West Bank Travel Information

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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, provided for a transitional period not exceeding five years of Palestinian interim self-government in the Gaza Strip and the West Bank. Under the DOP, Israel agreed to transfer certain powers and responsibilities to the Palestinian Authority, which includes the 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, the Israel-PLO 23 October 1998 Wye River Memorandum, and the 4 September 1999 Sharm el-Sheikh Agreement. 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 Israeli citizens. Permanent status is to be determined through direct negotiations, which resumed in September 1999 after a three-year hiatus. An intifadah broke out in September 2000; the resulting widespread violence in the West Bank and Gaza Strip, Israel's military response, and instability in the Palestinian Authority are undermining progress toward a permanent settlement.

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

Geography of the West Bank

Location: Middle East, west of Jordan
Geographic coordinates: 32 00 N, 35 15 E
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
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: arable land
Land use:
arable land: 27%
permanent crops: 0%
permanent pastures: 32%
forests and woodland: 1%
other: 40%
Environment - current issues: adequacy of fresh water supply; sewage treatment
Geography - note: landlocked; highlands are main recharge area for Israel's coastal aquifers; there are 231 Israeli settlements and civilian land use sites in the West Bank and 29 in East Jerusalem (August 1999 est.)

People of the West Bank

Population: 2,385,615 (July 2004 est.)
note: in addition, there are about 187,000 Israeli settlers in the West Bank and fewer than 177,000 in East Jerusalem.
Age structure:
0-14 years: 45% 
15-64 years: 52% 
65 years and over: 3%
Population growth rate: 3.38% 
Birth rate: 36.73 births/1,000 population 
Death rate: 4.49 deaths/1,000 population 
Net migration rate: 1.51 migrant(s)/1,000 population 
Infant mortality rate: 22.33 deaths/1,000 live births 
Life expectancy at birth:
total population: 72.08 years
male: 70.39 years
female: 73.86 years 
Total fertility rate: 5.02 children born/woman 
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)

SOURCE: The World Factbook

Mother Earth Travel > Country Index > West Bank > Map Economy