The New York Times reported, Dividing the West Bank, and Deepening a Rift:
But Israel’s announcement on Friday that it was moving ahead with zoning and planning preparations for the area could change all that, and many fear that it could close the window on the chance for a two-state solution to the long-running Israeli-Palestinian conflict.
Construction in E1, in West Bank territory that Israel captured in the 1967 war, would connect the large Jewish settlement of Maale Adumim to Jerusalem, dividing the West Bank in two. The Palestinian cities of Ramallah and Bethlehem would be cut off from the capital, making the contiguous Palestinian state endorsed by the United Nations last week virtually impossible.
Although Israeli officials did not call the move retaliation for the United Nations vote, most people here assumed the timing was not coincidental.Only critics of the move were quoted. But what's false is that connecting Jerusalem to Maale Adumim would "divide" the West Bank.
Those who charge that Israeli building in Ma'aleh Adumim severs north-south contiguity disregard the fact that Palestinian-controlled areas would be connected by land east of Ma'aleh Adumim (marked on the map) that is at its narrowest point ~15 km wide.
Moreover, Israel proposes to build tunnels or overpasses to obviate the need for Palestinians to detour to the east through the corridor.
Ironically, many of those who argue for greater contiguity between Palestinian areas, at the same time promote Israeli withdrawal to its pre-1967 boundaries, which (even with minor modifications) would confine Israel to a far less contiguous territory than that of the West Bank.Nadav Shragai observed:
As shown on the map above, there is a roughly 15 km wide strip of land separating the Green Line (and the Security Fence) from the Mediterranean Sea (near Herzliya). Also shown is the circuitous route necessary to travel via this corridor between northern and southern Israel. (e.g. from Arad to Beit Shean.)
Even old peace plans that spoke of the division of Jerusalem envisioned linking Maale Adumim and Jerusalem. According to a document of understandings between former minister Yossi Beilin and Mahmoud Abbas from the mid-1990s, while some Jerusalem Arab neighborhoods were to be transferred to a future Palestinian state, Israel was to annex the Jewish communities around Jerusalem, such as Maale Adumim, Givat Zeev, Beitar, and Efrat. According to the Clinton outline for partitioning Jerusalem that arose in the talks between Israel and the Palestinian Authority at Camp David in 2000, Israel was to be compensated for partitioning the city by annexing communities such as Maale Adumim.The objections to building in E1 show the degree to which the world accepts the Palestinian interpretation of the peace process. Last week's appeal to the UN to upgrade the PLO's status was a clear violation of the premises of bilateral negotiations, yet was approved by most nations. Few even condemned or opposed the move. However a move to shore up what had once been an accepted part of a final agreement is now being condemned. There are reports that Britain and France are considering recalling their ambassadors to Israel. The Palestinian strategy of marshaling international pressure against Israel and unilaterally changing the terms of a peace agreement with Israel is succeeding magnificently. As long as the Palestinians are absolved of any responsibility for creating a civil society or negotiating with Israel, they will not achieve statehood. The only thing this posturing achieves is making peace more remote.
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