February 22, 2019

Gantz, Peace and the West Bank

“At present, most of the fence — 85%, constituting the segments already completed and those planned – deviates from Israel’s 1967 borders because its 442-mile route is twice the length of the Green Line delineating Israel’s pre-1967 border. As a result, the barrier deprives Palestinians of 9.4% of West Bank land, including land Israel annexed 51 years ago to Jerusalem’s municipal boundaries.

A government striving for regional peace, like the one Gantz has pledged to lead, would have to reach an accommodation with the Palestinians based on the 1967 borders, on annexation of the West Bank settlement blocs and on land swaps. That would mean dismantling significant parts of the barrier and rebuilding them along the new border.

In addition to confronting the intrusive route of the barrier, the new government would also find roads built in recent years across the West Bank as annexation measures disguised as responding to “security needs.” One such example is a road northeast of Jerusalem between Hizme and al-Zaim that opened this month with separate sections for Israeli traffic and for Palestinian traffic.

As noted by Shaul Arieli, a researcher focusing on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, the road was designed to lead to Mevaseret Adumim, a new neighborhood in the contested West Bank area known as E1, situated between the Maale Adumin settlement and East Jerusalem. The planned neighborhood is part of a road map to create a contiguous Jewish presence between Jerusalem and the Maale Adumim, a vast area east of Jerusalem that would eventually be annexed to the city. The new construction plan is controversial, because it will physically separate the West Bank and its Palestinian population from East Jerusalem.”

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