When you think about violence in today’s world, most people think about the Middle East. Currently, there are negotiations under way between the Israeli and Palestinian government, mediated by United States Secretary of State, John Kerry (The Guardian). Below are the six issues that are being contested.
6 Issues of the 2 State Solution:
What is a settlement? A settlement is the Jewish civilian communities built on lands occupied by Israel during the 1967 War. The main settlements are in the West Bank.
Why is this an issue? If the West Bank becomes part of Palestine, what happens to the Jewish civilians living there? For a solution to be reached, Palestine has firmly stated that settlements need to stop when Mohammed Shtayyeh chief negotiator in the two-state solution “submitted his resignations in response to ‘increasing settlement building and the absence of any hope of achieving results.'” (Palestinian negotiators abandon Mideast talks to protest Israeli settlements).
*From 2000-2011, the largest settlement in the West Bank, Modi’in Illit has increased in population from 35,660 to 52,060, a 45.9% increase (Report on Israeli Settlement in the Occupied Territories).
2. Safety and Security
Israel: Israel wants to be certain that if a Palestinian state is created, Israel will have security. According to Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu: “…in any peace agreement, the Palestinian area must be demilitarized. No army, no control of air space.” (Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, June 14, 2009).
Palestine: Palestinians want to ensure that when they become their own state, that Palestine will be an independent country. They don’t want to be subjugated to military restrictions from the Israelis. Ahmed Qurei stated, “We said that Palestine will be an independent state, with limited militarization but not limited dignity, and it will have sovereignty and full control over its land and air space” (Former Prime Minister Ahmed Qurei, June 15, 2008).
What are the proposed borders? Palestine and Israel have proposed to return to the pre-1967 borders, which would give Palestine control of the West Bank.
Why is it a problem? Jerusalem is a holy city for both Jews and Muslims. For Jews, the Western Wall, the last remaining wall of the Holy Temple which was destroyed in 586 BCE. For Muslims, the Dome of the Rock is the rock that Muslims believe Muhammad ascended to in heaven. (Why Jerusalem is a Holy City for Muslims)
What is the proposed solution? Dividing Jerusalem into 2 cities with West Jerusalem being controlled by Israel and East Jerusalem being controlled by Palestine.
What are refugees? The refugees are the Palestinians that are living in Israel.
What is the problem? Palestinians want assurance in their “right to return,” a belief that Palestinians believe is a sacred right asserting that Palestinian refugees have a right of return into Israel.
6. Mutual Recognition
Israel: Israel wants Palestine to recognize Israel’s right to exist. Since Israel’s creation in 1948, Arabs have denied Israel’s right to exist.
Palestine: Palestine wants Israel to recognize their right to exist. By continuously denying peace negotiations, Israel has denied Palestine the right to exist.