West Bank – Country Facts

Posted By on August 27, 2015

West Bank Country Facts

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Background: 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. Permanent status negotiations began on 5 May 1996, but have not resumed since the initial meeting. Under the DOP, Israel agreed to transfer certain powers and responsibilities to the Palestinian Authority, which includes a Palestinian Legislative Council elected in January 1996, 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 took place pursuant to the Israel-PLO 4 May 1994 Cairo Agreement on the Gaza Strip and the Jericho Area and in additional areas of the West Bank pursuant to the Israel-PLO 28 September 1995 Interim Agreement, the Israel-PLO 15 January 1997 Protocol Concerning Redeployment in Hebron, and the Israel-PLO 23 October 1998 Wye River Memorandum. 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. Permanent status is to be determined through direct negotiations.

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Location: Middle East, west of Jordan

Geographic coordinates: 32 00 N, 35 15 E

Map references: Middle East

Area: total: 5,860 sq km land: 5,640 sq km water: 220 sq km note: includes West Bank, Latrun Salient, and the northwest quarter of the Dead Sea, but excludes Mt. Scopus; East Jerusalem and Jerusalem No Man's Land are also included only as a means of depicting the entire area occupied by Israel in 1967

Area - comparative: slightly smaller than Delaware

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

Coastline: 0 km (landlocked)

Maritime claims: none (landlocked)

Climate: temperate, temperature and precipitation vary with altitude, warm to hot summers, cool to mild winters

Terrain: mostly rugged dissected upland, some vegetation in west, but barren in east

Elevation extremes: lowest point: Dead Sea -408 m highest point: Tall Asur 1,022 m

Natural resources: NEGL

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

Irrigated land: NA sq km

Natural hazards: NA

Environment - current issues: adequacy of fresh water supply; sewage treatment

Environment - international agreements: party to: none of the selected agreements signed, but not ratified: none of the selected agreements

Geography - note: landlocked; highlands are main recharge area for Israel's coastal aquifers; there are 216 Israeli settlements and civilian land use sites in the West Bank and 29 in East Jerusalem (August 1998 est.)

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Population: 1,611,109 (July 1999 est.) note: in addition, there are some 166,000 Israeli settlers in the West Bank and about 176,000 in East Jerusalem (August 1998 est.)

Age structure: 0-14 years: 45% (male 370,770; female 352,803) 15-64 years: 52% (male 422,209; female 411,597) 65 years and over: 3% (male 22,376; female 31,354) (1999 est.)

Population growth rate: 3.14% (1999 est.)

Birth rate: 35.59 births/1,000 population (1999 est.)

Death rate: 4.2 deaths/1,000 population (1999 est.)

Net migration rate: 0 migrant(s)/1,000 population (1999 est.)

Sex ratio: at birth: 1.05 male(s)/female under 15 years: 1.05 male(s)/female 15-64 years: 1.03 male(s)/female 65 years and over: 0.71 male(s)/female total population: 1.02 male(s)/female (1999 est.)

Infant mortality rate: 25.22 deaths/1,000 live births (1999 est.)

Life expectancy at birth: total population: 72.83 years male: 70.96 years female: 74.79 years (1999 est.)

Total fertility rate: 4.78 children born/woman (1999 est.)

Nationality: noun: NA adjective: NA

Ethnic groups: Palestinian Arab and other 83%, Jewish 17%

Religions: Muslim 75% (predominantly Sunni), Jewish 17%, Christian and other 8%

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

Literacy: NA

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Country name: conventional long form: none conventional short form: West Bank

Data code: WE

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Economy - overview: Economic conditions in the West Bank - where economic activity is governed by the Paris Economic Protocol of April 1994 between Israel and the Palestinian Authority - have deteriorated since the early 1990s. Real per capita GDP for the West Bank and Gaza Strip (WBGS) declined 36.1% between 1992 and 1996 owing to the combined effect of falling aggregate incomes and robust population growth. The downturn in economic activity was largely the result of Israeli closure policies - the imposition of generalized border closures in response to security incidents in Israel - which disrupted previously established labor and commodity market relationships between Israel and the WBGS. The most serious negative social effect of this downturn has been the emergence of chronic unemployment; average unemployment rates in the WBGS during the 1980s were generally under 5%, by the mid-1990s this level had risen to over 20%. Since 1997 Israel's use of comprehensive closures has decreased and, in 1998, Israel implemented new policies to reduce the impact of closures and other security procedures on the movement of Palestinian goods and labor. These positive changes to the conduct of economic activity, combined with international donor pledges of over $3 billion made to the Palestinian Authority in November, may fuel a moderate economic recovery in 1999.

GDP: purchasing power parity - $3.1 billion (1998 est.)

GDP - real growth rate: 2.2% (1998 est.)

GDP - per capita: purchasing power parity - $2,000 (1998 est.)

GDP - composition by sector: agriculture: 33% industry: 25% services: 42% (1995 est., includes Gaza Strip)

Population below poverty line: NA%

Household income or consumption by percentage share: lowest 10%: NA% highest 10%: NA%

Inflation rate (consumer prices): 7.6% (1997 est.)

Labor force: NA note: excluding Israeli settlers

Labor force - by occupation: agriculture 13%, industry 13%, commerce, restaurants, and hotels 12%, construction 8%, other services 54% (1996)

Unemployment rate: 17.3% (1997 est.)

Budget: revenues: $816 million expenditures: $866 million, including capital expenditures of $NA (1997 est.) note: includes Gaza Strip

Industries: generally small family businesses that produce cement, textiles, soap, olive-wood carvings, and mother-of-pearl souvenirs; the Israelis have established some small-scale, modern industries in the settlements and industrial centers

Industrial production growth rate: NA%

Electricity - production: NA kWh note: most electricity imported from Israel; East Jerusalem Electric Company buys and distributes electricity to Palestinians in East Jerusalem and its concession in the West Bank; the Israel Electric Company directly supplies electricity to most Jewish residents and military facilities; at the same time, some Palestinian municipalities, such as Nabulus and Janin, generate their own electricity from small power plants

Electricity - production by source: fossil fuel: NA% hydro: NA% nuclear: NA% other: NA%

Electricity - consumption: NA kWh

Electricity - exports: NA kWh

Electricity - imports: NA kWh

Agriculture - products: olives, citrus, vegetables; beef, dairy products

Exports: $781 million (f.o.b., 1997 est.) (includes Gaza Strip)

Exports - commodities: olives, fruit, vegetables, limestone

Exports - partners: Israel, Jordan

Imports: $2.1 billion (c.i.f., 1997 est.) (includes Gaza Strip)

Imports - commodities: food, consumer goods, construction materials

Imports - partners: Israel, Jordan

Debt - external: $108 million (1997 est.)

Economic aid - recipient: $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 - 4.2260 (November 1998), 3.4494 (1997), 3.1917 (1996), 3.0113 (1995), 3.0111 (1994); Jordanian dinars (JD) per US$1 - 0.7090 (January 1999), 0.7090 (1998), 0.7090 (1997), 0.7090 (1996), 0.7005 (1995), 0.6987 (1994)

Fiscal year: calendar year (since 1 January 1992)

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Telephones: NA; 3.1% of Palestinian households have telephones

Telephone system: domestic: NA international: NA note: Israeli company BEZEK and the Palestinian company PALTEL are responsible for communication services in the West Bank

Radio broadcast stations: AM 1, FM 0, shortwave 0

Radios: NA; note - 82% of Palestinian households have radios (1992 est.)

Television broadcast stations: NA

Televisions: NA; note - 54% of Palestinian households have televisions (1992 est.)

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Railways: 0 km

Highways: total: 4,500 km paved: 2,700 km unpaved: 1,800 km (1997 est.) note: Israelis have developed many highways to service Jewish settlements

Ports and harbors: none

Airports: 2 (1998 est.)

Airports - with paved runways: total: 2 1,524 to 2,437 m: 1 under 914 m: 1 (1998 est.)

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Military branches: NA

Military expenditures - dollar figure: $NA

Military expenditures - percent of GDP: NA%

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Disputes - international: West Bank and Gaza Strip are Israeli-occupied with current status subject to the Israeli-Palestinian Interim Agreement - permanent status to be determined through further negotiation

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West Bank - Country Facts

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