West Bank and Gaza Strip
West Bank and Gaza are unique entities . Although parts of the two areas consist of a series of autonomous, Palestinian-governed regions, Israel and Israeli forces surround them.
The Gaza Strip and the West Bank are two Palestinian territories that were part of Mandate Palestine and were captured
by Israel during the Six-Day War in 1967.
The Gaza Strip is 140 sq miles of land located in the southwest corner of Israel, along the coast
of the Mediterranean Sea. It also shares a border with Egypt to the south.
The West Bank is another area of land located within the country of Israel, but it is much larger than
the Gaza Strip at 2,173 sq miles. The West Bank stretches across the eastern border of Israel along the
west banks of the Jordan River and most of the Dead Sea, thus how it received its name. The holy city
of Jerusalem is considered by international law as part of the West Bank, with East Jerusalem being
claimed as the capital by both Israelis and Palestinians.
The population of the West Bank and Gaza is almost completely Palestinian Arab. The bulk of these are Sunni Muslims:
92 percent of West Bankers and 99 percent of Gazans, with the rest Christians. In addition to the Palestinian population,
approximately 214,000 Jewish settlers live in the West Bank and Gaza, according to the Foundation for Middle East Peace in Washington, D.C.
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