Country List | World Factbook Home
CIA Seal  World Factbook Seal West Bank
Map of West Bank
Introduction West Bank
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 the 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. Direct negotiations to determine the permanent status of Gaza and West Bank had begun in September 1999 after a three-year hiatus, but have been derailed by a second intifadah that broke out in September 2000. The resulting widespread violence in the West Bank and Gaza Strip, Israel's military response, and instability within the Palestinian Authority continue to undermine progress toward a permanent agreement.
Geography West Bank
Middle East, west of Jordan
Geographic coordinates:
32 00 N, 35 15 E
Map references:
Middle East
total: 5,860 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
water: 220 sq km
land: 5,640 sq km
Area - comparative:
slightly smaller than Delaware
Land boundaries:
total: 404 km
border countries: Israel 307 km, Jordan 97 km
0 km (landlocked)
Maritime claims:
none (landlocked)
temperate; temperature and precipitation vary with altitude, warm to hot summers, cool to mild winters
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: NEGL%
permanent crops: 0%
other: 100% (1998 est.)
Irrigated land:
NA sq km
Natural hazards:
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 242 Israeli settlements and civilian land use sites in the West Bank and 29 in East Jerusalem (February 2002 est.)
People West Bank
2,163,667 (July 2002 est.)
note: in addition, there are about 187,000 Israeli settlers in the West Bank and fewer than 177,000 in East Jerusalem (February 2002 est.)
Age structure:
0-14 years: 44.4% (male 492,446; female 468,321)
15-64 years: 52% (male 575,282; female 550,793)
65 years and over: 3.6% (male 33,163; female 43,662) (2002 est.)
Population growth rate:
3.39% (2002 est.)
Birth rate:
34.94 births/1,000 population (2002 est.)
Death rate:
4.26 deaths/1,000 population (2002 est.)
Net migration rate:
3.18 migrant(s)/1,000 population (2002 est.)
Sex ratio:
at birth: 1.06 male(s)/female
under 15 years: 1.05 male(s)/female
15-64 years: 1.04 male(s)/female
65 years and over: 0.76 male(s)/female
total population: 1.04 male(s)/female (2002 est.)
Infant mortality rate:
21.24 deaths/1,000 live births (2002 est.)
Life expectancy at birth:
total population: 72.47 years
female: 74.29 years (2002 est.)
male: 70.76 years
Total fertility rate:
4.77 children born/woman (2002 est.)
HIV/AIDS - adult prevalence rate:
HIV/AIDS - people living with HIV/AIDS:
HIV/AIDS - deaths:
noun: NA
adjective: NA
Ethnic groups:
Palestinian Arab and other 83%, Jewish 17%
Muslim 75% (predominantly Sunni), Jewish 17%, Christian and other 8%
Arabic, Hebrew (spoken by Israeli settlers and many Palestinians), English (widely understood)
definition: NA
total population: NA%
male: NA%
female: NA%
Government West Bank
Country name:
conventional long form: none
conventional short form: West Bank
Economy West Bank
Economy - overview:
Economic output in the West Bank is governed by the Paris Economic Protocol of April 1994 between Israel and the Palestinian Authority. Real per capita GDP for the West Bank and Gaza Strip (WBGS) declined by about one-third between 1992 and 1996 due to the combined effect of falling aggregate incomes and rapid population growth. The downturn in economic activity was largely the result of Israeli closure policies - the imposition of border closures in response to security incidents in Israel - which disrupted labor and commodity market relationships between Israel and the WBGS. The most serious social effect of this downturn was rising unemployment; unemployment in the WBGS during the 1980s was generally under 5%; by 1995 it had risen to over 20%. Israel's use of comprehensive closures during the next five years 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 changes fueled an almost three-year-long economic recovery in the West Bank and Gaza Strip; real GDP grew by 5% in 1998 and 6% in 1999. Recovery was upended in the last quarter of 2000 with the outbreak of Palestinian violence, which triggered tight Israeli closures of Palestinian self-rule areas and severely disrupted trade and labor movements. In 2001, and even more severely in 2002, internal turmoil and Israeli military measures in Palestinian Authority areas have resulted in the destruction of much capital plant and administrative structure, widespread business closures, and a sharp drop in GDP. Another major loss has been the decline in earnings of Palestinian workers in Israel.
purchasing power parity - $2.1 billion (2001 est.)
GDP - real growth rate:
-35% (2001 est.)
GDP - per capita:
purchasing power parity - $1,000 (2001 est.)
GDP - composition by sector:
agriculture: 9%
industry: 28%
services: 63%
note: includes Gaza Strip (1999 est.)
Population below poverty line:
50% (2001 est.)
Household income or consumption by percentage share:
lowest 10%: NA%
highest 10%: NA%
Inflation rate (consumer prices):
1% (includes Gaza Strip) (2001 est.)
Labor force:
Labor force - by occupation:
services 66%, industry 21%, agriculture 13% (1996)
Unemployment rate:
26% (includes Gaza Strip) (2001 est.)
revenues: $930 million
note: includes Gaza Strip (2000 est.)
expenditures: $1.2 billion, including capital expenditures of $15 million
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:
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 Nablus 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 - imports:
NA kWh
Agriculture - products:
olives, citrus, vegetables; beef, dairy products
$603 million f.o.b., includes Gaza Strip (2001 est.)
Exports - commodities:
olives, fruit, vegetables, limestone
Exports - partners:
Israel, Jordan, Gaza Strip
$1.9 billion c.i.f., includes Gaza Strip (2001 est.)
Imports - commodities:
food, consumer goods, construction materials
Imports - partners:
Israel, Jordan, Gaza Strip
Debt - external:
$108 million (includes Gaza Strip) (1997 est.)
Economic aid - recipient:
$800 million disbursed (includes Gaza Strip) (2001 est.)
new Israeli shekel (ILS); Jordanian dinar (JOD)
Currency code:
Exchange rates:
new Israeli shekels per US dollar - 4.2757 (December 2001), 4.2057 (2001), 4.0773 (2000), 4.1397 (1999), 3.8001 (1998), 3.4494 (1997); Jordanian dinars per US dollar - fixed rate of 0.7090 (from 1996)
Fiscal year:
calendar year (since 1 January 1992)
Communications West Bank
Telephones - main lines in use:
95,729 (total for West Bank and Gaza Strip) (1997)
Telephones - mobile cellular:
Telephone system:
general assessment: NA
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
note: the Palestinian Broadcasting Corporation broadcasts from an AM station in Ramallah on 675 kHz; numerous local, private stations are reported to be in operation (2000)
NA; note - most Palestinian households have radios (1999)
Television broadcast stations:
NA; note - many Palestinian households have televisions (1999)
Internet Service Providers (ISPs):
8 (1999)
Internet users:
60,000 (includes Gaza Strip) (2001)
Transportation West Bank
0 km
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:
3 (2001)
Airports - with paved runways:
total: 3
2,438 to 3,047 m: 1
1,524 to 2,437 m: 1
under 914 m: 1 (2002)
Military West Bank
Military expenditures - dollar figure:
Military expenditures - percent of GDP:
Transnational Issues West Bank
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

This page was last updated on 19 March 2003