JERUSALEM -- A humorous e-mail circulating on the Internet explains the "law of diminishing territorial returns" in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. The first attempt at partitioning the land between Jews and Arabs, undertaken by the United Nations in 1947, resulted in the Palestinian majority being offered 47 percent of its historic homeland, with the rest allocated to a new Jewish state. The Palestinians rejected the plan and the ensuing war established Israel.
The Palestinians had to wait 46 years for the next offer: Under the 1993 Oslo accords, the Palestinians were to receive 22 percent of their homeland - the territories of the West Bank and Gaza. They accepted the terms, but Israel never got around to returning most of the land. Then Prime Minister Ehud Barak of Israel decided to speed things up and negotiate a final agreement at Camp David in 2000, "generously" offering the Palestinians 80 percent of the 22 percent of the 100 percent of their original homeland. Yasser Arafat refused to sign and the second intifada began.
The e-mail's payoff line is that Barak's successor, Ariel Sharon, has devised an even more miserly take-it-or-leave-it deal: the Palestinians can have a state on 42 percent of the 80 percent of the 22 percent of 100 percent of their original homeland.
The funniest part is that it isn't a joke. Sharon is deadly serious. The proof is not to be found in the "road map," which is diverting attention from Sharon's real goal, which is to redraw the territorial contours of historic Palestine himself - in concrete and barbed wire.
The security wall Israel is hastily constructing around the West Bank - officially justified by the need to stop terror attacks - will cage in more than 2 million Palestinians. Another electrified fence is already imprisoning 1 million Palestinians in Gaza.
Little attention has focused on this wall, mainly because it is assumed it follows the Green Line, the internationally recognized border that existed between Israel and the West Bank until the war of 1967. But Sharon admitted in a recent interview with the Israeli newspaper Yedioth Ahronoth that the wall will be at least 1,000 kilometers long (625 miles), whereas the Green Line is only 360 kilometers long.
Why does it need to be so long? Because Sharon is less interested in preventing suicide bombers than in creating a tiny de facto Palestinian state before the road map forces a bigger one on him. For decades Sharon has maintained that the Palestinians should not be allowed a state that controls its own borders, airspace and water or one that comprises more than 40 percent of the land of the West Bank and Gaza.
Palestinian research based on land expropriation orders issued by the Israeli Army produces a map that shows the wall winding its way deep into the heart of the Palestinian state, twisting and turning in an elaborate route designed to keep a large number of the settlers on "Israel's side" of the wall and minimize the amount of territory left to the Palestinians.
Israel is also preparing a second, similarly tortuous wall near the eastern border of the West Bank, which it shares with Jordan, that will steal even more land from the Palestinians and offers no obvious security benefits.
After the wall is finished, at a cost of more than $2 billion, the Palestinians will live in two minuscule states behind concrete and electrified fencing, restricted to their main population centers. Thousands of rural Palestinians will live outside the West Bank cage in military controlled zones, denied rights as citizens of either Palestine or Israel. The rest will live inside the prison. Palestine will finally be born from 42 percent of 80 percent of 22 percent of the historic Palestinian homeland.
The writer is a free-lance journalist living in Israel.
Most states in the region have been "created" and obtained their independence only since the 1930's and later. He would profit from reading "A History of the Israeli-Palestinian Conflict", by Mark Tessler and "The Middle East ,A Brief History of the last 2000 years" By Bernard Lewis. The trouble with so many people is they are not well-informed and know only how to copy-cat the propaganda they read, from both sides of the dispute. Knowledge should come before argument.
and have been studying the Jewish Scriptures for
years. But it is undeniable that the Israeli govt
and their conscript army are not in the tradition
of devout believers. Earlier this month I was
able to travel through the West Bank on an
accompanied pilgrimage to Christian sites. Your
correspondent has not stated the half of the
story. This infamous wall/fence is wickedly
unjust. When will the israelis realise that their
best defence is to act justly? Some do try - look
up the account of Kibbtz Metzer on the Gush Shalom
site - but they don't get support when they do try
to do the right and just thing. The old
-established settlements can hardly be expected to
move out; it would be possible for Jewish persons
to live as full citizens of a viable Palestinian
state, and harmonious living as genuine neighbours
is far safer for both sides than armed
confrontation. Those who challenge the
percentages of land occupied by the two sides need
to recall that the Israeli figures leave out the
Jerusalem area. The support from abroad is
exacerbating this conflict, and I'm not just
referring to USA. The world banks fund the US
deficit, so we're all guilty. And which countries
supply Israel with oil? How about cutting it off?
But of course, the US now controls Iraq's oil, so
that's a bit late. But what about the "weapons of
mass destruction?" Whose intelligence services
told the US and UK about that fairy tale? I
des[perately wish this report we
After stating all that, are any of people going ot refute my statement, when I say that the Israeli government is playing a two-faced game? And have been playing this game SINCE the ILLEGAL INCEPTION OF ISRAEL? Will you cynics believe it now that it's true that Israel has the single largest top-security prison in the world without legal justification? Don't worry, Guantanamo Bay and it's so called "Unlawful Combatants" is soon catching up. Yes we all know you don't call them POW's so that International Law does not apply to...but please, Israel with it's two-faced actions when it suits them the best!
Those who favour Israel's stance, but live their lives of luxury in the West, many do not even know what real suffering is. How can you justify Israel's actions of literally caging millions of people in order to stop these so called Suicide attacks? To turn a blind eye to the illegal intervention of Israeli assasinations of random Palestinians is something that even Dubya must acknowledge that these ARE assasinations, not a casualty, or kill as the media's bias shapes the thinking of Western minds.
Christian Palestinians, estimated to have been 20 percent of the population before 1948, have dwindled to fewer than 2 percent of those living in the West Bank, Gaza and east Jerusalem. B'Tselem counts housing policies of the Israeli government one of the most severe injustices forcing Palestinians out.
"Massive land confiscation from Palestinians to build for Jews increases overcrowding in Palestinian neighborhoods ...
YES, ARIEL SHARON U FINALLY RECOGNIZE ISRAEL IS I
Would you mind enlightening me about how Texas and California became annexed to the US? I am just curious. Please!
The numbers used by the author are a bit over the top, frankly they are incorrect. This is what we muslims often call propoganda when we are the victims of the story.
Is this article being published because of the mid-east issues or because it leans towards those who we muslims identify and feel for?
If it's a lie, it's a lie and we should know better.
I wonder if the censorship at Iviews will let this go through.