Monday, November 9, 2015

West Bank

Yet one more dip into the CIA World Factbook:

"From the early 16th century through 1917, the area now known as the West Bank fell under Ottoman rule. Following World War I, the Allied powers (France, UK, Russia) allocated the area to the British Mandate of Palestine. After World War II, the UN passed a resolution to establish two states within the Mandate, and designated a territory including what is now known as the West Bank as part of the proposed Arab state. Following the 1948 Arab-Israeli War the area was captured by Transjordan (later renamed Jordan). Jordan annexed the West Bank in 1950. In June 1967, Israel captured the West Bank and East Jerusalem during the 1967 Six-Day War. With the exception of East Jerusalem and the former Israeli-Jordanian border zone, the West Bank has remained under Israeli military control. 

"Under a series of agreements signed between 1994 and 1999, Israel transferred to the Palestinian Authority (PA) security and civilian responsibility for many Palestinian-populated areas of the West Bank as well as the Gaza Strip. Negotiations to determine the permanent status of the West Bank and Gaza Strip stalled after the outbreak of an Intifada in mid-2000. In early 2003, the "Quartet" of the US, EU, UN, and Russia, presented a roadmap to a final peace settlement by 2005, calling for two states - Israel and a democratic Palestine. Following Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat's death in late 2004 and the subsequent election of Mahmud Abbas (head of the Fatah political party) as the PLO Executive Committee Chairman and PA president, Israel and the PA agreed to move the peace process forward. Israel in late 2005 unilaterally withdrew all of its settlers and soldiers and dismantled its military facilities in the Gaza Strip and redeployed its military from several West Bank settlements but continues to control maritime, airspace, and other access. In early 2006, the Islamic Resistance Movement, HAMAS, won the Palestinian Legislative Council election and took control of the PA government. Attempts to form a unity government failed, and violent clashes between Fatah and HAMAS supporters ensued, culminating in HAMAS's violent seizure of all military and governmental institutions in the Gaza Strip. Fatah and HAMAS in early 2011 agreed to reunify the Gaza Strip and West Bank, but the factions have struggled to implement details on governance and security. The status quo remains with HAMAS in control of the Gaza Strip and the PA governing the West Bank. In late 2010, direct peace talks between the Israelis and Palestinians collapsed. In November 2012, the UN General Assembly upgraded the Palestinian status at the UN to that of an observer "state." The Israeli government and Abbas returned to formal peace negotiations in July 2013.”

Rather long-winded, much like the negotiations to resolve this absurd conflict over a piece of land so small and economically non-viable it might as well be a coral atoll in the Pacific (but, no - if it were, the French would claim it). The fact that no one wants to accept is stated right at the beginning of the CIA piece. The West Bank is part of Jordan, and Jordan belongs to the Palestinians, not to the exiled sheiks of Mecca who now rule it. Give Jordan back to the Palestinians, with or without the West Bank, and the entire farago is resolved once and for all. Is anybody listening to me?

Marks against in one direction: 121 (the number of illegal Israeli settlements spread out across the West Bank)

Marks against in the other direction: 3 (the number of Palestinian terrorist groups who have made it to the top of the list of the world's worst terrorist organisations; click here for the full list)

Marks against in several other directions: see Hamas, GazaJordan.

Copyright © 2015 David Prashker
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The Argaman Press

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