The Columbia Encyclopedia online (sixth edition, 2001) contained the following description of the West Bank:
"Territory, formerly part of Palestine,
after 1949 administered by Jordan, since 1967 occupied by Israel (1995
est. pop. 1,320,000), 2,165 sq mi (5,607 sq km), west of the Jordan
River, incorporating the northwest quadrant of the Dead Sea. Since
mid-1994 limited Palestinian self-rule has existed in portions of the
West Bank. Israelis who regard the area as properly Jewish territory
often refer to it by the biblical names of Judaea and Samaria. The
largest and most historically important cities are Hebron, Nablus,
Jericho, and Bethlehem. East Jerusalem is regarded as part of the West
Bank by Arabs; however, Israel has incorporated it into the larger
Jerusalem economy and municipality."
The Encyclopedia of the Orient, an internet based encyclopedia of the Middle East, (accessed June 5, 2007) in an article titled "West Bank," wrote the following:
Arabic: 'ad-daffatu l-gharbiyya
territory, partially under Israeli occupation and partially under the
government of the Palestinian National Authority, the temporary leading
body of the state of Palestine.
Bank is situated west of the Jordan River and the Dead Sea, and east of
Israel. Its area is 5,860 km². The climate of the West Bank varies a
lot, with most of the rainfall in the north and the west. In the north,
crops and vegetables are grown olives in the hills, and grapes in the
southern region. The east has a number of oases and farms receiving its
water from springs. In many regions in the south and the east, desert
penetrates the arable land.
population on the West Bank is 2,1 million, of which 87% are
Palestinian Sunni Muslims, 8% are Palestinian Christians, and 5% Jewish
Israeli settlers. Christians are concentrated to Bethlehem, Bayt
Sahour, Ramallah, and Jerusalem (Al Quds).
The parts of the West Bank that are administered by Israel, is subject
to illegal colonization by Jewish settlers, living in small Jewish-only
communities, subsidixed by the state of Israel and Jewish
organizations. They have been here only since the early 1980's. The
land used has often been confiscated from the Palestinian owers, and
does often occupy the best agricultural land, as well as claiming an
unproportionately large part of the water resources. Many of these Jews
claim that this land has been given to them by God, so they are here
for politico/religious reasons. Many others live here simply because of
the good housing conditions and low rent.
the West Bank with a population of more than 100,000 include East
Jerusalem, Ramallah, Hebron, Nablus and Bethlehem. The West Bank has 2
universities, Bir Zeit in Bethlehem and an-Najah in Hebron.
1948: Jordan occupies the West Bank, and East Jerusalem. 1949: The borders between Israel and Jordan are settled, and
from this the West Bank is defined. The border line is called the Green
Line. There is a high influx of Palestinian refugees from the area
which came to be known as the state of Israel. 1952: Jordan annexes the West Bank, but does only get support
from a couple of countries for this claim. All inhabitants of West Bank
receive full Jordanian citizenship. 1967 June 8: Israel occupies the West Bank as a result of fighting during the Six-Day War. 1987: The years of the Intifada starts. 1994: The foundations for what is intended to become a fully
independent Palestinian are laid down. This happens with an agreement
with Israel, and follow the plans as defined in the Oslo Agreement. 1997 March: The connection between the West Bank and East
Jerusalem is cut off, as Israel starts to build a Jewish-only
settlement in the outskirts of Jerusalem, in Jabal Abu Gnein (Hebrew:
Har Homa). 2000 September 28: A second Intifada starts after Ariel Sharon
has provoked Muslim feelings by trespassing Muslim sanctities in
Jerusalem/Al Quds. 2002: Israel starts to reoccupy the parts of Palestine that have
been under the Palestinian Authority in order to take control over
terrorist organizations working out of the region."