Illegal settlements prove to be a major thorn in Palestine-Israel negotiations, to no one’s surprise.

The Palestinian-Israeli conflict is one of the most infamous in history for its duration, death toll, and the fact that it seems it will never end. The major thorn in the agreement between the two states is borderlines. The 1967 agreement between Israel and Palestine outlined what land was to go to each country so as to attempt to bring some type of peace to the region. However, due to continuous violence from both ends the agreed to borders have been violated on numerous occasions by Israel. “The number of Jewish settlers that the Israeli government has incentivized to live on Palestinian land has tripled since 1993 to more than 342,000 at the end of 2011, the Associated Press reported last year.” These numbers cannot be ignored and yet the state continues to allow for the construction of housing on illegal land.
One wonders then how an agreement will ever be reached with behavior such as this. Senator Kerry has been in the process of negotiations between the two states and, although, he assures progress is being made this does not seem to be the case. If he cannot get Israel to halt construction on illegally settled land and put a stop to the major problem then how can the two states further negotiations? The answer is they cannot. Netanyahu emphasizes Israel’s security, as a top priority in negotiations but the connection between the state’s security and halting the illegal behavior is weak at best. Yuval Diskin, former head of Israel’s security agency agrees and has urged the state to put a halt to the settlements, claiming it could approach levels no government would be able to remove, emphasis added. These are words from someone whose duty it was to focus on Israel’s security and yet has very different views from Netanyahu for what needs to be done in regards to building on illegal land. The halting on illegal settlements will not bring solve the problems between the two states whose history has the deepest of roots, but it will be a huge step for negotiations.

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One comment

  1. Israel’s building of settlements and encouraging the occupation of Palestinian land has stalled the so-called peace negotiations for far too long. While both sides often publicly announce their willingness to negotiate and that they are ready for an agreement, they both are unwilling to budge an inch. The Palestinian Authority demands that the peace process cannot begin unless there is an unequivocal halt to all occupation settlements in Palestine. Conversely, Israel maintains that Palestine’s demands amount to a “pre-condition,” and will not negotiate so long as an such condition is placed on the process.

    In essence, both parties are belligerent and hold too much of a grudge against each other. The partition plan was flawed to begin with. But now, after more than a half-century of aggression between the two States, Palestine’s borders and any autonomy that it had have been effectively destroyed. As unfortunate as it may be, I fear that the peace negotiations will not be achieved in a way that materially benefits Palestine unless an international partner with political clout takes up their cause. However, with an already tumultuous middle-east, I think that it is highly unlikely that we will see any considerable change on the ground within the coming years.

    Inshallah, the Palestinians and friends of Palestine will stand up and advocate for a thorough and equitable solution based on principles of international law. And, if Palestine’s push for State-status at the U.N. is successful then they will be able to bring a sovereign claim against Israel before the International Court of Justice. I am hopeful that the day is coming sooner than later.

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