Know More About Palestine

Monday March 1, 2010 12:06 PM (EST+7)

The following are some of the competing visions proposed as a solution to Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

Essentially a comprehensive settlement that would create a Palestinian state on land Israel seized in a 1967 war with Arab states. Core issues left to be decided after the PLO recognized Israel and set up the Palestinian Authority in the West Bank and Gaza Strip include the borders between the two states, possibly dividing Jerusalem as capital of both, security guarantees and settling the future of Palestinians living as refugees.

A statement in 2000 by U.S. President Bill Clinton, the Clinton Parameters is widely seen by diplomats as a clear outline of the kind of deal that might be possible. The private Geneva Initiative, among whose leading figures are Yossi Beilin and Yasser Abed Rabbo, has put forward detailed proposals it says would flesh that settlement out in a consensual deal.

Some argue that partition, a prime solution advanced since European Jews arrived in large numbers in Palestine in the last century, is impractical and ignores a common history. Among recent articles by Israelis, see those in Haaretz newspaper by Meron Benvenisti and Yehouda Shenhav. See also a response to Shenhav by Gadi Taub in Yedioth Ahronoth. For Palestinians frustrated and suggesting a one-state solution may suit them better, see Al-Quds University head Sari Nusseibeh.

Israelzzz*zs former national security adviser Giora Eiland published a paper last month that made waves by suggesting the Oslo process was going nowhere and Israel should talk to Jordan and possibly Egypt on redrawing their borders and incorporating the Palestinians of the West Bank and Gaza Strip into those neighboring countries. For one skeptical response to it, see academic Stuart Cohen.

Among those who argue former Prime Minister Ariel Sharon had the right idea by pulling troops and settlers out of Gaza in 2005, despite the subsequent takeover of the enclave by hostile Hamas forces, Haifa University academic and policy adviser Dan Shueftan has argued for doing the same in the West Bank. A peace deal is out of reach and occupation is hurting Jewish democracy, Shueftan says. A unilateral withdrawal may, as opponents say, mean more violence close to Israelzzz*zs heartland, but Shueftan says, that has not prevented Israel flourishing in the past. His recent remarks can be heard at Herzliya conference.

For Jewish settlers in the West Bank and their supporters, there should be no question of giving up territory they see as the biblical birthright of the Jewish people. The Yesha movement speaks for many of them.

Hamas, the Islamist party which won the 2006 Palestinian parliamentary election and which now controls the Gaza Strip, wants an Islamic state in all of what was British-ruled Palestine before Israelzzz*zs creation in 1948. Its leaders speak of accepting a long truce in return for a state in the West Bank, Gaza Strip and East Jerusalem. But also say Jews from families of immigrants from Europe do not belong and should "go home".

Polls show majorities of Israelis and Palestinians favor a two-state solution but are at odds over what each would give up.
A poll in December by Israeli and Palestinian researchers found the following numbers saw the best solution to conflict was:

TWO STATES: Israelis 73 pct; Palestinians 64 pct

ONE SHARED STATE: Israelis 9 pct; Palestinians 20 pct
However, the same poll found two voters in three on either side of the divide thought that the chances of a Palestinian state being established by 2014 were "non-existent or low".


While there are arguments about respective populations and growth rates, the broad outline is that:
Official data shows Israelzzz*zs population of 7.51 million comprises 5.66 million Jews and 1.53 million Arabs, plus some foreign residents. Of the Jews, some 500,000 are settlers in the occupied West Bank and East Jerusalem.
Palestinians account for some 1.5 million Arabs in the Gaza Strip and 2.5 million in the West Bank and East Jerusalem.

Some 5.5 million Arabs and 5.7 million Jews shared what was British-ruled Palestine until 1948. There is argument over birth rates, but a consensus that Arab population growth is faster.
Palestinians say 5 million or so Palestinians live abroad, more than 3 million of them classed as refugees from what is now Israel. Jewish groups say 7-8 million Jews live overseas.






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