West Bank


West Bank

Area (pop., 2009 est.: 2,733,000 [including 305,000 Israeli Jews]), west of the Jordan River and east of Jerusalem. Covering an area of about 2,278 sq mi (5,900 sq km), excluding east Jerusalem, the territory is also known within Israel by its biblical names, Judaea and Samaria. It is a region with deep history, forming the heart of historic Palestine. Populated areas include Nablus, Hebron, Bethlehem, and Jericho. Under a 1947 UN agreement, most of what is now the West Bank was to become part of a Palestinian state. When the State of Israel was formed, the Arabs attacked Israel (see Arab-Israeli wars), and the partition plan was never adopted. Following a truce, Jordan remained in control of the area and annexed it in 1950. Israel subsequently occupied it during the Six-Day War of 1967. During the 1970s and '80s Israel established settlements there, provoking resentment among the Arab population and protest from the international community. Arab uprisings began in 1987 in the Gaza Strip and spread to the West Bank (see intifadah). Jordan relinquished its claims in 1988, and the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) assumed power. Secret meetings between the PLO and Israel in 1993 led to an end of violence and an agreement granting Palestinian self-rule in parts of the West Bank and Gaza Strip. Further negotiations to resolve outstanding issues proceeded intermittently in the 1990s but broke down amid renewed violence in late 2000. In 2007, clashes between leading Palestinian parties Hamas and Fatah and the failure of a coalition government led to Hamas's taking control of the Gaza Strip and a Fatah-led emergency cabinet taking control of the West Bank.

This entry comes from Encyclopædia Britannica Concise.
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