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Israel’s Pre-emption of a Viable Two-State Solution




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Israel’s on-going colony construction and other unilateral measures in the Occupied Palestinian Territories are effectively pre-empting the possibility of a two-state solution of a viable Palestinian state alongside Israel. If the international community continues to remain unwilling to reign in Israeli colony construction and expansion, irreversible “facts on the ground” and the de facto apartheid system such facts create will force Palestinian policy makers to re-evaluate the plausibility of a two state solution.

Israel’s thirty-five year illegal colonial enterprise has not been, and cannot be, executed without forcefully dispossessing the indigenous Palestinian population of the rights guaranteed to them under UN Resolutions, the Fourth Geneva Convention and other international treaties. The full implementation of Israel’s colonial designs for the Occupied Palestinian Territories, which entails vast confiscation of Palestinian lands and water resources as well as disruption of Palestinian territorial contiguity, would leave the Palestinians with a “state” only in name. Israel’s ultimate goal is to permit a Palestinian “state” which would be in effect the Middle Eastern equivalent of a Native American Indian Reservation with (i) no recognition of the Palestinian peoples’ historic and religious attachment to Jerusalem, (ii) limited access to water and arable land and (iii) insufficient area to accommodate population growth and any returning refugees.
Israeli measures precluding a two state solution are most visible with regard to (i) Occupied East Jerusalem, (ii) colony construction and expansion and (iii) the so-called “security” wall currently being constructed in the Occupied Palestinian Territories.  

I.  Occupied East Jerusalem 

Israeli colony construction is effectively and deliberately disabling Palestinian future urban development prospects in the Occupied West Bank in general and in Occupied East Jerusalem in particular.  The borders of Israeli defined “Greater Jerusalem” contain at least 31 illegal Israeli colonies and cover 440 square kilometers, of which only 25% is within West Jerusalem. Greater Jerusalem is comprised of three major colony blocs - the Gush Etzion, Adumim and Binyamin blocs- with extending satellite colonies acting together to encircle central Jerusalem and effectively carve Occupied East Jerusalem from the rest of the Occupied West Bank.   Israel has initiated numerous projects to consolidate the two rings of colonies around Jerusalem, including construction of “security” walls, improve the infrastructure linking them to West Jerusalem, and ultimately create a Greater Jerusalem under exclusive Israeli control.  Most all of these measures were initiated well before the uprising erupted on September 29, 2000 and consequently, cannot be justified in the name of security. (See attached map: Israeli Pre-Emption of a Compromise on Jerusalem) 

Closing the Southern Door to Jerusalem 
The outer southern door to Jerusalem is being closed to Palestinians by the colonies of the Etzion Bloc, which contain approximately 30,000 settlers.[1] The fastest growing colony in the Etzion Bloc is the ultra-orthodox colony of Betar Illit. As part of Sharon’s Seven Star Plan[2] to blur the green line, this colony grew 300% from 1990 to 2000 and is now aiming to merge with the Sur Hadasah neighborhood in West Jerusalem.[3]  The Eztion Bloc has the capacity to expand some 250%, surrounding Palestinian localities and depriving Bethlehem of its urban hinterland.[4]  The western Etzion colonies are also expanding eastward to strengthen links with the Tekoa colonies. When the Zaatara by-pass road is completed, most likely within the next two years, the Tekoa colonies will be connected with Har Homa and the Eastern Ring Road.[5]  The Zaatara by-pass road, together with the Tunnel Road under the Palestinian town of Beit Jalla, the Etzion Bloc will be integrated into Greater Jerusalem while surrounding and isolating Bethlehem and its neighboring villages.   (See attached map: Closing the Southern Door of Jerusalem) 
The inner southern door to Jerusalem is being closed with the completion of the Har Homa colony (approved by former Israeli PM Netanyahu and recently inhabitable), the development of the Giv’at Hamatos colony, the increased infrastructure support with the completed access road from Route #60, and the planned construction of the new Giv’at Ha’Araba colony near Har Homa. This new infrastructure and colony construction has created a territorially contiguous Israeli cordon of illegal colonies (Har Homa, Giv’at Ha’Araba, Givat Hamatos and Gilo), definitively closing the southern door of Jerusalem to Palestinian access.
Closing the Eastern Door to Jerusalem 
The eastern door to Jerusalem is currently the least developed land in the proximity of Occupied East Jerusalem and therefore allows Israel the greatest amount of room for colony expansion. The Adumim Bloc, with six colonies and one industrial area[6], has a massive planning area of 69,500 dunums (four dunums equal one acre) with the capacity to expand fifteen times its current developed size. The main colony of Ma’aleh Adumim, which lies approximately 4.5 kilometers east of the Israeli-expanded municipal borders of Occupied East Jerusalem and currently houses approximately 30,000 settlers, has a planning area of some 47 square kilometers, only three kilometers less than the municipality of Tel Aviv. If Ma’aleh Adumim is annexed to Greater Jerusalem, it would equal 67% of Occupied East Jerusalem and more than double the current size of Israeli defined Jerusalem.[7] (See attached map: Closing the Eastern Door to Jerusalem) 
To facilitate the current and future growth of the Adumim Bloc, Israel is investing in improved infrastructure links to West Jerusalem. The new Mount Scopus – University Road, which tunnels under Mt. Scopus and Route #1, will be open to traffic in approximately one year based on the current rate of construction. This road will allow settlers from the Adumim Bloc to drive to West Jerusalem in approximately five minutes without stoplights.[8]Additionally, once the roads by the Qalandia Airport and by the Ofer Military base are opened, the improved Route #45 will better connect the Adumim Bloc to Tel Aviv and greatly enhance the Adumim Bloc’s economic and residential potential.
Once this new infrastructure is complete, Israel will likely implement the E-1 Plan,[9] which was initiated by former Israeli PM Ehud Barak. This plan consists of developing 12,442 dunums of land confiscated from the Palestinian villages of A-Zaim, A-Tor and Issawiya. Once completed, the E-1 Plan will create near territorial contiguity between Ma’aleh Adumim, French Hill and Pisgat Ze’ev. The strategic location and size of the E-1 Plan will consolidate Israeli control over key transportation junctions for all the roads connecting the northern West Bank to the south including the vital eastern ring road as well as the major routes to the east along Route #45. The E-1 Plan will also foreclose any possibility of Palestinian economic and urban development in the largest area of non-developed land near Occupied East Jerusalem, effectively destroying any prospects of a meaningful Palestinian presence in Greater Jerusalem.

Closing the Northern Door to Jerusalem


Unlike the southern and eastern doors to Jerusalem where one colony bloc suffices to divide Occupied East Jerusalem from its surroundings, the thin line of Palestinian contiguity between Shuafat and Ramallah required Israel to build two outer colony blocs to close the northern door. These blocs include the Givon Bloc in the northwest and the Binyamin Bloc in the northeast. By expanding these colony blocs and joining them by highway by-pass roads, Israel severs northern access to Occupied East Jerusalem. (See attached map: Closing the Northern Door to Jerusalem) 

Palestinian contiguity is severed in two places. First, in the north Israel divides the Palestinian Al-Ram neighborhood from Palestinian neighborhoods south of Ramallah near Qalandiya airport by building Route #45 between the two. To the west, Qalandia Airport and Atarot Industrial area, both of which are flanked by two military bases, sever Al Ram from any ability to merge with the Palestinian village of Bir Nabala. Second, Route #9 divides the Palestinian neighborhoods of Shuafat and Sheikh Jarrah, a separation bolstered by the French Hill and Ma’alot Dafna colonies.   
To restrict Palestinian development in Greater Jerusalem and to further separate the city from the West Bank, the Binyamin Bloc in the north-east is expanding to gain contiguity between what is currently a small arc of colonies extending from the Ma’aleh Adumim Bloc. Although the Binyamin Bloc currently houses a total of only 2,700 settlers, a new government housing campaign called “Benjamin, Absorption Without End" is attempting to fill the colonies with new houses and new settlers. Like the Adumim Bloc, which is attempting to gain contiguity and eventually be annexed to an expanded Israeli Municipal Jerusalem, the Binyamin Bloc is doing the same through expanding the Adam colony to gain contiguity with Neve Yaacov.[10]
To the north of West Jerusalem, the newly finished Route #4 (Begin North) running from the Ramot colony to the Atarot Industrial Zone is hemming in the Palestinian neighborhoods of Beit Hannina and Shuafat. Further west, the Givon Colony Bloc destroys the possibility of natural expansion of the Palestinian villages located in the vicinity. With an area of 54 square kilometers, the Givon Bloc, along with the Modi’im colonies further west (but still within the Occupied West Bank) seek to provide a developed link between Tel Aviv and Jerusalem, further integrating the entire area into Israel.
The Ring Road 
While ring roads around urban areas are a common feature of urban development schemes as they facilitate the movement of traffic around population centers, the ring road in Jerusalem is intended to cement Israeli control over an Israeli defined and expanded Greater Jerusalem. The Jerusalem Ring Road is composed of the Eastern and Western Ring Roads, the Train Road in the south, and Route #9 in the north. All the roads are now complete except for part of the Eastern Ring Road running from the Palestinian village of Sur Baher to the Palestinian village of A-Zaim. This road is 15.5 kilometers long and, because it goes through several densely populated Palestinian neighborhoods, needs three tunnels and three bridges. Almost a thousand dunums of Palestinian land is being confiscated for this project and some 10 Palestinian houses have already been demolished with another 80 houses under threat of demolition.   
The ring road is intended to link southern colonies such as Tekoa and Har Homa with the northern colonies, while simultaneously diverting Palestinian traffic from the north and south around the Jerusalem city center. Like Route #4 in the north, the Eastern Ring Road runs along and strengthens Israel’s currently declared municipal boundaries for Jerusalem.
The Light Rail 
By using a the light rail system to integrate Occupied East Jerusalem into West Jerusalem, Israel is furthering its stranglehold over the entire city, effectively prejudicing a negotiated Israeli withdrawal from the occupied sector of Jerusalem.   The first stage of implementation will consist of the construction of the main train line, which will run from Pisgat Ze’ev to the Old City (in Occupied East Jerusalem) and into West Jerusalem.[11] After the main line is constructed, Israel plans to construct another eight lines which will run throughout the Occupied Eastern portion of Jerusalem to Neve Ya’kov, Atarot, Ramot and Gilo with connections to Har Homa, East Talpiot and Givat HaMatos.
Israel’s colonial enterprise has long served as the greatest threat to the two-state solution.  Since the start of Israel’s occupation in 1967, each Israeli government has expended significant resources to both colonize the Occupied Palestinian Territories and to expand such colonies in violation of the Fourth Geneva Convention.[12]    
While Israel’s colonization policy initially followed the so-called “Allon Plan” in which Israel’s illegal colonies were established along:  (i) a twenty kilometer wide strip along the length of the Jordan Valley; (ii) areas around “Greater Jerusalem”; (iii) the Gush Etzion bloc; (iv) most of the Judean Desert and (v) a strip of territory south of the Hebron mountains.  Together, these areas comprised approximately fifty percent of the Occupied West Bank, with the remaining territory to become part of a Jordanian-Palestinian state.[13]  By 1977, there were approximately 54,500 settlers living in more than thirty illegal colonies.[14]   
With the Likud party coming to power in 1977, the “Allon Plan” was abandoned, in favor of the establishment of colonies throughout the Occupied West Bank “particularly in areas close to the main population centers.”[15]  The intention of this colonization plan was clear:
The civilian presence of Jewish communities is vital for the security of the state […]  There must not be the slightest doubt regarding our intention to hold the areas of Judea and Samaria for ever […]  The best and most effective way to remove any shred of doubt regarding our intention to hold Judea and Samaria for ever is a rapid settlement drive in these areas.[16]
The Oslo process between Israel and the Palestinians in 1993 did not halt Israel’s colonization.  Rather, the Oslo process served as a “green light” for Israel to increase its colonization of the Occupied West Bank at a rate faster than the previous 26 years of colonization:  according to the most conservative statistic, between 1993 and 2000, the number of settlers in the Occupied West Bank increased from 247,000 to 380,000.[17]  In violation of the Oslo Agreements[18] and Israel’s promise to the United States that it would not establish new colonies, from 1993 to 2000 Israel:
  • Increased the number of housing units by 54% - from 20,400 to 31,800, with the sharpest increase recorded in 2000 when 4,800 new housing units were constructed;[19]
  • Increased the illegal settler population in the Occupied West Bank by almost 90% - from 100,500 to 191,600 reflecting an annual growth rate of 8% (compared to an average annual growth rate of 3% in Israel).  This high “growth” rate is attributable to a wide range of government incentives given to Israeli settlers, including highly subsidized mortgages, sizeable housing grants, a 7% income tax reduction, free schooling from age 3, free school bussing, and grants for businesses in industry, agriculture and tourism;[20]
  • Increased the illegal settler population in Occupied East Jerusalem by 18% - from 146,800 to 173,300;[21] 
  • Increased the number of “official” illegal colonies to 145;[22]
  • Increased the number of “unofficial” illegal colonies to 200; [23] and
  • Confiscated land to construct over 185 miles of Israeli “by-pass” roads that dissect Palestinian communities while connecting Jewish-only Israeli colonies.[24]
Since February 2001, 44 new colonies have been established by the Sharon Government.[25]
Apart from the mass confiscation of land that colonization entail, according to B’Tselem (an Israeli human rights organization), the current process of Israel colonization has resulted in a “radical transformation”[26] of the Occupied West Bank that has severely affected Palestinian human rights.  Beyond human rights infringements, Israel’s colonization serves as a threat to the two-state solution by threatening to dissect Palestinian communities, limiting growth capabilities of Palestinian cities and severely restricting access to natural resources.  Below is an analysis of this colonization.  The data is taken from B’Tselem.
The Eastern Strip
This area includes the Jordan Valley area and the shores of the Dead Sea (outside the Green Line), as well as the eastern slopes of the mountain range that dissects the entire West Bank from north to south.  Under the Oslo Agreements, a small enclave was handed over to the control of the Palestinian Authority that includes the city of Jericho (pop. 17,000) and the Auja area (pop. 3,400).  These areas are surrounded on all sides by illegal Israeli settlements.
The municipal boundaries of the settlements encompass 76,000 dunums of which only 15,000 dunums are developed.  Although only 5,400 settlers live in this area, their water consumption is equivalent to 75% of the water consumption of the entire Palestinian population of the Occupied West Bank (approximately 2 million people). 
The Mountain Strip
This area extends along the entire length of the West Bank, bordered to the north by the Green Line near the “Gilboa Hills” and in the south by the Green Line near the Beersheva Valley. 
This strip includes the six largest and most populous Palestinian cities in the West Bank: Jenin, Nablus, Ramallah, East Jerusalem, Bethlehem and Hebron, which are surrounded by dozens of towns and small and medium-sized villages.
According to B’Tselem the effect of colonization in this area “reflects Israel’s objective to control the main transport artery of the Palestinian population by creating blockages preventing the expansion of Palestinian construction toward the road, and to prevent the connection of Palestinian communities located on different sides of the road.”[27] 
In its analysis on the effects of Israel’s colonization in this area, B’Tselem notes that Israel’s colonization affects the expansion of Palestinian cities and towns.  For example, the cities of Ramallah and al-Bireh, (pop. 53,800) cannot expand to the northeast due to the presence of a single illegal Israeli colony – Bet El (pop. 4,100) On the eastern side, 1,100 illegal Israeli settlers prevent the expansion of the city in that direction.  Similar effects can be seen in Nablus (pop. 158,000) which includes eight villages and two refugee camps.  This city is surrounded on almost all sides by settlements blocking the area’s development. The settlements of Har Brakha and subsequently Yizhar (pop. 1,100) lie to the south of the city itself. To the west are the settlements of Qedumim and Shave Shomron (pop. 3,300). To the east, adjacent to the refugee camps of Askar and Balata (pop. 26,600) are the settlements of Elon Moreh and Itamar (pop. 1,600). The municipal boundaries of the Itamar settlement (pop. 540) extends in a south-east diagonal over an area of some 7,000 dunums − fourteen times the current built-up area, which also includes a number of new outposts.  This large area completely blocks the development of the town of Beit Furiq (pop. 9,100) to the south.
The Western Hills
This area extends from north to south, with a width of 10 to 20 kilometers, between the western border of the Mountain Strip and the Green Line.  Two major Palestinian cities are located in this area:  Qalqilya and Tul Karem.  The strip also includes medium-sized Palestinian town and smaller villages.  This strip is the most fertile area of the West Bank serves as the site of major Palestinian agriculture. 
The effect of the Israel’s colonization in this area includes:  (i) limiting the possibilities for urban and economic development through the seizure of land; (ii) the disruption of the territorial contiguity of the Palestinian communities situated along the strip and (iii) the blurring of this line as a recognized border between the sovereign territory of the State of Israel and the Occupied West Bank. In certain areas, the Green Line runs within an urban area extending to either side. Thus, for example, the settlement bloc of Hashmona’im – Modi’in Illit – Matitiyahu borders on the Green Line, creating a contiguous urban bloc with the communities inside Israel.  In the case of Oranit and Shani settlements, the Green Line passes through the built-up area.
The municipal borders of the settlements in the Western Hills strip include a total of some 109,800 dunums, and are inhabited by approximately 85,000 settlers. Less than thirty percent of this land (30,900 dunums) is developed. Accordingly, the potential area for the expansion of these settlements is currently approximately 80,000 dunums, representing a growth rate of approximately 260 percent. In addition, the area of jurisdiction of the three regional councils mentioned above totals some 264,000 dunums, which have not been attached to any settlement and constitute land reserves for the future.
Municipal Jerusalem
Israeli-defined “municipal Jerusalem” includes approximately 70,000 dunums of the Occupied West Bank, which were annexed to the Municipality of Jerusalem by decision of the Knesset in 1967, and in violation of international law. These colonies currently have a population of approximately 175,000 − slightly more than all the other settlements combined.
Municipal Jerusalem is a prominent example of the elimination of any signs of the Green Line through contiguous urban development.
The effect of Israel’s colonization in this area is threefold:  (i) the establishment of colonies in municipal Jerusalem resulted in massive expropriation of land, most of which constituted private Palestinian property; (ii) these colonies significantly restrict the capacity for urban development in the Palestinian neighborhoods and villages annexed to Jerusalem, serving as a barrier severing Palestinian villages from and (iii) through the expansion of municipal Jerusalem, the dissection of the Occupied West Bank into two parts due to the presence of the Ma’ale Adumim bloc and the Gush Etzion bloc.
With a total projected length of 650 kilometers, twice the length of the Green Line, Israel’s so-called “security” wall is the final act in pre-empting an independent, democratic and viable Palestinian state. 
This wall, most of which is being built within the Occupied Palestinian Territory, is being used to consolidate and expand Israel’s hold on Palestinian land in order to facilitate further settlement expansion.  The wall will effectively serve as a means by which Israel will de facto annex approximately 55% of the West Bank, its central, western and eastern portions, including the Jordan Valley.  It will enclose and isolate the Palestinian populations in cantons and enclaves on 45% of the West Bank.  It will also serve to physically and functionally sever the northern and southern West Bank.  The first stage of the wall, running between Salim and Elkana, will annex approximately 1.6% of the northern West Bank. 
In total, this wall is projected to include all of the settlements with the exception of approximately 15, some 98% of all settlers and 440,000 Palestinians, approximately half of whom do not have Israeli residency, and thirty percent of whom will be in double fenced areas.  These Palestinians are in an extremely tenuous and vunerable situation, being deprived of their livelihood and access to necessary social services, such as health and education.  The remaining 1,560,000 Palestinians in the West Bank will be enclosed by the fence in large cantons. 

At the national level, this wall is permanently prejudicing prospects for a modern, self-sustaining Palestinian economy. Palestinian access to East Jerusalem, the future capital and economic center of the Palestinian state, is already severely limited by the wall.  Areas of high agricultural productivity will be incapacitated as they will be situated behind the wall, and key industrial and commercial locations such as Qalqilya and Tulkarem that serve as regional hubs in the West Bank will be isolated or marginalized.  To date, Qalqilya has been deprived of approximately 15% of its municipal area, its prime agricultural lands.

[1] According to Israeli settler statistics, www.geocities.com/m_yericho/gush_etz.htm.
[2] The merging of Betar and Sur Hadasah was part of the Seven Stars housing project initiated by Ariel Sharon in 1990 when he was Minister of Housing as a means of blurring the Green Line. See also “Settlement Timeline”, Foundation for Middle East Peace Report, vol. 10, No. 3, May-June 2000, www.fmep.org/reports/2000/v10n3.html#6, cited in the Economic and Social Council Substantive Session of 2-27 July, 2001 (A/56/50 E/2001/200). 
[3] In 1993 Betar Illit covered 81 hectares and in 2000 grew to 320 hectares, “An Overview of the Expansions in the Etzion Colony Bloc”, December 2000, Applied Research Institute -Jerusalem, www.poica.org/casestudies/etzion-block-expansion/index.htm.
[4] On 16 May 2002 the Israeli Ministry of Housing and Construction announced tenders for an additional 224 housing units, “Report on Israeli Settlement in the Occupied Territories,” July-August 2002, Vol. 12, No.4, Foundation for Middle East Peace, www.fmep.org/reports/2002/v12n4.html, based on information from Ha'aretz, October 17, 2001, May 20, 2002, May 24, 2002. 
[5] “Report on Israeli Settlement in the Occupied Territories” May-June 2002, Vol. 12, No. 3,Foundation for Middle East Peace, www.fmep.org/reports/2002/v12n3.html.
[6] The six colonies are Mizpe Yeriho (near Jericho), Kefar Adumim (which includes Alon and Nofe Perat), Almon , Ma’ale Adumim and Mishor Adumim. 
[7] Supra note 4. Moreover, during the past year, a new bridge has been built on Route #45 just after it meets with Route #1 going east. This bridge currently connects with an empty hill sides belong to A-Zaim village, but construction has already begun on building the foundation and infrastructure of the extension of Ma’aleh Adumim. 
[9] Ha’aretz, 26 November 2000. See also www.arij.org/paleye/e1plan.
[10] Ma’ariv, 27July 1999.
[12] Article 49 of the Fourth Geneva Convention prohibits the transfer of part of the Occupying Power’s population into Occupied Territory.
[13] B’Tselem, Land Grab 7-8 (2002).
[14] Id. at 8.
[15] Id. at 10.
[16] Matitiyahu Drobless, The Settlement in Judea and Samaria – Strategy, Policy and Program  3 (1980).
[17] B’Tselem,supra note 13 at 4.
[18]  Article 31 of the Interim Agreement provides that “the two parties view the West Bank and Gaza Strip as a single territorial unit, the integrity and status of which will be preserved during the interim period.”  Article 31 also provides that “neither side shall initiate or take any step that will change the status of the West Bank and the Gaza Strip pending the outcome of the permanent status negotiations.”
[19] B’Tselem, supra note 13 at 12.
[20] Id.
[21] Id.
[22] Peace Now, Fact Sheet:  West Bank and Gaza Strip Settlements, March 2001, http://www.peacenow.org
[23] Id.
[24] Id.
[25] See Peace Now, 44 New Settlements Established Since Febuary 2001, http://www.peacenow.org
[26] B’Tselem, supra note 13 at 74.
[27] Id. at 81.

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