Careers, Jobs and Education Resources for: West Bank

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The September 1993 Israel-PLO Declaration of Principles on Interim Self-Government Arrangements provided for a transitional period of Palestinian self-rule in the West Bank and Gaza Strip. Under a series of agreements signed between May 1994 and September 1999, Israel transferred to the Palestinian Authority (PA) security and civilian responsibility for Palestinian-populated areas of the West Bank and Gaza. Negotiations to determine the permanent status of the West Bank and Gaza stalled following the outbreak of an intifada in September 2000, as Israeli forces reoccupied most Palestinian-controlled areas. In April 2003, the Quartet (US, EU, UN, and Russia) presented a roadmap to a final settlement of the conflict by 2005 based on reciprocal steps by the two parties leading to two states, Israel and a democratic Palestine. The proposed date for a permanent status agreement was postponed indefinitely due to violence and accusations that both sides had not followed through on their commitments. Following Palestinian leader Yasir ARAFAT's death in late 2004, Mahmud ABBAS was elected PA president in January 2005. A month later, Israel and the PA agreed to the Sharm el-Sheikh Commitments in an effort to move the peace process forward. In September 2005, Israel unilaterally withdrew all its settlers and soldiers and dismantled its military facilities in the Gaza Strip and withdrew settlers and redeployed soldiers from four small northern West Bank settlements. Nonetheless, Israel controls maritime, airspace, and most access to the Gaza Strip. A November 2005 PA-Israeli agreement authorized the reopening of the Rafah border crossing between the Gaza Strip and Egypt under joint PA and Egyptian control. In January 2006, the Islamic Resistance Movement, HAMAS, won control of the Palestinian Legislative Council (PLC). The international community refused to accept the HAMAS-led government because it did not recognize Israel, would not renounce violence, and refused to honor previous peace agreements between Israel and the PA. HAMAS took control of the PA government in March 2006, but President ABBAS had little success negotiating with HAMAS to present a political platform acceptable to the international community so as to lift economic sanctions on Palestinians. The PLC was unable to convene throughout most of 2006 as a result of Israel's detention of many HAMAS PLC members and Israeli-imposed travel restrictions on other PLC members. Violent clashes took place between Fatah and HAMAS supporters in the Gaza Strip in 2006 and early 2007, resulting in numerous Palestinian deaths and injuries. ABBAS and HAMAS Political Bureau Chief MISHAL in February 2007 signed the Mecca Agreement in Saudi Arabia that resulted in the formation of a Palestinian National Unity Government (NUG) headed by HAMAS member Ismail HANIYA. However, fighting continued in the Gaza Strip, and in June, HAMAS militants succeeded in a violent takeover of all military and governmental institutions in the Gaza Strip. ABBAS dismissed the NUG and through a series of presidential decrees formed a PA government in the West Bank led by independent Salam FAYYAD. HAMAS rejected the NUG's dismissal and has called for resuming talks with Fatah, but ABBAS has ruled out negotiations until HAMAS agrees to a return of PA control over the Gaza Strip and recognizes the FAYYAD-led government. FAYYAD and his PA government initiated a series of security and economic reforms to improve conditions in the West Bank. ABBAS participated in talks with Israel's Prime Minister OLMERT and secured the release of some Palestinian prisoners and previously withheld customs revenue. During a November 2007 international meeting in Annapolis Maryland, ABBAS and OLMERT agreed to resume peace negotiations with the goal of reaching a final peace settlement by the end of 2008. (from the CIA)


Economic Overview

The west bank - the larger of the two areas comprising the palestinian authority (pa) - has experienced a general decline in economic conditions since the second intifada began in september 2000. the downturn has been largely a result of israeli closure policies - the imposition of closures and access restrictions in response to security concerns in israel - which disrupted labor and trading relationships. in 2001, and even more severely in 2002, israeli military measures in pa areas resulted in the destruction of capital, the disruption of administrative structures, and widespread business closures. international aid of at least $1.14 billion to the west bank and gaza strip in 2004 prevented the complete collapse of the economy and allowed some reforms in the government's financial operations. in 2005, high unemployment and limited trade opportunities - due to continued closures both within the west bank and externally - stymied growth. israel's and the international community's financial embargo of the pa when hamas ran the pa during march 2006 - june 2007 has interrupted the provision of pa social services and the payment of pa salaries. since june the fayyad government in the west bank has restarted salary payments and the provision of services but would be unable to operate absent high levels of international assistance.

Environmental Issues

Adequacy of fresh water supply; sewage treatment


2,407,681 note: in addition, there are about 187,000 israeli settlers in the west bank and fewer than 177,000 in east jerusalem (july 2008 est.)


Middle east, west of jordan


Total: 5,860 sq km land: 5,640 sq km water: 220 sq km note: includes west bank, latrun salient, and the northwest quarter of the dead sea, but excludes mt. scopus; east jerusalem and jerusalem no man's land are also included only as a means of depicting the entire area occupied by israel in 1967

Slightly smaller than delaware

Country Aliases

Conventional long form: none conventional short form: west bank

International Disputes

West bank and gaza strip are israeli-occupied with current status subject to the israeli-palestinian interim agreement - permanent status to be determined through further negotiation; israel continues construction of a "seam line" separation barrier along parts of the green line and within the west bank; israel withdrew from four settlements in the northern west bank in august 2005; since 1948, about 350 peacekeepers from the un truce supervision organization (untso), headquartered in jerusalem, monitor ceasefires, supervise armistice agreements, prevent isolated incidents from escalating, and assist other un personnel in the region

Sources: Central Intelligence Agency (CIA)

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