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West Bank

34 bytes added, 21:27, 16 November 2012
We tell it like it is from the travellers' perspective and, especially since we don't feature maps with A, B or C we keep the lede short
The '''West Bank''' is a Palestinian territory under [[Palestinian Territories|territoryIsrael]] i occupation with 97% areas of its area under Palestinian Autonomous Control (Area A and B) and 3% under pockmarked with Israeli control (Area C) military/civilian settlements in the [[Middle East]] between [[Israel]] and [[Jordan]], to the north of the [[Dead Sea]]. It forms the larger half portion of the semi-autonomous [[Palestinian Territories]], (the smaller being the [[Gaza Strip]]). Depending on where one travels the area is controlled by Palestinian authorities, Israel, or even both. It has been under Israeli administration since 1967 with its future status uncertain and still to be resolved, between Israel and the PNA.  It is known as the West Bank because it lies on the western bank of the Jordan River. This part of the world is steeped in biblical history and contains many sites of religious and archaeological significance. It has been under Israeli administration since 1967 with future status uncertain and still to be resolved, between Israel and the PNA.  About 2 million Palestinians live in the West Bank and hundreds of thousands of Israeli settlers live reside comfortably in around 100 official and unofficial Israeli settlements in the West Bank.
*[[Jerusalem/East|East Jerusalem]]
*[[Hebron]] (الخليل/חברון)
*[[Beit Jala]] (بيت جالا / בית ג'אלה)
*[[Bethlehem]] (بيت لحم/בית לחם)
==Other destinations==
* [[Qumran]]
* [[Dead Sea]]
[[Image:We-map.png|thumb|270px|Map of West Bank]]
Within the political dispute between the Palestinians and Israelis there are at least two presentations of the West Bank. :  In Israeli terms it is called the regions of Judea, Samaria and Benjamin. Some Israelis see the West Bank territories as historically Jewish land and claim a biblical/historical birthright to resettle it by building settlements there. Israel is also building a huge concrete barrier partly within the West Bank, officially aimed at preventing the infiltration of Palestinians into Israel's official pre-1967 borders and to isolate Jewish settlements from Palestinian populated areas and unofficially accused by Palestinians as an unilateral Israeli attempt to draw the borders. The barrier cuts off Palestinians from each other, vital farm lands, and most of all: physically separates West Bank Palestinians from the Palestinian disticts districts of East Jerusalem and its holy sites.  The Palestinians and the PNA claim this region, in addition the Gaza Strip and East Jerusalem, as the territory of a future Palestinian state. There are 400,000 Jews and around 1.2 million Arabs living in the territory (Est. 2011) . Officially, the West Bank is not part of any country, but deemed under Israeli occupation until a final peace agreement between the two above parties.
Temperate; temperature and precipitation vary with altitude, warm to hot summers, cool to mild winters.
Mostly rugged dissected upland, very hilly and mountainous, heavy vegetation is very common in most places.
*''lowest point:'' Dead Sea -408 m
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 foreign and domestic 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. Futhermore, Fatah control Palestinian Cities, whilst the Yesha Council via the authority of Israel controls and manages Jewish settlements.
===By plane===
There are no civilian airports within the West Bank, and the nearest major airport is [[Tel Aviv]]'s Ben Gurion. From Ben Gurion Airport, it is possible to take a 50 minute taxi or shuttle ride to Jerusalem and from Jerusalem to continue on to the major West Bank cities of Bethlehem or Ramallah.
Note that Palestinian ID card-holders cannot travel to Israel or the Palestinian Authority through Ben Gurion Airport. The Israeli government requires them to fly to [[Amman]], [[Jordan]] and enter via the Allenby Bridge border crossing located nearby Jericho in the West Bank. It is best for people who may be listed under the Israeli census as having a Palestinian ID-card (by birth to a card-holder, etc.) or who once had a Palestinian ID card to just use the airport in Amman rather than risk being sent back home on a flight from Tel Aviv for using the wrong airport.
Officially, you '''can ask for the Israeli border-guards at Ben Gurion Airport or at the Allenby Brige to not stamp your passport with the Israeli entry/exit stamps''' and instead stamp a separate loose piece of paper if you intend on travelling to Arab/Muslim countries that bar people who have visited Israel entry, however unofficially many individual Israeli border-guards have refused requests to not have the passport stamped or simply "forgot", so don't count on them not to do so. '''The prodecure procedure of having a separate piece of paper stamped only works at the Ben Gurion Airport and Allenby Bridge''' because , when using the other crossings with Egypt and Jordan (Taba in Egypt and Sheikh Hussein in northern Jordan), it is Egyptian/Jordanian policy to give entry/exit stamps at these border crossings with Israel, which prove one has been to Israel because these crossings only lead into/out of Israel. When using the Allenby crossing to enter Palestine, you won't get a Jordanian exit stamp because of Jordan's role as a care-taker of the West Bank so there is no "proof" of exiting Jordan on your passport.
===By car===
There are numerous ways to enter the West Bank by road. Probably the most common is to take a bus from East Jerusalem (got to Damascus Gate in the Old City and ask around) to Ramallah. From there, shared taxis (know as Servis, pronounced [ser-vees]) are available throughout the West Bank. Before entering Area A, you will come to a checkpoint, where you will be required to show your Israeli-issued tourist visa. From the checkpoint you can take a shared taxi to your destination.

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