began what came to be known as the Six Day War.

Jordan soon began shelling targets in west Jerusalem, Netanya
Netanya
Netanya is a city in the Northern Centre District of Israel, and is the capital of the surrounding Sharon plain. It is located north of Tel Aviv, and south of Haifa between the 'Poleg' stream and Wingate Institute in the south and the 'Avichail' stream in the north.Its of beaches have made the...

, and the outskirts of Tel Aviv
Tel Aviv
Tel Aviv , officially Tel Aviv-Yafo , is the second most populous city in Israel, with a population of 404,400 on a land area of . The city is located on the Israeli Mediterranean coastline in west-central Israel. It is the largest and most populous city in the metropolitan area of Gush Dan, with...

. Despite this, Israel sent a message promising not to initiate any action against Jordan if it stayed out of the war. Hussein replied that it was too late, "the die was cast
Alea iacta est
Alea iacta est is a Latin phrase attributed by Suetonius to Julius Caesar on January 10, 49 BC as he led his army across the River Rubicon in Northern Italy...

". On the evening of June 5 the Israeli cabinet convened to decide what to do; Yigal Allon
Yigal Allon
Yigal Allon was an Israeli politician, a commander of the Palmach, and a general in the IDF. He served as one of the leaders of Ahdut HaAvoda party and the Israeli Labor party, and acting Prime Minister of Israel, and was a member of the Knesset and government minister from the 10th through the...

 and Menahem Begin argued that this was an opportunity to take the Old City of Jerusalem, but Eshkol decided to defer any decision until Moshe Dayan
Moshe Dayan
Moshe Dayan was an Israeli military leader and politician. The fourth Chief of Staff of the Israel Defense Forces , he became a fighting symbol to the world of the new State of Israel...

 and Yitzhak Rabin
Yitzhak Rabin
' was an Israeli politician, statesman and general. He was the fifth Prime Minister of Israel, serving two terms in office, 1974–77 and 1992 until his assassination in 1995....

 could be consulted. Uzi Narkis made a number of proposals for military action, including the capture of Latrun
Latrun
Latrun is a strategic hilltop in the Ayalon Valley in Israel overlooking the road to Jerusalem. It is located 25 kilometers west of Jerusalem and 14 kilometers southeast of Ramla.-Etymology:...

, but the cabinet turned him down. The Israeli military only commenced action after Government House was captured, which was seen as a threat to the security of Jerusalem. On June 6 Dayan encircled the city, but, fearing damage to holy places and having to fight in built-up areas, he ordered his troops not to go in. However, upon hearing that the U.N. was about to declare a ceasefire, he changed his mind, and without cabinet clearance, decided to take the city. After fierce fighting with Jordanian troops in and around the Jerusalem area, Israel captured the Old City on 7 June.

No specific decision had been made to capture any other territories controlled by Jordan. After the Old City was captured, Dayan told his troops to dig in to hold it. When an armored brigade commander entered the West Bank on his own initiative, and stated that he could see Jericho
Jericho
Jericho ; is a city located near the Jordan River in the West Bank of the Palestinian territories. It is the capital of the Jericho Governorate and has a population of more than 20,000. Situated well below sea level on an east-west route north of the Dead Sea, Jericho is the lowest permanently...

, Dayan ordered him back. However, when intelligence reports indicated that Hussein had withdrawn his forces across the Jordan river, Dayan ordered his troops to capture the West Bank. Over the next two days, the IDF swiftly captured the rest of the West Bank and blew up the Abdullah and Hussein Bridges over the Jordan, thereby severing the West Bank from the East. According to Narkis:
First, the Israeli government had no intention of capturing the West Bank. On the contrary, it was opposed to it. Second, there was not any provocation on the part of the IDF. Third, the rein was only loosened when a real threat to Jerusalem's security emerged. This is truly how things happened on June 5, although it is difficult to believe. The end result was something that no one had planned.


The Arab League
Arab League
The Arab League , officially called the League of Arab States , is a regional organisation of Arab states in North and Northeast Africa, and Southwest Asia . It was formed in Cairo on 22 March 1945 with six members: Egypt, Iraq, Transjordan , Lebanon, Saudi Arabia, and Syria. Yemen joined as a...

's Khartoum conference
Khartoum Resolution
The Khartoum Resolution of September 1, 1967 was issued at the conclusion of an Arab League summit in the wake of the Six-Day War. The resolution, which formed a basis of the policies of these governments toward Israel until the 1973 Yom Kippur War, called for: a continued state of belligerency...

 in September declared continuing belligerency, and stated the league's principles of "no peace with Israel, no recognition of Israel, no negotiations with it". In November 1967, UN Security Council Resolution 242 was unanimously adopted, calling for "the establishment of a just and lasting peace in the Middle East" to be achieved by "the application of both the following principles:" "Withdrawal of Israeli armed forces from territories occupied in the recent conflict" (see semantic dispute) and: "Termination of all claims or states of belligerency" and respect for the right of every state in the area to live in peace within secure and recognised boundaries.
Egypt, Jordan, Israel and Lebanon entered into consultations with the UN Special representative over the implementation of 242. The text did not refer to the PLO or to any Palestinian representative because none was recognized at that time.

Until 1974, Jordan demanded the restoration of its control over the West Bank. In 1988, Jordan ceded its claims to the West Bank to the Palestine Liberation Organization
Palestine Liberation Organization
The Palestine Liberation Organization is a political and paramilitary organization which was created in 1964. It is recognized as the "sole legitimate representative of the Palestinian people" by the United Nations and over 100 states with which it holds diplomatic relations, and has enjoyed...

, as "the sole legitimate representative of the Palestinian people."

Administration




The 1993 Oslo Accords
Oslo Accords
The Oslo Accords, officially called the Declaration of Principles on Interim Self-Government Arrangements or Declaration of Principles , was an attempt to resolve the ongoing Palestinian-Israeli conflict...

 declared the final status of the West Bank to be subject to a forthcoming settlement between Israel
Israel
The State of Israel is a parliamentary republic located in the Middle East, along the eastern shore of the Mediterranean Sea...

 and the Palestinian leadership. Following these interim accords, Israel withdrew its military rule from some parts of the West Bank, which was divided into three administrative divisions of the Oslo Accords
Administrative divisions of the Oslo Accords
The Oslo Accords created three temporary distinct administrative divisions in the West Bank and Gaza Strip until a final status accord would be established...

:
AreaControlAdministration% of WB
land
% of WB
Palestinians
A Palestinian Palestinian 17% 55%
B Israeli Palestinian 24% 41%
C Israeli Israeli 59% 4%


Area A, 2.7%, full civil control of the Palestinian Authority, comprises Palestinian towns, and some rural areas away from Israeli settlements in the north (between Jenin
Jenin
Jenin is the largest town in the Northern West Bank, and the third largest city overall. It serves as the administrative center of the Jenin Governorate and is a major agricultural center for the surrounding towns. In 2007, the city had a population of 120,004 not including the adjacent refugee...

, Nablus
Nablus
Nablus is a Palestinian city in the northern West Bank, approximately north of Jerusalem, with a population of 126,132. Located in a strategic position between Mount Ebal and Mount Gerizim, it is the capital of the Nablus Governorate and a Palestinian commercial and cultural center.Founded by the...

, Tubas
Tubas
Tubas or Toubas is a small Palestinian city in the northeastern West Bank, located northeast of Nablus, a few kilometers west of the Jordan River. A city of over 16,000 inhabitants, it serves as the economic and administrative center of the Tubas Governorate. Its urban area consists of 2,271 dunams...

, and Tulkarm
Tulkarm
Tulkarem or Tulkarm is a Palestinian city in the northern Samarian mountain range in the Tulkarm Governorate in the extreme northwestern West Bank adjacent to the Netanya and Haifa districts to the west, the Nablus and Jenin Districts to the east...

), the south (around Hebron
Hebron
Hebron , is located in the southern West Bank, south of Jerusalem. Nestled in the Judean Mountains, it lies 930 meters above sea level. It is the largest city in the West Bank and home to around 165,000 Palestinians, and over 500 Jewish settlers concentrated in and around the old quarter...

), and one in the center south of Salfit
Salfit
Salfit also spelled Salfeet is a Palestinian town in the central West Bank. Salfit is located at an altitude of in the central Samarian highlands adjacent to the Israeli settlement of Ariel. According to the Palestinian Central Bureau of Statistics, the City had a population of 8,796 in 2007....

. Area B, 25.2%, adds other populated rural areas, many closer to the center of the West Bank. Area C contains all the Israeli settlements, roads used to access the settlements, buffer zones (near settlements, roads, strategic areas, and Israel), and almost all of the Jordan Valley
Jordan Valley (Middle East)
The Jordan Valley forms part of the larger Jordan Rift Valley. It is 120 kilometers long and 15 kilometers wide, where it runs from Lake Tiberias in the north to northern Dead Sea in the south. It runs for an additional 155 kilometer south of the Dead Sea to Aqaba, an area also known as Wadi...

 and the Judean Desert
Judean desert
The Judaean Desert is a desert in Israel and the West Bank that lies east of Jerusalem and descends to the Dead Sea. It stretches from the northeastern Negev to the east of Beit El, and is marked by terraces with escarpments. It ends in a steep escarpment dropping to the Dead Sea and the Jordan...

.

Areas A and B are themselves divided among 227 separate areas (199 of which are smaller than 2 square kilometre (0.77220431718507 sq mi)) that are separated from one another by Israeli-controlled Area C.

Areas A, B, and C cross the 11 Governorates
Governorates of the West Bank and Gaza Strip
After the signing of the Oslo Accords, the Palestinian territories of the West Bank and Gaza Strip were divided into three areas and 16 governorates under the jurisdiction of the Palestinian National Authority.-West Bank:...

 used as administrative divisions by the Palestinian National Authority, Israel, and the IDF and named after major cities.

According to B'tselem
B'Tselem
B'Tselem is an Israeli non-governmental organization . It calls itself "The Israeli Information Center for Human Rights in the Occupied Territories"...

, while the vast majority of the Palestinian population lives in areas A and B, the vacant land available for construction in dozens of villages and towns across the West Bank is situated on the margins of the communities and defined as area C.

An assessment by the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs
Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs
The United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs , is a United Nations body formed in December 1991 by General Assembly Resolution 46/182...

 in 2007 found that approximately 40% of the West Bank was taken up by Israeli infrastructure. The infrastructure, consisting of settlements, the barrier, military bases and closed military areas, Israeli declared nature reserves and the roads that accompany them is off-limits or tightly controlled to Palestinians.

In June 2011, the Independent Commission for Human Rights published a report whose findings included that the Palestinians in the West Bank and the Gaza Strip
Gaza Strip
thumb|Gaza city skylineThe Gaza Strip lies on the Eastern coast of the Mediterranean Sea. The Strip borders Egypt on the southwest and Israel on the south, east and north. It is about long, and between 6 and 12 kilometres wide, with a total area of...

 were subjected in 2010 to an “almost systematic campaign” of human rights abuses by the Palestinian Authority and Hamas
Hamas
Hamas is the Palestinian Sunni Islamic or Islamist political party that governs the Gaza Strip. Hamas also has a military wing, the Izz ad-Din al-Qassam Brigades...

, as well as by Israel
Israel
The State of Israel is a parliamentary republic located in the Middle East, along the eastern shore of the Mediterranean Sea...

i authorities, with the security forces belonging to the PA and Hamas being responsible for torture, arrests and arbitrary detentions.

Demographics


In December 2007, an official Census conducted by the Palestinian Authority found that the Palestinian Arab population of the West Bank (including East Jerusalem
East Jerusalem
East Jerusalem or Eastern Jerusalem refer to the parts of Jerusalem captured and annexed by Jordan in the 1948 Arab-Israeli War and then captured and annexed by Israel in the 1967 Six-Day War...

) was 2,345,000. However, the World Bank
World Bank
The World Bank is an international financial institution that provides loans to developing countries for capital programmes.The World Bank's official goal is the reduction of poverty...

 and American-Israeli Demographic Research Group identified a 32% discrepancy between first-grade enrollment statistics documented by the Palestinian Ministry of Education and Palestinian Central Bureau of Statistics (PCBS)’ 2007 projections, with questions also raised about the PCBS’ growth assumptions for the period 1997-2003. Several media outlets have suggested that PCBS data inflate the 2007 census figures by 30%, contradicting both the Palestinian Ministry of Education's enrollment data and actual emigration growth documented by Israeli Border Police, which in 2006 observed 25,000 Palestinian Arabs emigrating from Palestinian Authority-controlled territories. These data sets suggest that the Palestinian Arab population of the West Bank in 2007 was approximately 1.5 million.

There are over 350,000 Israeli settlers
Israeli settlement
An Israeli settlement is a Jewish civilian community built on land that was captured by Israel from Jordan, Egypt, and Syria during the 1967 Six-Day War and is considered occupied territory by the international community. Such settlements currently exist in the West Bank...

 living in the West Bank, as well as around 210,000 living in Israeli-annexed East Jerusalem. There are also small ethnic groups, such as the Samaritan
Samaritan
The Samaritans are an ethnoreligious group of the Levant. Religiously, they are the adherents to Samaritanism, an Abrahamic religion closely related to Judaism...

s living in and around Nablus
Nablus
Nablus is a Palestinian city in the northern West Bank, approximately north of Jerusalem, with a population of 126,132. Located in a strategic position between Mount Ebal and Mount Gerizim, it is the capital of the Nablus Governorate and a Palestinian commercial and cultural center.Founded by the...

, numbering in the hundreds. Interactions between the two societies have generally declined following the Palestinian First Intifada
First Intifada
The First Intifada was a Palestinian uprising against the Israeli occupation of the Palestinian Territories. The uprising began in the Jabalia refugee camp and quickly spread throughout Gaza, the West Bank and East Jerusalem....

 and Second Intifada, though an economic relationship often exists between adjacent Israeli and Palestinian Arab villages.

As of October 2007, around 23,000 Palestinians in the West Bank work in Israel every day with another 9,200 working in Israeli settlements. In addition, around 10,000 Palestinian traders from the West Bank are allowed to travel every day into Israel.

Approximately 30% of Palestinians living in the West Bank are refugees or descendants of refugees from villages and towns located in what became Israel during the 1948 Arab-Israeli War
1948 Arab-Israeli War
The 1948 Arab–Israeli War, known to Israelis as the War of Independence or War of Liberation The war commenced after the termination of the British Mandate for Palestine and the creation of an independent Israel at midnight on 14 May 1948 when, following a period of civil war, Arab armies invaded...

 (see Palestinian exodus), 754,263 in June 2008 according to UNRWA statistics.

Significant population centers

Significant population centers
Center Population
Al-Bireh
Al-Bireh
al-Bireh or el-Bira is a Palestinian city adjacent to Ramallah in the central West Bank, north of Jerusalem. It is situated on the central ridge running through the West Bank and is above sea level, covering an area of...

38,202
Betar Illit
Betar Illit
Beitar Illit is an Israeli settlement and city west of Gush Etzion, south of Jerusalem, in the Judean Mountains of the West Bank. At the end of 2007, it had a total population of 38,800 consisting of over 6000 families. By 2020, the population is expected to reach 100,000...

37,600
Ariel
Ariel
Ariel may refer to:-Film:*Ariel Award, a Mexican Academy of Film award*Ariel , a 1988 Finnish film by Aki Kaurismäki-People:*Ariel , any of several real or fictional people of that name...

17,700
Bethlehem
Bethlehem
Bethlehem is a Palestinian city in the central West Bank of the Jordan River, near Israel and approximately south of Jerusalem, with a population of about 30,000 people. It is the capital of the Bethlehem Governorate of the Palestinian National Authority and a hub of Palestinian culture and tourism...

25,266
Hebron
Hebron
Hebron , is located in the southern West Bank, south of Jerusalem. Nestled in the Judean Mountains, it lies 930 meters above sea level. It is the largest city in the West Bank and home to around 165,000 Palestinians, and over 500 Jewish settlers concentrated in and around the old quarter...

 (al-Khalil)
163,146
Jericho
Jericho
Jericho ; is a city located near the Jordan River in the West Bank of the Palestinian territories. It is the capital of the Jericho Governorate and has a population of more than 20,000. Situated well below sea level on an east-west route north of the Dead Sea, Jericho is the lowest permanently...

18,346
Jenin
Jenin
Jenin is the largest town in the Northern West Bank, and the third largest city overall. It serves as the administrative center of the Jenin Governorate and is a major agricultural center for the surrounding towns. In 2007, the city had a population of 120,004 not including the adjacent refugee...

39,004
Ma'ale Adummim
Ma'ale Adummim
Ma'ale Adumim is an Israeli settlement and a city in the West Bank, seven kilometers from Jerusalem. Ma'ale Adumim achieved city status in 1991. In 2011, the population was 39,000. Ma'ale Adumim is the third largest Israeli settlement in the West Bank after Modi'in Illit, and Beitar Illit. The...

33,259
Modi'in Illit
Modi'in Illit
Modi'in Illit is a Haredi Israeli settlement and a city in the West Bank, situated midway between Jerusalem and Tel Aviv. Modi'in Illit was granted city status by the Israeli government in 2008. It is located six kilometres northeast of Modi'in-Maccabim-Re'ut and is often referred to as Kiryat...

48,600
Nablus
Nablus
Nablus is a Palestinian city in the northern West Bank, approximately north of Jerusalem, with a population of 126,132. Located in a strategic position between Mount Ebal and Mount Gerizim, it is the capital of the Nablus Governorate and a Palestinian commercial and cultural center.Founded by the...

126,132
Qalqilyah
Qalqilyah
-Bibliography: p. -External links:**...

41,739
Ramallah
Ramallah
Ramallah is a Palestinian city in the central West Bank located 10 kilometers north of Jerusalem, adjacent to al-Bireh. It currently serves as the de facto administrative capital of the Palestinian National Authority...

27,460
Tulkarm
Tulkarm
Tulkarem or Tulkarm is a Palestinian city in the northern Samarian mountain range in the Tulkarm Governorate in the extreme northwestern West Bank adjacent to the Netanya and Haifa districts to the west, the Nablus and Jenin Districts to the east...

51,300
Yattah 48,672


The most densely populated part of the region is a mountainous spine, running north-south, where the cities of Jerusalem, Nablus
Nablus
Nablus is a Palestinian city in the northern West Bank, approximately north of Jerusalem, with a population of 126,132. Located in a strategic position between Mount Ebal and Mount Gerizim, it is the capital of the Nablus Governorate and a Palestinian commercial and cultural center.Founded by the...

, Ramallah
Ramallah
Ramallah is a Palestinian city in the central West Bank located 10 kilometers north of Jerusalem, adjacent to al-Bireh. It currently serves as the de facto administrative capital of the Palestinian National Authority...

, al-Bireh
Al-Bireh
al-Bireh or el-Bira is a Palestinian city adjacent to Ramallah in the central West Bank, north of Jerusalem. It is situated on the central ridge running through the West Bank and is above sea level, covering an area of...

, Jenin
Jenin
Jenin is the largest town in the Northern West Bank, and the third largest city overall. It serves as the administrative center of the Jenin Governorate and is a major agricultural center for the surrounding towns. In 2007, the city had a population of 120,004 not including the adjacent refugee...

, Bethlehem
Bethlehem
Bethlehem is a Palestinian city in the central West Bank of the Jordan River, near Israel and approximately south of Jerusalem, with a population of about 30,000 people. It is the capital of the Bethlehem Governorate of the Palestinian National Authority and a hub of Palestinian culture and tourism...

, Hebron
Hebron
Hebron , is located in the southern West Bank, south of Jerusalem. Nestled in the Judean Mountains, it lies 930 meters above sea level. It is the largest city in the West Bank and home to around 165,000 Palestinians, and over 500 Jewish settlers concentrated in and around the old quarter...

 and Yattah are located as well as the Israeli settlement
Israeli settlement
An Israeli settlement is a Jewish civilian community built on land that was captured by Israel from Jordan, Egypt, and Syria during the 1967 Six-Day War and is considered occupied territory by the international community. Such settlements currently exist in the West Bank...

s of Ariel
Ariel (city)
Ariel is an Israeli settlement and a city in the West Bank. Ariel was established in 1978. Its population at the end of 2009 was 17,600, including 7,000 immigrants who came to Israel after 1990. It is the fourth largest Jewish settlement city in the West Bank., after Modi'in Illit, Beitar Illit,...

, Ma'ale Adumim and Betar Illit
Betar Illit
Beitar Illit is an Israeli settlement and city west of Gush Etzion, south of Jerusalem, in the Judean Mountains of the West Bank. At the end of 2007, it had a total population of 38,800 consisting of over 6000 families. By 2020, the population is expected to reach 100,000...

. Ramallah, although relatively mid in population compared to other major cities as Hebron
Hebron
Hebron , is located in the southern West Bank, south of Jerusalem. Nestled in the Judean Mountains, it lies 930 meters above sea level. It is the largest city in the West Bank and home to around 165,000 Palestinians, and over 500 Jewish settlers concentrated in and around the old quarter...

, Nablus
Nablus
Nablus is a Palestinian city in the northern West Bank, approximately north of Jerusalem, with a population of 126,132. Located in a strategic position between Mount Ebal and Mount Gerizim, it is the capital of the Nablus Governorate and a Palestinian commercial and cultural center.Founded by the...

 and Jenin
Jenin
Jenin is the largest town in the Northern West Bank, and the third largest city overall. It serves as the administrative center of the Jenin Governorate and is a major agricultural center for the surrounding towns. In 2007, the city had a population of 120,004 not including the adjacent refugee...

, serves as an economic and political center for the Palestinians. Jenin
Jenin
Jenin is the largest town in the Northern West Bank, and the third largest city overall. It serves as the administrative center of the Jenin Governorate and is a major agricultural center for the surrounding towns. In 2007, the city had a population of 120,004 not including the adjacent refugee...

 in the extreme north and is the capital of north of the West Bank and is on the southern edge of the Jezreel Valley
Jezreel Valley
-Etymology:The Jezreel Valley takes its name from the ancient city of Jezreel which was located on a low hill overlooking the southern edge of the valley, though some scholars think that the name of the city originates from the name of the clan which founded it, and whose existence is mentioned in...

. Modi'in Illit
Modi'in Illit
Modi'in Illit is a Haredi Israeli settlement and a city in the West Bank, situated midway between Jerusalem and Tel Aviv. Modi'in Illit was granted city status by the Israeli government in 2008. It is located six kilometres northeast of Modi'in-Maccabim-Re'ut and is often referred to as Kiryat...

, Qalqilyah
Qalqilyah
-Bibliography: p. -External links:**...

 and Tulkarm
Tulkarm
Tulkarem or Tulkarm is a Palestinian city in the northern Samarian mountain range in the Tulkarm Governorate in the extreme northwestern West Bank adjacent to the Netanya and Haifa districts to the west, the Nablus and Jenin Districts to the east...

 are in the low foothills adjacent to the Israeli Coastal Plain
Israeli Coastal Plain
The Israeli coastal plain is the narrow coastal plain along Israel's Mediterranean Sea coast which houses 70% of the country's population. The plain extends north to south and is divided into a number of areas; the Plain of Zebulun , Hof HaCarmel , the Sharon plain , and the Plain of Judea The...

, and Jericho
Jericho
Jericho ; is a city located near the Jordan River in the West Bank of the Palestinian territories. It is the capital of the Jericho Governorate and has a population of more than 20,000. Situated well below sea level on an east-west route north of the Dead Sea, Jericho is the lowest permanently...

 and Tubas
Tubas
Tubas or Toubas is a small Palestinian city in the northeastern West Bank, located northeast of Nablus, a few kilometers west of the Jordan River. A city of over 16,000 inhabitants, it serves as the economic and administrative center of the Tubas Governorate. Its urban area consists of 2,271 dunams...

 are situated in the Jordan Valley
Jordan Valley (Middle East)
The Jordan Valley forms part of the larger Jordan Rift Valley. It is 120 kilometers long and 15 kilometers wide, where it runs from Lake Tiberias in the north to northern Dead Sea in the south. It runs for an additional 155 kilometer south of the Dead Sea to Aqaba, an area also known as Wadi...

, north of the Dead Sea
Dead Sea
The Dead Sea , also called the Salt Sea, is a salt lake bordering Jordan to the east and Israel and the West Bank to the west. Its surface and shores are below sea level, the lowest elevation on the Earth's surface. The Dead Sea is deep, the deepest hypersaline lake in the world...

.

Religion


The population of the West Bank is 75 percent Muslim while 17 percent is Jewish
Judaism
Judaism ) is the "religion, philosophy, and way of life" of the Jewish people...

. The remaining 8 percent are Christians
Christianity
Christianity is a monotheistic religion based on the life and teachings of Jesus as presented in canonical gospels and other New Testament writings...

 and others.

Roads


The West Bank has 5147 km (3,198.2 mi) of roads, all of which are paved.

In response to shootings by Palestinians, some highways, especially those leading to Israeli settlements, were completely inaccessible to cars with Palestinian license plates, while many other roads were restricted only to public transportation and to Palestinians who have special permits from Israeli authorities.
Due to numerous shooting assault
Assault
In law, assault is a crime causing a victim to fear violence. The term is often confused with battery, which involves physical contact. The specific meaning of assault varies between countries, but can refer to an act that causes another to apprehend immediate and personal violence, or in the more...

s targeting Israeli vehicles, the IDF
Israel Defense Forces
The Israel Defense Forces , commonly known in Israel by the Hebrew acronym Tzahal , are the military forces of the State of Israel. They consist of the ground forces, air force and navy. It is the sole military wing of the Israeli security forces, and has no civilian jurisdiction within Israel...

 bars Israelis from using most of the original roads in the West Bank.

At certain times, Israel maintained more than 600 checkpoints or roadblocks in the region.
As such, movement restrictions were also placed on main roads traditionally used by Palestinians to travel between cities, and such restrictions are still blamed for poverty and economic depression in the West Bank. Since the beginning of 2005, there has been some amelioration of these restrictions. According to reports, "Israel has made efforts to improve transport contiguity for Palestinians travelling in the West Bank. It has done this by constructing underpasses and bridges (28 of which have been constructed and 16 of which are planned) that link Palestinian areas separated from each other by Israeli settlements and bypass roads" and by removal of checkpoints and physical obstacles, or by not reacting to Palestinian removal or natural erosion of other obstacles. "The impact (of these actions) is most felt by the easing of movement between villages and between villages and the urban centres."
However, some obstacles encircling major Palestinian urban hubs, particularly Nablus and Hebron, have remained. In addition, the IDF
Israel Defense Forces
The Israel Defense Forces , commonly known in Israel by the Hebrew acronym Tzahal , are the military forces of the State of Israel. They consist of the ground forces, air force and navy. It is the sole military wing of the Israeli security forces, and has no civilian jurisdiction within Israel...

 prohibits Israeli citizens from entering Palestinian-controlled land (Area A).

, a divided highway is currently under construction that will pass through the West Bank. The highway has a concrete wall dividing the two sides, one designated for Israeli vehicles, the other for Palestinian. The wall is designed to allow Palestinians to pass north-south through Israeli-held land and facilitate the building of additional Jewish settlements in the Jerusalem neighborhood.

Airports


The only airport in the West Bank is the Atarot Airport
Atarot Airport
Atarot Airport , is a small airport located between Jerusalem and Ramallah. It was the first airport in Mandate Palestine. It has been closed since the Second Intifada.-History:...

 near Ramallah
Ramallah
Ramallah is a Palestinian city in the central West Bank located 10 kilometers north of Jerusalem, adjacent to al-Bireh. It currently serves as the de facto administrative capital of the Palestinian National Authority...

, but it has been closed since 2001. However, the airport is located within the Israeli unilaterally expanded limits of Jerusalem, so Israel considers it part of its territory.

Telecom



The Palestinian Paltel
Paltel
Paltel Group or Palestinian Telecommunication Group is the largest private-sector company in the Palestinian territories, employing almost 2,000 people...

 telecommunication companies provide communication services in the West Bank and Gaza Strip
Gaza Strip
thumb|Gaza city skylineThe Gaza Strip lies on the Eastern coast of the Mediterranean Sea. The Strip borders Egypt on the southwest and Israel on the south, east and north. It is about long, and between 6 and 12 kilometres wide, with a total area of...

 such as landline
Landline
A landline was originally an overland telegraph wire, as opposed to an undersea cable. Currently, landline refers to a telephone line which travels through a solid medium, either metal wire or optical fibre, as distinguished from a mobile cellular line, where transmission is via radio waves...

, cellular network
Cellular network
A cellular network is a radio network distributed over land areas called cells, each served by at least one fixed-location transceiver known as a cell site or base station. When joined together these cells provide radio coverage over a wide geographic area...

 and Internet
Internet
The Internet is a global system of interconnected computer networks that use the standard Internet protocol suite to serve billions of users worldwide...

. Dialling code +970 is used in the West Bank and all over Palestinian territories
Palestinian territories
The Palestinian territories comprise the West Bank and the Gaza Strip. Since the Palestinian Declaration of Independence in 1988, the region is today recognized by three-quarters of the world's countries as the State of Palestine or simply Palestine, although this status is not recognized by the...

 within Palestinian Authority. The Palestinian mobile market was until 2007 monopolized by Jawwal. A new mobile operator launched in 2009 under the name of Wataniya Telecom
Wataniya Telecom
For the airline go to Wataniya AirwaysWataniya Telecom was commercially launched in 1999 as the first privately owned telecommunications operator in Kuwait...

 in Palestine
Palestine
Palestine is a conventional name, among others, used to describe the geographic region between the Mediterranean Sea and the Jordan River, and various adjoining lands....

. The number of internet users is increasing rapidly (160,000 users in 2005)

Radio and television


The Palestinian Broadcasting Corporation
Palestinian Broadcasting Corporation
The Palestinian Broadcasting Corporation was established on 1 July 1994 and is within the jurisdiction of the Palestinian Authority. It has a subsidiary radio station known as the Voice Of Palestine and a satellite channel known as Palestinian Satellite Channel. Palestine TV first began...

 broadcasts from an AM station in Ramallah on 675 kHz; numerous local privately owned stations are also in operation. Most Palestinian households have a radio and TV, and satellite dishes for receiving international coverage are widespread. Recently, PalTel announced and has begun implementing an initiative to provide ADSL broadband internet service to all households and businesses. Israel's cable television
Cable television
Cable television is a system of providing television programs to consumers via radio frequency signals transmitted to televisions through coaxial cables or digital light pulses through fixed optical fibers located on the subscriber's property, much like the over-the-air method used in traditional...

 company HOT
Hot (Israel)
HOT Telecommunication Systems Ltd. is a company that provides cable television, last-mile Internet access, broadband and telecommunication services in Israel. It also provides various data transmission services and network services at different rates, services to the business sector and other...

, satellite television provider (DBS
Direct broadcast satellite
Direct broadcast satellite is a term used to refer to satellite television broadcasts intended for home reception.A designation broader than DBS would be direct-to-home signals, or DTH. This has initially distinguished the transmissions directly intended for home viewers from cable television...

) Yes, AM and FM radio broadcast stations and public television broadcast stations all operate. Broadband internet service by Bezeq's ADSL and by the cable company are available as well.
The Al-Aqsa Voice broadcasts from Dabas Mall in Tulkarem at 106.7 FM. The Al-Aqsa TV
Al-Aqsa TV
Al-Aqsa TV is the official Hamas-run television channel. Its programming includes news talk, children's shows , and religiously inspired entertainment...

 station shares these offices.

Higher education



Seven Universities have been operating in the West Bank since 1967:
  • Bethlehem University
    Bethlehem University
    Bethlehem University is the first university founded in the West Bank, Palestine. Bethlehem University traces its roots to 1893 when the De La Salle Christian Brothers opened schools in Bethlehem, Jerusalem, Jaffa, Nazareth, Turkey, Lebanon, Jordan, and Egypt....

    , a Roman Catholic institution partially funded by the Vatican
    Holy See
    The Holy See is the episcopal jurisdiction of the Catholic Church in Rome, in which its Bishop is commonly known as the Pope. It is the preeminent episcopal see of the Catholic Church, forming the central government of the Church. As such, diplomatically, and in other spheres the Holy See acts and...

    , opened its doors in 1973.
  • In 1975, Birzeit College (located in the town of Bir Zeit
    Bir Zeit
    Birzeit is a Palestinian town near Ramallah in the central West Bank. Its population in the 2007 census was 4529...

     north of Ramallah
    Ramallah
    Ramallah is a Palestinian city in the central West Bank located 10 kilometers north of Jerusalem, adjacent to al-Bireh. It currently serves as the de facto administrative capital of the Palestinian National Authority...

    ) became Birzeit University
    Birzeit University
    Birzeit University is a university located in Birzeit near Ramallah, Palestinian territories. BZU is among the foremost tertiary educational institutes in the Palestinian territories and has played a significant role in the Palestinian political dialogue.- History :The institution was originally...

     after adding third- and fourth-year college-level programs.
  • An-Najah College in Nablus
    Nablus
    Nablus is a Palestinian city in the northern West Bank, approximately north of Jerusalem, with a population of 126,132. Located in a strategic position between Mount Ebal and Mount Gerizim, it is the capital of the Nablus Governorate and a Palestinian commercial and cultural center.Founded by the...

     likewise became An-Najah National University
    An-Najah National University
    An-Najah National University is a Palestinian non-governmental public university governed by a board of Trustees. It is located in Nablus, in the northern West Bank. The university has over 16,500 students and 300 professors in 19 faculties...

     in 1977.
  • Hebron University
    Hebron University
    The Hebron University is an independent Palestinian institution of higher education, with over 7,000 students, around 73% of whom are female....

     was established as College of Shari'a in 1971 and became Hebron University in 1980.
  • Al-Quds University
    Al-Quds University
    Al-Quds University is a Palestinian university with campuses in Jerusalem, Abu Dis, and al-Bireh. It was founded in 1984, but its official constitution was written in 1993 when Mohammed Nusseibeh, its first Chancellor and Chancellor of the College of Science and Technology, announced its...

     was founded in 1995, unifying several colleges and faculties in and around East Jerusalem.
  • In 2000, the Arab American University — the only private university in the West Bank — was founded outside of Zababdeh
    Zababdeh
    Zababdeh or Zababida is a Palestinian town in the northern West Bank located 15 km southeast of Jenin and 2 km from the Arab American University - Jenin. Its jurisdiction consists of 5,719 dunams, three-fifths being covered with olive and fig groves...

    , with the purpose of providing courses according to the American system of education
    Education in the United States
    Education in the United States is mainly provided by the public sector, with control and funding coming from three levels: federal, state, and local. Child education is compulsory.Public education is universally available...

    .
  • In 2007, the College of Judea and Samaria
    College of Judea and Samaria
    The Ariel University Center of Samaria is the largest Israeli public college located in the Israeli settlement of Ariel in the West Bank.The center was founded in 1982 to serve as a regional branch of Bar-Ilan University. Originally located in the settlement of Kedumim, it moved to Ariel in order...

     in the Israeli settlement
    Israeli settlement
    An Israeli settlement is a Jewish civilian community built on land that was captured by Israel from Jordan, Egypt, and Syria during the 1967 Six-Day War and is considered occupied territory by the international community. Such settlements currently exist in the West Bank...

     Ariel
    Ariel (city)
    Ariel is an Israeli settlement and a city in the West Bank. Ariel was established in 1978. Its population at the end of 2009 was 17,600, including 7,000 immigrants who came to Israel after 1990. It is the fourth largest Jewish settlement city in the West Bank., after Modi'in Illit, Beitar Illit,...

     upgraded itself to “Ariel University Center of Samaria”. The name change was recognized by Israeli Defense Minister Ehud Barak
    Ehud Barak
    Ehud Barak is an Israeli politician who served as Prime Minister from 1999 until 2001. He was leader of the Labor Party until January 2011 and holds the posts of Minister of Defense and Deputy Prime Minister in Binyamin Netanyahu's government....

     in 2010, but so far the school does not have the same status as the accredited universities in Israel.


Most universities in the West Bank have politically active student bodies, and elections of student council officers are normally along party affiliations. Although the establishment of the universities was initially allowed by the Israeli authorities, some were sporadically ordered closed by the Israeli Civil Administration during the 1970s and 1980s to prevent political activities and violence against the IDF
Israel Defense Forces
The Israel Defense Forces , commonly known in Israel by the Hebrew acronym Tzahal , are the military forces of the State of Israel. They consist of the ground forces, air force and navy. It is the sole military wing of the Israeli security forces, and has no civilian jurisdiction within Israel...

. Some universities remained closed by military order for extended periods during years immediately preceding and following the first Palestinian Intifada, but have largely remained open since the signing of the Oslo Accords despite the advent of the Al-Aqsa Intifada (Second Intifada) in 2000.

The founding of Palestinian universities has greatly increased education levels among the population in the West Bank. According to a Birzeit University study, the percentage of Palestinians choosing local universities as opposed to foreign institutions has been steadily increasing; as of 1997, 41% of Palestinians with bachelor degrees had obtained them from Palestinian institutions. According to UNESCO, Palestinians are one of the most highly educated groups in the Middle East "despite often difficult circumstances". The literacy rate among Palestinians in the West Bank and the Gaza Strip according to the Palestinian Central Bureau of Statistics
Palestinian Central Bureau of Statistics
The Palestinian Central Bureau of Statistics is the statistical organization under the umbrella of the Palestinian Cabinet of the Palestinian National Authority....

 (PCBS) is 94,6% for 2009.

Legal status


The United Nations Security Council
United Nations Security Council
The United Nations Security Council is one of the principal organs of the United Nations and is charged with the maintenance of international peace and security. Its powers, outlined in the United Nations Charter, include the establishment of peacekeeping operations, the establishment of...

, the United Nations General Assembly
United Nations General Assembly
For two articles dealing with membership in the General Assembly, see:* General Assembly members* General Assembly observersThe United Nations General Assembly is one of the five principal organs of the United Nations and the only one in which all member nations have equal representation...

, the United States, the EU, the International Court of Justice
International Court of Justice
The International Court of Justice is the primary judicial organ of the United Nations. It is based in the Peace Palace in The Hague, Netherlands...

, and the International Committee of the Red Cross
International Committee of the Red Cross
The International Committee of the Red Cross is a private humanitarian institution based in Geneva, Switzerland. States parties to the four Geneva Conventions of 1949 and their Additional Protocols of 1977 and 2005, have given the ICRC a mandate to protect the victims of international and...

 refer to it as Palestinian territory occupied by Israel
Israeli-occupied territories
The Israeli-occupied territories are the territories which have been designated as occupied territory by the United Nations and other international organizations, governments and others to refer to the territory seized by Israel during the Six-Day War of 1967 from Egypt, Jordan, and Syria...

. General Assembly resolution 58/292 (17 May 2004) affirmed that the Palestinian people have the right to sovereignty over the area.

According to supporters of Israel's rights, since the area has never in modern times been an independent state, there is no legitimate claimant to the area other than the present occupier, which is Israel. This argument however is not accepted by the international community and international lawmaking bodies, virtually all of whom regard Israel's activities in the West Bank and Gaza Strip as an occupation that denies the fundamental principle of self-determination found in the Article One of the United Nations Charter
United Nations Charter
The Charter of the United Nations is the foundational treaty of the international organization called the United Nations. It was signed at the San Francisco War Memorial and Performing Arts Center in San Francisco, United States, on 26 June 1945, by 50 of the 51 original member countries...

, and in the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights
International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights
The International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights is a multilateral treaty adopted by the United Nations General Assembly on December 16, 1966, and in force from March 23, 1976...

 and the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights
International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights
The International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights is a multilateral treaty adopted by the United Nations General Assembly on December 16, 1966, and in force from January 3, 1976...

. Further, UN Security Council Resolution 242 notes the "inadmissibility of the acquisition of territory by war" regardless of whether the war in which the territory was acquired was offensive or defensive. Prominent Israeli human rights organizations such as B'tselem
B'Tselem
B'Tselem is an Israeli non-governmental organization . It calls itself "The Israeli Information Center for Human Rights in the Occupied Territories"...

 also refer to the Israeli control of the West Bank and Gaza Strip as an occupation. John Quigley has noted that "...a state that uses force in self-defense may not retain territory it takes while repelling an attack. If Israel had acted in self-defense, that would not justify its retention of the Gaza Strip and West Bank. Under the UN Charter there can lawfully be no territorial gains from war, even by a state acting in self-defense. The response of other states to Israel's occupation shows a virtually unanimous opinion that even if Israel's action were defensive, its retention of the West Bank and Gaza Strip was not."

International law (Article 49 of the Fourth Geneva Convention
Fourth Geneva Convention
The Geneva Convention relative to the Protection of Civilian Persons in Time of War, commonly referred to as the Fourth Geneva Convention and abbreviated as GCIV, is one of the four treaties of the Geneva Conventions. It was adopted in August 1949, and defines humanitarian protections for civilians...

) prohibits "transfers of the population of an occupying power to occupied territories", incurring a responsibility on the part of Israel's government to not settle Israeli citizens in the West Bank.

Some countries, such as Brazil, El Salvador and Argentina, recognize the State of Palestine
State of Palestine
Palestine , officially declared as the State of Palestine , is a state that was proclaimed in exile in Algiers on 15 November 1988, when the Palestine Liberation Organization's National Council adopted the unilateral Palestinian Declaration of Independence...

 and consider the West Bank to be territory of that state.

Political positions


The future status of the West Bank, together with the Gaza Strip
Gaza Strip
thumb|Gaza city skylineThe Gaza Strip lies on the Eastern coast of the Mediterranean Sea. The Strip borders Egypt on the southwest and Israel on the south, east and north. It is about long, and between 6 and 12 kilometres wide, with a total area of...

 on the Mediterranean shore, has been the subject of negotiation between the Palestinians and Israelis, although the current Road Map for Peace
Road map for peace
The roadmap for peace or "road map" for peace is a plan to resolve the Israeli-Palestinian conflict proposed by a "quartet" of international entities: the United States, the European Union, Russia, and the United Nations. The principles of the plan, originally drafted by U.S. Foreign Service...

, proposed by the "Quartet
Quartet on the Middle East
The Quartet on the Middle East, sometimes called the Diplomatic Quartet or Madrid Quartet or simply the Quartet, is a foursome of nations and international and supranational entities involved in mediating the peace process in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. The Quartet are the United Nations, the...

" comprising the United States, Russia, the European Union
European Union
The European Union is an economic and political union of 27 independent member states which are located primarily in Europe. The EU traces its origins from the European Coal and Steel Community and the European Economic Community , formed by six countries in 1958...

, and the United Nations
United Nations
The United Nations is an international organization whose stated aims are facilitating cooperation in international law, international security, economic development, social progress, human rights, and achievement of world peace...

, envisions an independent Palestinian state in these territories living side by side with Israel
Israel
The State of Israel is a parliamentary republic located in the Middle East, along the eastern shore of the Mediterranean Sea...

 (see also proposals for a Palestinian state
Proposals for a Palestinian state
Proposals for a Palestinian state currently refers to the proposed establishment of an independent state for the Palestinian people in Palestine on land that was occupied by Israel since the Six-Day War of 1967 and before by Egypt and by Jordan since 1949...

). However, the "Road Map" states that in the first phase, Palestinians must end all attacks on Israel, whereas Israel must dismantle outposts. Since neither condition has been met since the Road Map was "accepted", by all sides, final negotiations have not yet begun on major political differences.

The Palestinian Authority believes that the West Bank ought to be a part of their sovereign nation
Nation
A nation may refer to a community of people who share a common language, culture, ethnicity, descent, and/or history. In this definition, a nation has no physical borders. However, it can also refer to people who share a common territory and government irrespective of their ethnic make-up...

, and that the presence of Israeli military control is a violation of their right to Palestinian Authority rule. The United Nations
United Nations
The United Nations is an international organization whose stated aims are facilitating cooperation in international law, international security, economic development, social progress, human rights, and achievement of world peace...

 calls the West Bank and Gaza Strip Israeli-occupied territories
Israeli-occupied territories
The Israeli-occupied territories are the territories which have been designated as occupied territory by the United Nations and other international organizations, governments and others to refer to the territory seized by Israel during the Six-Day War of 1967 from Egypt, Jordan, and Syria...

. The United States State Department also refers to the territories as occupied. Many Israelis and their supporters prefer the term disputed territories, because they claim part of the territory for themselves, and state the land has not, in 2000 years, been sovereign.

Israel argues that its presence is justified because:
  1. Israel's eastern border has never been defined by anyone;
  2. The disputed territories have not been part of any state since the time of the Ottoman Empire
    Ottoman Empire
    The Ottoman EmpireIt was usually referred to as the "Ottoman Empire", the "Turkish Empire", the "Ottoman Caliphate" or more commonly "Turkey" by its contemporaries...

    ;
  3. According to the Camp David Accords
    Camp David Accords
    The Camp David Accords were signed by Egyptian President Anwar El Sadat and Israeli Prime Minister Menachem Begin on September 17, 1978, following thirteen days of secret negotiations at Camp David. The two framework agreements were signed at the White House, and were witnessed by United States...

     with Egypt
    Egypt
    Egypt , officially the Arab Republic of Egypt, Arabic: , is a country mainly in North Africa, with the Sinai Peninsula forming a land bridge in Southwest Asia. Egypt is thus a transcontinental country, and a major power in Africa, the Mediterranean Basin, the Middle East and the Muslim world...

    , the 1994 agreement with Jordan
    Jordan
    Jordan , officially the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan , Al-Mamlaka al-Urduniyya al-Hashemiyya) is a kingdom on the East Bank of the River Jordan. The country borders Saudi Arabia to the east and south-east, Iraq to the north-east, Syria to the north and the West Bank and Israel to the west, sharing...

     and the Oslo Accords
    Oslo Accords
    The Oslo Accords, officially called the Declaration of Principles on Interim Self-Government Arrangements or Declaration of Principles , was an attempt to resolve the ongoing Palestinian-Israeli conflict...

     with the PLO, the final status of the territories would be fixed only when there was a permanent agreement between Israel and the Palestinians.


Palestinian public opinion opposes Israeli military and settler presence on the West Bank as a violation of their right to statehood and sovereignty. Israeli opinion is split into a number of views:
  • Complete or partial withdrawal from the West Bank in hopes of peaceful coexistence in separate states (sometimes called the "land for peace
    Land for peace
    Land for peace is an interpretation of UN Security Council Resolution 242 which has formed the basis of subsequent Arab-Israeli peace making. The name Land for Peace is derived from the wording of the resolution's first operative paragraph which affirms that peace should include the application of...

    " position); (In a 2003 poll, 76% of Israelis supported a peace agreement based on that principle).
  • Maintenance of a military presence in the West Bank to reduce Palestinian terrorism by deterrence or by armed intervention, while relinquishing some degree of political control;
  • Annexation
    Annexation
    Annexation is the de jure incorporation of some territory into another geo-political entity . Usually, it is implied that the territory and population being annexed is the smaller, more peripheral, and weaker of the two merging entities, barring physical size...

     of the West Bank while considering the Palestinian population with Palestinian Authority citizenship with Israeli residence permit as per the Elon Peace Plan
    Elon Peace Plan
    The Elon Peace Plan is a plan to resolve the Israeli-Palestinian conflict through the principles of rehabilitation of Palestinian Refugees, Israeli Sovereignty, and Strategic Cooperation with Jordan...

    ;
  • Annexation of the West Bank and assimilation of the Palestinian population to fully fledged Israeli citizens;
  • Transfer
    Population transfer
    Population transfer is the movement of a large group of people from one region to another by state policy or international authority, most frequently on the basis of ethnicity or religion...

     of the East Jerusalem Palestinian population (a 2002 poll at the height of the Al Aqsa intifada found 46% of Israelis favoring Palestinian transfer of Jerusalem residents; in 2005 two polls using a different methodology put the number at approximately 30%).

Annexation


Through the Jerusalem Law
Jerusalem Law
The Jerusalem Law is a common name of Basic Law: Jerusalem, Capital of Israel passed by the Knesset on July 30, 1980 .It began as a private member's bill proposed by Geula Cohen, whose original text stated that "the integrity and unity of greater Jerusalem in its boundaries after the Six-Day War...

 Israel effectively, though not officially, annexed the territory of East Jerusalem
East Jerusalem
East Jerusalem or Eastern Jerusalem refer to the parts of Jerusalem captured and annexed by Jordan in the 1948 Arab-Israeli War and then captured and annexed by Israel in the 1967 Six-Day War...

 and its Palestinian residents have legal permanent residency
Permanent residency
Permanent residency refers to a person's visa status: the person is allowed to reside indefinitely within a country of which he or she is not a citizen. A person with such status is known as a permanent resident....

 status. Rejecting the Jerusalem Law, the UN Security Council passed UN Security Council Resolution 478, declaring that the law was "null and void". Although permanent residents are permitted, if they wish, to receive Israeli citizenship if they meet certain conditions including swearing allegiance to the State and renouncing any other citizenship, most Palestinians did not apply for Israeli citizenship for political reasons. There are various possible reasons as to why the West Bank had not been annexed to Israel after its capture in 1967
Six-Day War
The Six-Day War , also known as the June War, 1967 Arab-Israeli War, or Third Arab-Israeli War, was fought between June 5 and 10, 1967, by Israel and the neighboring states of Egypt , Jordan, and Syria...

. The government of Israel has not formally confirmed an official reason; however, historians and analysts have established a variety of such, most of them demographic. Among those most commonly cited have been:
  • Reluctance to award its citizenship to an overwhelming number of a potentially hostile population whose allies were sworn to the destruction of Israel.
  • To ultimately exchange land for peace
    Land for peace
    Land for peace is an interpretation of UN Security Council Resolution 242 which has formed the basis of subsequent Arab-Israeli peace making. The name Land for Peace is derived from the wording of the resolution's first operative paragraph which affirms that peace should include the application of...

     with neighbouring states
  • Fear that the population of ethnic Arabs, including Israeli citizens of Palestinian ethnicity, would outnumber the Jewish Israelis west of the Jordan River.
  • The disputed legality of annexation
    Annexation
    Annexation is the de jure incorporation of some territory into another geo-political entity . Usually, it is implied that the territory and population being annexed is the smaller, more peripheral, and weaker of the two merging entities, barring physical size...

     under the Fourth Geneva Convention
    Fourth Geneva Convention
    The Geneva Convention relative to the Protection of Civilian Persons in Time of War, commonly referred to as the Fourth Geneva Convention and abbreviated as GCIV, is one of the four treaties of the Geneva Conventions. It was adopted in August 1949, and defines humanitarian protections for civilians...


The importance of demographic concerns to some significant figures in Israel's leadership was illustrated when Avraham Burg
Avraham Burg
Avraham "Avrum" Burg is an Israeli author; he was formerly a member of the Knesset, a chairman of the Jewish Agency for Israel and a Speaker of the Knesset.-Biography:...

, a former Knesset Speaker and former chair of the Jewish Agency for Israel, wrote in The Guardian in September 2003,
"Between the Jordan and the Mediterranean there is no longer a clear Jewish majority. And so, fellow citizens, it is not possible to keep the whole thing without paying a price. We cannot keep a Palestinian majority under an Israeli boot and at the same time think ourselves the only democracy in the Middle East. There cannot be democracy without equal rights for all who live here, Arab as well as Jew. We cannot keep the territories and preserve a Jewish majority in the world's only Jewish state - not by means that are humane and moral and Jewish."

Settlements and international law



As of December 2010, 327,750 Israelis live in the 121 officially-recognised settlements in the West Bank, 192,000 Israelis live in settlements in East Jerusalem

Israeli settlements on the West Bank beyond the Green Line border are considered by the United Nations
United Nations
The United Nations is an international organization whose stated aims are facilitating cooperation in international law, international security, economic development, social progress, human rights, and achievement of world peace...

 among others to be illegal under international law. Other legal scholars including Julius Stone
Julius Stone
Julius Stone was Challis Professor of Jurisprudence and International Law at the University of Sydney from 1942 to 1972, and thereafter a visiting Professor of Law at the University of New South Wales and concurrently Distinguished Professor of Jurisprudence and International Law at the Hastings...

, have argued that the settlements are legal under international law, on a number of different grounds. The Independent reported in March 2006 that immediately after the 1967 war Theodor Meron
Theodor Meron
Theodor Meron was the President of the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia until 2005, and now serves as a judge on the Appeals Chambers of the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda and the ICTY. On October 19, 2011, he was elected to a second two-year term as President...

, legal counsel of Israel's Foreign Ministry advised Israeli ministers in a "top secret" memo that any policy of building settlements across occupied territories violated international law and would "contravene the explicit provisions of the Fourth Geneva Convention".

A contrasting opinion was held by Eugene Rostow, a former Dean of the Yale Law School and undersecretary of state for political affairs in the administration of U.S. President Lyndon Johnson and a drafter of UN Resolution 242:

The heated question of Israel's settlements in the West Bank during the occupation period should be viewed in this perspective. The British Mandate recognized the right of the Jewish people to "close settlement" in the whole of the Mandated territory. It was provided that local conditions might require Great Britain to "postpone" or "withhold" Jewish settlement in what is now Jordan. This was done in 1922. But the Jewish right of settlement in Palestine west of the Jordan river, that is, in Israel, the West Bank, Jerusalem, and the Gaza Strip, was made unassailable. That right has never been terminated and cannot be terminated except by a recognized peace between Israel and its neighbors. And perhaps not even then, in view of Article 80 of the U.N. Charter, "the Palestine article", which provides that "nothing in the Charter shall be construed ... to alter in any manner the rights whatsoever of any states or any peoples or the terms of existing international instruments...."


The European Union
European Union
The European Union is an economic and political union of 27 independent member states which are located primarily in Europe. The EU traces its origins from the European Coal and Steel Community and the European Economic Community , formed by six countries in 1958...

 and the Arab League
Arab League
The Arab League , officially called the League of Arab States , is a regional organisation of Arab states in North and Northeast Africa, and Southwest Asia . It was formed in Cairo on 22 March 1945 with six members: Egypt, Iraq, Transjordan , Lebanon, Saudi Arabia, and Syria. Yemen joined as a...

consider the settlements to be illegal. Israel also recognizes that some small settlements are "illegal" in the sense of being in violation of Israeli law.

In 2005 the United States ambassador to Israel, Daniel C. Kurtzer
Daniel C. Kurtzer
Daniel Charles Kurtzer served as the United States ambassador to Israel from 2001 to 2005. He had been serving as U.S. ambassador to Egypt, to which post he had been appointed by Bill Clinton, when he was tapped for the Israel posting by George W. Bush.-Biography:Kurtzer's parents are Nathan and...

, expressed U.S. support "for the retention by Israel of major Israeli population centres [in the West Bank] as an outcome of negotiations", reflecting President Bush's statement a year earlier that a permanent peace treaty would have to reflect "demographic realities" on the West Bank.

The UN Security Council has issued several non-binding resolutions addressing the issue of the settlements. Typical of these is UN Security Council resolution 446 which states [the] practices of Israel in establishing settlements in the Palestinian and other Arab territories occupied since 1967 have no legal validity, and it calls on Israel as the occupying Power, to abide scrupulously by the 1949 Fourth Geneva Convention
Fourth Geneva Convention
The Geneva Convention relative to the Protection of Civilian Persons in Time of War, commonly referred to as the Fourth Geneva Convention and abbreviated as GCIV, is one of the four treaties of the Geneva Conventions. It was adopted in August 1949, and defines humanitarian protections for civilians...

.


The Conference of High Contracting Parties to the Fourth Geneva Convention held in Geneva on 5 December 2001 called upon "the Occupying Power to fully and effectively respect the Fourth Geneva Convention in the Occupied Palestinian Territory, including East Jerusalem, and to refrain from perpetrating any violation of the Convention." The High Contracting Parties reaffirmed "the illegality of the settlements in the said territories and of the extension thereof."

On December 30, 2007, Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert
Ehud Olmert
Ehud Olmert is an Israeli politician and lawyer. He served as Prime Minister of Israel from 2006 to 2009, as a Cabinet Minister from 1988 to 1992 and from 2003 to 2006, and as Mayor of Jerusalem from 1993 to 2003....

 issued an order requiring approval by both the Israeli Prime Minister and Israeli Defense Minister of all settlement activities (including planning) in the West Bank.

West Bank barrier


The Israeli West Bank barrier
Israeli West Bank barrier
The Israeli West Bank barrier is a separation barrier being constructed by the State of Israel along and within the West Bank. Upon completion, the barrier’s total length will be approximately...

 is a physical barrier
Separation barrier
A separation barrier is a wall or fence constructed to limit the movement of people across a certain line or border, or to separate two populations. These structures vary in placement with regard to international borders and topography...

 ordered for construction by the Israeli Government, consisting of a network of fences with vehicle-barrier trenches surrounded by an on average 60 metres (197 ft) wide exclusion area (90%) and up to 8 metres (26 ft) high concrete walls (10%) (although in most areas the wall is not nearly that high). It is located mainly within the West Bank, partly along the 1949 Armistice line
1949 Armistice Agreements
The 1949 Armistice Agreements are a set of agreements signed during 1949 between Israel and neighboring Egypt, Lebanon, Jordan, and Syria. The agreements ended the official hostilities of the 1948 Arab-Israeli War, and established armistice lines between Israeli forces and the forces in...

, or "Green Line
Green Line (Israel)
Green Line refers to the demarcation lines set out in the 1949 Armistice Agreements between Israel and its neighbours after the 1948 Arab-Israeli War...

" between the West Bank and Israel. As of April 2006 the length of the barrier as approved by the Israeli government is 703 kilometres (436.8 mi) long. Approximately 58.4% has been constructed, 8.96% is under construction, and construction has not yet begun on 33% of the barrier. The space between the barrier and the green line is a closed military zone known as the Seam Zone
Seam Zone
Seam Zone is a term used to refer to a land area in the West Bank located east of the Green Line and west of Israel's separation barrier, populated largely by Israelis in settlements such as Alfei Menashe, Ariel, Beit Arye, Modi'in Illit, Giv'at Ze'ev, Ma'ale Adumim, Beitar Illit and Efrat.As of...

, cutting off 8.5% of the West Bank and encompassing tens of villages and tens of thousands of Palestinians.

The barrier generally runs along or near the 1949 Jordanian-Israeli armistice/Green Line, but diverges in many places to include on the Israeli side several of the highly populated areas of Jewish settlements in the West Bank such as East Jerusalem
East Jerusalem
East Jerusalem or Eastern Jerusalem refer to the parts of Jerusalem captured and annexed by Jordan in the 1948 Arab-Israeli War and then captured and annexed by Israel in the 1967 Six-Day War...

, Ariel
Ariel (city)
Ariel is an Israeli settlement and a city in the West Bank. Ariel was established in 1978. Its population at the end of 2009 was 17,600, including 7,000 immigrants who came to Israel after 1990. It is the fourth largest Jewish settlement city in the West Bank., after Modi'in Illit, Beitar Illit,...

, Gush Etzion
Gush Etzion
Gush Etzion is a cluster of Israeli settlements located in the Judaean Mountains directly south of Jerusalem and Bethlehem in the West Bank, Palestinian territories. The core group includes four agricultural villages that were founded in 1940-1947 on property purchased in the 1920s and 1930s, and ...

, Immanuel
Immanuel (town)
Immanuel is an Israeli settlement and a town with local council status in the West Bank. The international community considers Israeli settlements in the West Bank illegal under international law, but the Israeli government disputes this.According to the Israel Central Bureau of Statistics ,...

, Karnei Shomron
Karnei Shomron
Karnei Shomron is an Israeli settlement and local council established in 1977 in the northwestern West Bank, east of Kfar Sava. It is north-east of Tel Aviv and north of Jerusalem. In 2006, the population of Karnei Shomron was 6,300...

, Givat Ze'ev, Oranit
Oranit
Oranit is an Israeli settlement and local council located off Highway 5 adjacent to Kafr Qasim, north of Rosh HaAyin on the western edge of the West Bank. On the Seam Zone, a sizable amount of the town's land is located within the Green Line...

, and Maale Adumim.

The barrier is a very controversial project. Supporters claim the barrier is a necessary tool protecting Israeli civilians from the Palestinian attacks that increased significantly during the Al-Aqsa Intifada; it has helped reduce incidents of terrorism by 90% from 2002 to 2005; over a 96% reduction in terror attacks in the six years ending in 2007, though Israel's State Comptroller has acknowledged that most of the suicide bombers crossed into Israel through existing checkpoints. Its supporters claim that the onus
Philosophic burden of proof
The philosophic burden of proof is the obligation on a party in an epistemic dispute to provide sufficient warrant for their position.-Holder of the burden:When debating any issue, there is an implicit burden of proof on the person asserting a claim...

 is now on the Palestinian Authority to fight terrorism.

Opponents claim the barrier is an illegal attempt to annex Palestinian land under the guise of security, violates international law, has the intent or effect to pre-empt final status negotiations, and severely restricts Palestinians who live nearby, particularly their ability to travel freely within the West Bank and to access work in Israel, thereby undermining their economy. According to a 2007 World Bank
World Bank
The World Bank is an international financial institution that provides loans to developing countries for capital programmes.The World Bank's official goal is the reduction of poverty...

 report, the Israeli occupation of the West Bank has destroyed the Palestinian economy, in violation of the 2005 Agreement on Movement and Access. All major roads (with a total length of 700 km) are basically off-limits to Palestinians, making it impossible to do normal business. Economic recovery would reduce Palestinian dependence on international aid by one billion dollars per year.

Pro-settler opponents claim that the barrier is a sly attempt to artificially create a border that excludes the settlers, creating facts on the ground
Facts on the ground
Facts on the ground is a diplomatic term that means the situation in reality as opposed to in the abstract. It originated in discussions of the Israeli–Palestinian conflict, where it was used to refer to Israeli settlements built in the occupied West Bank, which were intended to establish permanent...

 that justify the mass dismantlement of hundreds of settlements and the displacement of over 100,000 Jews from the land they claim as their biblical homeland.

See also

  • Economy of the Palestinian territories
  • Geography of the West Bank
    Geography of the West Bank
    Geography of the West BankLocation:Middle East, west of JordanGeographic coordinates: Map references:Middle EastArea:total:5,860 km²land:5,640 km²water:220 km²note:...

  • Political status of the West Bank and Gaza Strip
    Political status of the West Bank and Gaza Strip
    The political status of the West Bank and the Gaza Strip is one of the most violently disputed issues in the Arab-Israeli conflict. Various conferences and negotiations have been conducted to determine the status of the West Bank and the Gaza Strip .The Israel-PLO Declaration of Principles on...

  • Rule of the West Bank and East Jerusalem by Jordan
    Rule of the West Bank and East Jerusalem by Jordan
    The West Bank and East Jerusalem were occupied by Jordan for a period of nearly two decades starting from the 1948 Arab-Israeli War. In 1950, the British extended formal recognition to the union between the Hashemite Kingdom and of that part of Palestine under Jordanian occupation and control -...

  • West Bank closures
    West Bank Closures
    The West Bank closure system is a series of obstacles including permanent and partially manned checkpoints, concrete roadblocks and barriers, metal gates, earthmounds, tunnels, trenches, and an elaborate set of permit restrictions that controls and restricts Palestinian movement.-Rationale and...


External links