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What is "Judea & Samaria"?

Judea and Samaria (in Hebrew, Yehuda v'Shomron) is the proper name for the territory that Jordan occupied beginning in 1949 until it was liberated by Israel in 1967.  Although it is disputed territory regarding the question of political sovereignty, it was included in the area of the historic Jewish homeland that was to become the Jewish state as decided by the League of Nations in 1922.


Why is it sometimes called the West Bank?

The 'West Bank' is a political term that was introduced by the Kingdom of Jordan in 1950 when it illegally occupied the territory after conquering it in 1948.  It was meant to differentiate this newly-acquired region west of the Jordan River from the Kingdom's original territory east of the Jordan River, originally called Transjordan. 

The term is not even geographically accurate as much of the so-called 'West Bank' is considerably closer to the eastern bank of the Mediterranean Sea than the western bank of the Jordan River.

The term is primarily used to disassociate the territory from Israel

When did it start being called Judea & Samaria?

The terms Judea & Samaria date back to Biblical times and appear numerous times in the Old and also the New Testament.

In its 1947 partition plan borders, the UN used the terms Judea and Samaria. Prior to that we find the term in the writings of well-known authors, such as in Mark Twain's 1867 "Innocents Abroad" and Felix Bovet's"Voyage en Taire Sainte" published in 1864.


Is Judea & Samaria 'illegally occupied'?

No. Jews were acknowledged by the League of Nations' decision to create the Mandate for Palestine. The Jews were to possess the right to settle and live in Judea & Samaria previously codified into the international conscience via the Balfour Declaration, the 1919 Versailles Peace Conference and the San Remo Accords of 1920.  From 1949-1967, the region was illegally occupied by Jordan. Jordan prohibited Jews from living there after ethnically cleansing the areas of its Jews who had resided there in for centuries, until the region was liberated by Israel in its 1967 defensive war against Arab aggression.

International law does not recognize any country’s sovereignty over Judea and Samaria, and Israel has the most valid claim to the area: Turkey, the United Kingdom, and Jordan have all formally renounced any such claim. "Palestine" as a country has never existed. Only Israel has populated, developed, and administered the area for over the last 3000 years.

Despite its strong international law argument in favor of Israeli sovereignty, Israel has, for now, withheld annexing Judea & Samaria, recognizing that the international community considers the region 'disputed'.


Where is Judea & Samaria located?

The area encompasses the southern and northern suburbs of Jerusalem and those to the east of Tel Aviv and the Jordan River to its west.  It includes Israel's central mountain range, and at 1,100 meters above sea level, it overlooks Israel’s largest population center in Tel-Aviv, as well as Israel’s only international airport.


How big is Judea & Samaria?

Judea and Samaria includes approximately 21% of all territory west of the Jordan River, which is a land mass of 3,438 square miles (5,500 square km).  Its length (North-South) is approximately 79 miles (125 km) and varies from 19-34 miles (30-55 km) wide (East-West).


How many residents are there in Judea & Samaria?

At the begining of 2020, the number of  Israeli residents of Judea & Samaria reached 463,901 (not including another 210,000 Israelis living in Jerusalem's post-1967 neighborhoods). Estimates of the Arab residents of Judea & Samaria range from approximately 1.5 to 2.5 million due to the unreliability of the Palestinian Authority's census data.


Who governs the residents of Judea & Samaria?

Israelis who live in Judea & Samaria are citizens of Israel. They serve in the army, vote in Israeli elections and pay taxes to the Israeli government. Municipally, there are 4 cities (minimum of 20,000 residents), 6 regional councils (counties) and 14 local councils. Altogether, there are 185 different Israeli communities (cities, towns, villages, kibbutzim and moshavim).

The 98% of Palestinians in Judea & Samaria are governed by the Palestinian Authority (PA), pay taxes to the PA and vote in PA administered elections, if elections are held. The other 2% of the Arabs in Judea and Samaria reside in Area C.

Are there 'apartheid roads' in Judea & Samaria?

No.  The roads that crisscross the region are open to both Israeli and Arab-Palestinian traffic.  Since the PA issues their own license plates, it is quite obvious to any driver/passenger that the roads are open to all.  A very few number of roads are sometimes restricted depending on the security situation that alternates.

However, in approximately 40% of Judea & Samaria that is under the control of the Palestinian Authority, it is illegal for Jewish Israeli citizens to enter or use those roads.

How much land has been developed throughout Judea & Samaria?

Approximately 17% of Judea & Samaria has been developed including all Israeli and Palestinian-Arab development. The built up areas of Israeli settlements cover around 2% percent of all West Bank land (StandWithUs)

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