West Bank – Middle East: MidEastWeb

Posted By on November 2, 2015

The West Bank (Arabic: , al-diff l-arby, Hebrew: , Hagadah Hamaaravit) is the area west of the Jordan river that was occupied by Transjordan since 1949. The name "West Bank" was devised by Transjordanian and British diplomats following World War II, when Jordan contemplated annexing a portion of the Palestinian Arab state that was to be created when the British vacated Palestine, and later envisioned by the UN when it partitioned the Palestine Mandate into Jewish and Arab states (See Partition Resolution). Following Israeli territorial gains during the 1948 Arab-Israel war, about 2,200 square miles were left in the territory of the West Bank. Currently about 2.4 million Arab Palestinians, including a significant number of refugees of the 1948 Arab Israel War, live in the West Bank, along with about 250,000 Israeli settlers.

The area is currently officially under Israeli occupation or "administration" with partially autonomous government of the Palestinian National Authority. It incorporates part of the areas known since ancient times as Judea and Samaria. "Judea and Samaria" as a unit is the name officially given to the West Bank in Israel, but the ancient areas of Judea and Samaria in fact overlapped into current portions of Israel. The name is used by the Israeligovernment and military communiques, and by media outlets and politicians associated with Jewish settlers in the West Bank.

To the west, north, and south, the West Bank shares borders with the mainland Israel. To the east, across the Jordan River, it shares a border with Jordan. The West Bank also includes a significant coast line along the western bank of the Dead Sea and part of the Dead Sea may be included in its territory. Since 1967, the West Bank has been under Israeli military occupation.

Prior to the First World War, all of the area known to Europeans as Palestine was part of the Ottoman Empire. In the 1920 San Remo conference, the victorious Allies allocated the area to the British Mandate of Palestine. The 1948 Arab-Israeli War saw the establishment of Israel in parts of the former Mandate, while the West Bank was captured and annexed by Jordan, which destroyed any existing Jewish villages. The 1949 Armistice Agreements defined its interim boundary. From 1948 until 1967, the area was under Jordanian rule, and Jordan did not officially relinquish its claim to the area until 1988. Jordan's claim was not recognized by most other countries. The West Bank was captured by Israel during the Six-Day War. Most of the residents are Arabs, although large numbers of Israeli settlements have been built in the region. Most of the Arab portions of the West Bank are administered by the Palestinian National Authority.

The West Bank has an anomalous international status, since Jordan's occupation was never recognized as legitimate by most countries, and Jordan relinquished its territorial claims. The area is not occupied under the strict definition of international law, since it is not territory of another sovereign, but most countries consider that Israeli rule there constitutes occupation. Israeli courts apply most aspects of international law regarding occupation to cases where it is relevant. The West Bank is legally distinct from the area of Jerusalem, which the UN declared to be an internationalized Corpus Separatum in 1947.

Synonyms and alternate spellings:

Further Information: History of the Israeli-Palestinian Conflict Palestine

Map of Palestine History of the Israeli-Palestinian Conflict

West Bank - Middle East: MidEastWeb

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