Are Kerry's Efforts To Renew Peace Negotiations Too Little, Too late?

Intentions Are Often Different Than Facts on the Ground

A Palestinian working in the West Bank settlement. In the 20 years since Oslo, an eastern bloc of settlements has been created, possibly thwarting future Palestinian development plans.
Haaretz
A Palestinian working in the West Bank settlement. In the 20 years since Oslo, an eastern bloc of settlements has been created, possibly thwarting future Palestinian development plans.

By Haaretz/ Amos Harel

Published May 31, 2013.
  • Print
  • Share Share

A few months before the 20th anniversary of the Oslo Accords, and with a renewed effort about to be made to kick-start the peace talks − it’s useful to pause for a moment and examine what has happened in the West Bank these past two decades. A series of visits there reinforces the impression that, despite the good intentions of U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry, the reality on the ground could well be the undoing of his new initiative, as happened with that of most of his predecessors since the mid-1990s.

The problem is not just the fundamental differences in the approaches of the two sides to the key issues ‏(Jerusalem, borders, refugees‏), but developments on the ground − and, above all, the expansion of the settlements. The question, then, is whether the newest American effort has come too late.

Shaul Arieli thinks not. A retired colonel who is a senior figure in the Geneva Initiative and the Council for Peace and Security, and a major player in peace negotiations during Ehud Barak’s time as prime minister, Arieli visits the West Bank every week. As we drive through Samaria, he points out the resurgent building momentum in the settlements. But he also fires off data which, in his view, show that the settlers’ leadership has failed to prevent establishment of a future Palestinian state and ensure the settlements’ annexation to Israel.

Some 360,000 Israelis currently live in the West Bank ‏(excluding East Jerusalem‏). The settlement blocs, where 75 percent of the Israelis live, occupy only 6 percent of the territory of the West Bank. In addition, 88 percent of its inhabitants are Palestinians and only 12 percent Israelis. Within the blocs, the population ratio is 95:5 in favor of the Jews; outside of them, it is 97:3 in favor of the Palestinians. The ratio of built-up areas in the blocs is 6:1 in favor of the Israelis, but outside it is 16:1 in favor of the Palestinians.

Read more at Haaretz.com.


The Jewish Daily Forward welcomes reader comments in order to promote thoughtful discussion on issues of importance to the Jewish community. In the interest of maintaining a civil forum, The Jewish Daily Forwardrequires that all commenters be appropriately respectful toward our writers, other commenters and the subjects of the articles. Vigorous debate and reasoned critique are welcome; name-calling and personal invective are not. While we generally do not seek to edit or actively moderate comments, our spam filter prevents most links and certain key words from being posted and The Jewish Daily Forward reserves the right to remove comments for any reason.





Find us on Facebook!
  • Is pot kosher for Passover. The rabbis say no, especially for Ashkenazi Jews. And it doesn't matter if its the unofficial Pot Day of April 20.
  • A Ukrainian rabbi says he thinks the leaflets ordering Jews in restive Donetsk to 'register' were a hoax. But the disturbing story still won't die.
  • Some snacks to help you get through the second half of Passover.
  • You wouldn't think that a Soviet-Jewish immigrant would find much in common with Gabriel Garcia Marquez. But the famed novelist once helped one man find his first love. http://jd.fo/f3JiS
  • Can you relate?
  • The Forverts' "Bintel Brief" advice column ran for more than 65 years. Now it's getting a second life — as a cartoon.
  • Half of this Hillel's members believe Jesus was the Messiah.
  • Vinyl isn't just for hipsters and hippies. Israeli photographer Eilan Paz documents the most astonishing record collections from around the world:http://jd.fo/g3IyM
  • Could Spider-Man be Jewish? Andrew Garfield thinks so.
  • Most tasteless video ever? A new video shows Jesus Christ dying at Auschwitz.
  • "It’s the smell that hits me first — musty, almost sweet, emanating from the green felt that cradles each piece of silver cutlery in its own place." Only one week left to submit! Tell us the story of your family's Jewish heirloom.
  • Mazel tov to Chelsea Clinton and Marc Mezvinsky!
  • If it's true, it's pretty terrifying news.
  • “My mom went to cook at the White House and all I got was this tiny piece of leftover raspberry ganache."
  • from-cache

Would you like to receive updates about new stories?




















We will not share your e-mail address or other personal information.

Already subscribed? Manage your subscription.