Territory located to the west of the Jordan River (thus its being called "the West Bank") and the Dead Sea, constituting approximately 21% of historic Palestine. Israel often refers to it by its biblical name "Judea and Samaria," often with the political motive of wanting to legitimize Israeli sovereignty of the territory. The territory was part of the designated Arab State in the 1937 U.N. Partition Plan, and came under Jordanian control after the 1948 War. The West Bank (including East Jerusalem) was conquered by Israel during the 1967 War, making up the bulk of the newly Occupied Palestinian Territories, along with the Gaza Strip. In 1994, the Palestinian Authority (PA) and Areas A, B and C were formed as part of the Oslo Accords. The PA was granted limited self-government in the population centers of the West Bank (as well as Gaza) for an interim five-year period, although Israel retained responsibility for security in much of the West Bank as well as for administration of the Jewish Israeli settlements in the territory, which continues until today. Est. Palestinian population in 2007 according to the Palestinian Central Bureau of Statistics: 2.3 million. According to Israel’s Central Bureau of Statistics, over 300,000 Jewish Israeli settlers resided in the West Bank in 2009; this number does not include settlements with populations under 2,000 or settlers living in East Jerusalem. Israel built the Separation Barrier along the border of and jutting into the West Bank, operates military checkpoints within and along the borders of the territory, and conducts military operations on a regular basis. See "Humanitarian Factsheet on Area C of the West Bank," UNOCHA, December 2011; and "Settler population rose 4.9% in 2009," Tovah Lazaroff, Jerusalem Post, March 10, 2010.
Known as al-Buraq Wall in Arabic or HaKotel in Hebrew. Also known as The Wailing Wall in English. Located in the Old City of Jerusalem adjacent to the Temple Mount/Haram al-Sharif (The Noble Sanctuary). Jews have come for centuries to pray at the Wall (which is, after the Temple Mount itself, the holiest place in Judaism) and have a tradition of leaving notes with prayers written on them in the cracks of the Wall. Jewish reverence for the Western Wall stems from its being a remnant of the Second Jewish Temple, specifically, part of a retaining wall of the Temple Mount, though only part of the Wall actually dates from the Second Temple period. The Wall is also sacred in Islam, as it is believed that the Prophet Muhammed tethered his winged steed Buraq on or near the Wall during his miraculous night journey from Mecca to Jerusalem. Many Arab leaders, including in the Palestinian Authority, have denied that Jews have historic and religious connections to the Wall, or to Jerusalem. From 1948-1967, the Western Wall (and all the Old City of Jerusalem) was under Jordanian control and Jews did not have access to pray there. When Israel captured the Old City in the 1967 War and renewed access to the Wall after 19 years, many Jews received this as an emotional and historic event. The Palestinian Mughrabi Quarter of the Old City, which was adjacent to the Wall, was razed in the immediate aftermath of the 1967 War, displacing 650 people in order to build what is now the Western Wall Plaza. Haram al-Sharif/The Temple Mount and the Western Wall itself are flash points for the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, due to their religious significance to both Muslims and Jews, and due to Palestinian fears that any excavations or other such work around or near those sites will damage Al-Aqsa mosque or are connected to other forms of religious, political and military control of the area. This fear has a basis; there are Jewish extremist groups whose goal is to rebuild a Jewish Temple on what is now Al Aqsa Mosque and the Dome of the Rock. See "Western Wall Feud Heightens [no-lexicon]Israeli[/no-lexicon]-Palestinian Tensions," Isabel Kershner, The New York Times, November 25, 2010; and "At the Western Wall, the sacred stones might become the stepping stone for Third Temple dreams," Anshel Pfeffer, Ha’aretz, May 15, 2013. See also "Rare photograph reveals ancient Jerusalem mosque destroyed in 1967," Nir Hasson, Haaretz, Jun 15, 1012.
A British policy paper issued by the British government in May 1939, following suppression of the Arab Revolt of 1936-1939, stating the British objective of establishing an "independent Palestine State" bound to Britain and encompassing both Jews and Arabs. It also nullified the promise of the Balfour Declaration for establishment of a Jewish National Home. The Paper was largely a response to Arab pressure over increased Jewish immigration to the area. On the eve of World War II and the Holocaust, the Paper recommended a five-year plan for limited Jewish immigration of 15,000 a year, including a requirement of Arab consent to immigration after the plan expired. It also placed limits on the rights of Jews to buy land from Arabs. It represented British policy until the United Nations Partition Plan of 1947. Zionist leader David Ben Gurion vowed to "fight the White Paper as if there were not Hitler and fight Hitler as if there were no White Paper." See the full text of MacDonald White Paper, The Avalon Project of Yale Law School.
In August 2005, James Wolfensohn, UN special envoy to oversee Israel’s Gaza Disengagement, arranged for the purchase and transfer of about 1,000 greenhouses from Jewish Israeli settler ownership to the Palestinian Authority. Wolfensohn, a former World Bank president, offered $500,000 of his own money for the deal, while a consortium of wealthy Americans covered the remaining $13.5 million. Though the greenhouses were expected to be a key factor in the Gaza Strip’s recovery after Israel’s disengagement in August 2005, up to 50% of them had been at least partly dismantled by the settlers themselves before the disengagement. Many of the remaining greenhouses were looted by Gazans immediately after the Israeli army left, leaving a number of them unusable or in need of expensive repairs. The hi-tech greenhouses, which grew spices, flowers and vegetables primarily for export, had employed approximately 3,500 Gazans during the Israeli occupation. However, border closures impacting export of produce and the lack of financial subsidies that the Israeli settlers had received from the Israeli government make it questionable whether or not the greenhouses could have been profitable for Palestinians, even had the looting not occurred. See "US Donors to Pay Departing Jews for Gaza Greenhouses," Greg Myre, The New York Times, August 13, 2005; and "Troubled Season for Gaza’s Greenhouses," Joshua Mitnick, The Christian Science Monitor, October 25, 2005.