Two-state solution is not likely
From my recent trip to the holy land, an Israeli/Palestinian peace agreement, based on a two-state solution, does not look hopeful. The solution would be the current state of Israel for Israelis and the Occupied West Bank, East Jerusalem and Gaza as a Palestinian state. Israel occupied the West Bank, East Jerusalem and Gaza in 1967, and continues an oppressive military occupation of the West Bank.
While Israel removed about 8,000 Jewish settlers from Gaza in August 2005, Israel still controls Gaza’s airspace, sea and land borders. One needs to obtain a permit from the Israeli government to enter or leave Gaza, which makes the 1.4 million Gazans prisoners.
At issue for a two-state solution are: the borders between Israel and the West Bank; the fate of East Jerusalem, which Palestinians want as their capital and Israel wants as part of Israel; the separation wall/fence, which separates farmers from their farmland in some cases; the right of return of Palestinian refugees forced to flee from their homes in the 1948 Arab-Israel War; 148 Jewish-only settlements in the West Bank housing 480,000 Jews (international law bars an occupying power from transferring their population into occupied territory); and the 41-year Israeli military occupation, with its 607 obstacles to movement, roving check points, etc.
The separation wall, said to be illegal by the International Court of Justice, is over three times the length of the Green Line (the 1967 border) between Israel and the West Bank, and isolates about 9.5 percent of the West Bank from the Palestinians. The wall snakes around many of the settlements and water sources so that they can be incorporated into Israel.
Israeli Jews want security, but I observed that Israeli government policies are designed to make life difficult for Palestinians by disapproving 95 percent of their building permits, confiscating Palestinian land and demolishing their homes, not giving them equal services or water, imprisoning them without charges, requiring permits for movement, etc.
Since the Annapolis summit six months ago, Israel has accelerated settlement building in the West Bank and East Jerusalem. Many felt Israel was trying to grab as much land, housing and resources in the West Bank and East Jerusalem in the event they were forced into a two-state solution.
With Congress’ recent approval of $2.5 billion in aid to Israel, there is no reason for Israel to negotiate a peace agreement. Also, Fatah and Hamas have to heal their differences and form a united Palestinian government based on non-violence, honesty and efficiency.
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