The World Factbook (1990)/West Bank

West Bank

World Factbook (1990) West Bank.jpg

See regional map VI

Note: The war between Israel and the Arab states in June 1967 ended with Israel in control of the West Bank and the Gaza Strip, the Sinai, and the Golan Heights. As stated in the 1978 Camp David Accords and reaffirmed by President Reagan's 1 September 1982 peace initiative, the final status of the West Bank and the Gaza Strip, their relationship with their neighbors, and a peace treaty between Israel and Jordan are to be negotiated among the concerned parties. Camp David further specifies that these negotiations will resolve the respective boundaries. Pending the completion of this process, it is US policy that the final status of the West Bank and the Gaza Strip has yet to be determined. In the view of the US, the term West Bank describes all of the area west of the Jordan River under Jordanian administration before the 1967 Arab-Israeli war. However, with respect to negotiations envisaged in the framework agreement, it is US policy that a distinction must be made between Jerusalem and the rest of the West Bank because of the city's special status and circumstances. Therefore, a negotiated solution for the final status of Jerusalem could be different in character from that of the rest of the West Bank.


Total area: 5,860 km²; land area: 5,640 km²; includes West Bank, East Jerusalem, Latrun Salient, Jerusalem No Man's Land, and the northwest quarter of the Dead Sea, but excludes Mt. Scopus

Comparative area: slightly larger than Delaware

Land boundaries: 404 km total; Israel 307 km, Jordan 97 km;

Coastline: none—landlocked

Maritime claims: none—landlocked

Disputes: Israeli occupied with status to be determined

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

Natural resources: negligible

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

Environment: highlands are main recharge area for Israel's coastal aquifers

Note: landlocked; there are 173 Jewish settlements in the West Bank and 14 Israeli-built Jewish neighborhoods in East Jerusalem


Population: 1,058,122 (July 1990), growth rate 2.6% (1990); in addition, there are 70,000 Jewish settlers in the West Bank and 110,000 in East Jerusalem (1989 est.)

Birth rate: 37 births/1,000 population (1990)

Death rate: 6 deaths/1,000 population (1990)

Net migration rate: -5 migrants/1,000 population (1990)

Infant mortality rate: 48 deaths/1,000 live births (1990)

Life expectancy at birth: 65 years male, 68 years female (1990)

Total fertility rate: 5.0 children born/woman (1990)

Nationality: NA

Ethnic divisions: 88% Palestinian Arab and other, 12% Jewish

Religion: 80% Muslim (predominantly Sunni), 12% Jewish, 8% Christian and other

Language: Arabic, Israeli settlers speak Hebrew, English widely understood

Literacy: NA%

Labor force: NA; excluding Israeli Jewish settlers—29.8% small industry, commerce, and business, 24.2% construction, 22.4% agriculture, 23.6% service and other (1984)

Organized labor: NA


Long-form name: none

Note: The West Bank is currently governed by Israeli military authorities and Israeli civil administration. It is US policy that the final status of the West Bank will be determined by negotiations among the concerned parties. These negotiations will determine how the area is to be governed.


Overview: Economic progress in the West Bank has been hampered by Israeli military occupation and the effects of the Palestinian uprising. Industries using advanced technology or requiring sizable financial resources have been discouraged by a lack of financial resources and Israeli policy. Capital investment has largely gone into residential housing, not into productive assets that could compete with Israeli industry. A major share of GNP is derived from remittances of workers employed in Israel and neighboring Gulf states. Israeli reprisals against Palestinian unrest in the West Bank since 1987 have pushed unemployment up and lowered living standards.

GNP: $1.0 billion, per capita $1,000; real growth rate -15% (1988 est.)

Inflation rate (consumer prices): NA%

Unemployment rate: NA%

Budget: revenues $47.4 million; expenditures $45.7 million, including capital expenditures of NA (FY86)

Exports: $150 million (f.o.b., 1988 est.); commodities—NA; partners—Jordan, Israel

Imports: $410 million (c.i.f., 1988 est.); commodities—NA; partners—Jordan, Israel

External debt: $NA

Industrial production: growth rate NA%

Electricity: power supplied by Israel

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

Agriculture: olives, citrus and other fruits, vegetables, beef, and dairy products

Aid: none

Currency: new Israeli shekel (plural—shekels) and Jordanian dinar (plural—dinars); 1 new Israeli shekel (NIS) = 100 new agorot and 1 Jordanian dinar (JD) = 1.000 fils

Exchange rates: new Israeli shekels (NIS) per US$1—1.9450 (January 1990), 1.9164 (1989), 1.5992 (1988), 1.5946 (1987), 1.4878 (1986), 1.1788 (1985); Jordanian dinars (JD) per US$1—0.6557 (January 1990), 0.5704 (1989), 0.3715 (1988), 0.3387 (1987), 0.3499 (1986), 0.3940 (1985)

Fiscal year: 1 April-31 March


Highways: small indigenous road network, Israelis developing east-west axial highways

Airports: 2 total, 2 usable; 2 with permanent-surface runways; none with runways over 2,439 m; 1 with runways 1,220-2,439 m

Telecommunications: open-wire telephone system currently being upgraded; stations—no AM, no FM, no TV

Defense Forces

Branches: NA

Military manpower: NA

Defense expenditures: NA