Saturday, September 17, 2011

Mapping peace in the Middle East


David Makovsky, a distinguished fellow at the Washington Institute for Near East Policy, has proposed three alternative maps for a Palestinian state with two strong positives (“Mapping Mideast Peace,” New York Times, September 11, 2011). First, using the 1967 plan, the proposed borders swap Israeli land for Palestinian land on the West Bank, incorporating between 67 and 80 percent of all illegal Israeli settlements in the West Bank. Second, the borders also expand the Palestinian land adjacent to the Gaza strip. The article is worth a look because of its excellent depiction of the three proposals.

Because Gaza remains disjointed from the West Bank, none of his proposed plans result in a contiguous Palestinian state. Nevertheless, the plans eliminate the Swiss cheese status quo in which Israeli settlements dot the West Bank.

Peace will not come to the Middle East until the Palestinians have a viable, internationally recognized nation of their own. These proposals may not be perfect but they demonstrate that establishing a Palestinian nation is not a realistic option.

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