[Country map of West Bank]

West Bank

Note--The Israel-PLO Declaration of Principles on Interim Self-Government Arrangements ("the DOP"), signed in Washington on 13 September 1993, provides for a transitional period not exceeding five years of Palestinian interim self-government in the Gaza Strip and the West Bank. Under the DOP, final status negotiations are to begin no later than the beginning of the third year of the transitional period.


Location: Middle East, west of Jordan

Map references: Middle East

total area: 5,860 sq km
land area: 5,640 sq km
comparative area: slightly larger than Delaware
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

Land boundaries: total 404 km, Israel 307 km, Jordan 97 km

Coastline: 0 km (landlocked)

Maritime claims: none; landlocked

International disputes: West Bank and Gaza Strip are Israeli occupied with interim status subject to Israeli/Palestinian negotiations - final status to be determined

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

Natural resources: negligible

Land use:
arable land: 27%
permanent crops: 0%
meadows and pastures: 32%
forest and woodland: 1%
other: 40%

Irrigated land: NA sq km

current issues: NA
natural hazards: NA
international agreements: NA

Note: landlocked; highlands are main recharge area for Israel's coastal aquifers; there are 199 Jewish settlements and civilian land use sites in the West Bank and 25 in East Jerusalem (August 1994 est.)


Population: 1,319,991 (July 1995 est.)
note: in addition, there are 122,000 Jewish settlers in the West Bank and 149,000 in East Jerusalem (August 1994 est.)

Age structure:
0-14 years: 46% (female 293,269; male 308,775)
15-64 years: 51% (female 335,193; male 337,722)
65 years and over: 3% (female 25,759; male 19,273) (July 1995 est.)

Population growth rate: 3.5% (1995 est.)

Birth rate: 39.83 births/1,000 population (1995 est.)

Death rate: 4.84 deaths/1,000 population (1995 est.)

Net migration rate: 0 migrant(s)/1,000 population (1995 est.)

Infant mortality rate: 29.7 deaths/1,000 live births (1995 est.)

Life expectancy at birth:
total population: 71.42 years
male: 69.91 years
female: 73 years (1995 est.)

Total fertility rate: 5.34 children born/woman (1995 est.)

noun: NA
adjective: NA

Ethnic divisions: 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), English (widely understood)

Literacy: NA%

Labor force: NA
by occupation: construction 28.2%, agriculture 21.8%, industry 14.5%, commerce, restaurants, and hotels 12.6%, other services 22.9% (1991)
note: excluding Jewish settlers


Note: Under the Israeli-PLO Declaration of Principles on Interim Self-Government Arragements ("the DOP"), Israel agreed to transfer certain powers and responsibilities to the Palestinian Authority, and subsequently to an elected Palestinian Council, as part of interim self-governing arrangements in the West Bank and Gaza Strip. A transfer of powers and responsibilities for the Gaza Strip and Jericho has taken place pursuant to the Israel-PLO 4 May 1994 Cairo Agreement on the Gaza Strip and the Jericho Area. A transfer of powers and responsibilities in certain spheres for the rest of the West Bank has taken place pursuant to the Israel-PLO 29 August 1994 Agreement on Preparatory Transfer of Powers and Responsibilities. The DOP provides that Israel will retain responsibility during the transitional period for external security and for internal security and public order of settlements and Israelis. Final status is to be determined through direct negotiations within five years.

conventional long form: none
conventional short form: West Bank

Digraph: WE


Overview: Economic progress in the West Bank has been hampered by Israeli military administration and the effects of the Palestinian uprising (intifadah). Industries using advanced technology or requiring sizable investment have been discouraged by a lack of local capital and restrictive Israeli policies. Capital investment consists largely of residential housing, not productive assets that would enable local Palestinian firms to compete with Israeli industry. GDP has been substantially supplemented by remittances of workers employed in Israel and Persian Gulf states. Such transfers from the Gulf dropped after Iraq invaded Kuwait in August 1990. In the wake of the Persian Gulf crisis, many Palestinians have returned to the West Bank, increasing unemployment, and export revenues have dropped because of the decline of markets in Jordan and the Gulf states. Israeli measures to curtail the intifadah also have added to unemployment and lowered living standards. The area's economic situation has worsened since Israel's partial closure of the territories in 1993.

National product: GDP - purchasing power parity - $4 billion (1994 est.)

National product real growth rate: NA%

National product per capita: $2,800 (1994 est.)

Inflation rate (consumer prices): 6.8% (1993)

Unemployment rate: 35% (1994 est.)

revenues: $43.4 million
expenditures: $43.7 million, including capital expenditures of $NA (FY89/90)

Exports: $217 million (f.o.b., 1992)
commodities: olives, fruit, vegetables
partners: Jordan, Israel

Imports: $867 million (c.i.f., 1992)
commodities: food, consumer goods, construction materials
partners: Jordan, Israel

External debt: $NA

Industrial production: growth rate NA%

capacity: NA kW
production: NA kWh
consumption per capita: 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; at the same time, some Palestinian municipalities, such as Nabulus and Janin, generate their own electricity from small power plants

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

Agriculture: olives, citrus and other fruits, vegetables, beef, and dairy products

Economic aid: $NA

Currency: 1 new Israeli shekel (NIS) = 100 new agorot; 1 Jordanian dinar (JD) = 1,000 fils

Exchange rates: new Israeli shekels (NIS) per US$1 - 3.0270 (December 1994), 3.0111 (1994), 2.8301 (1993), 2.4591 (1992), 2.2791 (1991), 2.0162 (1990); Jordanian dinars (JD) per US$1 - 0.6995 (January 1995), 0.6987 (1994), 0.6928 (1993), 0.6797 (1992), 0.6808 (1991), 0.6636 (1990)

Fiscal year: calendar year (since 1 January 1992)


Railroads: 0 km

total: NA
paved: NA
unpaved: NA
note: small road network; Israelis have developed many highways to service Jewish settlements

Ports: none

total: 2
with paved runways 1,524 to 2,437 m: 1
with paved runways under 914 m: 1


Telephone system: NA telephones; note - 8% of Palestinian households have telephones (1992 est.)
local: NA
intercity: NA
international: NA
note: Israeli company BEZEK is responsible for communication services in the West Bank

broadcast stations: AM 1, FM 0, shortwave 0
radios: NA; note - 82% of Palestinian households have radios (1992 est.)

broadcast stations: 0; note - 1 planned for Jericho
televisions: NA; note - 54% of Palestinian households have televisions (1992 est.)

Defense Forces

Branches: NA

Defense expenditures: $NA, NA% of GDP