Steps to a two state solution: For Israel, for Palestine, for peace
Step Two: Freeze settlement building
Continued Israeli settlement-building – especially that which occurs beyond the security barrier – represents an obstacle to a two-seat solution. Both in public and in private meetings with senior Israeli government representatives, LFI has consistently called both for an end to the construction of new settlements and the expansion of existing ones. Continued settlement expansion undermines trust, weakens the viability of a future Palestinian state and does nothing to enhance Israel’s security. Instead, over the past decade, it was used as a sop by the Netanyahu governments to appease the most right-wing elements of its electoral coalition, despite their being utterly unrepresentative of the views of most Israelis. E1, a settler project located outside of Jerusalem in an unbuilt area of Ma’aleh Adumim, which has been repeatedly delayed since it was first proposed three decades ago, represents a particular threat to the contiguity of a future Palestinian state and should be strongly opposed.
At the same time, it is important to recognise that most major Israeli settlements are built close to the 1967 lines within the security barrier that was constructed to stop suicide bombers and terrorists entering Israel during the Second Intifada. Including Israeli Jews residing in East Jerusalem, some 85 percent of Israelis who have “settled” beyond the 1967 lines live within the security barrier. Moreover, 90 percent of Palestinians live outside the security barrier. With “land swaps” – in 2008, Israeli prime minister Ehud Barak suggested an agreement involving five percent of the territory of the West Bank joining Israel with compensating territory from within the 1967 lines going to Palestine – these “settlement blocs” are likely to remain part of Israel after any agreement. Detailed proposals have been drawn up by the Geneva Initiative, a joint Israeli-Palestinian project, to address the issue of settlements as part of ending the conflict.