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West Bank

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An area of Palestine west of the River Jordan, allocated by a UN Partition Plan of 1947 as a separate Arab state alongside an independent state of Israel. It was occupied by Jordan in 1948, and formally annexed in 1949, although only Britain and Pakistan recognized this. Some tension existed between Palestinian Arabs of the area and the Jordanian government, which they regarded as autocratic.

Following the Arab–Israeli Six Day War of 1967 the whole area was occupied by Israel. PLO forces, operating from Jordan until 1971 and later from Lebanon, mounted continuous guerrilla attacks. At the same time Israeli occupation became more aggressive, with increasing numbers of Jewish settlers expropriating Arab land from the 1980s. Thousands of Arab refugees fled to Lebanon and Jordan, and some were forcibly evicted. From December 1987 onwards Israeli troops used ever harsher methods to suppress the Palestinian protest of Intifadah. This began on the Gaza Strip but quickly spread to the West Bank, with stone‐throwing Arab youths being beaten and shot in increasing numbers. During the second Intifadah, which began in 2000, the West Bank became the source of many attacks against Israel, both because of its long border with Israel and because of the large number of new Jewish settlements within its territory. In response, Israel began constructing a controversial wall along its border with the West Bank. Unimpressed by the criticism of the International Court of Justice in 2004, Israel had completed over half of the 420‐mile (670 km) long wall, which was 8 m high, by 2006.

Subjects: Religion

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