Judea and Samaria (Yehuda VeShomron, also an acronym יו"ש Yosh or ש"י Shai; اليهودية والسامرة, al-Yahudiyyah was-Sāmarah) are the Biblical names for the area now more commonly referred to as the West Bank. It is the official name of one of the seven Districts of Israel (not recognised by the UN).
The geographical area of Samaria roughly corresponds to the territory of the ancient Kingdom of Israel with the capital in Shomron (Sebastia), while Judea (also Judaea) corresponds to the Kingdom of Judah with the capital in Jerusalem. After about 80 years of United Monarchy under Kings David and Solomon, the United Kingdom of Israel and Judea split into two independent kingdoms that occasionally went to war with each other. Referral to them as a unit is dating from the modern period, specifically the time of their occupation and annexation by Jordan. However, prior to the Jordanian occupation, the United Nations General Assembly Resolution 181 passed on November 29, 1947 used the term "Samaria and Judea" as part of the description of the border between the proposed Jewish and Arab/Muslim states.
Sometimes, the term "Judea and Samaria" is employed to distinguish it from the "West Bank", the latter term now thought to include also East Jerusalem and stretches of what used to be no-man's land between Israel and the Jordan River's West Bank. Following the annexation of East Jerusalem by Israel, according to Israeli law, Judea and Samaria is considered Terra nullius.
The term "Judea and Samaria" is also highly controversial in Israeli society itself, and is often employed specifically as a collective reference to the Jewish settlements in that area, historically and presently, especially by Jewish settlers and their supporters. Left-wing Israelis refuse to use it, as a matter of principle, and prefer "HaGada HaMa'aravit" (הגדה המערבית "The West Bank" in Hebrew) or "Hashetahim Hakvushim" (השטחים הכבושים, The Occupied Territories). Many Arab Palestinians object to this term as a rejection of their claim to the land. Nevertheless, the term al-Yahudiyya was-Samarah is used by Arab Christians in reference to the Bible.
United Nations Security Council Resolution 242, adopted after Israel captured the region from Jordan in the Six Days War, declares that Israel must withdraw from territories captured in the conflict. The future status of the region is a key factor in the ongoing Israeli-Palestinian conflict. Many on the political right view the refusal of countries like Iran and Saudi Arabia, and Palestinian political factions like Hamas, to acknowledge Israel's right to exist as the prime barriers to achieving peace. Many other international figures and organizations believe that Israeli expansionism is to blame.
In the 2006 Israeli elections, parties advocating relinquishing parts or all of Judea and Samaria gained 64 out of 120 Knesset seats (Kadima, Labour, Meretz along with the Arab parties). However, due to a change in public opinion following the 2006 Israel-Lebanon conflict in July-August 2006, such plans are not part of the current agenda.
It is further divided into 8 military administrative regions: Menashe (Jenin area), HaBik'a (Jordan Valley), Shomron (Shechem area, known in Arabic as Nablus), Efrayim (Tulkarm area), Binyamin (Ramallah/al-Bireh area), Maccabim (Maccabim area), Etzion (Bethlehem area) and Yehuda (Hebron area).
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