The West Bank: A Primer
The West Bank is a 2,180-square-mile patch of landlocked territory home to 2.6 million Palestinians and more than half a million Israeli settlers. Recurring conflict between Israelis and Palestinians has left the territory's fate up for grabs, though Israel has had de facto control over much of the West Bank for decades. The use of the term "Palestinian Territories" refers to the West Bank and Gaza Strip, a small piece of land bordering Egypt over which Palestinians also have semi-autonomous control. Two competing governments claim to speak for the Palestinian people, one in the West Bank and the other in Gaza. In 2012, the UN General Assembly voted to grant Palestine "non-member observer" status, though the Palestinian quest for autonomy and a "two-state solution," whereby an independent State of Palestine resides alongside the State of Israel, has been undercut by unresolved questions regarding borders, refugees, security and the city of Jerusalem, which both sides claim as their capital.