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The West Bank (Arabic: الضفة الغربية, aḍ-Ḍiffah al-Ġarbiyyah; Hebrew: הַגָּדָה הַמַּעֲרָבִית, HaGadáh HaMaʽarávit), so called due to its relation to the Jordan River, is the larger of the two Palestinian territories (the other being the Gaza Strip). A landlocked territory near the coast of the Mediterranean Sea in the Levant region of Western Asia, it is bordered by Jordan and the Dead Sea to the east and by Israel (via the Green Line) to the south, west, and north.
|Common languages||Arabic, Hebrew|
|Religion||Islam, Judaism, Christianity|
|5,655 km2 (2,183 sq mi)|
• 2021 estimate
|Currency||Israeli shekel (ILS)|
Jordanian dinar (JOD)
|Time zone||UTC+2 (Palestine Standard Time)|
• Summer (DST)
|UTC+3 (Palestine Summer Time)|
|ISO 3166 code||PS|
The 1948 conversion of British Mandatory Palestine into the State of Israel incurred a war between Arabs and Israelis, after which the West Bank was occupied by Arab-majority country Jordan. In 1950, Jordan annexed the region outright, ruling it until the 1967 Six-Day War, when it was captured and occupied by Israel. Since then, Israel has administered the West Bank as the Judea and Samaria Area, expanding its claim into East Jerusalem in 1980. The mid-1990s Oslo Accords split the West Bank into three regional levels of Palestinian sovereignty, via the Palestinian National Authority (PNA): Area A (PNA), Area B (PNA and Israel), and Area C (Israel, comprising 60% of the West Bank). The PNA exercises total or partial civil administration over 165 Palestinian enclaves across the three areas.
The West Bank remains central to the Israeli–Palestinian conflict. The Palestinians consider it the heart of their envisioned state, along with the Gaza Strip. Right-wing and religious Israelis see it as their ancestral homeland, with numerous biblical sites. There is a push among some Israelis for partial or complete annexation of this land. Additionally, it is home to a rising number of Israeli settlers. Area C contains 230 Israeli settlements into which Israeli law is applied and under the Oslo Accords was supposed to be mostly transferred to the PNA by 1997, but this did not occur. The international community considers Israeli settlements in the West Bank to be illegal under international law. Citing the 1980 law in which Israel claimed Jerusalem as its capital, the 1994 Israel–Jordan peace treaty, and the Oslo Accords, a 2004 advisory ruling by the International Court of Justice concluded that the West Bank, including East Jerusalem, remain Israeli-occupied territory.
The West Bank has a land area of about 5,640 square kilometres (2,180 square miles). It has an estimated population of 2,747,943 Palestinians, and over 670,000 Israeli settlers live in the West Bank, of which approximately 220,000 live in East Jerusalem.
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