What Is the Difference Between the Gaza Strip and the West Bank?

Although both the Gaza Strip and the West Bank are part of the Palestinian Territories, they have different relationships with Israel. As of 2015, the government of the Gaza Strip is opposed to Israel, while the government of the West Bank accepts its existence.

Although the Oslo Accords mandated that the Palestinian Territories be treated as one unit, the geographical separation of the two territories made it easy for their governments to go in different directions. Hamas, a radical organization, is in power in the Gaza Strip, as of 2015. Hamas does not recognize Israel as a legitimate country and is in conflict with the Israeli government. In turn, Israel does not recognize Hamas as a legitimate government. The Gaza Strip is home to a large number of Palestinian refugees and residents are restricted from traveling to the rest of the country except for humanitarian reasons such as medical treatment.

In contrast, Fatah, the party in charge in the West Bank, accepts Israel's existence and has a diplomatic relationship with it. The West Bank is also more secular than the Gaza Strip, which follows a more strict Islamic culture. Due to its friendly relationship with Israel, West Bank residents are given more freedoms than their counterparts in Gaza. The West Bank also has a better economy and is less dependent on foreign aid than Gaza.