Jumaat, 17 Jun 2011

ISRAEL-PALESTINE.

The Israeli–Palestinian conflict is the ongoing conflict between Israelis and Palestinians.[1] The conflict is wide-ranging, and the term is also used in reference to the earlier phases of the same conflict, between Jewish and Zionist yishuv and the Arab population living in Palestine under Ottoman or British rule. It forms part of the wider Arab–Israeli conflict. The remaining key issues are: mutual recognition, borders, security, water rights, control of Jerusalem, Israeli settlements,[2] Palestinian freedom of movement[3] and legalities concerning refugees. The violence resulting from the conflict has prompted international actions, as well as other security and human rights concerns, both within and between both sides, and internationally.
Many attempts have been made to broker a two-state solution, involving the creation of an independent Palestinian state alongside an independent Jewish state or next to the State of Israel (after Israel's establishment in 1948). As recently as 2007, a majority of both Israelis and Palestinians, according to a number of polls, prefer the two-state solution over any other solution as a means of resolving the conflict.[4] Moreover, a considerable majority of the Jewish public sees the Palestinians' demand for an independent state as just, and thinks Israel can agree to the establishment of such a state.[5] A majority of Palestinians and Israelis view the West Bank and Gaza Strip as an acceptable location of the hypothetical Palestinian state in a two-state solution.[6] However, there are significant areas of disagreement over the shape of any final agreement and also regarding the level of credibility each side sees in the other in upholding basic commitments.[7]
Within Israeli and Palestinian society, the conflict generates a wide variety of views and opinions. This highlights the deep divisions which exist not only between Israelis and Palestinians, but also within each society.
A hallmark of the conflict has been the level of violence witnessed for virtually its entire duration. Fighting has been conducted by regular armies, paramilitary groups, terror cells and individuals. Casualties have not been restricted to the military, with a large number of fatalities in civilian population on both sides.
There are prominent international actors involved in the conflict. The two parties engaged in direct negotiation are the Israeli government, currently led by Benjamin Netanyahu, and the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO), currently headed by Mahmoud Abbas. The official negotiations are mediated by an international contingent known as the Quartet on the Middle East (the Quartet) represented by a special envoy that consists of the United States, Russia, the European Union, and the United Nations. The Arab League is another important actor, which has proposed an alternative peace plan. Egypt, a founding member of the Arab League, has historically been a key participant.
Since 2003, the Palestinian side has been fractured by conflict between the two major factions: Fatah, the traditionally dominant party, and its later electoral challenger, Hamas. Following Hamas' seizure of power in the Gaza Strip in June 2007, the territory controlled by the Palestinian National Authority (the Palestinian interim government) is split between Fatah in the West Bank, and Hamas in the Gaza Strip. The division of governance between the parties has effectively resulted in the collapse of bipartisan governance of the Palestinian National Authority (PA).
A round of peace negotiations began at Annapolis, Maryland, United States, in November 2007. These talks were aimed at having a final resolution by the end of 2008.[8]
Direct negotiations between the Israeli government and Palestinian leadership began in September of 2010 aimed at reaching an official final status settlement.

Contents

[hide]

[edit] History

[edit] Peace process

Part of the Israeli–Palestinian conflict
and Arab–Israeli conflict series
Israeli–Palestinian
Peace Process
Israel with the West Bank, Gaza Strip and Golan Heights
  
Israel
  
West Bank, Gaza Strip, Golan Heights
Negotiating Parties
Israel Palestinians
History
Camp David Accords · Madrid Conference
Oslo Accords / Oslo II · Hebron Protocol
Wye River / Sharm el-Sheikh Memoranda
2000 Camp David Summit · Taba Summit
Road Map · Annapolis Conference
Primary Negotiation Concerns
Final borders  · Israeli settlements
 · Refugees (Jewish, Palestinian Arab)  · Security concerns
Status of Jerusalem  · Water
Secondary Negotiation Concerns
Antisemitic incitements
Israeli West Bank barrier · Jewish state
Palestinian political violence
Places of worship
Palestine  Current Leaders  Israel
Mahmoud Abbas
Salam Fayyad
Shimon Peres
Benjamin Netanyahu
International Brokers
Diplomatic Quartet (United Nations, United States, European Union, Russia
Arab League (Egypt, Jordan)  · United Kingdom  · France
Other Proposals
One-state solution (Isratine· Two-state solutions (Arab Peace Initiative · Geneva Accord · Allon Plan · Elon Peace Plan · Lieberman Plan)  · Three-state solution Israeli unilateral plans: Disengagement  · Realignment
Peace-orientated projects: Peace Valley  · Middle East economic integration
Major projects, groups and NGOs
Peace-oriented projects · Peace Valley  · Alliance for Middle East Peace · Aix Group · Peres Center for Peace

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[edit] Oslo Accords (1993)

A peace movement poster: Israeli and Palestinian flags and the words peace in Arabic and Hebrew.
In 1993, Israeli officials led by Yitzhak Rabin and Palestinian leaders from the Palestine Liberation Organization led by Yasser Arafat strove to find a peaceful solution through what became known as the Oslo peace process. A crucial milestone in this process was Arafat's letter of recognition of Israel's right to exist. In 1993, the Oslo Accords were finalized as a framework for future Israeli-Palestinian relations. The crux of the Oslo agreement was that Israel would gradually cede control of the Palestinian territories over to the Palestinians in exchange for peace. The Oslo process was delicate and progressed in fits and starts, the process took a turning point at the assassination of Yitzhak Rabin and finally unraveled when Arafat and Ehud Barak failed to reach agreement at Camp David in July 2000. Robert Malley, special assistant to United States President Bill Clinton for Arab-Israeli Affairs, has confirmed that while Barak made no formal written offer to Arafat, the US did present concepts for peace which were considered by the Israeli side yet left unanswered by Arafat "the Palestinians’ principal failing is that from the beginning of the Camp David summit onward they were unable either to say yes to the American ideas or to present a cogent and specific counterproposal of their own".[9] Consequently, there are different accounts of the proposals considered.[10][11][12]
Yitzhak Rabin, Bill Clinton, and Yasser Arafat during the Oslo Accords on 13 September 1993.

[edit] Camp David Summit (2000)

In July 2000, U.S. President Bill Clinton convened a peace summit between Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat and Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Barak. Barak reportedly offered the Palestinian leader approximately 95% of the West Bank and Gaza Strip, as well as Palestinian sovereignty over East Jerusalem,[13] and that 69 Jewish settlements (which comprise 85% of the West Bank's Jewish settlers) would be ceded to Israel. He also proposed "temporary Israeli control" indefinitely over another 10% of the West Bank territory—an area including many more Jewish settlements. According to Palestinian sources, the remaining area would be under Palestinian control, yet certain areas would be broken up by Israeli bypass roads and checkpoints. Depending on how the security roads would be configured, these Israeli roads might impede free travel by Palestinians throughout their proposed nation and reduce the ability to absorb Palestinian refugees.
Arafat rejected this offer. President Clinton reportedly requested that Arafat make a counter-offer, but he proposed none. Former Israeli Foreign Minister Shlomo Ben Ami who kept a diary of the negotiations said in an interview in 2001, when asked whether the Palestinians made a counterproposal: "No. And that is the heart of the matter. Never, in the negotiations between us and the Palestinians, was there a Palestinian counterproposal."[14]
No tenable solution was crafted which would satisfy both Israeli and Palestinian demands, even under intense U.S. pressure. Clinton blamed Arafat for the failure of the Camp David Summit. In the months following the summit, Clinton appointed former U.S. Senator George J. Mitchell to lead a fact-finding committee that later published the Mitchell Report aimed at restoring the peace process.

[edit] Taba Summit (2001)

The Israeli negotiation team presented a new map at the Taba Summit in Taba, Egypt in January 2001. The proposition removed the "temporarily Israeli controlled" areas, and the Palestinian side accepted this as a basis for further negotiation. However, Prime Minister Ehud Barak did not conduct further negotiations at that time; the talks ended without an agreement. The following month the Likud party candidate Ariel Sharon was elected as Israeli prime minister on 7 February 2001.

[edit] Road Map for Peace

One peace proposal, presented by the Quartet of the European Union, Russia, the United Nations and the United States on September 17, 2002, was the Road Map for Peace. This plan did not attempt to resolve difficult questions such as the fate of Jerusalem or Israeli settlements, but left that to be negotiated in later phases of the process. The proposal never made it beyond the first phase, which called for a halt to Israeli settlement construction and a halt to Israeli and Palestinian violence, none of which was achieved.

[edit] Arab Peace Initiative

The Arab Peace Initiative (Arabic: مبادرة السلام العربية) was first proposed by Crown Prince Abdullah of Saudi Arabia in the Beirut Summit. The peace initiative is a proposed solution to the Arab-Israeli conflict as a whole, and the Israeli–Palestinian conflict in particular.
The initiative was initially published on March 28, 2002, at the Beirut Summit, and agreed upon again in 2007 in the Riyadh Summit.
Unlike the Road Map for Peace, it spelled out "final-solution" borders based explicitly on the UN borders established before the 1967 Six-Day War. It offered full normalization of relations with Israel, in exchange for the withdrawal of its forces from all the occupied territories, including the Golan Heights, to recognize "an independent Palestinian state with East Jerusalem as its capital" in the West Bank and Gaza Strip, as well as a "just solution" for the Palestinian refugees.[15]
A number of Israeli officials have responded to the initiative with both support and criticism. The Israeli government has expressed reservations on 'red line,' issues such as the Palestinian refugee problem, homeland security concerns, and the nature of Jerusalem.[16] However, the Arab League continues to raise it as a possible solution, and meetings between the Arab League and Israel have been held.[17]

[edit] Current issues in dispute

The following outlined positions are the official positions of the two parties; however, it is important to note that neither side holds a single position. Both the Israeli and the Palestinian sides include both moderate and extremist bodies as well as dovish and hawkish bodies.
Many Palestinians nowadays believe that Israel is not really interested in reaching an arrangement, but rather interested in continuing to control the entire territory from the Mediterranean Sea to the Jordan River.
On the other hand, many Israelis nowadays believe that the Palestinians’ true intentions are to conquer the Palestine region entirely and that their official claims are only a temporary strategy. As a proof to their claims, they note the rise of the Hamas, which has called for the takeover of all parts of Israel, incitement against Israel made in the Palestinian schools' textbooks and to the Palestinian political violence made against Israeli civilians within the Green Line borders.[18]
Due to the large number of opinions and interpretations, the question of the true demands of the parties is a political issue by itself, about which many Israelis and Palestinians disagree.

[edit] Jerusalem

Greater Jerusalem, May 2006. CIA remote sensing map showing what CIA regards as settlements, plus refugee camps, fences, walls, etc.
The border of Jerusalem is a particularly delicate issue, with each side asserting claims over this city. The three largest Abrahamic religionsJudaism, Christianity, and Islam—include Jerusalem as an important setting for their religious and historical narratives.[19] Israel asserts that the city should not be divided and should remain unified within Israel's political control. Palestinians claim at least the parts of the city which were not part of Israel prior to June 1967. As of 2005, there were more than 719,000 people living in Jerusalem; 465,000 were Jews (mostly living in West Jerusalem) and 232,000 were Muslims (mostly living in East Jerusalem).[20]
The Israeli government, including the Knesset and Supreme Court, is centered in the "new city" of West Jerusalem and has been since Israel's founding in 1948. After Israel captured the Jordanian-controlled East Jerusalem in the Six-Day War, it assumed complete administrative control of East Jerusalem. In 1980, Israel issued a new law stating, "Jerusalem, complete and united, is the capital of Israel."[21]
At the Camp David and Taba Summits in 2000–01, the United States proposed a plan in which the Arab parts of Jerusalem would be given to the proposed Palestinian state while the Jewish parts of Jerusalem were retained by Israel. All archaeological work under the Temple Mount would be jointly controlled by the Israeli and Palestinian governments. Both sides accepted the proposal in principle, but the summits ultimately failed.[22]
Israel has grave concerns regarding the welfare of Jewish holy places under possible Palestinian control. When Jerusalem was under Jordanian control, no Jews were allowed to visit the Western Wall or other Jewish holy places, and the Jewish cemetery on the Mount of Olives was desecrated.[22] In 2000, a Palestinian mob took over Joseph's Tomb, a shrine considered sacred by both Jews and Muslims, looted and burned the building and turned it into a mosque.[23] There are unauthorized Palestinian excavations for construction on the Temple Mount in Jerusalem, which could threaten the stability of the Western Wall.[citation needed] Israel, on the other hand, has seldom blocked access to holy places sacred to other religions.[citation needed] Israeli security agencies routinely monitor and arrest Jewish extremists that plan attacks, resulting in almost no serious incidents for the last 20 years.[24][not in citation given] Moreover, Israel has given almost complete autonomy to the Muslim trust (Waqf) over the Temple Mount.[22]
Israel expresses concern over the security of its residents if neighborhoods of Jerusalem are placed under Palestinian control. Jerusalem has been a prime target for attacks by militant groups against civilian targets since 1967. Many Jewish neighborhoods have been fired upon from Arab areas. The proximity of the Arab areas, if these regions were to fall in the boundaries of a Palestinian state, would be so close as to threaten the safety of Jewish residents. Nadav Shragai states this idea in his study for the Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs, "An Israeli security body that was tasked in March 2000 with examining the possibility of transferring three Arab villages just outside of Jerusalem - Abu Dis, Al Azaria, and a-Ram - to Palestinian security control, assessed at the time that: 'Terrorists will be able to exploit the short distances, sometimes involving no more than crossing a street, to cause damage to people or property. A terrorist will be able to stand on the other side of the road, shoot at an Israeli or throw a bomb, and it may be impossible to do anything about it. The road will constitute the border.' If that is the case for neighborhoods outside of Jerusalem's municipal boundaries, how much more so for Arab neighborhoods within those boundaries.[25]
Palestinians have voiced concerns regarding the welfare of Christian and Muslim holy places under Israeli control.[26]
Some Palestinian advocates have made statements alleging that the tunnels were re-opened with the intent of causing the mosque's collapse.[27] Israel considers these statements to be totally baseless and unfounded, and to be deliberately intended to incite aggression and public disorder,[28] and stated this in a 1996 speech at the UN.[29] The Israeli government insists it treats the Muslim and Christian holy sites with utmost respect. According to a 2010 study published by Freedom House, freedom of religion is respected.

[edit] Palestinian refugees of the 1948 war

Palestinian refugees are people who lost both their homes and means of livelihood as a result of the 1948 Arab-Israeli conflict.[30] The number of Palestinians who fled or were expelled from Israel following its creation was estimated at 711,000 in 1949.[31] Descendants of these original Palestinian Refugees are also eligible for registration and services provided by the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA), and as of 2010 number 4.7 million people.[32] One third of the refugees live in recognized refugee camps in Jordan, Lebanon, Syria, the West Bank and Gaza Strip. The remainder live in and around the cities and towns of these host countries.[30]
Most of the people described above were born outside of Israel.[30] Nevertheless, Palestinian negotiators, most notably Yasser Arafat,[33] have so far insisted that refugees have a right to return to the places where they lived before 1948 and 1967, including those within the 1949 Armistice lines, citing the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and UN General Assembly Resolution 194 as evidence.
The Arab Peace Initiative of 2002 declared that it proposed the compromise of a "just resolution" of the refugee problem.[34]
Palestinian and international authors have justified the right of return of the Palestinian refugees on several grounds:[35][36][37]
  • A few authors included in the broader New Historians assert that the Palestinian refugees were chased out or expelled by the actions of the Haganah, Lehi and Irgun.[38] Prominent historians such as Professor Avi Shlaim have argued otherwise. Shlaim (2000) has given documented accounts of how the Palestinians lost their homes and land. He argues that from April 1948 the military forces of what was to become Israel had embarked on a new offensive strategy which involved destroying Arab villages and the forced removal of civilians.
  • The traditional Israeli point of view arguing that Arab leaders encouraged Palestinian Arabs to flee has also been disputed by the New Historians, which instead have shown evidence indicating Arab leaders' will for the Palestinian Arab population to stay put.[39]
  • The Israeli Law of Return that grants citizenship to any Jew from anywhere in the world is viewed by some as discrimination against non-Jews, especially Palestinians that cannot apply for such citizenship or return to the territory which they left.[citation needed]
Home in Balata refugee camp demolished during the second Intifada, 2002
  • According to the UN Resolution 194, adopted in 1948, "the refugees wishing to return to their homes and live at peace with their neighbours should be permitted to do so at the earliest practicable date, and that compensation should be paid for the property of those choosing not to return and for loss of or damage to property which, under principles of international law or in equity, should be made good by the Governments or authorities responsible." UN Resolution 3236 "reaffirms also the inalienable right of the Palestinians to return to their homes and property from which they have been displaced and uprooted, and calls for their return". Resolution 242 from the UN affirms the necessity for "achieving a just settlement of the refugee problem"; however, Resolution 242 does not specify that the "just settlement" must or should be in the form of a literal Palestinian right of return.[40]
The most common arguments given for opposition are:
  • The Israeli government asserts that the Arab refugee problem is largely caused by the refusal of all Arab governments except Jordan to grant citizenship to Palestinian Arabs who reside within those countries' borders. This has produced much of the poverty and economic problems of the refugees, according to MFA documents.[41]
  • The Palestinian refugee issue is handled by a separate authority from that handling other refugees, that is, by UNRWA and not the UNHCR. Most of the people recognizing themselves as Palestinian refugees would have otherwise been assimilated into their country of current residency, and would not maintain their refugee state if not for the separate entities.
  • Concerning the origin of the Palestinian refugees, the official version of the Israeli government is that during the 1948 War the Arab Higher Committee and the Arab states encouraged Palestinians to flee in order to make it easier to rout the Jewish state or that they did so to escape the fights by fear.[41] The Palestinian narrative is that refugees were expelled and dispossessed by Jewish militias and by the Israeli army, following a plan established even before the war.[citation needed] Historians still debate the causes of the 1948 Palestinian exodus.
  • Although Israel accepts the right of the Palestinian Diaspora to return into a new Palestinian state, Israel insists that their return into the current state of Israel would be a great danger for the stability of the Jewish state; an influx of Palestinian refugees would lead to the destruction of the state of Israel.[45][46]

[edit] Israeli security concerns

Sbarro pizza restaurant bombing in Jerusalem, in which 15 Israeli civilians were killed and 130 wounded.
Throughout the conflict, Palestinian violence has been a concern for Israelis. Israel,[47] along with the United States[48] and the European Union, refer to the violence against Israeli civilians and military forces by Palestinian militants as terrorism. The motivations behind Palestinian violence against Israeli civilians are multiplex, and not all violent Palestinian groups agree with each other on specifics, however a common motive is to eliminate the Jewish state and replace it with a Palestinian Arab state.[49] The most prominent Islamist groups, such as Hamas, view the Israeli–Palestinian conflict as a religious jihad.[50]
Suicide bombing is used as a tactic among Palestinian organizations like Hamas, Islamic Jihad, and the Al-Aqsa Martyrs Brigade. In Israel, Palestinian suicide bombers have targeted civilian buses, restaurants, shopping malls, hotels and marketplaces.[51] From 1993-2003, 303 Palestinian suicide bombers attacked Israel.[52]
The Israeli government initiated construction of a security barrier following scores of suicide bombings and terrorist attacks in July 2003. Israel's coalition government approved the security barrier in the northern part of the green-line between Israel and the West Bank. Since the erection of the fence, terrorist acts have declined by more than 90%.[53]
Since 2001, the threat of Qassam rockets fired from the Palestinian Territories into Israel is also of great concern for Israeli defense officials.[54] In 2006—the year following Israel's disengagement from the Gaza Strip—the Israeli government recorded 1,726 such launches, more than four times the total rockets fired in 2005.[47] As of January 2009, over 8,600 rockets had been launched.[55][56] causing widespread psychological trauma and disruption of daily life.[57] Over 500 rockets and mortars hit Israel between January–September 2010.
An Israeli child wounded by a Hamas Grad rocket fired on the city of Beer Sheva is taken to a hospital
According to a study conducted by University of Haifa, 1 in 5 Israelis have lost a relative or friend in a Palestinian terrorist attack.[58]
There is significant debate within Israel about how to deal with the country's security concerns. Options have included military action (including targeted killings and house demolitions of terrorist operatives), diplomacy, unilateral gestures toward peace, and increased security measures such as checkpoints, roadblocks and security barriers. The legality and the wisdom of all of the above tactics have been called into question by various commentators.[6]
Since mid-June 2007, Israel's primary means of dealing with security concerns in the West Bank has been to cooperate with and permit United States-sponsored training, equipping, and funding of the Palestinian Authority's security forces, which with Israeli help have largely succeeded in quelling West Bank supporters of Hamas.[59]
According to a 2010 comprehensive survey of Palestinian attitude about peace with Israel, 13.7% rate violence against Israelis as 'unacceptable' as means to achieve a state. In comparison, 85.1% of Palestinians approve of violence.[60]

[edit] Palestinian violence outside of Israel

Some Palestinians have committed violent acts over the globe as part of their struggle against Israel. Many foreigners, including Americans[61] and Europeans,[62] have been killed and injured by Palestinian militants. At least 53 Americans have been killed and 83 injured by Palestinian violence since the signing of the Oslo Accords.[63]
During the late 1960s, the PLO became increasingly infamous for its use of international terror. In 1969 alone, the PLO was responsible for hijacking 82 planes. El Al Airlines became a regular hijacking target.[64][65] The hijacking of Air France Flight 139 by the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine culminated during a hostage-rescue mission, where Israeli special forces successfully rescued the majority of the hostages.
However, one of the most well-known and notorious terrorist acts was the capture and eventual murder of 11 Israeli athletes during the 1972 Olympic Games.[66]
The assassination of Robert F. Kennedy has been described as a Palestinian terrorist act by some sources.[67]

[edit] Attacks on diplomatic missions and Israelis abroad

Numerous embassies and Israeli travelers have been attacked by Palestinian militant groups during the Israeli–Palestinian conflict.

[edit] Palestinian Revolution

Suspected Palestinian collaborator killed during the First Intifada
Fighting among rival Palestinian and Arab movements has played a crucial role in shaping Israel's security policy towards Palestinian militants, as well as in the Palestinian leadership's own policies.[citation needed] As early as the 1930s revolts in Palestine, Arab forces fought each other while also skirmishing with Zionist and British forces, and internal conflicts continue to the present day. During the Lebanese Civil War, Palestinian baathists broke from the Palestinian Liberation Organization and allied with the Shia Amal Movement, fighting a bloody civil war that killed thousands of Palestinians.[79][80]
In the First Intifada, over a thousand Palestinians were killed in a campaign initiated by the Palestinian Liberation Organization to crack down on suspected Israeli security service informers and collaborators. The Palestinian Authority was strongly criticized for its treatment of alleged collaborators, rights groups complaining that those labeled collaborators were denied fair trials. According to a report released by the Palestinian Human Rights Monitoring Group, less than 45 percent of those killed were actually guilty of informing for Israel.[81]
The policies towards suspected collaborators contravene agreements signed by the Palestinian leadership. Article XVI(2) of the Oslo II Agreement states:[82]
"Palestinians who have maintained contact with the Israeli authorities will not be subjected to acts of harassment, violence, retribution, or prosecution."
The provision was designed to prevent Palestinian leaders from imposing retribution on fellow Palestinians who had worked on behalf of Israel during the occupation of the West Bank and Gaza Strip.[83]
In the Gaza Strip, Hamas officials have killed and tortured thousands of Fatah members and other Palestinians who oppose their rule. During the Battle of Gaza, more than 150 Palestinians died over a four day period. The violence among Palestinians was described as a civil war by some commentators.[84] By 2007, more than 600 Palestinian people had died during the struggle between Hamas and Fatah.[85]

[edit] International status

In the past, Israel has demanded control over border crossings between the Palestinian territories and Jordan and Egypt, and the right to set the import and export controls, asserting that Israel and the Palestinian territories are a single economic space.
In the interim agreements reached as part of the Oslo Accords, the Palestinian Authority has received control over cities (Area A) while the surrounding countryside has been placed under Israeli security and Palestinian civil administration (Area B) or complete Israeli control (Area C). Israel has built additional highways to allow Israelis to traverse the area without entering Palestinian cities. The initial areas under Palestinian Authority control are diverse and non-contiguous. The areas have changed over time because of subsequent negotiations, including Oslo II, Wye River and Sharm el-Sheik. According to Palestinians, the separated areas make it impossible to create a viable nation and fails to address Palestinian security needs; Israel has expressed no agreement to withdrawal from some Areas B, resulting in no reduction in the division of the Palestinian areas, and the institution of a safe pass system, without Israeli checkpoints, between these parts. Because of increased Palestinian violence[citation needed] to occupation this plan is in abeyance.

[edit] Water resources

In the Middle East, water resources are of great political concern. Since Israel receives much of its water from two large underground aquifers which continue under the Green Line, the use of this water has been contentious in the Israeli–Palestinian conflict. But critics of this argument say that even though Israel withdraws some water from these areas, it also supplies the West Bank with approximately 40 MCM annually, contributing to 77% of Palestinians' water supply in the West Bank, which is to be shared for a population of about 2.3 million.[86]
While Israel's consumption of this water has decreased since it began its occupation of the West Bank, it still consumes the majority of it: in the 1950s, Israel consumed 95% of the water output of the Western Aquifer, and 82% of that produced by the Northeastern Aquifer. Although this water was drawn entirely on Israel's own side of the pre-1967 border, the sources of the water are nevertheless from the shared groundwater basins located under both West Bank and Israel.[87]
In the treaty of the Oslo II Accord, both sides agreed to maintain "existing quantities of utilization from the resources." In so doing, the Palestinian Authority established the legality of Israeli water production in the West Bank. Moreover, Israel obligated itself in this agreement to provide water to supplement Palestinian production, and further agreed to allow additional Palestinian drilling in the Eastern Aquifer. Many Palestinians counter that the Oslo II agreement was intended to be a temporary resolution and that it was not intended to remain in effect more than a decade later. Indeed its name is "The Israeli-Palestinian Interim Agreement."[88]
This agreement also established the right of the Palestinian Authority to explore and drill for natural gas, fuel and petroleum within its territory and territorial waters. It also delineated the major terms of conduct regarding regulations on the parties' facilities.[88]
Israel continues to honor its obligations under the Interim Agreement.[89]

[edit] Future and financing

Numerous foreign nations and international organizations have established bilateral agreements with the Palestinian and Israeli water authorities. It is estimated that a future investment of about US$ 1.1 billion for the West Bank and US$ 0.8 billion[clarification needed] is needed for the planning period from 2003 to 2015.[90]
In order to support and improve the water sector in the Palestinian territories, a number of bilateral and multilateral agencies have been supporting many different water and sanitation programs

[edit] Israeli military occupation of the West Bank

Occupied Palestinian Territory is the term used by the United Nations to refer to the West Bank, including East Jerusalem,[91] and the Gaza Strip—territories which were captured by Israel during the 1967 Six-Day War, having formerly been controlled by Egypt and Jordan.[92] The Israeli government uses the term Disputed Territories, to argue that some territories cannot be called occupied as no nation had clear rights to them and there was no operative diplomatic arrangement when Israel acquired them in June 1967.[93][94] The area is still referred to as Judea and Samaria by some Israeli groups, based on the historical regional names from ancient times.
In 1980, Israel annexed East Jerusalem.[95] Israel has never annexed the West Bank or Gaza Strip, and the United Nations has demanded the "[t]ermination of all claims or states of belligerency and respect for and acknowledgment of the sovereignty, territorial integrity and political independence of every State in the area and their right to live in peace within secure and recognized boundaries free from threats or acts of force" and that Israeli forces withdraw "from territories occupied in the recent conflict" - the meaning and intent of the latter phrase is disputed. See Interpretations.
It has been the position of Israel that the most Arab-populated parts of West Bank (without major Jewish settlements), and the entire Gaza Strip must eventually be part of an independent Palestinian State. However, the precise borders of this state are in question. At Camp David, for example, then-Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Barak offered Yasser Arafat an opportunity to establish an independent Palestinian State composed of 92% of the West Bank, Arab neighborhood of East Jerusalem, and the entire Gaza Strip and dismantling of most settlements. Yasser Arafat rejected the proposal without providing a counter-offer.[96]
Some Palestinians claim they are entitled to all of the West Bank, Gaza Strip, and East Jerusalem. Israel says it is justified in not ceding all this land, because of security concerns, and also because the lack of any valid diplomatic agreement at the time means that ownership and boundaries of this land is open for discussion.[33] Palestinians claim any reduction of this claim is a severe deprivation of their rights. In negotiations, they claim that any moves to reduce the boundaries of this land is a hostile move against their key interests. Israel considers this land to be in dispute, and feels the purpose of negotiations is to define what the final borders will be.
Other Palestinian groups, such as Hamas, have in the past insisted that Palestinians must control not only the West Bank, Gaza Strip, and East Jerusalem, but also all of Israel proper. For this reason, Hamas has viewed the peace process "as religiously forbidden and politically inconceivable".[50]

[edit] Israeli settlements in the West Bank

A neighbourhood in Ariel, home to the Ariel University Center of Samaria, the largest Israeli public college
According to DEMA, "In the years following the Six-Day War, and especially in the 1990s during the peace process, Israel re-established communities destroyed in 1929 and 1948 as well as established numerous new settlements in the West Bank."[97] These settlements are, as of 2009, home to about 301,000 people.[98] DEMA added, "Most of the settlements are in the western parts of the West Bank, while others are deep into Palestinian territory, overlooking Palestinian cities. These settlements have been the site of much inter-communal conflict."[97] The issue of Israeli settlements in the West Bank and, until 2005, the Gaza Strip, have been described by the UK[99] and the WEU[100] as an obstacle to the peace process. The United Nations and the European Union have also called the settlements "illegal under international law."[101][102]
However, Israel disputes this;[103] several scholars and commentators disagree with the assessment that settlements are illegal, citing in 2005 recent historical trends to back up their argument.[104][105][106] Those who justify the legality of the settlements use arguments based upon Articles 2 and 49 of the Fourth Geneva Convention, as well as UN Security Council Resolution 242.[107] On a practical level, some objections voiced by Palestinians are that settlements divert resources needed by Palestinian towns, such as arable land, water, and other resources; and, that settlements reduce Palestinians' ability to travel freely via local roads, owing to security considerations.
In 2005, Israel's unilateral disengagement plan, a proposal put forward by Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon, was enacted. All residents of Jewish settlements in the Gaza strip were evacuated, and all residential buildings were demolished.[108]
Various mediators and various proposed agreements have shown some degree of openness to Israel retaining some fraction of the settlements which currently exist in the West Bank; this openness is based on a variety of considerations, such as, the desire to find real compromise between Israeli and Palestinian territorial claims.[109][110]
Israel's position that it needs to retain some West Bank land and settlements as a buffer in case of future aggression,[111] and Israel's position that some settlements are legitimate, as they took shape when there was no operative diplomatic arrangement, and thus they did not violate any agreement.[93][94]
Former US President George W. Bush has stated that he does not expect Israel to return entirely to the 1949 armistice lines because of "new realities on the ground."[112] One of the main compromise plans put forth by the Clinton Administration would have allowed Israel to keep some settlements in the West Bank, especially those which were in large blocs near the pre-1967 borders of Israel. In return, Palestinians would have received some concessions of land in other parts of the country.[109] The current US administration views a complete freeze of construction in settlements on the West Bank as a critical step toward peace. In May and June 2009, President Barack Obama said, "The United States does not accept the legitimacy of continued Israeli settlements,"[113] and the Secretary of State, Hillary Clinton, stated that the President "wants to see a stop to settlements — not some settlements, not outposts, not ‘natural growth’ exceptions.”[114] However, Obama has since declared that the United States will no longer press Israel to stop West Bank settlement construction as a precondition for continued peace-process negotiations with the Palestinian Authority.[115]

[edit] Actions toward stabilizing the conflict

In response to a weakening trend in Palestinian violence and growing economic and security cooperation between Israel and the Palestinian Authority, the Israeli military has removed over 120 check points in 2010 and plans on disengaging from major Palestinian population areas. According to the IDF, terrorist activity in the West Bank decreased by 97% compared to violence in 2002.[116]
PA-Israel efforts in the West Bank have "significantly increased investor confidence", and the Palestinian economy grew 6.8% in 2009.[117][118][119][120][121]
Bank of Palestine
Since the Second Intifada, Jewish Israelis have been banned from entering Palestinian cities. However, Israeli Arabs are allowed to enter West Bank cities on weekends.
The Palestinian Authority has petitioned the Israeli military to allow Jewish tourists to visit West Bank cities as "part of an effort" to improve the Palestinian economy. Israeli general Avi Mizrahi spoke with Palestinian security officers while touring malls and soccer fields in the West Bank. Mizrahi gave permission to allow Israeli tour guides into Bethlehem, a move intended to "contribute to the Palestinian and Israeli economies."[122]

[edit] Mutual recognition

The Oslo peace process was based upon Israel ceding authority to the Palestinians to run their own political and economic affairs. In return, it was agreed that Palestinians would promote peaceful co-existence, renounce violence and promote recognition of Israel among their own people. Despite Yasser Arafat's official renunciation of terrorism and recognition of Israel, some Palestinian groups continue to practice and advocate violence against civilians and do not recognize Israel as a legitimate political entity.[123] Palestinians state that their ability to spread acceptance of Israel was greatly hampered by Israeli restrictions on Palestinian political freedoms, economic freedoms, civil liberties, and quality of life.
It is widely felt among Israelis that Palestinians did not in fact promote acceptance of Israel's right to exist.[124][125] One of Israel's major reservations in regards to granting Palestinian sovereignty is its concern that there is not genuine public support by Palestinians for co-existence and elimination of terrorism and incitement.[124][125][126] Some Palestinian groups, notably Fatah, the political party founded by PLO leaders, claim they are willing to foster co-existence if Palestinians are steadily given more political rights and autonomy. However, in 2010, even Fatah leaders leaders such as Mahmoud Abbas refused to recognize Israel as a Jewish state.[127] In 2006, Hamas won a majority in the Palestinian Legislative Council, where it remains the majority party. Hamas has openly stated in the past that it completely opposed Israel's right to exist, and its charter states this.[123][128]
Israel cites past concessions—such as Israel’s disengagement from the Gaza Strip in August 2005, which did not lead to a reduction of attacks and rocket fire against Israel—as an example of the Palestinian people not accepting Israel as a state. Palestinian groups and Israeli Human Rights organizations (namely B'Tselem) have pointed out that while the military occupation in Gaza was ended, the Israeli government still retained control of Gaza's airspace, territorial water, and borders, legally making it still under Israeli control. They also say that mainly thanks to these restrictions, the Palestinian quality of life in the Gaza Strip has not improved since the Israeli withdrawal.

[edit] Government

The Palestinian Authority is considered corrupt by a wide variety of sources, including some Palestinians.[129][130][131] Some Israelis argue that it provides tacit support for extremists via its relationship with Hamas and other Islamic terrorist movements, and that therefore it is unsuitable for governing any putative Palestinian state or (especially according to the right wing of Israeli politics), even negotiating about the character of such a state.[33] Because of that, a number of organizations, including the previously ruling Likud party, declared they would not accept a Palestinian state based on the current PA.

[edit] Societal attitudes

Societal attitudes in both Israel and Palestine are a source of concern to those promoting dispute resolution.
Some Israelis are concerned that key Palestinian leaders have promoted incitement against and overall non-acceptance of Israel, including promotion of violence against Israel.[124][125]

[edit] Gaza blockade

According to Oxfam, because of an import-export ban imposed on Gaza in 2007, 95% of Gaza’s industrial operations were suspended. Out of 35,000 people employed by 3,900 factories in June 2005, only 1,750 people remained employed by 195 factories in June 2007.[132] By 2010, Gaza's unemployment rate had risen to 40% with 80% of the population living on less than 2 dollars a day.[133] The Israeli Government's cut in the flow of fuel and electricity to the Gaza Strip has also been called collective punishment. Jeremy Hobbs, director of Oxfam International, called on Israel “immediately [to] lift its inhumane and illegal siege.”[134]
The Israeli governments argues it is justified under international law to impose a blockade on an enemy for security reasons. The power to impose a naval blockade is established under customary international law and Laws of armed conflict.[135] The Military Advocate General of Israel has provided numerous reasonings for the policy:
"The State of Israel has been engaged in an ongoing armed conflict with terrorist organizations operating in the Gaza strip. This armed conflict has intensified after Hamas violently took over Gaza, in June 2007, and turned the territory under its de-facto control into a launching pad of mortar and rocket attacks against Israeli towns and villages in southern Israel."[136]
Starting February 7, 2008, the Israeli Government reduced the electricity it sells directly to Gaza. This follows the ruling of Israel’s High Court of Justice’s decision, which held, with respect to the amount of industrial fuel supplied to Gaza, that, “The clarification that we made indicates that the supply of industrial diesel fuel to the Gaza Strip in the winter months of last year was comparable to the amount that the Respondents now undertake to allow into the Gaza Strip. This fact also indicates that the amount is reasonable and sufficient to meet the vital humanitarian needs in the Gaza Strip.” Palestinian militants killed two Israelis in the process of delivering fuel to the Nahal Oz fuel depot.[137]
With regard to Israel’s plan, the Court stated that, “calls for a reduction of five percent of the power supply in three of the ten power lines that supply electricity from Israel to the Gaza Strip, to a level of 13.5 megawatts in two of the lines and 12.5 megawatts in the third line, we [the Court] were convinced that this reduction does not breach the humanitarian obligations imposed on the State of Israel in the framework of the armed conflict being waged between it and the Hamas organization that controls the Gaza Strip. Our conclusion is based, in part, on the affidavit of the Respondents indicating that the relevant Palestinian officials stated that they can reduce the load in the event limitations are placed on the power lines, and that they had used this capability in the past."
On June 20, 2010, Israel's Security Cabinet approved a new system governing the blockade that would allow practically all non-military or dual-use items to enter the Gaza strip. According to a cabinet statement, Israel would "expand the transfer of construction materials designated for projects that have been approved by the Palestinian Authority, including schools, health institutions, water, sanitation and more – as well as (projects) that are under international supervision."[138] Despite the easing of the land blockade, Israel will continue to inspect all goods bound for Gaza by sea at the port of Ashdod.[139]

[edit] Palestinian army

The Israeli Cabinet issued a statement[140] expressing that it does not wish the Palestinians to build up an army capable of offensive operations, considering that the only party against which such an army could be turned in the near future is Israel itself. However, Israel has already allowed for the creation of a Palestinian police that can conduct police operations and also carry out limited-scale warfare. Palestinians[vague] have argued that the Israel Defense Forces, a large and modern armed force, poses a direct and pressing threat to the sovereignty of any future Palestinian state, making a defensive force for a Palestinian state a matter of necessity. To this, Israelis claim that signing a treaty while building an army is a show of bad intentions.
Since 2006, the United States has been training, equipping, and funding the Palestinian Authority's security forces, which have been cooperating with Israel at unprecedented levels in the West Bank to quell supporters of Hamas, the main Palestinian Islamist group that opposes direct negotiations with Israel.[59] The United States government has spent over 500 million building and training the Palestinian National Security Forces and Presidential Guard.[59] The IDF believes the US-trained forces will soon be capable of "overrunning small IDF outposts and isolated Israeli communities" in the event of a conflict.[141]

[edit] Events since December 2009

In December 2009, the Israeli government ordered a 10-month lull in permits for new settlement homes in the West Bank.[142] The restrictions, which Israeli politicians and media have referred to as a "freeze",[142] do not apply to East Jerusalem (whose annexation by Israel is not recognised internationally[143]), municipal buildings, schools, synagogues and other community infrastructure in the settlements.[142][144] About 3,000 homes already under construction will be allowed to proceed.[142] The Israeli government said the move was aimed at restarting peace talks, but Palestinian officials said it was insufficient.[142] Palestinian officials had refused to rejoin peace talks unless a total building halt was imposed, including in East Jerusalem.[142] The announcement followed calls by the US government for a total freeze in settlement building.[142] The US government, the European Union, Russia and the UN criticized Israel's plans to continue building in East Jerusalem,[145] but both the US and the EU stated that neither the Palestinians nor Israel should have preconditions for resuming the suspended peace talks.[146][147]
A renewed effort to negotiate peace was initiated by United States President Barack Obama in 2010. Despite prevalent scepticism, President Obama indicated in a speech to the United Nations on September 23, 2010 that he is hopeful of a diplomatic peace within one year.[148]
Israeli leaders rejected demands to extend the 10-month moratorium on settlement construction which expired on September 27 at midnight. Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman rebuffed claims that the renewal of West Bank settlement construction was a provocative move meant to torpedo the peace talks. Lieberman said the Palestinians failed to accept the gesture of the moratorium for nine months and "now they are pressuring Israel to continue the very freeze they rejected." Lieberman said Israel was ready to enter peace talks with no preconditions.[149]
Mohamed Abbas threatened to abandon the negotiations if settlement construction was renewed. He said "Israel has a moratorium for 10 months and it should be extended for three to four months more to give peace a chance."[150]
Thirteen Palestinian militant groups led by Hamas initiated a violent campaign to disrupt peace talks between Israel and the Palestinian Authority. A series of attacks killed and wounded eight Israelis, including two pregnant women, between August and September 2010. Khaled Mashaal said Hamas will continue to "kill illegal settlers on our land."[151] On September 28, 2010, two Palestinian militants were killed by an IDF drone after attempting to launch rockets from the central Gaza Strip.[152]
In December 2010, Palestinian spokesmen rejected Binyamin Netanyahu's attempt to reach a "interim agreement" that did not cover borders or refugees.[153]

[edit] Fatalities 1948-present

A variety of studies provide differing casualty data for the Israeli–Palestinian conflict. According to the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute, 13,000 Israelis and Palestinians were killed in conflict with each other between 1948 and 1997.[154] Other estimations give 14,500 killed between 1948-2009.[154][155] Palestinian fatalities during the 1982 Lebanon War were 2,000 PLO combatants killed in armed conflict with Israel.[156]
Civilian casualty figures for the Israeli-Palestinian conflict from B'tselem and Israel Ministry of Foreign Affairs between 1987 to 2010[157][158][159][160] (numbers in parentheses represent casualties under age 18)
Year Deaths
Palestinians Israelis
2010 81 (9) 8 (0)
2009 1034 (314) 9 (1)
2008 887 (128) 35 (4)
2007 385 (52) 13 (0)
2006 665 (140) 23 (1)
2005 190 (49) 51 (6)
2004 832 (181) 108 (8)
2003 588 (119) 185 (21)
2002 1032 (160) 419 (47)
2001 469 (80) 192 (36)
2000 282 (86) 41 (0)
1999 9 (0) 4 (0)
1998 28 (3) 12 (0)
1997 21 (5) 29 (3)
1996 74 (11) 75 (8)
1995 45 (5) 46 (0)
1994 152 (24) 74 (2)
1993 180 (41) 61 (0)
1992 138 (23) 34 (1)
1991 104 (27) 19 (0)
1990 145 (25) 22 (0)
1989 305 (83) 31 (1)
1988 310 (50) 12 (3)
1987 22 (5) 0 (0)
Total 7978 (1620) 1503 (142)
Note: Figures includes 1,593 Palestinian fatalities attributed to intra-Palestinian violence. Figures do not include the 600 Palestinians killed by other Palestinians in the Gaza Strip since 2006.[85]
Demographic percentages for the Israeli-Palestinian conflict according to Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs from September 2000 until the end of July 2007.[161]
Belligerent↓ Combatant↓ Civilian↓ Male↓ Female↓ Children↓ Children Male↓ Children Female↓
Palestinian 41% 59% 94% 6% 20% 87% 13%
Israeli 31% 69% 69% 31% 12% Not available Not available
Note: It is considerably more difficult to distinguish precisely who amongst those Palestinians killed were civilians. Numerous pro-Israel organizations as well as the Israeli army claim the majority of Palestinians killed in armed conflict were combat-age males.[162]
The Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs for the occupied Palestinian territory (OCHAoPt) "was established in late 2000" by the United Nations.[163] The office monitors the conflict and presents figures relating to both internal-violence and direct conflict clashes.
Partial casualty figures for the Israeli-Palestinian conflict from the OCHAoPt[164] (numbers in parentheses represent casualties under age 18)
Year Deaths Injuries
Palestinians Israelis Palestinians Israelis
2008-26.12.08[165] 464 (87) 31 (4)
2007 396 (43) 13 (0) 1843 (265) 322 (3)
2006 678 (127) 25 (2) 3194 (470) 377 (7)
2005 216 (52) 48 (6) 1260 (129) 484 (4)
Total 1754 (309) 117 (12) 6297 (864) 1183 (14)
All numbers refer to casualties of direct conflict between Israelis and Palestinians including in IDF military operations, artillery shelling, search and arrest campaigns, Barrier demonstrations, targeted killings, settler violence etc. The figures do not include events indirectly related to the conflict such as casualties from unexploded ordnance, etc., or events when the circumstances remain unclear or are in dispute. The figures include all reported casualties of all ages and both genders.[164]
Figures include both Israeli civilians and security forces casualties in West Bank, Gaza and Israel.

[edit] Criticism of casualty statistics in the Second Intifada

As reported by the Israeli human rights group B’Tselem, since September 29, 2000 a total of 7,454 Palestinian and Israeli individuals were killed due to the conflict. According to the report, 1,317 of the 6,371 Palestinians were minors, and at least 2,996 did not participate in fighting at time of death. Palestinians killed 1,083 Israelis, including 741 civilians. 124 of those killed were minors.[166]
The International Policy Institute for Counter-Terrorism criticized the methodology of Palestinian-based rights groups, including B'tselem, and questioned their accuracy in classifying civilian/combatant ratios.[167][168][169]
In a study published by Scholars for Peace in the Middle East, Elihu D. Richter and Dr. Yael Stein examined B'tselem methods in calculating casualties during Operation Cast Lead. They argue that B'tselem's report contains "errors of omission, commission and classification bias which result in overestimates of the ratio of non-combatants to combatants."[170]
Stein and Richter claim the high male/female ratios among Palestinians, including those in their mid- to late- teens, "suggests that the IDF classifications are combatant and non-combatant status are probably far more accurate than those of B’Tselem."[170]
Casualty figures for the Israeli-Palestinian conflict in the 1936-1939 Great Arab Revolt
Source Cited by Deaths
Palestinian Arabs Palestinian Jews
Arnon-Ohana, 1982, 140 Morris, Righteous Victims p 159. 4,500
Various Morris, Righteous Victims p 159. 3,000 to 6,000 several hundred
These figures represent deaths caused by the Palestinian uprising against the British mandatory government in Palestine, and include those killed by the British.

[edit] Land mine and explosive remnants of war casualties

A comprehensive collection mechanism to gather land mine and explosive remnants of war (ERW) casualty data does not exist for the Palestinian territories.[171] In 2009, the United Nations Mine Action Centre reported that more than 2,500 mine and explosive remnants of war casualties occurred between 1967 and 1998, at least 794 casualties (127 killed, 654 injured and 13 unknown) occurred between 1999 to 2008 and that 12 people have been killed and 27 injured since the Gaza War.[171] The UN Mine Action Centre identified the main risks as coming from "ERW left behind by Israeli aerial and artillery weapon systems, or from militant caches targeted by the Israeli forces."[171] There are at least 15 confirmed minefields in the West Bank on the border with Jordan. The Palestinian National Security Forces do not have maps or records of the minefields.[171]

[edit] See also

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