The West Bank, including East Jerusalem, has a land area of 5,640 km2 and 220 km2 water, the northwest quarter of the Dead Sea. About 2,000,000, are Palestinian Arabs, approximately 692,000 are Jewish Israelis living in the West Bank, in settlements considered illegal under international law, though Israel disputes their illegality.
In late May 2012, Israel’s defense minister, Ehud Barak, said that Israel should consider imposing the borders of a future Palestinian state, becoming the most senior government official to suggest bypassing a stagnant peace process.
Raba, Jenin Governorate – On Wednesday, June 13, 2012, the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) and the Palestinian Water Authority (PWA) celebrated the successful installation of Raba’s first ever water distribution network and reservoir. The celebration was attended by Governor of Jenin Talal Dweikat, USAID Mission Director Michael T. Harvey, Head of the PWA Shaddad Al-Attili, Head of Raba Village Council Mu’ayad Bazour, and ANERA Country Director Paul Butler.
Raba was one of the few large villages in the northern West Bank still not supplied with water. The village’s 4,000 residents had to buy water from tankers at a high price for their daily domestic consumption, sometimes spending as much as $5 per cubic meter.
In 2010, the PA made significant progress in mobilizing domestic revenue and reducing
its recurrent budget deficit. The 2010 recurrent budget deficit was about US$1.15 billion,
almost 8 percent below the 2010 budget target. Total expenditures and net lending were more
than 3 percent below budget projections and 8.4 percent below 2009 expenditures. Total net
revenue hit the budget target and was about 15 percent higher than in 2009.
Construction will resume on Israel’s West Bank security fence five years after it was halted due to budget shortfalls.
The construction of a segment of the fence around the Gush Etzion bloc south of Jerusalem was approved July 4 by Israel’s Supreme Court. The construction will begin in the next few weeks.
A segment of the fence around Ma’ale Adumim, east of Jerusalem, is slated to be constructed in 2013.
Construction on the security fence began in 2002, during the second Palestinian intifada, in order to reduce terrorist attacks inside Israel. It has been condemned internationally for being built on West Bank land.
The split left the Palestinian Authority in control only of portions of the West Bank. Some 60 percent of the West Bank is under full Israeli control, and both the Palestinians and the Israelis claim East Jerusalem, which is now in Israeli hands.
On Sept. 13, 1993, current Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas and current Israeli President Shimon Peres signed at the While House the so-called Oslo Accords, ushering in a new era and hopes of peace in the decades-old Palestinian-Israeli conflict.
The agreement was signed in the presence of President Bill Clinton, former Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat and former Israeli Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin.
At a news conference in Ramallah in the West Bank on Tuesday to talk about the Palestinians' latest U.N. statehood bid, Palestinian Authority negotiator Muhammad Shtayeh made reference to that agreement.
The Department of State urges U.S. citizens to exercise caution when traveling to the West Bank. Palestinian Authority (PA) security forces are now deployed in all major cities and other limited areas within the West Bank. As a result, violence in recent years has decreased markedly throughout the West Bank. Nonetheless, demonstrations and violent incidents can occur without warning. Vehicles have also been the target of rocks, Molotov cocktails and gunfire on West Bank roads
The Palestinian telecommunications sector is characterized by the presence of a private regulated monopoly, unauthorized competition, and overall weak governance and regulation. Increasing competition and efficiency in the telecommunications sector will have far reaching effects throughout on the Palestinian economy. It will reduce the cost of doing business in all sectors and help raise government tax revenues. In addition, by developing the capacity to regulate the largest monopoly in WBG and spur competition in the telecommunications market, the PA will develop its ability to provide a better regulatory environment for the entire economy.
Private sector credit growth slowed partly owing to a slowdown in growth in the West
Bank. In the West Bank it declined to 16.6 percent in 2011Q4, from 30.3 percent in 2011Q1,
while in Gaza it increased to 46.7 percent. Total private sector credit in West Bank and Gaza
growth slowed to 13.3 percent in March 2012 from a peak of about 30 percent in the first half
of 2011. Private sector deposit growth in the West Bank and Gaza slowed moderately to 4
percent in March (yoy).
Palestinian Arab and other 83%, Jewish 17%
Arabic, Hebrew (spoken by Israeli settlers and many Palestinians), English (widely understood)
Muslim 75% (predominantly Sunni), Jewish 17%, Christian and other 8%
2,622,544 (July 2012 est.) country comparison to the world: 141
note: approximately 311,100 Israeli settlers live in the West Bank (2010); approximately 186,929 Israeli settlers live in East Jerusalem (2010) (July 2011 est.)
The West Bank - the larger of the two areas comprising the Palestinian territories - has experienced a relatively high single-digit economic growth rate since 2008, but this rate has been sustained by inflows of donor aid rather than private sector economic activity. After suffering an almost decade-long downturn following the start of the second intifada in 2000, overall standard-of-living measures have recovered to the levels seen in the late 1990s. Despite the Palestinian Authority's (PA) largely successful implementation of economic and security reforms and the easing of some movement and access restrictions by the Israeli Government in 2010, Israeli closure policies continue to disrupt labor and trade flows, industrial capacity, and basic commerce, eroding the productive capacity of the West Bank economy.