West Bank, territory, formerly part of Palestine, after 1949 administered by Jordan, since 1967 largely occupied by Israel (2005 est. pop. 2,386,000), 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 under the Palestinian Authority (PA). Israelis who regard the area as Jewish territory often refer to it by the biblical names of Judaea and Samaria. The largest and most historically important cities are Hebron, Nablus, Bethlehem, and Jericho. East Jerusalem is regarded as part of the West Bank by Arabs; however, Israel has incorporated it into the larger Jerusalem economy and municipality. In addition to the Palestinian population, more than 600,000 Israelis live in settlements in the West Bank or in East Jerusalem or other West Bank territories that Israel has annexed to Jersusalem.
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The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright 2012, Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.
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