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The September 1993 Israel-PLO Declaration of Principles on Interim Self-Government Arrangements provided for a transitional period of Palestinian self-rule in the West Bank and Gaza Strip. Under a series of agreements signed between May 1994 and September 1999, Israel transferred to the Palestinian Authority (PA) security and civilian responsibility for many Palestinian-populated areas of the West Bank and Gaza Strip. Negotiations to determine the permanent status of the West Bank and Gaza Strip stalled following the outbreak of an intifada in September 2000. In April 2003, the Quartet (US, EU, UN, and Russia) presented a roadmap to a final settlement of the conflict by 2005 based on reciprocal steps by the two parties leading to two states, Israel and a democratic Palestine. Following Palestinian leader Yasir... See More



 Middle East, bordering the Mediterranean Sea, between Egypt and Israel

Geographic Coordinates:

 31 25 N, 34 20 E


 Total: 5,860 sq km
Land: 5,640 sq km
Water: 220 sq km

Note: includes West Bank, Latrun Salient, and the northwest quarter of the Dead Sea, but excludes Mt. Scopus; East Jerusalem and Jerusalem No Man's Land are also included only as a means of depicting the entire area occupied by Israel in 1967

Area - Comparative:

 Slightly more than twice the size of Washington, DC

Land Boundaries:

 Total: 62 km
Border countries: Egypt 11 km, Israel 51 km


 40 km (Rank: )

Maritime Claims:

 See entry for Israel

Note: effective 3 January 2009 the Gaza maritime area is closed to all maritime traffic and is under blockade imposed by Israeli Navy until further notice


 Temperate, mild winters, dry and warm to hot summers


 Flat to rolling, sand- and dune-covered coastal plain

Elevation Extremes:

 Lowest point: Mediterranean Sea 0 m
Highest point: Abu 'Awdah (Joz Abu 'Awdah) 105 m

Natural Resources:

 Arable land, natural gas

Land Use:

 Arable land: 29%
Permanent crops: 21%
Other: 50% (2002)

Irrigated Land:

 180 sq km; note - includes West Bank (2008)

Natural Hazards:


Environment - Current Issues:

 Desertification; salination of fresh water; sewage treatment; water-borne disease; soil degradation; depletion and contamination of underground water resources

Geography - Note:

 Strategic strip of land along Mideast-North African trade routes has experienced an incredibly turbulent history; the town of Gaza itself has been besieged countless times in its history

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 Noun: NA
Adjective: NA

Ethnic Groups:

 Palestinian Arab


 Arabic, Hebrew (spoken by many Palestinians), English (widely understood)


 Muslim (predominantly Sunni) 99.3%, Christian 0.7%


 2,568,555 (July 2010 est.)

Note: approximately 296,700 Israeli settlers live in the West Bank (2009 est.); approximately 192,800 Israeli settlers live in East Jerusalem (2008 est.) (July 2011 est.)

Age Structure:

 0-14 years: 43.9% (male 374,110/female 354,088)
15-64 years: 53.5% (male 453,253/female 432,855)
65 years and over: 2.6% (male 17,326/female 25,523) (2011 est.)

Median Age:

 Total: 21.3 years
Male: 21.1 years
Female: 21.5 years (2011 est.)

Population Growth Rate:

 3.201% (2011 est.)

Birth Rate:

 35.3 births/1,000 population (2011 est.)

Death Rate:

 3.29 deaths/1,000 population (July 2011 est.)

Net Migration Rate:

 0 migrant(s)/1,000 population (2011 est.)


 Urban population: 72% of total population (2008)
Rate of urbanization: 3.3% annual rate of change (2005-10 est.)

Sex Ratio:

 At birth: 1.06 male(s)/female
Under 15 years: 1.06 male(s)/female
15-64 years: 1.05 male(s)/female
65 years and over: 0.68 male(s)/female
Total population: 1.04 male(s)/female (2011 est.)

Infant Mortality Rate:

 Total: 17.12 deaths/1,000 live births
Male: 18.25 deaths/1,000 live births
Female: 15.92 deaths/1,000 live births (2011 est.)

Life Expectancy At Birth:

 Total population: 75.01 years
Male: 72.97 years
Female: 77.17 years (2011 est.)

Total Fertility Rate:

 4.74 children born/woman (2011 est.)


 Definition: age 15 and over can read and write
Total population: 92.4%
Male: 96.7%
Female: 88% (2004 est.)

Average Years of Schooling:

 Total: 14 years
Male: 13 years
Female: 14 years (2006)

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Country Name:

 Conventional long form: none
Conventional short form: West Bank

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Economy - Overview:

 High population density, limited land and sea access, continuing isolation, and strict internal and external security controls have degraded economic conditions in the Gaza Strip - the smaller of the two areas in the Palestinian Territories. Israeli-imposed crossings closures, which became more restrictive after HAMAS violently took over the territory in June 2007, and fighting between HAMAS and Israel during December 2008-January 2009, resulted in the near collapse of most of the private sector, extremely high unemployment, and high poverty rates. Shortages of goods are met through large-scale humanitarian assistance - led by UNRWA - and the HAMAS-regulated black market tunnel trade that flourishes under the Gaza Strip's border with Egypt. However, changes to the blockade in 2010 included moving from a white list - in which only approved items were allowed into Gaza through the crossings - to a black list, where all but non-approved items were allowed into Gaza through the crossings. Israeli authorities have recently signaled that exports from the territory might be possible in the future, but currently regular exports from Gaza are not permitted.

GDP (Purchasing Power Parity):

 $12.79 billion (2009 est.)
$11.95 billion (2008)

Note: data are in 2010 US dollars

GDP - Real Growth Rate:

 7% (2009 est.)
2.3% (2008 est.)

GDP - Per Capita (PPP):

 $2,900 (2008 est.)

Note: data are in 2008 US dollars

GDP - Composition By Sector:

 Agriculture: 3.7%
Industry: 13.6%
Services: 82.6% (includes Gaza Strip) (2010 est.)

Labor Force:

 339,000 (2009)

Labor Force - By Occupation:

 Agriculture: 12%
Industry: 5%
Services: 83% (June 2008)

Unemployment Rate:

 40% (2010 est.)
40% (2009 est.)

Population Below Poverty Line:

 70% (2009 est.)

Refugees and Internally Displaced Persons:

 Refugees (country of origin): 1.017 million (Palestinian Refugees (UNRWA)) (2007)


 Revenues: $1.87 billion
Expenditures: $3.1 billion

Note: Palestinian Authority, includes Gaza Strip (2010)

Inflation Rate (Consumer Prices):

 6% (2010 est.)
2.5% (2009 est.)

Note: includes West Bank

Commercial Bank Prime Lending Rate:

 7.3% (31 December 2010 est.)
7.3% (31 December 2009 est.)

Stock of Money:

 $NA (31 December 2008)
$1.574 billion (31 December 2007)

Stock of Domestic Credit:

 $1.353 billion (31 December 2010 est.)
$1.475 billion (31 December 2009 est.)

Agriculture - Products:

 Olives, fruit, vegetables, flowers; beef, dairy products


 Textiles, food processing

Industrial Production Growth Rate:

 See entry for West Bank

Electricity - Production:

 65,000 kWh (2009)

Electricity - Consumption:

 202,000 kWh (2009)

Electricity - Exports:

 0 kWh (2008 est.)

Electricity - Imports:

 120,000 kWh
note - from Israeli Electric Company (2009)

Oil - Production:

 See entry for West Bank

Oil - Consumption:

 See entry for West Bank

Oil - Exports:

 See entry for West Bank

Oil - Imports:

 See entry for West Bank

Oil - Proven Reserves:

 0 bbl (1 January 2010 est.)

Exports - Commodities:

 Strawberries, carnations


 $3.772 billion (2008)
$2.84 billion (2006)

Imports - Commodities:

 Food, consumer goods

Note: Israel permits limited imports through crossings with Gaza, but many "dual use" goods, such as construction materials, are smuggled through tunnels beneath Gaza's border with Egypt

Debt - External:

 $1.04 billion (2010 est.)
$1.3 billion (2007 est.)

Exchange Rates:

 Convert Israeli Shekel to Any Currency

New Israeli shekels (ILS) per US dollar -
3.739 (2010)
3.9323 (2009)
3.56 (2008)
4.14 (2007)
4.4565 (2006)

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Telephones - Main Lines In Use:

 337,000 (includes West Bank) (2010)

Telephones - Cellular:

 2.405 million (includes West Bank) (2010)

Telephone System:

 General assessment: Gaza continues to repair the damage to its telecommunications infrastructure caused by fighting in 2009

Domestic: Israeli company BEZEK and the Palestinian company PALTEL are responsible for fixed line services; the Palestinian JAWWAL company provides cellular services

International: country code - 970 (2009)

Broadcast Media:

 1 television station and about 10 radio stations (2008)

Radio Broadcast Stations:

 AM 0, FM 10, shortwave 0 (2008)

Television Broadcast Stations:

 1 (2008)

Internet Country Code:

 .ps; note - same as West Bank

Internet Users:

 1.379 million (includes West Bank) (2009)

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 1 (2010)

Airports - With Paved Runways:

 Total: 2
1,524 to 2,437 m: 1
Under 914 m: 1 (2010)


 1 (2010)


 Total: 5,147 km
Paved: 5,147 km

Note: includes Gaza Strip (2006)

Ports and Terminals:


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Military Branches:

 Palestinian Authority security forces have operated only in the West Bank, not in the Gaza Strip, since HAMAS seized power in June 2007; law and order and other security functions are performed by HAMAS security organizations (2008)

Manpower Available For Military Service:

 Males age 16-49: 385,961 (2010 est.)

Manpower Fit For Military Service:

 Males age 16-49: 579,248
Females age 16-49: 547,782 (2010 est.)

Manpower Reaching Militarily Significant Age Annually:

 Male: 30,925
Female: 29,440 (2010 est.)

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Disputes - International:

 The current status of Gaza Strip is subject to the Israeli-Palestinian Interim Agreement - permanent status to be determined through further negotiation; Israel removed settlers and military personnel from the Gaza Strip in August 2005

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Last Updated: December 2011

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