The ongoing dispute between the Palestinians and the state of Israel is part of the wider Arab-Israeli conflict. The root cause of the conflicts is the claims of the same land by the two parties. Many talks have been held with the sole aim of ending the conflicts by solving various issues through mutual agreement. So far, no talks have been successive at bringing a viable solution to issues surrounding the conflicts. These issues includes; the city of Jerusalem which both parties claims to be its holy cities and the issues of Arab refugee settlement, numbering over 3.7 million, who were displaced in the 1947 war between Palestinian militants and Israeli forces.
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The peace summit held in July 2000 at Camp David, United States was one of the meetings that have been held over the years with the aim of resolving the conflict. The then US president, Bill Clinton had invited Ehud Barak, Israel Prime Minister, and Nasser Arafat, Chairman of Palestinian Authority. Top on the agenda was the issue of settlement and the Jerusalem city. On the issue of Jerusalem city, Israel stand was that Jerusalem city, and the surrounding areas like Givat Ze’ev Gush Etzion and Maale Adumin, all which are within the west bank should remain as part of Israel territory. In exchange, the Israeli will let the Palestinian have sovereignty over other small cities that were part of Jerusalem. On the other hand, the Palestinian stand was that all the area, East of Jerusalem should be returned to Palestine Authority. The Western wall of Jerusalem and the Jewish quarter were to be placed under the Israel authority, but Israel was not to have sovereignty over them. The Palestinian further proposed the creation of an open city where the two sides will work together on municipal services.
The issue of settlement was also discussed at Camp David, Palestinian position has never changed and that time they re-affirmed that the right to return of the refuge to their original home be implemented. Palestinian authorities were ready to negotiate with Israel on the mechanism and the number of refuges who were to be returned to Israel. The Israel stand was different in that proposed that Palestinian refugees should be settled where they are currently staying in the Palestinian State or they be taken to third-party countries. Only few refugees should be allowed to go back Israel on humanitarian basis or other consideration set out by the Israeli.
The 2000 Camp David summit failed to offer a solution to the Israeli Palestinian conflicts. Another meeting was held in the Sinai Peninsula, at a place called Taba in January 2001. This meeting was the first to come closer to a solution than the previous meetings. On the issue of Jerusalem, both sides were in agreement that Palestinian were to have authority and sovereignty over the Arab neighborhood in Jerusalem and the Israeli was to have authority and sovereignty over Jewish neighborhood in Jerusalem. The idea and the creation of an open city for the two states were supported by both sides with Jerusalem as the capital city. The Al-Quads side of Jerusalem was to be the capital city of Palestinians while Yerushalaim side of Jerusalem city was to be the capital city of was Israeli. It was also agreed that both parties will have autonomy over their respective holy Sites. The issue of refugee settlement was also discussed. A formula was set up and agreed upon as a solution to the refugee issue. All those Jewish refugees on the Palestine side should be returned to Israeli side or taken third parties countries, while those Palestinian refugees on the Israel side were to be returned to Palestinian side or third parties countries. The refugees camps on both sides were to be rehabilitated to accommodate incoming refugees. Israel also proposed that Jewish Refugees from the Palestinian side be compensated by the international communities.
There is a foreseeable future going by the outcome of Kaba summit. All that is required is the political will to implement what have already been agreed. The creation of two independent states, Palestinian State and Israeli State is the only viable solution to the Palestinian-Israeli conflict. Jerusalem should be not be annexed to any side but should remain a common city for both sides. The running of the city should be done on a 50-50 basis. Each side should have authority only on the holy cites but not on any other part of the city. Authority from both sides should uphold the rule of law by respecting each other authority and sovereignty.
The issues of refugee settlement should also be handled with a lot of caution. Refugees on both sides should be given a free hand to choose whether they will stay where they are or go back to their original homeland. Camps on both sides should be reconstructed and modernized to offer affordable housing to those who are returning or those who decide to stay. Provisions of basic amenities like piped water and electricity should be a top priority.
The problem of Arab-Israel conflict does not necessary lie on issue of settlement, Jerusalem etc, but lack of political will to end the conflict. Viable Solutions are already in place but most Arab countries are not willing to recognize the existence of Israeli state. Any gesture by the Palestinian in offering solution to the conflict is received by Israeli with a lot of suspicions. Until that time when the larger Arab States accept the existence Israeli State and the two parties agree on mutual basis to end the conflict, then the conflict may not end any time soon.
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Norman G. Finkelstein (2003) Image and Reality of the Israel-Palestine Conflict, Verso publishers, United Kingdom.
Palestine, Israel and the Arab-Israeli Conflict: Jerusalem and the Occupied Territory, 2008. Web.
Roadmap to Solution of Israeli-Palestinian Conflict, 2008, Web.
Tanya Reinhart (2003) Israel/Palestine: How to End the War of 1948, Allen and Unwin Publishers, Australia.
The Palestinian Refugees, 2008, Web.